If I had to come up with a list of FAQs, one of the most commonly asked questions is this: “Are there foods I can eat to boost my metabolism?”

An efficiently functioning system allows your body to make the most of the nutrients you consume, and when you eat the right foods, they promote a healthy metabolism. It’s a positive feedback cycle that’s easy to develop when you eat whole, natural foods. By definition, your metabolism is your body’s ability to break down foods for energy and synthesize nutrients. When your metabolism functions efficiently, you will have more energy, expel waste more efficiently, and be less likely to gain extra weight.

A great thing about the Beauty Detox Power is that it naturally promotes a healthy metabolism, because it is designed to continually cleanse your system to keep it working optimally. Each of the foods I recommend in the Beauty Detox Power serves more than one purpose in the body, and many have a specific effect on your metabolism. Here’s my list of foods that will help heat up your body’s furnace.

1. Coconut oil

While some people have maligned coconut oil over the years as a source of unhealthy saturated fat, recent studies show it is not only healthy, but it also has positive effects on your metabolism. Although it is a saturated fat, coconut oil doesn’t have any cholesterol. Instead, it consists of medium-chain fatty acids that your body burns into energy rather than storing.  Coconut oil also stimulates thyroid function, firing up your body’s metabolic furnace.

How to use it: You can incorporate coconut oil into your diet by swapping it for all of the oils you regularly use to cook.

2. Cayenne and other hot peppers

A little dash of heat does more than just add flavor to the foods you eat. Adding cayenne or other hot peppers also raises your body temperature, turning up your metabolism. Cayenne has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antioxidant qualities, as well.
How to use it: Add a dash of cayenne to guacamole or use it to zip up vinaigrette. You can also make up a batch of my ginger-cayenne tea. Add hot peppers to vegetable soup, salad, or quinoa.

3. Bee Pollen

 Bee pollen are concentrated grains that join together to form yellow pellets or granules. Many researchers believe bee pollen can help improve metabolism and weight loss efforts. They are packed with amino acids, including the amino acid phenylalanine, which helps to control hunger and appetite. I’ve found that consuming bee pollen is so nutritionally complete that it helps you eat less overall food in a day, and helps balance cravings.

Bee pollen also contains vitamins C, E and most B vitamins (except B12), which help you deal with stress, improve digestion and increase energy.  They provide about 25% bioavailable protein, from complete amino acids.

Start with a very small amount if you are new, and build up to about 1 Tbs. a day, straight or mixed in an almond milk or chia seed smoothie. Sometimes I just literally eat a spoonful on my way out the door to yoga, mid-afternoon! Please note: If you have an allergenic reaction to bees, or a health condition like asthma you should not consume bee pollen.

 

3. Ginger

Fresh grated ginger is considered a “warming” spice in Ayurveda, causing your body’s furnace to heat up. Along with metabolism boosting effects, it also breaks up mucous, reduces inflammation, soothes the digestive system and improves blood circulation.
How to use it: Peel and grate the ginger. Add it to salad dressings, stir-fries or nut pates. You can also make ginger lemon tea with it, or add it to the Glowing Green Smoothie.

4. Cinnamon

Like other warming spices, cinnamon can boost your metabolism by increasing your body temperature. It also contains manganese and iron. Recent studies show cinnamon helps your body manage blood sugar effectively, which may be valuable for people who have developed a sluggish metabolism caused by insulin resistance.
How to use it: Sprinkle some cinnamon in warm almond milk like my Almost Raw Vegan Vanilla Latte, or mix with chia seeds and almond milk to make a yummy snack pudding.

5. Garlic

Along with anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, garlic can help loosen up toxins and mucus, and promote them being flushed from your body. Like other warming foods, it raises your body temperature, boosting your metabolism.
How to use it: Peel the garlic and chop or mince it. Cook it lightly in soups and stir fries, or use a little bit of raw garlic in vinaigrette.

6. Lemon juice

Fresh lemon juice adds enzymes and vitamin C to your diet. It also helps detoxify the liver, which is your main fat burning organ. By cleansing your liver with lemon juice, your metabolism will function more efficiently.
How to use it: Add lemons to your Glowing Green Smoothie, squeeze it on salads or fresh vegetables, and definitely start your day with hot water and fresh lemon!

7. Sea vegetables

Not only are sea vegetables like dulse and nori loaded with the nutrients your body needs, but they also offer a welcome saltiness without adding table salt. Sea vegetables contain iodine, which supports thyroid function and boosts metabolism.
How to use it: If you’ve never purchased sea vegetables, you can find them at health food stores, Asian groceries, or in the Asian section of your local supermarket. Sprinkle sea vegetables on soups, stir fries or salads.

8. Water

Your body needs water for hydration and to function correctly. It is also essential in supporting healthy metabolic function, so you need to drink plenty in order for your metabolism to work properly.
How to use it: Drink pure, fresh water between meals rather than with them.

9. Cabbage

 

Cabbage is a huge weight loss booster because it contains high amounts of  B Vitamins, considered natural metabolism boosters. It also helps to eliminate free radicals and uric acid (the acidic by-product that heightens in the body from consuming excessive amounts of animal protein).
How to use it: Get your daily dose in Probiotic & Enzyme Salad

 

10. Almonds, Walnuts and Cashews

Raw uncooked nuts (with the exception of peanuts) give a high dose of fiber, protein and enzymes crank up your metabolism and help promote a healthy heart. Watch portion control- have about a handful or so.
How to use it: Try a nut pate for dinner, or have almonds or walnuts on your Dharma’s Kale Salad occasionally, instead of avocado.

11. Glowing Green Smoothie (GGS)

I probably sound like a broken record, but I’ll say it again anyway. Because I want to spread the love! The GGS is the best way to start your day, because it gives your body everything it needs to kick start your metabolism first thing in the morning. Plus, it provides nutrition, fiber, and energy to quell cravings and keep you away from metabolism-harming substances like caffeine and diet soda.

How to use it: Mix up a glowing green smoothie every morning. It’s that easy. I definitely recommend getting a Vitamix, which makes it taste smooth and delicious. If you use a regular blender, it might be chunky and nasty, which certainly won’t inspire you to want to make and drink it every morning.

New York Times Bestselling Author, Nutritionist, Wellness and Beauty Expert