As most people trying to lose weight know, boosting your metabolism is critical to success. Metabolism is the system controlling the rate of breakdown of food into the necessary nutrients for proper function of the cells of the body. A slow metabolism will slow down the weight loss process, while having a faster metabolism well increase your body’s weight loss. Thus, you will want to boost metabolism as much as possible within healthy limits. Knowing what foods assist metabolism will be vital in the effort to achieve and maintain a desirable weight.
Carbohydrates are usually easy for the body to digest. Fiber however, is a non-digestible form of carbohydrate. The body usually doesn’t recognize the fact that it is non-digestible, and expends energy in an effort to break it down anyway. This will increase the amount of “passive” calories used up in the digestive effort. Carrots are a double win, being high in fiber and low in calories, a cup of raw carrots containing only 50 calories. According to Kristine Clark, professor and assistant director at Penn State University, because of the small amount of calories going in while a large amount being used up, eating high fiber vegetables such as carrots can result in an increase in metabolism.
An added benefit of carrots is their high content of vitamin A which is important for eye health. Carrots are also high in potassium a vital electrolyte. Carrots are easy to include in your diet and can prepared in many different flavorful ways. Carrots are often used in soups, the benefits of which will be discussed later.
The fatty acids in most cold-water fish, such as salmon, can dramatically improve metabolism. According to researchers at the University of Western Ontario, fatty acids may help you lose an extra 400 calories each day!
Enzymes are chemicals that speed up almost every chemical process in the body. The fatty acids EPA and DHA (found in the fatty acids in cold water fish) increase the amount of fat-burning enzymes in your body while lowering the levels of fat-storage enzymes. Researchers at Gettysburg College, Pennsylvania report significant reduction in unhealthy fat content in the body in those taking DHA and EPA supplements. Fish oil is somewhat of a weight loss “miracle” for many people.
Salmon contains extremely high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 is a form of polyunsaturated fats thought to aid circulation, brain function, reduce inflammation and possibly help prevent certain cancers. This is why salmon is among the best choice when eating fish. Other excellent natural sources of omega-3 are rainbow trout, black cod, oysters, herring, mackeral and sardines.
There are many fatty acid supplements on the market some derived from exotic sounding creatures such as krill and squid oil. Due to the uncertainty of the purity and preservation of the oils in these products most experts advise getting your fish oil directly from natural sources.
Drinking 17 ounces of water can boost metabolism by 30% as shown by a group of German researchers. Water is an unexpected way to increase your metabolism. Another good thing about water is that it is a natural way to flush out unhealthy chemicals and “detox” your body.
Cinnamon allows the body to metabolize the sugars in your body, thus helping to maintain a healthy blood glucose level. It has been recommended that 1 teaspoon of cinnamon consumed daily can reduce the average blood sugar a small amount. This is a break for both diabetics and weight loss seekers. Cinnamon can also reduce the amount of bad, or LDL, cholesterol in the blood.
Cinnamon is a spice that has a very distinctive and strong flavor making it harder to find the right food to use it with. However, you should be able to sneak it in your diet. Some common tricks that are used are to put it into tea or coffee and add it to oatmeal. You may even want to experiment with adding cinnamon in small amounts to different foods that you cook. It may add a tasty flavor to your meal!
Protein is a nutrient that is very important in the weight loss effort. This is because more energy is required for processing and breaking down proteins than other common food groups, such as carbohydrates. Energy is expended in digestion of protein because it first must be broken down into absorbable key building blocks known as amino acids. The energy that your body must put into digesting protein results in burning “passive” calories and the final total calories provided by the meal will therefore be less.
Lima beans are one of the most protein-packed beans available, and they are also high in fiber. This means that you will be getting two benefits with one, very healthy food. Try simmering lima beans and carrots in chicken broth. With a little basil you will find this to be key to a healthy and tasty old fashioned cold weather remedy. This brings us to the subject of vegetable soup.
According to a study performed by Penn State University, soup will satisfy hunger for a long period of time. Since soup is about 50% liquid and 50% solids it has the ability to help maintain a feeling of “fullness” longer than for either separately. So next time, try grabbing a bowl of soup before grabbing the bag of potato chips.
Soup not only satisfies hunger, it can be very healthy and metabolism friendly. Vegetable soup can be very high in fiber as pointed out in the chicken soup recipe above. This will help control the fat levels in your blood, keep the bowel healthy in addition to keeping you feeling full! Every few years the cabbage soup diet is rediscovered because of these characteristics. An unlimited amount of cabbage soup can be consumed daily on this diet. Because of the very low calorie content of cabbage the body can burn more calories in digesting it than is contained in the soup itself. In essence this is a “negative calorie” food. The main limiting factors of the cabbage soup diet are the effect it can have to upset the stomach and boredom with the taste.
Apples are yet another food that is high in fiber. Another good thing about apples is the fact that they are packed with natural sugar, so it can satisfy your sugar cravings. Apples can replace those sugar-filled, fatty snack cakes with a healthy, low calorie, high-fiber food. Keep some freshly cut apple slices handy. If you absolutely must have a piece of cake, cookies or ice cream, have a few apple slices first. This will blunt your craving and you wind up eating less of the high calorie treats.
Although broccoli is disliked by many people, it is a great boost to the metabolism and aids in weight loss. Broccoli increases the amount of calcium in the body while supplying the body with Vitamin C, which is proven to boost the calcium absorption in the body.
Dietary calcium has been linked to weight loss and bone health in several studies. The reason for the weight loss effect may be that calcium can reduce the appetite. In 2009 researchers at Laval University in Canada found that overweight people who were calcium deficient began to lose weight when calcium was added to their diet. In general about 1000 mg of calcium per day is recommended for the average adult. Making the calcium story a bit tricky is that recent research suggests that getting too much calcium in the diet can accelerate coronary disease.
Broccoli also contains a great amount of fiber, which, as discussed before, is a great way to aid in boosting the metabolism.
This food is useful both those seeking to lose weight and bodybuilders alike. This is because a small amount of turkey – just a 3 ounce serving – contains only 120 calories, but contains 26 grams of protein!
However, it is important to be careful when purchasing turkey. Try to purchase unprocessed turkey and avoid the processed turkey found in the deli section of most grocery stores. The processed turkey that is meant to be used on subs is fatty, and it is high in sugar and other unhealthy ingredients that can undermine your nutrition goals.
As you can see, many everyday foods can boost your metabolism. These are foods that can aid in weight loss, satisfy hunger, and boost your metabolism – sometimes all at once! When trying to lose unwanted weight it is important to be very choosey about which foods you will eat and to monitor the portions of all foods closely.
Also, don’t get stuck on one specific food. This will lead to boredom with that particular food down the road, so switch food choices up frequently. Try to get creative by mixing some of these metabolism boosting foods together, which will make a more interesting and effective meal.
Finally, how do supplements fit in the metabolism boosting picture? There is no shortage of people trying to sell supplements to boost the metabolism. Sadly, by far the only thing getting lighter when you purchase supplements for this purpose, is your wallet. Not only are the claims for remarkable results often fake but many supplements have been shown not to have the amount of the ingredients claimed. As most certified nutritionists will tell you, it is best if you can get your ingredients naturally by eating carefully chosen foods in the proper amounts.