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10 Foods & 10 Ways You Can Efficiently Boost Your Metabolism
It seems like everyone is on a diet these days – but you might not even have to do much to get the weight-loss results that you’re looking for. Sometimes, all it takes is a boost in your metabolism to start the pounds melting and that’s easier to do than you think. A combination of certain foods and activities can help you digest at the speed that’s just enough to start melting off the pounds at a steady rate.
Our metabolism is what keeps our body running by creating energy for our cells from the food that we eat. Certain foods contain elements that send our metabolism into overdrive and increase our heart rate also serves to boost the metabolism. Below is a list of some foods (and a few exercises and activities!) you can incorporate that are great at boosting the metabolic rate.
Foods That Will Boost The Metabolism
1. Green Tea
Drinking green tea has been known for a while now to help boost the metabolism. By adding a few cups of green tea to your day and combining it with a daily half-hour workout you can start slashing your weight by a pound or two a week. Green tea is known for its high concentration of catechins, an antioxidant that helps the body to release fat from cells to and prompts the liver to use that fat for energy.
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2. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Recent studies have started showing that our bodies actually need fat and run better when we have them. Of course, this is referring to good fats such as those found in nuts, seeds, avocadoes, olive oil, coconut oil and some other plants. Using extra virgin olive oil to cook with not only provides that good fat for our bodies, but the fat helps us feel full faster, maximizes the metabolism and helps to deliver nutrients faster to our bodies. Extra virgin olive oil has also been shown to potentially increase the levels of serotonin in our bodies, a hormone that’s associated with feeling full and satisfied.
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Studies keep going back and forth on whether eggs are good for us or not, but it’s starting to seem like eggs are finally getting the respect they deserve. Although egg whites are high in protein and fat-free the yolk of the egg is where the powerhouse of nutrients lies. Egg yolks contain fat-soluble vitamins, metabolism boosters, fatty acids, and choline, a compound that counteracts your body’s affinity for storing fat around the liver. Eating two eggs a day has been shown to be not only not harmful to our bodies, but maybe even improve the lipid profile in the body.
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4. Full Fat Milk
Calcium has been shown to potentially help our bodies metabolize fat faster – but calcium from supplements, which is usually calcium carbonate, is not good enough. Dairy products are known to have a high calcium concentration. Although you might be tempted to opt for the skim milk instead of full fat to save on calories, studies have shown that the fat content in dairy products is actually essential for our bodies to be able to absorb the rest of the nutrients that are in dairy – including calcium, Vitamin D, and proteins.
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Turns out that iron isn’t just for keeping our blood cells properly stocked and carrying oxygen – iron helps us fit into our skinny jeans too! An iron deficiency can mean that your body isn’t properly functioning which then interferes with your metabolism and the way it burns calories and excess fat. Lentils are a great source of iron and just one cup a day fills you up with one third of your iron needs for the day.
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A literal powerhouse when it comes to combating colds and boosting your immune system, garlic is also quite efficient at giving your metabolism a boost. Garlic helps to support the metabolism by controlling your blood sugar and lipid levels. To help your body, try eating garlic along with foods high in fat and carbohydrates as it will your body better combat the effects of those types of foods on your metabolism.
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High in good-for-you-fats, nuts such as almonds and walnuts can help you feel fuller faster and stay fuller for longer. The monosaturated fats in these nuts also help regulate your insulin levels which gets rid of that sugar crash and keeps you from feeling like you have to stuff your face, pronto. Stock your pantry with almonds and walnuts, without added salts or sugars, and snack on a handful when you’re feeling hungry.
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If your weight loss issues are due to a thyroid problem, salmon might be your saving grace. The omega-3 fatty acid content in salmon has been shown to help with inflammation of the thyroid – and inflammation overall. Salmon’s fatty acids might also be useful for signaling the liver to burn more fat. Make sure to buy sustainably sourced, wild-caught salmon for the best flavor and anti-inflammatory properties.
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Apples are one of the best foods for weight loss because they’re full of fiber, packed with nutrients, and pretty much everyone loves them. But recent studies have also shown that they’re able to help reduce visceral fat the dangerous fat around your middle. A study done at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center showed that for every ten grams of fiber eaten in one day, visceral fat was reduced by 3.7% over the course of five years. An apple a day!
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Another food that’s packed with fiber, beans are also a good source of protein. The soluble and insoluble fiber in beans is what really packs a metabolic punch though as the process of digesting that fiber helps your body to burn extra calories. Also, the protein and fiber help to regulate your insulin levels which means that you feel fuller for a longer period of time and with less food. Try adding beans to your diet at least two to three times a week.
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Activities To Boost The Metabolism
1. Interval Training
We all know that we need to exercise to see the results we want when it comes to weight loss, but did you know that certain types of exercise is more effective than others? High intensity interval training (HIIT) is a type of exercise where you alternate between periods of high intensity exercise and periods of rest (or lower intensity). This not only gives you some time to rest during your workout but also helps to burn more calories and keeps burning them even after your workout.
2. Bulk Up
Muscles burn more calories in our bodies than fat – because they need a lot more energy to maintain themselves. So adding just a few pounds of muscle to your body will increase your metabolic rate and the speed at which the calories you consume are used up. One pound of muscle burns about six calories a day, so adding five pounds of muscle (and keeping it on) will help you to lose about three extra pounds of fat over a one year period.
3. Carbs At Night
There’s been a lot of talk about carbs lately, but there’s a misconception going around. Eating carbohydrate-packed foods at night actually helps your metabolism instead of packing on the pounds as most fear. Eating your carbs at night was shown in one study to help people have a higher thermogenesis, which means that they burned more calories digesting their food the following day. As with everything though, eat in moderation.
4. Stand More
Our bodies weren’t meant for the sedentary lifestyle that we lead today and it shows. But adding just a few hours of standing to your day, especially if you work at a desk, can help your metabolism. You burn about 50 more calories per hour if you’re standing versus sitting down. You can invest in a standing desk or just take more, brief, breaks and walk around.
5. Reduce Alcohol
Ingesting alcohol regularly can wreak havoc with your metabolism rate. When alcohol is added to the picture, the body makes sure to break that down first and any food that is still undigested is set aside for later digestion. Some researchers have found that alcohol can slow down the body’s fat burning process by as much as 73% (!) Limit your alcohol intake and alternate with water to keep your metabolic process running better.
6. Dim Lights At Night
Sleep is very important for the body to run efficiently and that includes the metabolic system. The circadian rhythm of your body relies on the amount of light there is to tell your body when to sleep and screens, bright lights, and other light sources can interfere with that. Dim the lights at night to set up your circadian rhythm for the proper time and limit your time in front of the television or with your phone in bed.
7. Laugh More
We’ve seen numerous studies now that show how healthy laughter is for our bodies. But did you know that laughter can also help you burn fat? Laughing for 10-15 minutes can burn as much as 100 calories! Laughing does this by increasing our resting heart rate which in turn increases the metabolic rate for a short period of time. So get out there and find something funny!
8. Cut Stress
On the opposite end of laughter is stress – and it can hurt your body in many different ways. One of the hormones that’s released when your body is stressed, cortisol, causes your metabolic rate to slow leading to an increase in weight which can stress you out further. To combat the effects of stress, studies have shown that you simply have to laugh. Laughter has been shown to reduce the levels of stress hormones in our bodies. Also, reducing or eliminating the reason for your stress would be helpful as well.
9. Sleep Earlier
You might have a circadian rhythm running, but sometimes it needs a reset. Going to sleep earlier, or sleeping longer, has been shown to help reduce the amount of visceral fat in our bodies. Lack of enough sleep can also lead to glucose intolerance (the body’s ability to use sugar for energy) which leads to a host of problems all by itself. In addition, staying up late can also make you snack and eat more which will pack on the pounds also.
10. Lower the Temperature
Not only sleeping more, but also sleeping at the right temperature is important. When you decrease the temperature at which you sleep, your body has to work just a bit more to keep you warm so it burns more calories. Not only is this literally burning calories in your sleep, but your body also transforms ‘bad’ fat into ‘good’ fat, or brown fat. This brown fat is what keeps our bodies warm and it does this by burning the ‘bad’ fat stored in our bodies.
Losing weight doesn’t have to mean going on a restrictive diet and watching other people eat donuts while you chomp kale. However, this isn’t to say that kale is bad or that donuts should be ingested daily. It takes a combination of healthy, filling food and daily exercise for weight to come off and stay off. Following the twenty tips above can help you shed a healthy one or two pounds a week and get you ready for whatever life has for you.