A person’s metabolism is one of the most complicated systems in your body. Technically speaking, metabolism refers to the body’s network of hormones and enzymes that are responsible for transforming the food you eat into your body’s fuel. Your body then utilizes this fuel (or energy) to maintain bodily functions and allows daily activities to be performed (i.e, breathing, pumping and circulating blood, sleeping, walking, and even simply the act of sitting! The energy, or fuel, is measured in calories. More (or heavy) food = more calories.
The rate at which your body burns calories to keep your body functioning properly, (breathing, pumping blood, sleeping) is called Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) or Resting Metabolic Rate. BMR varies widely, depending on type of diet, food intake, body weight, muscle mass, age and genetics. A girl, 160lb, of age 20, height 5ft 4inches burns on average 1600 calories a day, due to her BMR. And this is without ANY extra effort, like exercising or walking.
Health and wellness is a holistic approach! Think of your metabolism and body, for that matter, as being a system that only operates because of the sum of its parts, like a clock, bicycle, or machine.
Similar to a bicycle, your metabolism needs momentum (action) to work. You have to exert energy to push the pedals. The harder you pedal, the faster you go. Like the bicycle, the more exercise and energy you exert the better your metabolism will perform.
The food is the foundation; it is the “wheel” that keeps your metabolism going. Just as the spokes of the wheel support the rim, the quality of the foods you eat support the health of your metabolism.
Some foods take more work to eat—and therefore burn more calories while you're digesting them. Just the act of chewing foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean cuts of meat can increase your calorie burn by up to 30%! And then your stomach and intestines do their jobs. In a Japanese study, researchers found that women who ate the foods that required the most work had significantly slimmer waistlines than those who ate the softest, easiest-to-eat foods. The fiber and protein in such foods take so much effort to digest that your body doesn't absorb some of their calories.
Still other calories from sources you might never consider--that are so easy to add to your meals!--can give you an even bigger burn. In a quick nutshell, caffeine and other compounds in coffee, tea, and spices such as chilies, cinnamon, and ginger fire up your central nervous system and can boost your metabolism by as much as 12%.
Clear broth soup will dilute the calories in your foods, so you can eat more and not overdue the calories.
These keep the digestive system on track as well as steady the insulin levels, which is going to prevent fat storage.
May boost the metabolism and burn calories, due to it taking more energy to digest than other foods, but don’t over eat animal eats. Be moderate in choosing animal meats to boost metabolism.
A new study seems to indicate that drinking water actually speeds up weight loss and is a great way how to increase metabolism. Researchers in Germany found that subjects of the study increased their metabolic rates (the rate at which calories are burned) by 30 percent after drinking approximately 17 ounces of water. Water is also a natural appetite suppressant that banishes bloat as it flushes out sodium and toxins. Drinking enough water will also help keep you from mistaking thirst for hunger. So drink up! Make sure that you are starting your day with a big big glass of water and drink throughout the day not just all at one time.
Studies show that green tea extracts boost metabolism and may aid in weight loss. This mood-enhancing tea has also been reported to contain anti-cancer properties and help prevent heart disease. It’s also a trendy drink among weight-conscious celebrities.
There is a reason why the grapefruit diet exists. Researchers at Scripps Clinic found that participants who ate half a grapefruit with each meal in a 12-week period lost an average of 3.6 pounds. The study indicates that the unique chemical properties in this vitamin C-packed citrus fruit reduce insulin levels, which promotes weight loss and boost metabolism.
If you are taking medication, check with your doctor about any potentially adverse interactions with grapefruit. Grapefruit, because of the soft peel is a nice alternative to an apple or orange, and study after study of the last 30 years has shown that it can really help burn fat.
Overweight women who ate the equivalent of three small apples or pears a day lost more weight on a low-calorie diet than women who didn’t add fruit to their diet, according to re searchers from the State University of Rio de Janeiro. Fruit eaters also ate fewer calories overall. So next time you need to satisfy a sugar craving, reach for this low-calorie, high-fiber snack. You’ll feel full longer and eat less.
Study after study links calcium and weight loss. Broccoli is not only high in calcium, but also loaded with vitamin C, which boosts calcium absorption. This member of the nutritious cabbage family also has plenty of vitamin A, folate and fiber. And, at just 20-calories per cup, this weight-loss superfood not only fights fat but also contains powerful phytochemicals that boost your immunity and protect against disease.
Dairy products can boost weight loss efforts, according to a study in the April issue of Obesity Research. People on a reduced-calorie diet who included three to four servings of dairy foods lost significantly more weight than those who ate a low-dairy diet containing the same number of calories. Low-fat yogurt is a rich source of weight-loss-friendly calcium, providing about 450 mg (about half the recommended daily allowance for women ages 19-50) per 8-ounce serving, as well as 12 grams of protein. It includes calcium, protein and a ton of other nutrients as well as good bacteria and probiotics for you digestive tract.
This heart-healthy favorite ranks high on the good carb list, because it’s a good source of cholesterol-fighting, fat-soluble fiber (7 grams per 3/4-cup serving) that keeps you full and provides you with the energy you need to make the most of your workouts. Just be sure to choose steel cut or rolled oats, not instant or quick oatmeal, to get full doses of vitamins, minerals and fiber.
Eating hot peppers can speed up and boost metabolism and cool your cravings, researchers at Laval University in Canada found. Capsaicin (a chemical found in jalapeño and cayenne peppers) temporarily stimulates your body to release more stress hormones, which speeds up your metabolism and causes you to burn more calories. Though the metabolism boost is small, remember every little bit may help, and who doesn't like spicing up their taste buds’ life?
5. Sweet potato
14. Egg whites/Beaters
18. Brussels sprouts
20. Olive oil
21. Rolled Oats
22. Wild or Organic Fish
23. Cottage cheese
24. Chick peas
25. Lima beans
37. Nut milks
38. Seed milks
44. Most Raw Nuts & Seeds
45. Most Green, Leafy Veggies
Resources: greatlist.com, dr.oz.com, livestrong.com, webmd.com