- 8 Foods to Boost Your Metabolism
- How I Stopped Faking It
- Facts on Fiber
- Make Your Eyes Look Wider with Makeup
- Test Your Accidental Food IQ!
A table, a chair, a bowl of fruit, and a violin;
what else does a man need to be happy?
8 Foods to Boost Your MetabolismBy Joe Wilkes
If you spend any time perusing the fashion mags and tabloid rags in the supermarket checkout line, you'll see a wide array of articles claiming to have discovered the latest "miracle food" that will burn off the pounds while you sit on your butt and eat. Well, sadly, the news isn't quite that good. Without regular exercise, a decent night's sleep, and a thought-out meal plan, your metabolic rate is going to be dragging. However, there are some things you can eat that will move the needle favorably into the fat-burning zone. And most of these foods are delicious and nutritious anyway, so why not? Here are eight of the best ones.
- Fish. Most of us have read about the benefits of fish oil, which is full of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Found in many common oily fish like mackerel, trout, sardines, herring, tuna, and salmon, it can also be taken in capsules (at least 300 milligrams/day) by those who are averse to seafood. Fish consumption has been found to boost your calorie burn by as much as 400 calories a day. Fish is also full of great, low-fat, muscle-building protein (which requires your body to burn more calories to digest).
- Dark green leafy vegetables. These include arugula, chard, chicory, collard greens, dandelion greens, kale, mustard greens, and spinach. They are full of vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and lots of fiber. While the vitamins are great antioxidants and very healthy for you, the fiber is where the rubber really meets the road as far as metabolism goes. Your body expends a lot more calories digesting fiber and protein than it does simply digesting carbohydrates. This is called the thermic effect—the amount of calories required to digest the food can sometimes be almost as much as the number of calories in the food itself. Dark leafies also contain many B vitamins, which are necessary to produce the enzymes for metabolism. Most other vegetables are high in fiber and low in calories and can boost your burn, but the cream of the crop, nutritionally speaking, are the dark green leafy vegetables. So listen to Popeye, and eat your spinach!
- Tomatoes. Tomatoes have gotten a lot of good press lately, as they contain high levels of the antioxidant lycopene, which has been proven to have several anti-carcinogenic properties. And like the dark green leafy vegetables, tomatoes are also a good source of fiber. But tomatoes can also work overtime to flush fat, as they also contain citric, malic, and oxalic acids, which support your body's kidney functions, which helps your body eliminate more waste and fat from your system.
- Blueberries and other whole fruits. Whole fruits contain lots of fiber, and many contain so much, they can be said to have "negative calories," meaning your body burns more calories digesting the food than it stores. One cup of blueberries only has about 80 calories, but 4 grams of fiber. Your body will expend much of those 80 calories digesting the 4 grams of fiber. Blueberries also contain lots of antioxidants, and are believed to lower cholesterol and regulate blood pressure. And they taste great! Try adding them to a high-fiber unsweetened cereal or oatmeal in the morning to get your metabolism up and running at the start of your day.
- Whole grains. Well, if you've read this far, you've probably gotten that fiber is key to keeping the metabolic fires burning. Whole grains are one of the best sources of dietary fiber. This is where careful label reading comes in. Lots of items purporting to contain whole grains may only contain enough to make the claim truthful, and may in fact be full of insulin-spiking carbohydrates or sugars, which will take your metabolism in the wrong direction. Check the ingredient list of your breads and cereals carefully and make sure the preponderance of the ingredients is whole grain.
- Chilies, curries, and other spices. Ever eaten a particularly spicy meal and felt your heart race a bit faster and your forehead start to perspire? The capsaicin found in many hot peppers and other spices can fire up your metabolism while it fires up your mouth. In fact, some studies have shown a 50 percent increase in metabolism for 3 hours after eating capsaicin. So it helps to keep a bottle of hot sauce on hand at mealtimes. You can use spices to add flavor to recipes instead of salty or fatty ingredients, which will also help kick your metabolism into a higher gear.
- Green tea. Researchers have found that green tea consumption can increase calorie burning by up to four percent. It is believed to accomplish this by increasing metabolic rates as well as fat oxidation. Studies have also shown that green tea can reduce sugar cravings and can inhibit enzymes that slow digestion, thus raising metabolic rates. Its thermogenetic properties were convincing enough that Beachbody® includes it in its ActiVit® Metabolism Formula Multivitamins. Besides the metabolic properties, green tea is loaded with antioxidants and polyphenols, making it one of the most healthful beverage choices around.
- Ice water. Almost every nutritionist will recommend drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day, but did you know that if you drink ice water versus room-temperature water, your body will burn an extra 9 calories per glass? Drinking room-temperature water can burn about 16 calories per glass—that's 25 calories per glass for ice water. So, eight glasses of cool water a day can be responsible for burning 200 calories! Plus, water is necessary for all of your bodily processes, including the ones that control your metabolism. If you're underhydrated, your body will underperform. Water also flushes out fat deposits and toxins, which can hamper your energy.
And remember, a good night's sleep and smaller, evenly spaced meals can be your best metabolic friends. And the best thing to really get your metabolism going is exercise. You can burn almost 700 calories in one 45-minute Turbo Jam® workout alone. Also, stress has been found to produce cortisol, a metabolism-inhibiting steroid, so try and relax—have a blueberry. Or a fish!
Questions about your workout program, diet, the latest newsletter, or anything wellness related? Chat with the overseer of Beachbody's fitness and diet development, who also serves as your Fitness Advisor on the Message Boards, Steve Edwards, on Monday, June 28th, at 3:00 PM ET, 12:00 PM PT. Go to the Beachbody Chat Room.
Facts on FiberBy Omar Shamout
When I was very young, my mother implored me to eat my bran flakes or else I wouldn't get enough fiber. I don't know about you, but from the age of four on, anything my mother told me to do automatically became worth avoiding at all costs. Plus, the word "bran" sounded like "bland," so my mind decided I was going to dislike it before even trying it. But in hindsight, perhaps my mother knew what she was talking about. Fiber is essential to maintaining a healthy digestive system, while also having positive effects on your heart, cholesterol, and blood sugar.
What is fiber? Fiber is a complex carbohydrate found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. It is so complex, in fact, that the body can't digest it.
Note that I wrote whole grains. When it comes to grains, you'll find the fiber in the outer shell, or bran (there's that word again). The problem that many of us face in getting fiber from breads, pasta, rice, or cereal is that the processed foods we know and love are made from refined grains that have been stripped of the bran and therefore contain very little fiber. And just because it says "wheat" somewhere on the bag or box doesn't mean it has fiber in it. Wonder® Bread is made from wheat. If you want the whole deal, you need to verify that the ingredients list whole wheat or another kind of whole grain. And even then, check the fiber listing on the nutrition facts panel to see how much you're getting.
What does fiber do? There are two types of fiber: insoluble and soluble. Insoluble fiber goes through your system "as is," and helps to regulate bowel movements. As insoluble fiber moves through the digestive tract and colon, it takes other things along with it, thus beefing up your stool and making it easier to pass. This is a simple and easy way to aid in weight loss because you're eliminating more waste from your body.
Because it dissolves in water, soluble fiber takes on a gel-like consistency in the stomach, slowing digestion and lowering blood sugar levels by slowing the rate at which sugar is released into the blood. Soluble fiber also regulates cholesterol by binding with fatty acids. If these benefits aren't enough to convince you, fiber has also been shown to reduce the risk of coronary artery (heart) disease and type 2 diabetes. Here is a chart that breaks down how much fiber is recommended by the USDA in order to accomplish the aforementioned benefits and maintain a healthy diet:
|Age 50 and younger||Age 51 and older|
|Men||38 grams||30 grams|
|Women||25 grams||21 grams|
But I don't like the way fiber-rich foods taste! We get it, and food manufacturers do, too. They are realizing that consumers have gotten increasingly savvy about what goes into their food (and subsequently, into their bodies), and are offering more and more whole-grain options of popular brands. Taste preference is all about what you know. Obviously, refined flour-based foods are appealing because they taste good, but a large part of their dominance is based simply on the fact that we are used to them. If you make a commitment to buying whole-grain products, your taste buds will adapt, and you will learn to prepare whole-grain foods in a way that works for you, and combine them with other foods that will leave you happy and healthy.
It's also important to realize that you don't need to change everything about the way you eat overnight. Small changes can add up. If you don't like whole-grain bread, start with adding more apples or beans to your diet. Have fun and experiment. Don't get frustrated because you don't like eating bran muffins and proclaim that fiber isn't worth the trouble. There are always solutions to a problem if you're patient enough to find them. For a great source of gourmet, high-fiber recipes, check out The High-Fiber Cookbook by Bryanna Clark Grogan.
Supplements, you say? If you change your diet and you're still not getting all the fiber you need, supplements are a great way to boost your fiber intake. The main drawback to fiber supplements is that you deprive your body of the other vitamins and minerals that you would be consuming along with the fiber you get from foods. If a food is high in fiber, it's probably high in many other things that are good for you too, and you end up killing eight essential birds (or vitamins) with one stone (or bowl of lentil soup). Keeping this in mind, let's explore four popular forms of fiber supplements:
- Apple pectin. Pectin is a compound found primarily in apples, but also in plums, peaches, and other fruits. It's useful in easing ongoing conditions such as diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome. It acts as an antioxidant, which has been shown to have a positive effect in reducing the risk of certain cancers and lowering cholesterol in the bloodstream. As a result, it is especially recommended for those who eat a high-fat diet.
- Psyllium husk. The dried covering of plant seeds, psyllium husk contains a whopping 71 grams of fiber in only one-third of a cup. Some people are very allergic to psyllium husk, so always consult a doctor before adding this or any other supplement to your diet.
One side effect to psyllium husk powder, and high-fiber diets in general, is that it can give you gas. A lot of gas. The best way to deal with this unfortunate problem is to increase your daily fiber intake slowly. A sudden increase of 20 grams of fiber or more per day will cause a lot of discomfort, so allow your body to get comfortable with a new diet, and don't rush into it. Also, popular fiber supplements such as Metamucil® merely combine psyllium husk with sugar, so you're better off skipping the sweetness and going for the real thing.
- Flaxseed. Flaxseed is a wonderful plant food because it contains not only soluble and insoluble fiber, but also high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which greatly reduce the risk of atherosclerosis, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and fight different types of cancers, specifically of the colon, prostate, and breast. Lignans found in flaxseed have also been proven to prevent the incidence and growth rate of tumors in cancers that are sensitive to hormones. One or two tablespoons of ground flaxseed daily is the suggested dose, and it can be easily added to foods like yogurt, cereal, soup, etc. However, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding are advised not to supplement their diet with flaxseed until further studies examining its effect on them are concluded, and again, it's important to consult with your physician about adding any supplements to your diet.
- Wheat germ. Wheat germ is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and fiber, but is more known for its high quantities of B vitamins, which aid in regulating metabolism and stress levels, and vitamin E, which benefits the skin.
Whether you do it because Beachbody told you to, or simply because you think it's about time to heed some of your mother's advice, figure out a way to get the recommended amount of fiber in your diet, and it may help you achieve a smaller waistline as a result, while also helping to prevent a myriad of diseases. That's worth a bran muffin or two, right?
References and Further Reading:
- James Wayne Warnica, MD, "Coronary Artery Disease." Merck.com. February 2008.
- David L. Katz, MD, "Fiber Supplement Safety." Oprah.com. May 12, 2009.
- Mayoclinic.com. "Diabetes Prevention: 5 Steps to Taking Control." http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/diabetes-prevention/DA00127.
Questions about your workout program, diet, the latest newsletter, or anything wellness related? Chat with the overseer of Beachbody's fitness and diet development, who also serves as your Fitness Advisor on the Message Boards, Steve Edwards, on Monday, June 28th, at 3:00 PM ET, 12:00 PM PT. Go to the Beachbody Chat Room.If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Make Your Eyes Look Wider with Makeup
With all the time you spend making your muscles bigger and your waist smaller, wouldn't it be nice if, even after a night of no sleep, you could make your eyes look wider with a few simple makeup tricks?
Find out how . . .
Test Your Accidental Food IQ!By DeLane McDuffie
Over the course of history, many inventions have come about by complete accident. Vulcanized rubber, the pacemaker, plastic, and penicillin are just a few of these discoveries. But it doesn't stop at the inedible. Frank Epperson accidentally left his drink outside in the cold (Popsicles®), and Constantin Fahlberg spilled a chemical on his hands in his lab, forgot to wash it off, and later ate an unusually sweet dinner roll (saccharin). See if you can guess which of the following statements are truths and lies.
True or false?
- True: Many people claim to have invented the ice-cream cone. Nick Kabbaz, Abe Doumar, David Avayou, and Charles Menches all claimed to be the king of the ice-cream cone. In 1902, England's Antonio Valvona received a patent for an "Apparatus for Baking Biscuit Cups for Ice Cream." The following year, Italo Marchiony acquired a patent for a "molding apparatus for forming ice-cream cups and the like." However, the International Association of Ice Cream Manufacturers (IAICM) throws its support behind Ernest Hamwi, a pastry maker at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair who gave a fellow vendor a hand. The vendor had run out of ice cream dishes, and Hamwi rolled up some of his pastries into cones, a sweet and tasty substitution.
- False: Potato chips were created out of sadness. They were created out of anger. In the early 1850s, you didn't want to mess around with Saratoga Springs' chef George "Speck" Crum. Criticize his cooking and you would be sorry. Cornelius Vanderbilt didn't get the memo. While dining at the Moon's Lake House, he sent back his fried potatoes because they weren't crispy and crunchy enough. Chef Crum, incensed over the customer's lack of gratitude, sliced the batch of potatoes as thin as he could, refried them in hot grease, and dumped on a ton of salt. But Vanderbilt loved the "sabotaged" dish, and potato chips were soon a national sensation.
- False: Teabags were invented by the British. Tea seller Thomas Sullivan needed to keep his costs down. So rather than send out loose tea to his clientele, the New Yorker saved money by sending out small silk sachets of tea. Ironically, many of his customers misunderstood his intentions. Instead of cutting the sachets to brew the loose tea, they dunked the whole sachets into their teacups. It caught on, and the silk teabags were later replaced with gauze. The British didn't accept the teabag for almost 50 years.
- True: Cheese puffs were made by accident in Beloit, Wisconsin. It's only right that cheese puffs were invented in a state known for its cheese. To ensure that its animal feed didn't have any sharp hulls in it, The Flakall Company developed a grain-grinding machine. So that the machine wouldn't clog up, moist corn kernels were poured into it. Edward Wilson noticed that the machine would get insanely hot when left running, and the damp corn kernels would exit the machine in puffy strips—immediately hardening when exposed to air. Wilson took the strips home, threw on some oil and flavoring, and became the daddy of the original cheese curls, or puffs, or whatever you want to call them.
- True: The Graham cracker was developed to curb people's sexual urges. Presbyterian minister Sylvester Graham's theology was simple; he preached that everyone should have clean diets and practice "clean" living (regular bathing, exercise, 7 hours of sleep nightly, daily toothbrushing, fresh air, etc.). During the 1820s, he believed meat, spices, and alcohol fueled sexual lust, leading to human suffering, indigestion, poor circulation, spinal diseases, insanity, epilepsy, and other unpleasant issues. He was an advocate for unprocessed foods and detested refined white flour, which was stripped of dietary fiber. Therefore, he made Graham flour from unbleached whole wheat, from which the Graham cracker sprang forth. During that time, most people wrote him off as a nutcase (mainly because of his views on sexuality), but a lot of his philosophy would be later adopted by vegetarians and the health-minded. Graham had a great strategy, though. There is nothing sexy about a Graham cracker.
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