Posts Tagged ‘ Foods ’

Boost Your Metabolism With Food

“Geez! How can she eat so much fast food and still be so slim? She must have a pretty fast metabolism, huh?”

Does this sound vaguely familiar? I hear lines like these all the time – the infamous metabolism. Metabolism is the process of breaking down carbohydrates, fats and proteins to yield the energy your body needs to maintain itself. Most people are looking to increase their metabolic performance for weight loss but the practices of keeping your metabolism on the higher end of the performance chart happens to place your general health up on that end too!

“You’re young so you have a faster metabolism than me. No wonder you can eat all that stuff.”

Many factors determine the speed of your metabolism. Factors like sex, age and genetics are unchangeable but they only have a small role to play. If you have a slow metabolism, by adding and/or adjusting your lifestyle, you can have your metabolism revving and rearing to go no matter your age or sex!

Here are some foods which can help increase your metabolism:

Calcium, Complex Carbohydrates & Fibre

I mentioned before that calcium is the best way to lower acidity of the body. It helps keep the body’s pH close to it’s normal range of 7.35-7.45. The more acidic your body is, the slower your metabolism is going to be since more of your cells will not be working as they should, using less calories than they would if they were functioning at the optimum pH.

Foods high in fibre like whole grains and cereals and foods loaded with complex carbohydrates like apples, grapefruits, spinach, broccoli, beans, and other lovely leafy vegetables increase metabolism simply because it takes a lot of energy to digest them. More energy used = faster metabolism.

Calcium, complex carbohydrates and fibre are all substances that help keep the levels of insulin low after a meal. A spike in insulin level is a signal to the body that there are loads of carbohydrates floating around so it’s time to store it all away as fat. When your body starts to stock up on fats, the metabolism slows down so that you use fewer calories. Using fat for energy is, after all, a secondary mechanism…not primary. Of course, eating your low glycemic index foods help keep your insulin levels low too!

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Raw Food Power

Veggies

It’s only too often that more and more people of the modern age prefer to have everything they consume cooked. Much of the typical Western diet consists of a lot of cooked and processed foods, and very little, if any, raw foods.

At least 75% of the food we eat shouldn’t be heated over 116°F (47°C). High temperatures destroy most, if not all, of the good compounds like vitamins, minerals and health-promoting phytochemicals resulting in decreased nutritional value.

People who eat more raw foods have decreased risk of diseases like diabetes, heart disease and cancer along with improved energy performance, skin appearance and digestion.

A naturopath once told me about a client of his who was suffering from advanced bone cancer. She was to the point where she couldn’t sit in a car for fear that the rough roads would cause fractures in her brittle bones; instead she had to be laid down in the backseat. To her dismay, she was not able to afford any of the products recommended by the naturopath. She lived on a farm so he recommended that she begin a strict raw food diet. Strict. Six months later she walked into his office on her own two feet. She drove from home and came to buy some vitamins.

The components of raw vegetables are such that it improves our quality of life, making the internal environment more alkaline so that enzymes in the body can work at their optimum. The typical modern diet is very acidic with cooking oils, processed foods and beverages and snacks.

Think of your body as an office and your enzymes are your employees: a dirty office that’s never cleaned and reflects a bad environment won’t produce happy hardworking employees. It’s difficult to work in such hard conditions. But when you maintain the cleanliness of your office environment, your workers will be more willing to work and will work much harder than in a dirty dingy office. Right now, your enzymes are very likely to be working in an acid environment because most people have acidic bodies. An occasional cleanse always helps but constant maintenance results in better moods and better health and – unless by ended by accident – longer life. After all, we have only one short life to live so who wants to make it even shorter while spend it feeling down and miserable and sick?

And did I mention that cancers cannot grow or survive in alkaline environments?

“Health is not valued till sickness comes”

– Thomas Fuller

Good Carbs & Bad Carbs

It’s only too often that one would hear “I have to stop eating all these carbs and go on a diet.” Did you know that replacing the bad carbohydrates in your diet with good ones can go a long way by itself?

What defines good carbohydrates from bad? The answer is simple: the glycemic index (GI). This is a measure of the effects of carbohydrates on blood sugar levels. Carbohydrates that spike your blood sugar and insulin levels are bad! Carbohydrates that produce only small fluctuations in your blood sugar and insulin levels are good.

Bad carbohydrates have a high glycemic index.

Good carbohydrates have a low glycemic index.

You can think of it like this: The human body likes everything to remain balanced (like a city). High GI foods send enormous amounts of glucose into your blood stream causing a large distortion in the once-balanced blood sugar level (the blood sugar spike, like a surge in crime). The pancreas goes into ‘emergency mode’ and dispatches copious amounts of insulin to put away the glucose so that the levels can go back to normal (the insulin spike, like the police). Glucose levels go down and insulin sticks around until it’s degraded (takes about an hour). Eventually, the body tissues (glucose storage departments) that use the insulin get tired of having it around and may stop responding to it (insulin resistance). Type 2 diabetes mellitus may occur as a result. Type 2 diabetes can progress to the point where the pancreas is so overworked that parts of it stop working and insulin isn’t produced much anymore. What bad carbs!

Basically, the lower the glycemic index, the better it is for your body. These foods slowly allow glucose into the blood stream so that levels rise only slightly, only small amounts of insulin is released in response and the pancreas doesn’t get overworked. Low GI foods are much healthier and keeps your energy levels more balanced. There are a number of benefits to eating low GI foods, some of which include:

  • losing and managing weight
  • diabetes management
  • reduced risk of heart disease
  • prolong physical endurance
  • reduce hunger and remain fuller longer

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So, how do I know what foods are low glycemic and high glycemic? You can use this database link to find the glycemic index of the foods you’re curious about.

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If you’d like to read more about the glycemic index, check out The Glycemic Index.