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The one food that can give your metabolism a boost, according to science


grain bowl
Photo: Stocksy/Harald Walker

Your workouts, diet, and lifestyle all affect metabolism—it’s tricky business. While skipping anything processed and filling up on healthy foods is one big way to bring a boost, scientists recently pinpointed one specific food that can rev things up. Ready for this? It’s whole grains.

In a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers looked at how whole grains affect the microbiome and found that they help with the absorption of fiber, which in turn gets that metabolism up and regulates weight. (It’s worth pointing out that the test subjects who experienced a revved-up burn rate also had a fiber-rich diet—they weren’t just filling up on quinoa and brown rice.)

“The extra calories lost by those who ate whole grains was the equivalent of a brisk 30-minute walk or enjoying an extra small cookie every day, in terms of its impact.”

“The extra calories lost by those who ate whole grains was the equivalent of a brisk 30-minute walk or enjoying an extra small cookie every day, in terms of its impact,” the study’s senior author, Tufts University’s Susan B. Roberts, PhD, told Tufts Now.

There’s one caveat to this delicious news. Since gluten has been linked to inflammation, the best way to ensure you’re fueling your body in the healthiest way possible is to stick to gluten-free whole grains like oats, rice, buckwheat, millet, and sorghum. Who’s up for a macro bowl for lunch?

And if you’re confused by all the different grains out there—including freekeh?—this guide will help.