Anyone with fitness or weight loss goals will soon come across the term metabolism, but what does it mean exactly, and which foods can help boost your metabolism to achieve those all-important goals?
Metabolism refers to chemical reactions that take place in the body’s cells. It’s the process by which food is converted into fuel for energy. In fitness terms, people use metabolism to describe how quickly the food they eat is converted into energy or calories, and the rate at which these calories are then burned off.
There are certain foods that are thought to help increase the metabolism process. So, if you’re looking to lose weight, it might be worth incorporating these into your diet. Here are a few top choices:
Research has shown that chilli may suppress the appetite and increase the number of calories you burn. It’s a chemical in chilli called capsaicin that’s responsible for this metabolism-boosting effect. By warming up the inside of the body, capsaicin can aid in breaking down fat and burning it by as much as 16%.
You’ll probably notice greater effects from hotter chilli, so this is good news for those who like things very spicy. Aside from increasing metabolism, chilli can reduce pain and inflammation, and this is obviously beneficial to anyone who exercises a lot.
When it comes to the health benefits of oily fish, the list goes on and on, but if you’re looking to get your metabolism working, fish such as tuna, salmon, trout and mackerel should be put on your weekly menu. Oily fish is rich in iodine and selenium and both of these chemicals play an essential role in supporting the thyroid gland, which regulates metabolic rate.
Lean meat is rich in protein, which helps to build muscle mass. Eating lean meat puts extra demands on the body to use energy for digestion, known as the thermic effect of food. This extra energy requirement can help to burn calories, increasing the metabolic process. Plus, foods rich in protein keep you satiated for longer, preventing you from overeating. Other foods rich in protein that have the same metabolic benefits as lean meat include eggs, dairy and legumes.
Popeye made spinach famous for its muscle-building properties, but munching on these green leaves can also give your metabolism a kick-start. Spinach is rich in iron: it’s iron’s job to transport oxygen around the body, which is necessary to burn fat. Muscles can burn fat quicker if they’ve got a steady supply of oxygen to hand. Spinach also comes loaded with other health perks – it’s rich in bone-friendly calcium, zinc, potassium and vitamin A, which all keep the immune system in good shape. If you’re not a fan of spinach, other iron-rich foods include lentils, soybeans, nuts and seeds.
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