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4 food groups that can boost your metabolism

Posted Jul 28 2008 8:14pm

Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Tom Parker of the  Free Fitness Tips blog.


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Harris Graber

Many people claim that they struggle to lose weight because they have a slow metabolism. Others are always looking for ways to boost their metabolic rate. But what do these people mean when they refer to metabolism and their metabolic rate?

In simple terms your metabolism or metabolic rate is the number of calories required by your body to maintain itself. The general calculation for working out your metabolism is to multiply your weight in pounds by 10 or your weight in kilograms by 22. So if you weigh 250 pounds then your metabolic rate will be around 2500 calories per day. However, this figure can be affected by a number of factors including age, genetics and lifestyle.

In this article I will be discussing how you can increase your metabolic rate by incorporating four different food groups into your diet.

1) SUPER FOODS:- Super foods are foods which are deemed highly beneficial to your health. They offer protection against a number of diseases, provide you with energy, are full of anti-oxidants and guess what? They can also help boost your metabolism. Some of the most popular super foods are blueberries, grapefruit, oranges, tomatoes and yoghurt. You can view a more detailed article on super foods and their benefits by clicking here .

Whilst super foods are a great way to raise your metabolic rate it is important to make sure that they are only a supplement to your diet. Eating only super foods will not do you much good in the long run. In fact it could even cause long term damage as you will be missing out on other vital nutrients. For the best metabolism boosting results make sure you introduce super foods to your existing healthy diet and you will notice the benefits. For example, you could add a few blueberries to your morning bowl of cereal, have a portion of grapefruit as a mid-morning snack or add some tomato to one of your favourite pasta dishes.

2) SPICY FOODS:- Most spicy foods have a mild thermogenic effect which means that they can help activate your body’s fat burning process. This article also suggests that spicy foods can help boost your metabolism by as much as 50% for three hours after you eat them. Therefore, spicy foods are another great option for you to consider if you want to increase your metabolic rate. Some great types of spicy foods you can try include Indian, Mexican and Thai. You can also spice up your daily dishes by adding peppers such as jalapeños.

Just like super foods you should not over indulge on spicy foods. Eating excessive spicy foods can really irritate your stomach and lead to acid reflux, heart burn and stomach ulcers. In the worst cases it can also damage your taste buds and digestive tract. Perhaps try having an extra curry for dinner once a week or adding some spices to your favourite dishes.

3) PROTEIN:- Protein has a number of metabolism boosting benefits. This study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that protein has a satiating effect meaning that by adding a little more protein to your diet you should feel less hungry. More interestingly, this article from the Journal of the American College of Nutrition states that “convincing evidence exists that protein exerts an increased thermic effect when compared to fat and carbohydrate” which in simple terms means that your body uses more calories when processing protein than carbohydrates or fats. So by increasing the amount of protein you eat each day you can suppress your appetite and burn the amounts of calories you burn.

As with the foods I have recommended above, I am not suggesting that you switch to an excessively high protein diet. Evidence suggests that this can cause damage to your kidneys and deprive your body of vital nutrients. Instead I am suggesting that you replace some of the carbohydrates and fats in your diet with proteins. For example, you could try having a slightly smaller breakfast but accompany it with a protein shake or try increasing the proportion of lean meats in your main meals.

4) WATER:- I know this is not technically a food group but it is a part of your diet which can make or break your metabolism. If you are not properly hydrated then your metabolism does not work as effectively and ultimately you burn less calories when resting. It is therefore really important to stay hydrated at all times if you want to maximise your metabolism.

To stay hydrated you need to make a concious effort to be drinking water regularly. Keep a water bottle with you at all times and top it up regularly. Also, try to limit your intake of caffeine and alcohol. Excessive consumption of either of these products will have a dehydrating effect and inhibit your metabolic rate. I am not suggesting that you give up caffeine or alcohol but perhaps try to substitute one of your daily cups of coffee or one of your glasses of wine with a drink of water instead.

I hope this article shows you that by making a few small changes to your diet can really help your body burn calories at an increased rate.  Try eating more super foods, consuming more protein, enjoying some spicy foods and filing up on water.  As long as you don’t overdo it you should notice a positive improvement in your metabolic rate.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic.  Have you found any of these suggestions work particularly well for you?  Do you have any further tips for people wanting to boost their metabolism?  If so please leave a comment.

For more articles from Tom Parker, visit his  Free Fitness Tips blog .

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