Your metabolism is partly ruled by genetics, but you can rev up naturally by choosing healthier food and beverages. Fill up on the following foods and beverages to stay fuller longer and to increase your body's fat-burning power.
Egg whites - Egg whites are rich in branched-chain amino acids (BCCAA), which help build muscle, which leads to a higher basal metabolic rate, says health and nutrition expert, and musclemagfitness.com CEO Jeff Behar. Eggs are also loaded with protein 12 g per 2 eggs; 14 g per 4 egg whites) and Vitamin D. Of all the macronutrients (protein, carbs and fats) protein has the highest thermic effect (20-35% of calories burned through processing) and increase fullness the most.
Whey Protein – Whey protein contains 24 g of protein per 1 oz. Whey protein (the highest quality and best form of protein) is incredible stuff. It provides the body with the necessary building blocks to produce amino acids that are used for building muscle tissue. Both hormonal and cellular responses seem to be greatly enhanced with supplementation of whey protein as well. Not to mention the benefits whey protein has on the body's immune system. Whey protein also plays a role as an antioxidant and helps support a healthy immune system. Most importantly, consistent whey protein intake coupled with exercise will result in consistent muscle building and potential fat loss. I like Pro Fight Sports Whey Protein Products (like their Hydro Whey, Pro Lean Mass and their Pure Whey Complex) because of their high quality and all natural ingredients. Check out Boss Moussawi's Pro Fight Sports product line at www.ProFightSports.com or on Amazon.com
Greek-style Yogurt – Greek-style yogurt contains a whopping 18 g of protein per 6 oz, nearly twice as much protein as other dairy sources
Chili Peppers - Chili peppers contain capsaicin, a chemical compound that has shown in numerous studies to increase your metabolism, Behar says. The hotter the chili pepper, the more capsaicin it contains. Capsaicin is also a known anti-inflammatory agent and is being studied as an effective treatment for sensory nerve fiber disorders, including pain associated with arthritis, psoriasis, and diabetic neuropathy. Chili peppers are also an unexpected source of vitamin C and E. Behar suggests adding a tablespoon of chopped chili peppers to a meal once a day
Fish and Shellfish. Whether it's salmon, halibut, or tuna, seafood has positive health benefits. Protein content averages 28 g per 4 oz. Although it's higher in calories than most whitefish, salmon is low in saturated fat, yet high in protein, and a unique type of health-promoting fat, the omega-3 essential fatty acid which is said to have numerous cardiovascular (heart), anti-inflammatory and fat burning properties. . In addition to being an excellent source of omega-3s, salmon are an excellent source of selenium, and a very good source of protein, niacin and vitamin B12, and a good source of phosphorous, magnesium and vitamin B6.
Poultry and Pork – The average protein content is 28 g per 4 oz. Opt for low fat options, like chicken or turkey breast, or pork tenderloins. Turkey is naturally low in fat without the skin, containing only 1 gram of fat per ounce of flesh. A 5-ounce serving provides almost half of the recommended daily allowance of folic acid, and is a good source of vitamins B, B1, B6, zinc and potassium.
Beef - Protein content: 28 g per 4 oz. Lean meat is full of iron; deficiencies in iron can slow metabolism. Look for the absolute leanest cuts, like round roast or top sirloin. Try bison for a leaner red-meat alternative.
Cheese - Protein content: 6-7 g per oz; 9-10 g per 1 cup. Go for low-fat options—they generally contain more protein than fattier alternatives.
Cottage Cheese - Protein content: 14 g per 1/2 cup.
Legumes - Protein content: 7-9 g per 1/2 cup (cooked). Pair dried beans (think black beans, chickpeas, and lentils) with rice or quinoa for a complete-protein meal. One cup of lentils provides 35 percent of your daily iron needs. Deficiencies in iron can slow metabolism.
Spinach - Protein content: 5 g per 1 cup (cooked). Of all the leafy greens, spinach boasts the highest protein content, and probably why Popeye looked so buff. Leafy green vegetables like spinach provide more nutrients than any other food. By eating spinach, you'll be protecting yourself against heart disease, colon cancer, arthritis, osteoporosis, and other diseases. In animal studies, researchers have found that spinach may help protect the brain from oxidative stress and may reduce the effects of age-related related declines in brain function. Researchers found that feeding aging laboratory animals spinach-rich diets significantly improved both their learning capacity and motor skills
Soy Products. Tempeh is a food made from soybeans. While not as popular in the United States as tofu tempeh has a very protein content: 15 g per 1/2 cup. Tofu (made from soybeans) has a protein content: 12 g per 3 oz. Edamame (soybeans) has a protein content: 8.5 g per 1/2 cup (shelled) and a single serving packs nearly every trace mineral your body needs, including iron, magnesium, and zinc.
Whole grains - Whole grains help your body burn more fat because they take extra effort to break down than processed grains, like white bread and pasta. Whole foods that are rich in fiber, like brown rice and oatmeal, are your best bets.
Pseudograins (quinoa, buckwheat and amaranth) have 5-9 g of protein per 1 cup (cooked). These hearty, grainlike seeds have more protein than traditional grains.
Asparagus - This tasty veggie is a nutrient powerhouse, low in Saturated Fat, and very low in Cholesterol and Sodium. It is also a good source of Pantothenic Acid, Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc and Selenium, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Protein (containing 4 g of protein per 1 cup (chopped). This food is), Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Vitamin K, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Iron, Phosphorus, Potassium, Copper and Manganese.
Fat Burning Boosting Beverages
Water - Almost 2/3rds of our body weight is “water weight”. Blood is 83% water. Muscles are 75% water, the brain is 74% water, and bone is 22% water. So what do you think happens when we aren't adequately hydrated? Our bodily processes can't function optimally. We're depriving them of an essential nutrient. If you're even mildly dehydrated, your metabolism may slow down, says Behar. Tip: Drink water cold, which forces your body to use more calories to warm it up. Drink at least 8 to 12 glasses of water a day (ideally 1/2 your body weight in ounces of water) ; more if you exercise, sweat or live in a hot climate. By saying properly hydrated you will see improvements in energy, increases in your mental and physical performance. It will also help digest your food more efficiently, remove toxins & waste products from your body, help you lose weight, and help to keep you more Alkaline (prevents the buildup of acids). Add lemon to help improve alkalinity.
Coffee - Coffee is very controversial when it comes to weight loss. Some say that it can be of benefit to dieters, while others say that it can be detrimental to a weight loss plan. In fact, coffee most likely has both positive and negative effects on weight loss, depending on how it's consumed and other factors. Coffee contains caffeine which is a stimulant. It can enable people to feel more alert and help them to be more active, leading to weight loss. Coffee might also stimulate your metabolism by increasing your rate of thermogenesis (how your body burns calories to create heat and energy).It may also act as a mild appetite suppressant. Drinking coffee during the afternoon or after dinner can help to reduce cravings for snacks or sweets, by filling the stomach and suppressing the appetite, without the addition of calories. A study published in Physiology & Behavior found that the average metabolic rate of people who drank caffeinated coffee was 16 percent higher than that of those who drank decaf.
Green Tea –Green tea is loaded with polyphenols like flavonoids and particularly epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which function as powerful antioxidants. EGCG promotes fat-burning, and has been studies to treat various diseases and may be one of the main reasons green tea has such powerful medicinal properties research suggests. In November, 1999, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published the results of a study at the University of Geneva in Switzerland. Researchers found that men who were given a combination of caffeine and green tea extract (EGCG) burned more calories than those given only caffeine or a placebo.
Milk - Studies conducted by Michael Zemel, PhD, former director of The Nutrition Institute at the University of Tennessee, suggest that consuming calcium may help your body metabolize fat more efficiently. Choose low fat or nonfat milk.
There aren't many foods out there that can help keep you fit AND healthy, but these foods and beverages are a great start. If you want to start looking your best consider adding these foods and beverages into your meal plans today.
About the Author Jeff Behar
Jeff Behar, MS, MBA, is a well-known author, champion natural bodybuilder, and a recognized health, fitness and nutrition expert with over 30 years of experience in the health, fitness, disease prevention, nutrition, and anti-aging fields. As a recognized health, fitness and nutrition expert, Jeff Behar has been featured on several radio shows, TV, and in several popular bodybuilding publications such as Flex, Ironman and in several highly regarded peer reviewed scientific journals. Jeff Behar is also the CEO and founder www.MuscleMagFitness.com and www.MyBesthealthPortal.com, a staff writer at www.musclemagsport.com and the current Medical Commentator on Exercise for the The American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M), the world's largest medical anti-aging organization comprised of 26,000-plus member physicians, health practitioners, scientists, governmental officials, and members of the general public, representing over 120 nations.
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