Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Fitness Matters

Summer is right around the corner and many of us are looking for an extra little edge to burning fat. Why not be a little adventurous and try some new ideas, and include foods and herbs that can actually help rev up that metabolism?
Metabolism is the rate at which your body converts the food you eat into energy to keep your body functioning. Muscles use more energy than fat, so if you are fit and toned, you are likely to have a higher metabolism than someone with a high percentage of body fat.

No one food can increase your metabolism on its own, but some foods are considered to have a thermic affect on our bodies. What this means in simple terms is the amount of energy expended above the resting metabolic rate due to the cost of processing food for use in the body. For example, dietary fat is easy to process and has very little thermic effect, while protein is harder to process and has a much larger thermic affect.

Foods that are high in fiber and/or protein, as well as low glycemic are typically included on this list. Examples include:

Oatmeal: High fiber means more calories are being burned while your body breaks it down.

Spinach: This vitamin rich veggie is known to contain nutrients that enhance muscle performance and the transmission of energy around the body, which means your metabolism works harder.

Legumes: High protein + high fiber = more calories burned.

Broccoli: Calcium + Vitamin C creates a metabolism-increasing combo.

Grapefruit: Lowers insulin levels and burns calories by breaking down the fiber.

Hot peppers and jalapenos: For hours after you consume these spicy peppers, they will speed up your heart rate and metabolism while burning calories.

Lean proteins: The protein found in chicken, turkey, and other lean meats requires large amounts of energy to break down, which in turn burns many calories through digestion.

Check your spice rack to not only add flavor to your dishes, but also continue that extra burn!

Cinnamon: Studies show that as little as 1 teaspoon per day can boost the body's weight-loss ability by reducing blood sugar and promoting healthier processing of carbohydrates.

Cayenne: Hot peppers stimulate the central nervous system to produce heat in the body, which leads to an increase in calorie burn. It is also known to naturally reduce the appetite.

Fresh ground black pepper: This spice helps not boosts fat metabolism, but also helps improve digestion and promotes the absorption of nutrients in tissues all over the body.

Mustard seed: Research suggests that 1 teaspoon of spicy mustard can boost metabolism up to 25% for several hours after consumption.

Curry: Since it's spicy, your body will work hard to metabolize it, and boost the calories expended.

Apple cider vinegar: Though apple cider vinegar has been used for many years as a home remedy, it has also been known to control cravings as well as boost the metabolism.

Beverages that help increase metabolism:

Water: This is a MUST DO! Your body's metabolic rate will increase by 30 percent by drinking 17 ounces of water.

Green tea: The caffeine found in green tea accelerates your heart rate and speeds up metabolism. The tea also contains a chemical known as EGCG, which stimulates the nervous system and help you burn calories at a faster rate.

Factors of exercise can also increase these affects. Both aerobic training (of sufficient duration and intensity) as well as anaerobic weight training can have an increase on extra calorie burn.

The best way to lose weight is to combine a healthy diet with regular exercise. Incorporating some of these nutrient-rich metabolism-boosting foods into your diet can help you get closer to your goals!