Wouldn’t it be great if you could just pop a pill and get the body you have always wanted? Yeah, we would all like something as easy as that, and supplement companies are well aware of this and flood our televisions and magazines with commercials and advertisement s that promise to do that. Unfortunately they never deliver. I bought some of that Hydroxycut once and didn’t see anything but finger nails bitten down to the wicks and an ability to talk to anyone about anything, even people I didn’t like, so fast that I wouldn’t even come up for air mid sentence. I didn’t lose any weight but my social life was never better. However you don’t need to spend your hard earned money on pills and potions to help you shed some fat, in fact it may just be as easy as opening your own refrigerator door, because today we are going to look at some foods, all natural, that can help boost and raise your metabolism, and help you on your path to achieve your health and fitness goals.
Not only is this tasty food packed with Vitamin C and a load of fiber to keep you feeling full, but it turns out it contains chemicals that reduces insulin. Meaning lower blood sugar spikes and therefore increased fat loss. A recent study of 100 men and women showed that participants ate half a grapefruit at every meal lost on average 3.6 pounds, while those who drank grapefruit juice lost 3.3 pounds. I think eating a grapefruit at every meal is a little excessive, but one or even two a day wouldn’t be that bad…
Water? Yes that’s right, researchers in Germany found that when subject drank 17 ounces or more of water a day, their ability to burn calories increased by up to 30%. Further to this, water is a natural diuretic and if you are not getting enough water each day, your body reacts by holding onto water stores in your body and under your skin, causing you to look bloated and puffy like. Ever wonder why you look puffy after a big night out on the town or after some naughty meals? Alcohol, sugar and salt cause you to dehydrate, making your body hold onto to water. Also, do your pocket and environment a favor – don’t but bottled water. Tap water is perfectly safe and healthy.
Ah, my favorite drink. In fact I think I’m addicted to it. You see I just don’t like the taste of coffee. I have tried to get into for years, but it just tastes disgusting to me. Which is probably good because I have an addictive personality and would probably push people out of my way in the Starbucks line to get it if I actually liked it. Green Tea has gotten a ton of press over recent year and now appears in so many over the counter diet pills. Most of those diet pills are a scam and don’t contain the required amount or requiring quality of green tea extract to actually work, and if you aren’t exercising or eating right, you may as well save your money. The chemical in green tea, known as EGCG (or epigallocatechin gallate) is known to speed up your metabolism and a recent study showed that supplementation of 90mg of EGCG equated into a 4% increase in calorie burning, which is an increase but in my opinion isn’t something you will notice. But EGCG isn’t just known to promote a higher metabolism, this wonder pholyphenol is also reported to prevent atherosclerosis, protect against and destroy cancer cells, and even prevent liver disease.
And no, those green tea lattes at Starbucks or those bottled teas you find at the grocery store packed with sugar don’t count!
The fiber found in broccoli fills you up and reduces cravings for sugary snacks after meals. Its low in calories buy high in various vitamins and nutrients including Vitamin C and Calcium, which when consumed together lead to an increased absorption rate by our bodies, and Vitamins A and K. Touted as a superfood, broccoli has been reported to lower lung cancer rates in smokers, and detoxifies your body by preventing cellular damage caused by free radicals.
Low fat dairy foods to be exact. In a recent study, people on a diet who ate 3 or more servings of low fat dairy a day lost a larger amount of fat that those who consumed lower amounts of dairy products. Further to this, my favorite doctor, Dr Oz, did a small study recently where participants did not change their diets but increased the amount of calcium their consumed each day. This resulted in an increase amount of fat that was excreted in stool samples, up to twice as much as opposed when participants did not increase their calcium amount. Leading researchers to believe that it is the calcium in low fat dairy products that helps the body get rid of excess dietary fat when consumed.
There is an old myth that after munching on some turkey at Thanksgiving that you head to the couch to sleep it off because of a chemical found in the turkey meat known at Tryptophan. Reality is that Tryptophan is actually found in equal quantities in chicken and beef, so it was probably overindulgence that put you in that food coma. What is true however is that turkey, and other lean meats for that matter, can increase your body’s metabolism. It takes more calories to burn a gram of protein than it does to burn a gram of carbohydrates, so the more protein you eat the more calories you body burns through to digest it.
Just make sure if to avoid ay deli style turkey meats that contain added nitrates and preservatives.
I eat almonds everyday. I throw them in my cereal, and even my cottage cheese to give me a bit of crunch. If you aren’t nibbling on a few, you may be missing out on some metabolism boosting benefits. It is believed that the essential fatty acids and fiber contained in the nuts slow down digestion, therefore increasing satiation between meals. Almonds and other nuts however are high in calories (good calories) so if you are on a fat loss plan just make sure you are watching your portion sizes or a few handfuls could add up to over 200 calories.
No, I’m not talking about those nasty packets of instant oatmeal loaded with sugar and other artificial ingredients you throw in the microwave each morning. I’m talking about good old rolled or steel cut oats. They provide your body with slow digesting carbohydrates that do not increase blood sugar as much as refined carbohydrates. The fat soluble fiber globs together to create a slow moving mass in your stomach and digestive system, making you fell fuller for longer, and even lowering your LDL (bad) cholesterol.
What? Red Meat is good for you? Yes silly, as long as it is relatively lean and you eat it in small quantities. You know the other week when I wrote an article on what supplements actually work, and creatine was the one that topped that list? Well red meat is one of the best sources of naturally occurring creatine, which helps increase strength and muscle mass, and because a pound of muscle burns more calories than a pound of fat, you are left with a higher metabolism.
Research show that people who eat fruit while on a diet are more likely to lose weight and less likely to munch on sugary snacks than those people who do not eat fruit. Apples are also full of fiber, making your body churn through more calories to digest it.
Not just any peppers, I’m talking about jalapenos and any other ones that begin to signal fire alarms in your mouth when you eat them. It’s the capcaisin found peppers, the active chemical which makes them so spicy hot, that increases your metabolism even hours after consuming them, because it causes your internal temperature (thermogenesis) to rise. Further to this, capcaisin has also been researched to prevent pain, fight cancer, and protect your heart by lowering cholesterol.
Cinnamon may just be the spice of life. It is known as an "insulin mimicker" meaning it reduces the amount of insulin your body produces after a meal, by transporting sugar molecules into cells within the body. Mean nothing to you? Well let’s just say it will help you fit into that bathing suit this summer. Often used by diabetics to reduce blood sugar levels, cinnamon also slows down the emptying of the stomach after a large meal, leaving you to fill fuller and less likely to snack. So add it to your coffee, sprinkle some on your cereal or oatmeal, and even on top of fruits and cottage cheese. Just don’t think you can eat that cinnamon scroll and still lose weight.
Ever wonder when you head down to your local Indian restaurant what gives your curry that yummy yellow color? It’s a spice known as turmeric. It has been reported to increase metabolism by increasing bile production within the body, as well as lowering blood sugar levels. And no, I’m not giving you permission to head down to curry town and devour bowlfuls of curry; they are full of creams and fats that do anything but increase your metabolism. Buy some curry powder at your local grocery store and mix it with some chicken to make your own healthy curries, or head down to your supplement store and buy some turmeric in capsule form. Further benefits are that it can detoxify your blood, fight cancer, and lower cholesterol.
There is so much debate by nutritionists and health care professionals as to whether coffee is actually good for you. Personally, I tend to think anything with excess caffeine isn’t that great for you, and I’m glad I don’t like it because one cup would leave me jittery and talking at a mile a minute. One thing for sure though, is that coffee, because of it’s caffeine content, does increase your body’s metabolism. Caffeine increases your body’s utilization of fatty acids as a fuel source, and can increase concentration and endurance.
We all know that essential fatty acids are good for us, but did you know that they can also boost your metabolism? EFAs have been shown to reduce a chemical in our bodies known as leptin. Low leptin levels equals higher metabolism. Salmon and other fatty fish are the best sources of naturally occurring EFAs, but if you cant stomach eating fish a few times a week, then grab a fish oil supplement.
So there you have it, 15 foods that increase and boost your metabolism. But guess what? I’m going to tell you two other things that increase your metabolism more than all of the above combined…. resistance training and cardio. No matter how many cups of green tea you are throwing down, or how many jalapenos you are burning your mouth with, if you are not lifting weights or exercising than you are not going to be increasing your metabolism by much at all. The best way to lose fat is with these two methods, as boring at that may sound. But if you are hitting the gym and pounding the pavement, and want to give your metabolism that little extra kick it needs, try incorporating some of the above into a healthy eating plan, and your body will thank you for it either way.