Is it easy for you to gain weight? Do you skip meals because you’re not hungry, or feel like you’ll gain five pounds just looking at a brownie? Well then, pay attention because this article is chalked full up useful tips that will help you to increase your metabolic capabilities.
What exactly is metabolism?
The simplest definition is the amount of energy (a.k.a. calories) your body burns at rest. Obviously burning more calories at rest would make it much easier to maintain a healthy body weight
Three common mistakes people make that add up for a metabolic disaster:
Skipping meals and not eating enough food: The reason for this being that food stimulates the metabolism, while fasting signals the body to conserve stores of fats and carbohydrates. Be sure to eat small meals every 2.5-4 hours to avoid this from happening.
Being a couch potatoe: Instead of watching TV, take a power walk or take up strength training! Moving is essential (not to mention, a great stress relief) when trying to keep your metabolism happy. Did you know that each pound of muscle burns an additional 50-100 calories each and every day?!! Do yourself a favour and get a certified trainer to show you the best way to workout in order to maximize time and get the best results.
Not getting enough vitamins and minerals: This is especially true for B vitamins because they help with the metabolism of carbs, fats, protein, and also with energy production. Being vitamin deficient slows down the metabolism, and will leave the body feeling weak and fatigued. Eating an abundance of natural foods is a necessary step to take. Emphasize whole grains, nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, beans/lentils, and lean meats. Also supplement with a high quality multi-vitamin.
Foods that rev up the metabolism:
Spice it up: When using ingredients such as hot peppers, Cayenne pepper, and mustards, you increase your metabolism. The active ingredient, capsaicin, raises the bodies metabolic rate for up to 3 hours after consumption by as much as 40%. Use mustard instead of mayo; add hot peppers to lunches, add hot chili peppers and cayenne peppers to rice, pastas, meats, soups, eggs. Use 1/8 tsp. of cayenne or red pepper daily for maximum effects
Eat citrus fruits & berries: Oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, lemons, strawberries, and limes contain high concentration of Vitamin C. Vitamin C reduces fat content and can liquefy or dilute fat, making it easier to flush out of your system. Vitamin C also stimulates the production of carnitine, a metabolism-boosting amino acid. Half of a grapefruit before meals reduces appetite. Try squeezing fresh lemon or lime into drinking water or herbal tea as well.
Love the soy: Soybeans contain lecithin, a lipid which composes cell membranes and shields your cells from accumulating fat. Soybeans can be consumed three or more times per week as whole roasted beans, as tofu, tempeh or as milk. Lecithin granules can also be purchased at the health food store and sprinkled over food or tossed into smoothies.
Munch on apples, berries, and fresh fruit: Apples contain a fiber called pectin. Pectin is found in the cell wall of most fruits, especially apples. It limits the amount of fat your cells can absorb. Pectin absorbs watery substances, and these watery substances in turn bombard cells forcing them to release fat deposits. Add applesauce, apples, fresh fruit and berries to your diet!
Sip on apple cider vinegar: Research suggests that apple cider not only increases the body’s metabolic rate, but also acts as an appetite suppressant, reduces water retention, aids in digestion, and helps to balance blood sugar (especially when taken with a meal). Take 2 tsp in a small glass of room temperature water with each meal.
Grind up that Flax: Flax seeds contain 5 g of soluble fiber per tbsp and is an ideal source of alpha-linolenic acid, a fatty acid essential for efficient metabolism. Aim for about 3 tbsp of flaxseed daily. Add ground flaxseed to cereals, oatmeal, salads, baked goods, or practically any dish. Purchase whole and grind yourself…I use a coffee grinder, which works splendidly.
Seaweed/Seafood: Iodine helps to metabolize excess fat and is needed for a healthy thyroid gland
Green Tea: The caffeine in green tea stimulates metabolism. Limit to 3 servings/day.
Fiber: Remember to eat fiber rich foods: beans, lentils apples, oatmeal, quinoa, avocados, beet greens, cooked cabbage, blueberries, raspberries, cooked spinach, sweet potato, brown rice, almonds, seeds. Fiber-rich foods provide bulk in your stomach, which will suppress your appetite and make you feel fully and more satisfied.
WATER, WATER, WATER: Even mild dehydration will slow down metabolism as much as 3%: Basal metabolic rate is 30% higher for 40 minutes after consuming 16 oz of water…so drink it for goodness sake! You would also be wise to get your water tested and take measures to ensure your water is purified using a carbon block filter or reverse osmosis filter.
As you can see, there are so many yummy things you can eat that will keep you burning calories all day long. Just remember, there are no miracle pills here, and you cannot, and should not rely on only one food to do the work for you.
Exercising, eating whole foods, drinking lots of water, and taking a high quality multi-vitamin, are key factors in supporting a healthy metabolism.
Yours in Health,
Author: Lora Schneider, in-house personal trainer & nutritionist at beaches health group