So many people swear by squeezing fresh lemon juice in hot water for a natural detox—there's a reason Gwyneth Paltrow swears by its health benefits. But did you know there's actually a new roster of metabolism-boosting drinks out there that will help you burn more calories by encouraging fat cells to shrink or even lessening your cravings for sweets? It all has to do with some special ingredients in these beverages that kick-start your digestive system.
The best part is that these drinks range from everything from tonics to smoothies and even hot chocolate (yes, please), which let you give your body a boost while satisfying hunger. Whether you serve them for breakfast or a midday snack, we swear these tasty drinks will kick your body into high gear. Keep reading about the key ingredients you should incorporate into your diet as well as the metabolism-boosting drinks that contain them. The next time you want to burn a few extra calories, you'll know exactly which beverage to whip up.
The citric acid in the fruit aids your stomach acids in breaking down food. How does it work? "Because lemon juice's atomic structure is similar to the digestive juices found in the stomach, it tricks the liver into producing bile, which helps keep food moving through your body and gastrointestinal tract smoothly," says Josh Axe, DNM, DC, CNS. It also helps with detoxification, acting as a mild diuretic to rid your body of anything bad.
In case you didn't know, cayenne is a type of chili pepper that is in the same family as jalapeños and bell peppers. The reason it can benefit your health lies in its active ingredient capsaicin. Research has proven that capsaicin works to increase the heat in your body, which allows you to burn more calories (up to a whopping 51% more during a meal). Worth noting: Your body eventually gets used to the capsaicin, so its calorie-burning effects diminish over time.
In the same way that cayenne increases body heat, so does the golden spice. A 2009 study at Tufts University found that mice who ingested curcumin (the active ingredient found in turmeric) lost more fat than the mice who did not. And that's not it. "Curcumin attaches to the fat cells and encourages them to shrink and contract by suppressing the blood vessels needed to form fat tissue," explains Lori Shemek, an inflammation expert.
Now there's another reason to sip on tea or add matcha, aka green tea powder, to your smoothies or beverages. (We already know green tea prevents heart disease and cancer, reduces blood pressure, and can boost your immune system). Because of the antioxidants called catechins in green tea, research has found that those who consume the beverage burn 70 to 100 extra calories a day.
We can use any excuse to eat more chocolate—but make sure it's dark (at least 70% cocoa). It contains monounsaturated fats that give your metabolism a boost as well as help your body to burn more fat. A study in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that those who ate chocolate frequently (in moderate amounts) weighed less than those who took in more calories. Research has also proven that those who consume the sweet crave snacks and other treats less.
Although the definitive metabolism-boosting benefits of blueberries require a bit more research, this berry is believed by experts to give your system a boost. One study's findings indicate that one cup of the fruit can "lower blood pressure and perhaps speed up metabolism, due mostly to their high levels of anthocyanins." Blueberries happen to be rich in anthocyanins, a health-boosting antioxidant.
Strawberry Mango Smoothie
The trick to this refreshing smoothie is cayenne pepper, which adds an unexpected kick to fresh mango and frozen strawberries. Coconut water and fresh ginger root round out the beverage, while cinnamon helps regulate blood sugar (and reduce hunger).
An inflammation-fighting drink if we ever saw one, this turmeric tonic is crafted from fresh orange juice, ginger, the turmeric, vanilla extract, maple syrup, carrot juice, and sparkling water. A few dashes of black pepper helps your body better absorb the good-for-you active ingredients in the turmeric.
Green Tea and Berry Smoothie
Just because green tea is a superfood doesn't mean you can only drink it hot. Freeze the mixture of berries, probiotic-rich Greek yogurt, and hemp seeds. Add some chilled green tea and blend whenever you're in the mood for a pick-me-up.
Banana Matcha Smoothie
This vegan smoothie makes an awesome breakfast or mid-day snack. All you need is frozen bananas, vanilla almond milk, and just a little bit of matcha powder. Just a friendly reminder that it's the matcha that will give your digestive system quite the boost.
Slow Cooker Hot Chocolate
You don't have to tell us twice that dark chocolate is good for us. The chocolate, coconut sugar, cayenne, cocoa powder, cinnamon, and vanilla almond milk whip up the tastiest (fat-burning!) hot chocolate in the slow cooker.
Blueberry Coconut Lime Smoothie
Blueberries are believed to contain an antioxidant that helps increase your metabolism. When it’s paired with protein-packed ingredients like Greek yogurt and almonds, you’ll stay full between meals (finally, this recipe lets you ditch all your snacking).
Golden Glow Water
This is the perfect thing to whip up after you've had a way too filing meal (or gorged on a weekend getaway). Turmeric, ginger, lemon, molasses, and cayenne are put in a mason jar and shaken up. Chill until you're ready to sip, and then top with some sparkling water for a bit of fizz. PS: We like to sub in kombucha.
While you're on a healthy drink kick, try making one of these tasty low-calorie smoothies.