It’s a safe bet that you already know that exercise and healthy eating are key to a healthy metabolism. But did you know that certain foods and (yes, legal) substances can actually speed up your day-time metabolism by as much as 43%?
You’d just be plain silly not to at least consider including them in your diet, wouldn’t you? Especially when most of them are so tasty! Have a scan of the following and work out where you can fit them into your daily diet.
1. Green Tea
Okay, so it’s not really a food, but hey – details, right? It still tastes good. Not only is green tea a great alternative to OTT coffee consumption, it has the ability to improve your resting metabolic rate by as much as 43% during the day. What’s more, it does so without the nasty side-effects of some stimulants (high blood pressure and heart rate). Researchers theorize that this may be due to the theanine in the green tea rather than the caffeine – theanine is an amino acid that is helpful for brain balance, fatigue, and both physical and mental energy.
If that doesn’t have you reaching for the tea bags, then check out this study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN) – it indicates that green tea also improves your body’s ability to oxidize (break down) existing fat stores. What’s more, Charles Poliquin has suggested that it is also a very useful carbohydrate blocker. My favorite brand is by Celestial Seasonings (you can find this in your local health food or organic store), but if you prefer less of the green tea flavor and more of a blend then Miss Organic’s Cleansing Tea is a great mix.
2. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil truly is one of nature’s wonder foods. Aside from palm oil, breast milk, and raw unprocessed full-fat cow’s milk, it is the only food to naturally contain medium-chain fatty acids (MCTs). This particular type of fat molecule is most readily broken down in your liver, which means it’s ideal for boosting energy and burning existing fat stores.
Add to this the fact that coconut oil is extremely satisfying (my clients always comment on eating less food total after switching to coconut oil), is a great addition to stir-fry’s and curry’s, but can also be bought flavorless for regular cooking. To top it all off, coconut oil is used by hospitals for prem babies and patients in intensive care – I’d say that speaks pretty highly in its favor, wouldn’t you? Check out this link for ideas on where to buy your coconut oil, or simply visit your local organic or health food store.
Now this has to be one of my favorite’s. If you’ve been visiting for more than a week than you’ll no doubt be well aware of that fact! The truth about chocolate is that – when you buy the good stuff – it’s extremely supportive to good health and to weight loss. I wrote about this in detail early last week, so I won’t repeat it here, but make sure you click through to that post if you haven’t already seen it.
4. Caffeine And Herbal Teas
Caffeine is more of an iffy one – mainly because of the over-stimulating effects it can have on your heart rate and blood pressure, and because studies have shown that low caffeine intake does not necessarily impact your metabolism.
Excessive caffeine (over 200mg p/day) is certainly not advised for pregnant women or those with heart conditions, but if that’s not you then you can freely indulge in 1-2 cups per day. Black tea and coffee are the most common sources of caffeine, and in both cases I’d suggest you go organic. Non-organic coffee can contain over 200 toxins, and – since toxins are stored in your fat cells – that’s not a smart idea for metabolism-boosting. The long-term effects of caffeine on your metabolism are still under discussion although most of the research so far indicates that the greatest benefit is around one hour after consumption. This may be why many resources recommend caffeine before exercise as a way of boosting your fat loss. My suggestion? If you love your coffee then go ahead and enjoy, but if you’re not a huge fan then green tea might be a smarter and more effective choice.
Who doesn’t love a bowl of chili now and then? Or even just a few chili flakes mixed through a standard and otherwise boring soup or stir-fry? It’s one of the simplest ways to change and (some would argue) improve just about any tried’n'tested meal. Even better is the fact that it goes with just about
anything – for example, my favorite Melbourne restaurant serves a mean chili-chocolate mousse for dessert. (Talk about a great combo, hey?) But does it really speed up your metabolism? According the the AJCN regular consumption of chili with your meals can weaken your body’s ability to release excess insulin after eating. If you’ve read my article “What Does Insulin Do” then you’ll know that excess insulin in your blood stream is a prime reason for weight gain and is closely linked to the onset of adult diabetes. Take note that the evidence for chili is really only there when it’s consumed regularly … I can attest that there must be something to this because my partner downs the stuff like it’s water and manages to stay annoyingly lean all year round!
6. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
I’ve written about Omega-3 (The Smartest Fat For Weight Loss) and other essential fatty acids (EFAs) more times than I care to remember. But when a topic’s worth writing about, it’s worth doing frequently. Omega-3 occurs naturally in free-range organic eggs, grass-fed organic meats, fish (particularly the oily ones), and in some seeds and green vegetables. It’s an essential fat because your body cannot produce it, and because it’s crucial for cell function, for managing stress and inflammation, and for assisting your body to break down and dispose of triglycerides (bad fat). Scientists have also found a link between omega-3 intake and obesity/weight management. Long story short – I can pretty much guarantee that whichever health practitioner you care to ask will tell you the same thing: everybody needs to supplement their diet with Omega-3. No exceptions. Stressed or busy people in particular will find Omega-3 of great benefit as it is literally fuel for the brain.
This one should be obvious if you’re even a semi-regular reader, but I thought I’d throw it in there just to, well, state the obvious. When it comes to ideal food choices to speed up your metabolism, protein is absolutely the key.
In my opinion adequate protein intake, primarily from animal sources and split over all main meals, is the foundation of a healthy diet and a great start for anyone looking to shed a little fat. And I’m not the only who thinks so. There’s certainly more than one well-presented research paper showing the benefits of protein intake for obesity prevention. The best part? You’ve got so many choices! Eggs for breaky, salmon (omega-3!) for lunch, grass-fed steak or lamb for dinner (more omega-3) … and if you’re feeling truly motivated to rev things up you can add chilli to any or all of those meals. Now that’s what I call smart eating!
So there you have it – a recipe for a faster metabolism. Protein, omega-3, and coffee or tea for breakfast, more of the same for lunch, a little chocolate mid-afternoon, and some coconut and chili on oil anytime you cook. Is anyone else getting hungry?
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Do you have any tricks for putting your metabolism into overdrive? Let’s hear ‘em in the comments! If you’re reading from RSS or email you’ll have to enter the blog to do this. You can do that by clicking on the title of this piece. ‘Post a comment’ is at the article end, right under the ’share this’ and ‘related posts’ options.
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