Ever since the beginning of time, responsible adults have been urging us to eat our fruits and veggies in order to grow strong and healthy. Leafy greens and zesty fruits, such as broccoli, kale, spinach, mushrooms, bananas, strawberries, blueberries, goji berries, and mangoes are edible rainbows that are known to do wonders for your health.
But this time, let’s shake things up by adding these unexpectedly healthy food items into our diets! Many of these foods will seriously shock you when you discover that they are actually healthy for you. Read on for 30 foods that are surprisingly good for you
#1 Gummy Worms
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Rejoice, fellow sweet tooth humans! Gummy worms are actually good for your health!
Now, before you burst through the door and start panic buying all the gummy worms at the nearest supermarket, there is a fine print to this sweet revelation: those aren’t the ones we’re talking about. The healthy gummy worms we’re referring to aren’t the ones that have been engineered out of corn syrup, sucrose, and artificial food coloring. Luckily, their healthy counterparts are easy to make by yourself! All you need is organic gelatin and powdered vitamin C. Pour it into a worm-shaped silicone mold, and you’ll soon have yourself some guilt-free candy that will prevent the formation of wrinkles, mend hormonal imbalances, soothe belly aches, and battle acne.
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Movie night just received a power boost of health points thanks to this pop of a discovery! It turns out that popcorn isn’t all that bad. In fact, this cholesterol-free snack is packed with fiber and is low in fat and sugar.
The detrimental stigma surrounding the health properties of popcorn actually stems from the addition of butter, salt, sugar, cheese, barbecue powder, and other flavor-enchancing condiments. So go for plain popcorn, and see the difference!
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We know what you are thinking: why is ramen on this list? Isn’t it just a big paper bowl of MSG?
Well, yes and no. As the wise men say: too much of anything is bad for you. The same applies to an oh-so-comforting bowl of ramen. It’s okay to have it once in a while, because giving to your cravings on your cheat days is mandatory.
In case you really can’t turn away from your ramen cravings, there is a healthier alternative. You can either learn to make your own noodles (which is really the best way to go) or ditch the seasoning packet and sprinkle in your own fresh ingredients, like low sodium doy sauce, black pepper, salt, eggs, meat, and veggies. #WeLoveRamen
#4 Cold Soup
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When you’re on the go, it’s important to stay hydrated, but sometimes water just isn’t enough to both quench your thirst and please your palate at the same time. But then again, sugary juices and soda aren’t exactly health and waistline-friendly.
As an alternative, some people resort to drinking ready-made vegetable soups that have been chilled to perfection. These bottles of chilled soups contain 90% less sugar than a typical green juice and approximately 80% unless sodium than a can of soup.
#5 Tart Cherry Juice
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Tart Cherry Juice is a fruity beverage rich in antioxidant properties. This healthy summer cooler is also perfect for improving cognitive abilities, memory, and blood flow to the brain. But the benefits of tart cherry juice don’t end here; if you want to rehydrate while reducing inflammation and fighting stress, you better whip out your largest pitcher and some ice cubes to make a refreshing batch of tart cherry juice!
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Invented in China circa 2300 B.C., licorice was originally used as a magical rejuvenation solution for aging men. Now, it’s known as a candy jar staple (personally, we like red licorice. How about you guys?)
When eaten in moderation, licorice has been said to fight off colds, soothe a sore throat, ease sinus congestion, and provide antiviral and antibacterial benefits. However, don’t rely on the classic licorice at your local candy store, because you can only get these health benefits from licorice tea, liquid herbs, or sugar-free licorice hard candy.
#7 Beet Juice
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Juice has a rep for being sweet and zesty, but beet juice doesn’t usually sit at a lunch table. In fact, it probably doesn’t even sit in the same cafeteria.
But we digress, beet juice may not be saccharine sweet, but it does come with a treasure trove of health benefits, such as fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants that improve the flow of oxygen to your muscles.
We know, we know… beets are way too earthy with some striking underscores of bitterness, so how could you possibly swallow it with a smile on your face? Simple, just add a splash of orange or strawberry juice to balance out the flavor.
#8 Peanut Butter
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Are you on #TeamPeanutButter just like we are? Great! Because this lunch staple is a powerhouse for contributing to weight loss, bodybuilding, blood sugar levels, and heart health. Also, pile on that peanut butter on your whole wheat bread if you want to promote good blood pressure, good cholesterol levels, and reduce the risk of breast diseases.
Try to restrain yourself from adding some jam into the mix though, because that’s the real deal-breaker right there when it comes to healthy options. If you must have that iconic PB&J for lunch, try substituting your trusty jam or jelly with a dab of honey. It’s just as sweet but minus the guilt!
#9 Oregano Oil
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After reading this, you’ll want to have this wonderful condiment in your kitchen, because it acts as a potent antifungal and antibacterial solution and is high in antioxidants.
If you want to reap the benefits of oregano, you can add a few drops to your cup of tea. It works like magic, especially if you want to ward off the flu or a cold. Take note that you can only do this for ten days at a time.
#10 Pearl Powder
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You gotta hand it to Ken Jeong when he once said, “Asian don’t raisin.”, because he’s right; Asians have a talent for unparalleled skincare. Asian skincare products now even stem from the depths of the sea in the form of pearls!
Pearls are usually worn as jewelry, but thanks to ancient Chinese and Ayurvedic remedy, pearls are now the hottest new beauty secret. These gems of the sea are rich in amino acids, magnesium, calcium, and trace minerals; making them a holistic ingredient in your skincare routine. To top it all off, pearls aid in reducing hyperpigmentation, which means you’ll be able to bask in the glory of clear and even-toned skin.
How can you integrate pearl powder into your diet, you ask? Well, most people just add this flavorless capsule to a smoothie for fun. (Important note: Always consult a specialist before adding supplements to your diet.)
Now, we can all shine like opalescent pearls!
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Okay, so bees have been hiding a big secret from us, because they don’t just produce honey in those insanely meticulous hives of theirs. No. They also produce a compound called propolis, which is a fundamental element in building a beehive.
Once upon a time, propolis was utilized to heal wounds and fight infections. Fast forward to the present, and this ingredient is used as a delicious means to battle colds. Could we bee any more thankful?
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South Korea isn’t just making global headlines for its pop culture, technology, and impressive GDP; it’s also famous for a vast array of culinary masterpieces.
Take kimchi, for instance. This traditional table staple is made of assorted fermented and seasoned veggies, such as napa cabbage, cucumbers, radishes, ginger, and garlic. For those who can handle the heat of this spicy Asian side dish, you’ll be glad to know that regular kimchi consumption has been proven to increase immune dell development and lower cholesterol levels. Kimchi is even famous for its age-defying and antibacterial properties in combination with vitamin A, C, amino acids, flavonoids, and phytochemicals.
Eating spicy food has never been this satisfying and healthy at the same time! Saranghaeyo, kimchi!
#13 Ice Cream
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Sweet-toothed people, unite! You no longer have to save ice cream strictly for your cheat days, because this ice-cold dessert is a tremendous source of vitamin B, calcium, and probiotics.
You can now beat the heat and give in to your confectionary cravings while getting a boost of energy and stimulating the brain… just don’t get a brain freeze!
#14 Sweet Potato Fries
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Finally, a way to indulge in chips sans the guilt: SWEET POTATO FRIES!
These potato chip alternatives are highly nutritious thanks to their immune system-promoting factors, sweet potato chips are the ultimate snack and health-boosting food hybrid.
Sweet potato chips are ideal for supporting healthy vision, enhancing brain function, promoting gut health, and preventing cancer. A round of sweet potato fries for everyone!
#15 Black Rice
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Back in the day, black rice was specifically reserved for ancient Asian royals. Nowadays, black rice is for everyone, and that’s a relief, because this grain is a nutritional powerhouse.
Brimming with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and potent antioxidants, black rice will add a dash of zen to your diet. Chopsticks at the ready!
#16 Canned Pumpkin
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Cooking vegetables usually concentrates their nutrients, which is a sure-fire method to get your body to absorb them faster and easier.
This is exactly why canned pumpkin is just as nutritious as its fresh counterpart. Canned pumpkin is essentially a pureed version of this carotenoid-rich veggie and is perfect for boosting your immune system, promoting heart health, and maintaining your skin’s youthful radiance.
In case you aren’t so keen on canned goods, you can always DIY boil and puree the pumpkin at home. There’s really no need to wait for Halloween as an excuse to go all out on pumpkin dishes!
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The cherimoya or custard apple may look like a solid coconut on the outside, but on the inside, this native South American fruit is soft and creamy. Packed with around 60% of your daily recommended vitamin C intake, cherimoyas are a delicious and empowering way to recharge your health.
Cherimoya lovers say that this superfood tastes like a cross between a pineapple and a banana, so if you like either of the two, you’ll love this one! If you like both pineapples and bananas, then you’ll love cherimoyas double!
#18 Artichoke Hearts
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Edibles with the word “heart” in them are bound to be good for you (just don’t mind the “choke” hidden in the name of this veggie). Artichoke hearts are loaded with nutrients that help lower bad cholesterol, aid in regulating blood pressure, ease symptoms of Irritable bowel syndrome, help lower blood sugar, ward off cancer, and improve both digestive and liver health. We knew we could count on hearts!
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Good news, mermaids! A large volume of oysters may be detrimental to your cholesterol levels, but these seafood delicacies are also an excellent source of zinc, selenium, vitamin D, iron, and vitamin B12, which are foundational to the immune system, bone health, and cellular growth.
We’ll take 8 orders of extra lemon wedges, please!
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Say “cheese” because this cousin of milk is a nutritious addition to your diet. Don’t feel guilty when you grate your favorite Parmesan cheese onto your fettuccine or let it melt over your homemade pizza, because cheese is loaded with calcium and protein.
Just don’t go overboard, otherwise, you’ll turn into Remy from Ratatouille, but then again, he has mad culinary skills… so would that be so bad?
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Pizza owes its bad rep to the fat and cholesterol-laden toppings that most people choose to decorate it with. If you’re guilty of habitually ordering three-cheese pizzas overloaded with assorted cured meats, then you’re putting your colon health at risk. don’t get us wrong, we all love a salami and pepperoni laden pizza every now and then, but your body will thank you deeply if you can transition into eating healthier toppings.
Don’t worry, nutritious pizza toppings taste great too! You can never go wrong with tomatoes, diced chicken, mushrooms (nom nom), spinach, spinach, garlic, and red peppers. Oh, and of course, the most unpopular yet popular topping: pineapple!
Let’s settle this debate once and for all; ya’ll are just condemning pineapple as a pizza topping because the internet tells you to. Excuse us while we indulge in a family-sized Hawaiian pizza… #MicDrop
#22 Canned Sardines
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Before you start questioning this… yes, canned goods contain processed food, but according to the Food and Drug Administration, canned sardines are a healthy alternative to their fresh counterparts.
Also, sardines generally contain a lot less mercury than most other types of fish, and they provide just as many omega-3 fatty acids as pink salmon. And health buffs already know that omega-3 fatty acids lower blood pressure, slow the development of plaque in the arteries, reduce the risk of heart ailments, help maintain normal heart rhythm, minimize triglycerides, and prevent strokes. Flex your canned sardines, people!
#23 Dragon Fruit
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The dragon fruit looks as dreamy and fierce as it sounds. With a scaly fuschia and green exterior that kind of resembles a mystical dragon egg, you’ll be surprised to find that the inside of this attractive fruit looks like cookies and cream.
Exotic on the outside, dragon fruit is pleasantly mild and sweet on the inside. Some even describe it as a combo of a kiwi, a pear, a strawberry, and a rose petal (what do rose petals even taste like?).
Moreover, its extravagant aesthetic, dragon fruit is rich in fiber, probiotics, and antioxidants. Let’s get that clear skin and svelte physique, people!
#24 Buddha’s Hand
Photo by Kaldari On Wikimedia Commons
Don’t worry, that’s not an actual Buddha hand. It’s just a zesty citron that resembles a hand (with a lot of fingers) for some reason. Just like a lemon, you can use the rind for testing. This entire fruit is bursting with flavor and vitamin C; even more than your traditional lemon or lime!
High five, Buddha hand!
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If our telepathy is working correctly right now, you are thinking what we’re thinking: this looks like a spiky lemon.
Also commonly referred to as a horned melon, an African horned cucumber, or a blowfish fruit (LOL), this juicy treat tastes like a cross between a zucchini, kiwi, banana, and a cucumber. Since it’s predominantly composed of water and potassium, the kiwano is the perfect rehydration buddy on a hot summer day!
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Jackfruits are the largest fruit to grow on trees. Plus, they’re also the heaviest, as they can reach up to 80 pounds in weight! Ooh, you don’t want to be lounging under that tree for your afternoon picnic. that’s for sure…
Anyway, jackfruits are as nutritious as they are heavy. With their pungent yet sweet flavor, these Native Malaysian and Indian showstoppers will energize you with a dose of vitamin C and manganese, a vital mineral found in the kidneys, liver, bones, and pancreas. Manganese is also essential for brain and nerve function.
Turn them into chips, curry, or eat them raw; with jackfruit, the sky’s the limit!
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Shoutout to rambutan, the cousin of the lychee that we should all know about. The only difference between the two is that rambutan kind of looks like a smaller version of dragon fruit or something that leaves in the depths of the ocean.
When you crack open its shell, you’ll find that this delectable fruit is sweet and addictive… in a good way. Loaded with iron, manganese, and vitamin C, rambutan is the full package: attractive, tasty, and nutritious!
P.S. Don’t get click-baited by canned versions that are usually doused in sugary syrups that defeat their purpose. Yes to fresh!
#28 Dark Chocolate
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Thank goodness that healthy eating doesn’t require us to turn our backs on chocolate. Gosh, imagine life without chocolate…
It isn’t actually the chocolate that’s harmful to your health and the weighing scale. Nope, you can blame that on all the sugar that goes into it in order to make milk chocolate and white chocolate. This is exactly why dark chocolate is the healthier choice. The darker the chocolate bar, the better; because that means it contains about 70% of cocoa powder, a component rich in theobromine, which aids in reducing inflammation, prevents diabetes, and wards off heart disease and cancer.
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Fun fact: tomato ketchup was originally formulated as a medicine in the 1800s. Rumor has it that it could cure afflictions, such as indigestion, diarrhea, and jaundice. A few years later, people discovered that ketchup is much better as a condiment for French fries and burgers.
Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that ketchup no longer has medicinal properties. In fact, lycopene-rich ketchup can help cut bad cholesterol levels, improve eyesight, boost male fertility, and prevent prostate cancer. So pour on that ketchup the next time you order fries!
#30 Graham Crackers
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As opposed to most other yummy cookies and biscuits, Graham crackers are not out to make you fat. Instead, they are rich in dietary fiber, loaded with B vitamins, and make the perfect foundations for your pies, smores, and cheesecakes. And we all need now is a good excuse to munch on cheesecake.
Can a Low-Carb Diet Help Your Heart Health?
Instead, the researchers designed what they considered to be a practicable and relatively healthy diet for each group. All participants ate meals such as vegetable omelets, chicken burritos with black beans, spiced London broil, vegetarian chili, cauliflower soup, roasted lentil salads, and grilled salmon. But the high-carb group also ate foods like whole grain bread, brown rice, English multigrain muffins, strawberry jam, pasta, skimmed milk, and vanilla yogurt. The low-carb group avoided bread, rice and fruit spreads as well as sugary yoghurts. Instead, their meals contained more high-fat ingredients like whole milk, cream, butter, guacamole, olive oil, almonds, peanuts, pecans and macadamias, and soft cheese.
After five months, people on a low-carb diet did not experience any adverse changes in their cholesterol levels, even though they obtained 21 percent of their daily calories from saturated fat. That amount is more than double what the federal government’s nutritional guidelines recommend. For example, their LDL cholesterol, the so-called bad variety, stayed about the same as those on a high-carbohydrate diet that got just 7 percent of their daily calories from saturated fat. Tests also showed that the low-carb group had about a 15 percent reduction in lipoprotein levels (a), a fat particle in the blood that has been strongly linked to developing heart disease and stroke.
The low-carb group also saw improvements in metabolic measures related to the development of type 2 diabetes. Researchers rated their lipoprotein insulin resistance scores, or LPIR, a measure of insulin resistance that looks at the size and concentration of cholesterol-carrying molecules in the blood. Large studies have shown that people with high LPIR levels are more likely to develop diabetes. In the new study, people on a low-carb diet saw their LPIR levels decrease by about 5 percent – reducing their risk of diabetes – while those on a high-carb diet increased slightly. People on a moderate carbohydrate diet had no change in their LPIR values.
The low-carb group also had other improvements. They had a drop in their triglycerides, a type of fat in their blood that has been linked to heart attacks and strokes. And they had elevated levels of adiponectin, a hormone that helps lower inflammation and make cells more sensitive to insulin, which is a good thing. High levels of body-wide inflammation have been linked to a number of age-related diseases, including heart disease and diabetes.
The low-carb diet used in the study largely eliminated highly processed and sugary foods, but still left room for “high quality” carbohydrates from whole fruits and vegetables, beans, legumes and other plants, said Dr. David Ludwig, author of the study and an endocrinologist at Harvard Medical School. “It’s mainly focused on eliminating the processed carbohydrates that many people are now realizing to be among the least healthy aspects of our food supply,” said Dr. Ludwig, co-director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Boston Children’s Hospital.
Dr. Ludwig emphasized that the results do not apply to the very low carbohydrate levels typical of ketogenic diets, which have been shown to lead to large increases in LDL cholesterol in some people. But he said the study shows that people can get metabolic and cardiovascular benefits by replacing the processed carbohydrates in their diet with fat, including saturated fat, without worsening their cholesterol levels.
The new study cost $ 12 million and was largely funded by the Nutrition Science Initiative, a nonprofit research group. It was also supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the New Balance Foundation, and others.
5 Breakfast Myths That You Could Be Messing With Your Morning Meal
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, at least that’s what our parents always told us. But how do we know which breakfast dish suits us best? Whether it’s too much sugar or too little nutrients, many breakfast options depend on nutritional myths. And these myths can do more harm than good when it comes to your morning meal.
We met with the molecular nutritionist Dr. Emma Beckett, who shattered some great breakfast myths that could keep you from maximizing your morning goodness.
Here’s what she shared with us about breakfast myths.
Myth # 1: Traditional breakfast food is bad for you
The truth: “Some high-carb foods like whole grain bread and breakfast cereals contain fiber that helps us feel fuller …”
For those who have busy mornings to complete endless chores, or even those who don’t bother making gourmet meals every morning, granola is the top choice. It’s simple, convenient, and tastes damn good.
The best thing about grain, according to Dr. Beckett that it’s a great way to make sure we’re getting tons of nutrients in the morning. Packed with iron, B vitamins and fiber, muesli is a better breakfast choice than you might think.
Dr. Beckett even gave us some great tips on how to spice up your morning cereal bowl too:
“Grains go well with other nutritious breakfast foods like Greek yogurt and nuts, which are sources of protein. Protein is essential in the diet as it is the most filling macronutrient that can help reduce grazing habits throughout the day, ”she said via email.
If you’re not sure which cereal brand is good to grab, Beckett suggested going for Kellogg’s All Bran or Sultana Bran because they are “high in fiber and have a 4.5 or even the maximum rating of 5 health stars . Grains like this have been a popular choice for nearly 100 years. “
Who would have thought cereal was so good?
Myth # 2: Processed = Bad?
The truth: “Most foods have to undergo processing in order to be edible and digestible – processing is a broad term that encompasses cooking, slicing and packaging.”
Many of us have been afraid to buy something marked as processed, but it is actually an important step for most foods. Processing sometimes has more to do with preserving the food and avoiding waste than with nutritional value.
Dr. Beckett explained, “Key nutrients like protein are not necessarily lost in processing; they can sometimes be retained or made more accessible through processing. Others like B vitamins and iron can be added back when they are lost in a process called fortification. “
In fact, the common breakfast suspects like cereal and bread are often fortified with added nutrients and processed because they are affordable, accessible, long-lasting, and popular. This just makes it easier for us to make sure we are adding the right substances to our bodies to start the day.
However, this does not mean that the all-clear will be given for all processed foods. Dr. Beckett notes that it is still important to consider how much a food has been processed, with products that have been ultra-processed being consumed in moderation.
Myth # 3: Eating healthy is expensive
The truth: “According to a recently published Australian model-based study, it is possible to improve the Australian diet while spending less money on groceries by choosing inexpensive, nutritious foods, improving nutritional quality and potentially reducing a family’s food bills by over 25 Percent. “
A common misconception about healthy eating is that our wallets are pinched and products need to be consumed quickly. Surprisingly, there are actually tons of healthy food options that are relatively cheap for what you get out of them and don’t spoil as quickly. Foods like whole grain bread and cereal are actually pretty budget-friendly and last a relatively long time.
One twist I wasn’t prepared for is that canned and frozen fruits and vegetables are just as healthy as they are fresh (as long as they’re not in syrup). If you’re worried about that bunch of bananas you bought and you won’t finish before they go, toss them in the freezer! They last longer and do not lose any health properties.
“When you do your research and shop, healthy eating really doesn’t have to be as expensive as it may seem!”
Myth # 4: Breakfast cereals are too sugary and have no nutritional value
The truth: “Australian data has shown that grains make up less than 3% of the added sugar in the average diet. Many cereals contain whole grains and fiber that many people cannot get enough of. “
According to Dr. Beckett, many breakfast cereals are “full of vital vitamins and minerals that are important for health and well-being and the most important source of iron in the Australian diet, especially for children.”
Obviously, muesli’s sugar content varies, with some sweeter ones available if that’s your cup of tea (or should I say your bowl of muesli), but most are moderately sweetened and many are sweetened by added fruits that contain natural sugars.
“For example, half of Kellogg’s 55 cereals contain 2 or less teaspoons of sugar per bowl. By updating the recipes, over 700 tons of sugar and 300 tons of salt were removed from the Australian diet – that’s the weight of about seven blue whales! “
Myth # 5: If it’s not whole grain, it doesn’t contain fiber
The truth: “While whole grain foods contain fiber, not all fiber-containing foods contain whole grains.”
How’s that for a mind-bender?
If you’re like me, fiber is confusing and I’m not sure what it is or where to find it. Fortunately, Dr. Beckett broken it down for us.
“Fibers are in the outer part of the grain, the bran. The bran can be removed from the grain and used in food, ”she explained.
This means that foods made with bran aren’t always whole grains, but they do contain a lot of fiber.
According to Dr. Beckett, I’m not the only one confused about fiber. Two in three Aussies fail to meet their daily fiber goals. What’s worse is that four in five Australians don’t eat enough fiber to protect themselves from chronic illness. Yikes
“For most of us, adequate fiber intake is between 25 and 30 grams per day. That might sound hard, but getting your daily dose is really easy when you’re eating high-fiber options like high-fiber breakfast cereals, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and nuts, “she said.
Dr. Beckett then explained that not all whole grains were made equal (in the fiber department):
“Did you know that different whole grains have different amounts and types of fiber,” she said.
“For example, whole grain brown rice and corn both naturally have less fiber compared to other whole grain products like whole wheat and oats, which have higher amounts of fiber.”
The interesting thing, however, is that just one whole grain contains less fiber, doesn’t mean it’s not beneficial – it is!
Whole grains are exactly what they sound like – it’s whole whole grains. Fiber is only one component of whole grains, and all of the components work together to provide health benefits.
The more you know!
Dr. Bridget Gibson: Eight ways to get your metabolism moving | Free
Metabolism is the chemical reaction in the body’s cells that converts food into energy. Our bodies need this energy to do everything from moving to thinking to growing.
If a person’s metabolism is the rate at which their body burns calories for energy, then are there things they can do to increase that rate? And is metabolism the key to weight management and why do some people struggle and others never seem to gain weight?
There are conflicting theories about how your metabolism works and whether it can be boosted to help people lose weight faster. Let’s get the facts about what can be done while losing weight.
What is Metabolism?
Metabolism is how your body uses food for energy and then burns that energy to keep your body going.
How can I boost my metabolism?
1. Eat your meals on a schedule: Eating your meals at the same times throughout the day helps your body maintain a metabolic balance. In other words, if you overeat and then don’t eat for a long time, your body can overcompensate and burn calories more slowly or store more fat cells.
2. Don’t skimp on calories: Skipping meals or reducing your calorie count too much can slow your metabolism down so your body can conserve energy. Make healthy choices that will keep you within the recommended number of calories but still fill you up.
3. Drink green tea – While studies are inconclusive, some research suggests that green tea extract may play a role in promoting fat metabolism. Green tea can also be a great alternative to sugary juices and sodas, and can help ensure you get enough water during the day.
4. Do resistance training and high-intensity workouts: Lifting weights and doing exercises that use resistance weights or body weight will help build muscle. Muscle mass has a higher metabolic rate than fat, which means that muscle mass needs more energy to maintain and can boost your metabolism. To do this, add a routine that includes alternating periods of higher and lower intensity to burn more energy.
5. Drink plenty of water – Drinking is important for the body to function optimally. Water is necessary for an optimal metabolism and can help with weight loss.
6. Get plenty of sleep – When you don’t get enough sleep, your body releases the hormone ghrelin, which can make you hungry. It also releases less leptin, a hormone that helps you feel full. Getting enough sleep can help keep these hormones balanced and can prevent you from overeating.
7. Reduce stress: Stress affects hormone levels and can cause the body to produce too much cortisol, the hormone that regulates your appetite and can lead to unhealthy eating habits that, in turn, disrupt your metabolism. Stress is also closely related to the quality of sleep.
8. Get enough B vitamins: B vitamins in foods like bananas, baked potatoes, eggs, orange juice, peanut butter, peas, spinach, and whole grains are essential for a functioning metabolism. B vitamins help your body metabolize carbohydrates, proteins and fats and use the energy stored in food.
Do I burn energy when I am not active?
Yes, even when you are not moving, your body uses energy performing functions such as breathing and keeping your heart beating. This is known as the “resting (or baseline) metabolic rate”.
What determines a person’s resting metabolic rate?
– Genetics: The hereditary traits passed down from your parents and grandparents play a role, but luckily there are other metabolic factors that we can control, such as diet and exercise.
—Age: Most people’s metabolism naturally begins to slow down around the age of 30.
—Gender: On average, women have a slower metabolism than men. This is because men usually have more muscle and therefore burn more calories.
—Weight: People who weigh less need less energy (fewer calories) to keep their bodies energized. As you lose weight, your metabolism slows down too, so losing and maintaining weight can be more difficult over time.
Three tips for healthy weight loss
The bottom line when it comes to healthy weight loss is to be aware of your caloric intake (and the reduced caloric needs as you age) and focus on the factors that you can control.
1. Start with the goal of losing 5 to 10 percent of your weight through more physical activity and healthier diets. The benefits can be dramatic.
2. For example, a person weighing 250 pounds who lost 5 to 10 percent would lose 13 to 25 pounds, which could lower their risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and some cancers. Other benefits that you may actually feel sooner include more energy, less pain, and feeling less breathless or out of breath – which makes it a lot easier to keep moving.
3. Celebrate your victories at every milestone. When you hit 5 percent, feel better, or notice an increase in energy, give yourself a gold star, do your merry dance, or reward yourself with a favorite activity. You deserve it and the benefits are just beginning.
Slowly and steadily the race wins! Extreme diets and fitness routines are not sustainable in the long run. The saying “it’s a marathon, not a sprint” is true. Healthy weight loss and control is about what you can do each day to get more exercise and eat more fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains than carbohydrates, fried foods, and sugar.
Dr. Bridget Gibson is the general practitioner for Brookwood Baptist Health.
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