Metabolism Boosting FoodsMay 19
Capsaicin: Capsaicin is the active chemical in the capsicum family of peppers, or in other words – hot peppers. This interesting chemical has been found to do a number of things of the years. It can lower the neurotransmitter referred to as ‘substance P’. Substance P is, in a nut shell, a chemical that allows our nerves to register pain. The less substance P the more punishment you would be able to withstand before it became painful. For that reason Capsaicin is currently being researched and used in clinical trials as a pain killer. In fact, you can find it as the primary ingredient for many topical arthritis, and muscle ache creams in local drug stores.
It is also a mild natural euphoric chemical. The fact that it causes a burning sensation on every animal tissue it touches means we can use our bodies own defense mechanisms to have that ‘feel good’ experience. Researchers have discovered that when enough Capsaicin is consumed, the intense heat causes the brain to release endorphins causing the same feeling that runner’s call, ‘The Runner’s High’.
How does it effect our metabolism? Well that would have to do with Capsaisin’s ability to stimulate the sympathetic nervous system. This the same system involved in what we call the “Fight or Flight” response. When you eat a lot of hot peppers, your mouth isn’t the only thing heating up. Your body temperature goes up and literally start to swear. An easy way to give your metabolism a little boost. Obviously for some people this method just isn’t feasible as many can not stand the heat. But It Hurts So Good!
Grapefruit: Yes, I know – Grapefruit has been the center of many wacky diets. Even my own mother has tried a couple of them. I think it was to just eat grapefruit and bacon all day. Grapefruit doesn’t hold the hidden secrets of weight loss. What it does have is the ability to lower circulating levels of insulin and keep them stable. This is a big part of lowering overall body fat levels. Adding grapefruit to your eating regimen won’t knock off 10 pounds in a couple of weeks. However, being consistent with it will certainly help speed the overall process. Have a couple slices after your meals.
Protein: Hey, that Atkins guy was actually on to something. Years after he published his books, and even after his death, researchers are now starting to chime into Dr. Atkins’ tune. Protein has a powerful effect on metabolism. Your body has to do a lot of work to fully metabolize this nutrient, which of course has a high caloric cost. It is also difficult to store protein as fat. Yes, excess calorie intake will lead to fat accumulation. However, protein would go through a process called De Novo lipogenesis. This also requires a lot of energy and is something the human body would rather not do. Think for a minute if you had to make a soda can out of a piece of wood. It would require a lot of time effort and energy on your part, and you probably rather wait until a tin can just came your way, right?
Despite what many anti-protein advocates will try to push on you, an increased protein intake, for the apparently healthy individual does not cause kidney stones, gall stones, kidney disease, gout arthritis, or cause your liver to fail. For people who have certain metabolic defects or are afflicted with certain diseases, such as gout or kidney failure, yes high protein intake can make the problem worse. But for the healthy individual it will not cause the conditions to manifest. When you stop to think about it, the human body is just a big hair protein bag full of water. Why would such an essential nutrient like protein cause so many problems? So give your protein intake a little boost. But as with everything in life, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing – even water! Have some more egg whites with breakfast, chicken breast with lunch and try some fish with dinner. On a side note, Fatty fish – Tuna, salmon etc are a good source of those Omega-3’s.So Eat up!
High Fiber Vegetables: Mom was right – Eat your vegetables. But logic was a little different than what we are talking about here. Fiber is a part of plant material that humans can not completely digest. We do not have the right enzymes to break it down. It passes through your digestive track largely intact. Our bodies put up a pretty good fight to work it down as much as possible. Starting with Chewing. When was the last time you sat down to a bowl of raw broccoli and tried to finish it off dry? That is a lot of work! Your jaw is tired after 5 minutes. the chewing alone requires almost as much caloric energy as there is in the broccoli itself. Researchers have coined the phrase ‘Negative Calories’.
This pertains to a lot of the hard, crunchy, plain vegetables like celery and broccoli. The caloric cost of chewing, digesting and metabolizing the plant material is actually greater than the total calories in the food!. It is virtually impossible to eat to many vegetables when you are trying to lose weight. However, if you are not accustomed to eating large amounts of fiber ( 3 – 40 g/day ) then I would advise working your way up. Start by assessing your current fiber intake and work your way up slowly week by week. Trust my you’ll thank me later!
Water: Water seems to pop up in just about every topic relating to fitness and nutrition. You will from time to time see it in articles on fat loss and weight management. Usually the reasoning is a bit off. You will often see people talk about how if flushes loose body fat from the system or removes fat from the bloodstream so it can’t be deposited, removing toxins or something along those lines. Which all may very have some truth behind it, but that has nothing to do with actually losing body fat. No, water’s fat loss potential comes from it’s temperature. You see, a heavy portion of the estimated 1800 – 2000 calories humans expend on just living every day is a result of what is called thermoregulation. Your body’s ability to maintain an internal temperature of a toasty 98.6 degrees.
When you drink an ice cold glass of water, it will lower your body’s core temperature. Research has determined that a single 16oz bottle of water will increase your metabolic rate by about 30% within 10 minutes of drinking it. This effect tops out after about 40 minutes. Is that significant? You bet your bottled water it is! Drinking the recommended eight 8oz glasses of water would increase your resting energy expenditure by about 200 calories. And that my friends is how water aides in fat loss. In a not so logical way, water stokes the metabolic fires.
Calcium: You have probably seen the milk and yogurt ads recently about the benefits dairy products have on fat loss. A few recent research studies have reported that when obese people were put on isocaloric ( the same amount of calories ) diets, but some were given milk to fill some of those calories, they lost weight much faster than those with out milk. Researchers are saying that calcium has a direct effect on your metabolism. Meaning that the amount of calcium in your diet will play a big role in just how easy or difficult it is for you to gain / lose weight. The catch 22 here is that just adding some calcium supplements to the mix doesn’t seem to have the same effect. It appears that the calcium is best when obtained from dairy sources.
This fact alone has cause some suspicion to arise, and rightfully so. Many think it has been a ploy by the dairy industry to increase revenue. Health officials have demanded many companies to stop running their weight loss ads. However, there are many supplements based on research using whole foods that have never panned out due to the fact that whole foods have many nutrients that we just aren’t aware of yet which may play a role in a lot of their health benefits. There could be something to the whole dairy food thing. There hasn’t been a lot of research on the topic, but what research that is available is compelling. So for that reason I recommend to try to get a few servings of low fat dairy in to the mix. A cup of yogurt, a glass of milk and a 1/2 cup of cottage cheese on the day and you are set!
And there you have it folks. 6 sure fire ways to increase your metabolism today!