18 Foods that Boost Your Metabolism

Mix and match these protein-rich sources to score 20 to 30 g at each meal.Mix and match these protein-rich sources to score 20 to 30 g at each meal.How much protein do you need? New research suggests that many of us may need more protein than we realize. The current RDA is 0.8 g of protein per kilogram of body weight, but several studies have found that 1 to 1.2 g may be more protective against age-related muscle loss.

Use this formula from Caroline Apovian, MD, to determine the minimum amount of protein you should eat daily to offset muscle loss--and protect your metabolism--while you lose weight.

STEP 1
Estimate your ideal weight. "If you're a woman, start with 100 pounds for the first 5 feet in height, and add 5 pounds for every extra inch," says Dr. Apovian. "For men, it's 106 pounds for 5 feet in height, plus 6 pounds for every additional inch. However, if your ideal weight is less than 120 pounds, don't eat less than 82 g of protein daily."

STEP 2 Ideal Weight (in lb) ÷ 2.2 = Ideal Weight (in kg)

STEP 3 Ideal Weight (in kg) × 1.5 = Daily Protein Goal (in g)

Now that you know how much you need, check out these metabolism-boosting protein-packed foods!

PLUS: For ultimate results, pair these foods with the Workout That Revs Your Metabolism.

Avocado
Protein content: 2 g per half avocado
The protein in this fruit contains all 9 essential amino acids, plus heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

Cheese and milk
Protein content: 6-7 g per oz; 9-10 g per 1 cup
Go for low-fat options-they generally contain more protein than fattier alternatives.

Tempeh
Protein content:
15 g per 1/2 cup
Its nougatlike texture makes tempeh a smart stand-in for meat. Sauté, or crumble cooked tempeh over salads.

Asparagus
Protein content:
4 g per 1 cup (chopped)
This tasty veggie is a nutrient powerhouse. Enjoy it steamed or grilled, or toss chopped spears into salads.

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Legumes
Protein content:
7-9 g per 1/2 cup (cooked)
Pair dried beans (think black beans, chickpeas, and lentils) with rice or quinoa for a complete-protein meal.

Greek-style yogurt
Protein content:
18 g per 6 oz
This thick and creamy treat packs nearly twice as much protein as other dairy sources; it's great with fruit.

Tree Nuts
Protein content:
4-6 g per 2 Tbsp
A small handful of walnuts or almonds is great as a snack, mixed into yogurt or oatmeal, or on a salad.

Edamame
Protein content:
8.5 g per 1/2 cup (shelled)
A single serving packs nearly every trace mineral your body needs, including iron, magnesium, and zinc.

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Whey protein
Protein content:
24 g per 1 oz
Add a scoop to smoothies or water for a quick protein hit. Avoiding animal products? Try soy protein powder.

Spinach
Protein content:
5 g per 1 cup (cooked)
Of all the leafy greens, spinach boasts the highest protein content. Try it sautéed with a bit of garlic.

Tofu
Protein content:
12 g per 3 oz
Made from soybeans, this low-cal, versatile protein will take on any flavor, from Asian to barbecue.

Fish and shellfish
Protein content:
28 g per 4 oz
Whether it's salmon, halibut, or tuna, seafood is a great catch. Aim for 3 to 5 servings a week.

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Pseudograins
Protein content:
5-9 g per 1 cup (cooked)
These hearty, grainlike seeds (quinoa, amaranth, and buckwheat) have more protein than traditional grains.

Eggs
Protein content:
12 g per 2 eggs; 14 g per 4 egg whites
However you prepare them, eggs and egg whites are smart fuel for muscles.

Poultry and pork
Protein content:
28 g per 4 oz
Family favorites like skinless chicken and pork make it easy to score plenty of protein at each meal.

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Hemp seeds
Protein content:
10 g per 2 Tbsp
Great for soups and salads, these seeds have 8 of the 9 essential amino acids that build muscle.

Cottage cheese
Protein content:
14 g per 1/2 cup
Eating a scoop doesn't mean you're on a diet--it means you're muscle savvy. Try adding it to smoothies.

Beef
Protein content:
28 g per 4 oz
Look for the absolute leanest cuts, like round roast or top sirloin. Try bison for a leaner red-meat alternative.

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Written by Jenna Bergen, Prevention