4 Goodies Lurking in Your Cabinets that Can Boost Your Metabolism and Help You Lose Weight
The quest for “boosting metabolism” and burning more calories with minimal effort is one commonly sought after. As Hippocrates once said, “let food be thy medicine”, so before rushing to buy unnecessary and potentially harmful supplements like caffeine and ephedrine pills, let’s explore what you may already have in your pantry and at your fingertips that you can safely consume to get similar benefits.
So, what does boosting metabolism even mean?
Metabolism is the sum of all processes in your body that work together to create the energy that keeps you going. Simply put, it’s the process of breaking food down for fuel. This is not only something that just happens in the gut, but rather in every cell. The faster your metabolism, the more calories you burn.
Metabolism is based on three factors:
- Your basal metabolic rate: the energy required to maintain basic functions such as breathing, going to the bathroom, maintaining a heartbeat, etc.
- Your physical activity: anything from simply getting up from the couch, walking to your car, all the way to exercising.
- The thermic effect of food: eating in and of itself burns calories as your body uses energy to digest, absorb, and dispose of nutrients.
With that being said, this does not mean you should eat more food as means to burn more calories, but rather increase consumption of foods that have a higher thermogenic effect on the body and burn more calories as you eat them. Let’s see what some of these goodies include and the research behind their use…
- Cayenne Pepper:
The active ingredient in cayenne and other hot peppers is called capsaicin and it comes as no surprise that a “hot” food increases thermogenesis and helps the body burn more calories. Additionally, it has been shown to increase satiety and prevent overeating (SOURCE). With that being said, don’t exceed your personal tolerance level and in fact long term spicy food intake can desensitize you to these benefits so this should not be a daily treat (SOURCE). Sprinkle some cayenne to your honey lemon tea to give it that oomph.
Grapefruit has an antioxidant called naringenin which triggers the liver to break down fat by modulating genetic expression that is involved in fat and carb metabolism (SOURCE). It has also been shown to give a fasting-type benefit to the body, without actually having to fast. The Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism (SOURCE) has also shown that consuming a grapefruit before meals, while being on a caloric restricted diet, is a highly effective weight loss strategy compared to water alone. Grapefruit also showed a significant improvement in HDL (good) cholesterol levels, which is an added bonus!
Touted as the antidiabetic spice, cinnamon has been shown to reduce postprandial blood glucose levels, the blood sugar spike that occurs following a meal. By altering the way your body metabolizes sugars and carbohydrates, a study by the International Journal of Preventative Medicine (SOURCE), showed that those consuming 3g of cinnamon every day for 8 weeks lost more weight, body fat and had more favorable blood glucose indicators compared to placebo, without making any dietary changes. So don’t be shy, add it to you coffee, your tea, sprinkle it on your fruit and use it in cooking, it’s a delicious way to boost metabolism. However no, a cinnabun will not cut it!
- Apple Cider Vinegar:
The primary component of this fermented apple wine is called Acetic Acid, which gives it its sour and tart flavor. One study (SOURCE) showed that participants who consumed 1-2 tablespoons of vinegar during the day had significantly lower body weight, visceral (abdominal) fat and waist circumference compared to placebo, due to its proposed simulation of thermogenesis. Apple cider vinegar is acidic and hence may not be appropriate for everyone, however you can try adding a teaspoon to a glass of water before meals, or adding it to your food.
To sum this all up, while metabolism is complex and impacted by so many factors (let’s not forget age and genetics), you can certainly take control of it by making these boosters part of your routine. Try having a grapefruit before your meals, followed by a salad tossed in apple cider vinegar, dash of cinnamon and cayenne and you will be on the route to better blood sugar control, increased caloric burning and a healthier body weight!
Join my upcoming webinar where I will be sharing tips on how to read your body based on your fat distribution, and determine what hormonal imbalances and weight loss barriers you may be experiencing. SIGN UP FOR THE WEBINAR HERE: http://holisticweightmanagement.ca/
A naturopathic doctor, expert in preventative health and integrative care, Inna has a clinical focus in hormonal concerns, stress related imbalances, weight management, improving sleep and energy, and enhancing well-being and quality of life.
Note: This blog provides general information and discussion about medicine, health and related subjects. The words and other content provided in this blog, and in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately-licensed health care worker.