12 Local Foods That Amazingly Boost Metabolism

Metabolism is the chemical processes in the body that involves the break down of food substances into useful nutrients for the build up and repair of body cells and organs and their proper functioning. Apart from water which is known universally to be one of the essential components for excellent body functions, there are other foods good for boosting your metabolism.

1. Legumes

Legumes such as beans, peas and lentils contain proteins which takes longer to digest hence increasing the rate of metabolism. They are rich in fiber too, which helps in efficient digestion and absorption of nutrients into the body.

2. Nuts

Nuts are suitable antioxidants and thus help in bringing down sugar and fat levels in the body. They are rich in energy which keeps the body fueled up without eating much, and this leads to weight loss.

3. Berries

These are good in bringing down the much-loathed belly fat by burning huge calories and at the same time maintaining high energy levels. Berries are also known to be useful in fighting diabetes.

4. Citrus

Anybody can attest to the fact that fruits and especially citrus ones are fantastic for losing excessive weight. They are useful in digestion too and boosts the body metabolism to great lengths.

5. Seafood

Fish is very rich in omega-3 which is essential in the body for increasing metabolism and burning calories which is a suitable weight management mechanism.

6. Spinach

Spinach is one green vegetable known for its richness in iron which in turn boosts the amount of oxygen intake to body tissues through the blood.

7. Avocado

Avocado is rich in omega-3 and contains essential fats that increase the rate of metabolism in the body and keeping the body weight in check by lowering excessive sugars.

8. Spices

Although spices are not everyone’s darling, there are very good for burning calories and also aids in digestion thus boosting metabolism.

9. Chocolate

Chocolate is good in adding up energy levels and lowering the intake of unnecessary fats and sugars. It helps to reduce the body weight and increase metabolism.

10. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil unbelievably helps to lower unnecessary fats because it contains fatty acids which limit the accumulation of lipids and boosting the rate of metabolism in the body.

11. Vegetable Soup

Among the numerous benefits of veggie soup is the ability to aid the body in digestion and uptake of nutrients and boosting metabolism.

12. Green Tea

Green tea is useful in breaking down the excess glucose stored up in the body. It lowers calories and boosts metabolism too.

High metabolism is vital for everyone at every stage of life for a proper and perfect body functioning.

How Your Health Benefits From More Fiber

Since the 1990s, medical researchers have discovered more and more benefits when dietary fiber is significantly increased in our diet. Fiber is a substance in plants. Dietary fiber, also called bulk or roughage, is the kind we eat. It is the edible portions of plant cell walls; hence, it is found only in plant foods like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, as well as beans and legumes.

Fiber is a carbohydrate and is usually listed under “Total Carbohydrates” on the “Nutrition Facts” label. Humans lack the digestive enzymes to breakdown fiber. Therefore, it is undigested and not absorbed into the bloodstream and it arrives at the colon pretty much intact. Fiber has zero calories. Instead of being used for energy, it is excreted from the body.

The current recommended daily intake for adults who are 50 years or younger is 25 grams/day for women and 38 grams/day for men. For adults over 50 years of age, the recommendation is 21 grams/day for women and 30 grams/day for men. Unfortunately, for many who eat a typical American diet, it can be a huge challenge to consume that much fiber everyday. Most people top out at an average of 15 grams/day, regardless of how many calories they eat.

Maybe if we understand more about the different types of fiber and how they can immensely contribute to better health and lower disease risks, there will be more incentives to increase the daily fiber intake. Fiber is an important part of a healthy, balanced diet. Apart from helping us stay regular, fiber has a long list of other health benefits. The following will distinguish the different types of fiber, their specific health advantages, and which foods contain these fiber.

Classifications Of Fiber

There are several ways to classify the different types of fiber. However, as their characteristics do overlap, experts have yet to agree on the best categorization. For decades, the most commonly used classification is soluble and insoluble fiber. These days, as researchers discover the benefits of fermented fiber, another classification – fermentable and non-fermentable fiber – is also used. However, do know that both soluble and insoluble fiber have some that are fermentable and some that are non-fermentable, though soluble fiber is more easily fermented.

Soluble and Insoluble Fiber

The major difference between soluble and insoluble fiber is that they have different properties when mixed with water, hence the designation between the two.

  • Soluble fiber is soluble in water. When mixed with water, it forms a gel and swells.
  • Insoluble fiber does not absorb or dissolve in water. It passes through the digestive system in close to its original form.

Both types of fiber serve their own purposes and have different health benefits. Most plant foods contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, just in different proportions. For instance, wheat is about 90% insoluble fiber. Oats are 50/50. Psyllium plant is mostly soluble fiber.

Fermentable and Non-Fermentable Fiber

Some fibers are readily fermented by bacteria that colonize the colon, others are not. Fermentable fiber is used by the colon’s friendly bacteria as a food source. Fermentation results in the formation of short-chain fatty acids (acetate, butyrate, and propionate) and gases. Epithelial cells that line the colon use butyrate as the main source of energy.

Researchers found that butyrate exerts a wide range of health benefits. It:

  • Decreases inflammation and oxidative stress,
  • Prevents colon cancer, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and Crohn’s disease,
  • Strengthens the bowel wall,
  • Improves the body’s ability to absorb essential nutrients such as calcium,
  • Makes hormones that control appetite and anxiety.

Soluble Fiber

Foods High in Soluble Fiber

Fruits: blueberries, apple, oranges

Grains: barley, oats

Legumes: beans, lentils, peas

Seeds: flax

Vegetables: Brussels sprouts, carrots

Health Benefits

  • Digestion and weight control. When soluble fiber dissolves in water and becomes gel-like, it helps prolong stomach emptying and slows down digestion, making you feel full longer and have less room for other not-so-healthy food cravings.
  • Blood sugar regulation. Soluble fiber slows down the digestion rate of many nutrients, including carbohydrates, so it helps stabilize glucose levels and prevent after-meal blood sugar spikes.
  • Cholesterol and heart health. Soluble fiber binds to cholesterol and bile acids (made by the liver and stored in the gall bladder for the digestion of fats) in the small intestine and promotes their excretion. Studies found that consuming more soluble fiber leads to a decrease in LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, hence, reducing the overall risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • Healthy bowel movements. Soluble fiber soaks up water as it passes through your system, which helps bulk up the stool and guard against constipation.
  • Colon health. Prebiotic fiber is a type of fermentable and soluble fiber that is used by the colon’s friendly bacteria (probiotics) as a food source. Prebiotics and probiotics work together to maintain the balance and diversity of intestinal bacteria, especially increasing the good bacteria like lactobacilli and bifidobacteria.

Foods High in Soluble Prebiotic Fiber

(In parenthesis is the name of the fiber)

Apple (pectin)

Asparagus (inulin and oligofructose)

Banana (inulin and oligofructose)

Barley (beta-glucan)

Burdock root (inulin and oligofructose)

Chicory root (inulin and oligofructose)

Cocoa (flavanol compounds)

Dandelion greens (inulin and oligofructose)

Flaxseed (mucilage)

Garlic (inulin and oligofructose)

Jerusalem artichoke or sunchoke (inulin and oligofructose)

Jicama root (inulin)

Konjac root or glucomannan fiber (see Note)

Leeks (inulin and oligofructose)

Oats (beta-glucan)

Onion (inulin and FOS)

Psyllium (mucilage) – used as a fiber supplement, always buy organic due to pesticides

Seaweed (polysaccharides)

Wheat bran (arabinoxylan oligosaccharides or AXOS)

Yacon root (FOS and inulin)

Note:

Konjac is native to Asia. Its fiber, known as glucomannan, has been used as both food and in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years. Today, glucomannan is used as a fiber supplement to promote colon health, lower cholesterol, and improve carbohydrate metabolism. It is also used in a food product called Shirataki noodles. These noodles are made of 97% water and 3% glucomannan, so the fiber content is very diluted. Though not a high source of prebiotic fiber, the noodles have zero carbohydrates, fats, protein, and calories. Thus, these noodles are suitable for diabetics and people who are looking to lose weight.

Fiber and Gas

Everyone has some intestinal gas and that is normal. The amount of flatus passed each day depends on your sex (men have more frequent flatus) and what is eaten. The normal number of flatus may range from 10-20 times a day.

If you are not used to eating a high amount of fermentable fiber, eating too much at a time can lead to excess intestinal gas, bloating, and mild cramping. So, increase gradually. When you consume vegetables with prebiotics or take a prebiotic fiber supplement, the flatus is often non-odoriferous. The foods that cause smelly flatus are usually the ones that contain high sulfur content, such as eggs and cruciferous vegetables.

If you experience severe gas and gut discomfort after gradually introducing more fermentable fiber, you may have small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) or yeast overgrowth. In this case, you need to work with a healthcare professional to address your gut issues.

Insoluble Fiber

Foods High in Insoluble Fiber

Fruits: skins of fruit

Fruits (dried): dates, prunes

Grains: corn bran, oat bran, wheat bran, whole grains (e.g. whole wheat, brown rice)

Nuts and seeds

Vegetables: green beans, green leafy vegetables, root vegetable skins

Health Benefits

  • Weight management. Like soluble fiber, insoluble fiber can play a key role in controlling weight by starving off hunger pangs.
  • Digestive health. Insoluble fiber helps to move bulk through the intestines. It lessens the amount of time food spends in the colon, hence, constipation and hemorrhoids are much less of a problem and bowel movements become more regular.
  • Diverticulitis. This condition is characterized by inflammation and infection of pouches or folds that form in the colon walls. Development of diverticulitis is often associated with a low-fiber diet and becomes increasingly common after the age of 45. It exacerbates intestinal blockages and constipation. Eating more insoluble fiber can decrease the risk of having diverticulitis.
  • Colon cancer. Insoluble fiber increases the rate at which waste is being removed from the body, therefore, it reduces the amount of time toxic substances stay inside the body. Insoluble fiber also helps to maintain an optimal pH (acid-alkaline) balance in the intestine, making it less likely for cancer cells to grow and prosper.

Resistant Starch is a type of fermentable insoluble fiber. It is a kind of starch that is not digested in the small intestine. Instead, it feeds the beneficial gut bacteria in the colon, just like the prebiotic soluble fiber with the same remarkable health benefits. When you eat resistant starch, it resists digestion and does not spike blood sugar or insulin.

Foods High in Resistant Starch

Cooked and cooled beans and legumes (properly soaked or sprouted), oatmeal, pasta, potato, rice, and yam (see Note 1)

Green (unripe) bananas, mangos, papayas, and plantains (see Note 2)

Hi-maize flour or Hi-maize resistant starch

Raw unmodified potato starch (not potato flour) – ideally organic or at least non-GMO

Notes:

  1. By cooking and cooling these foods, the carb load is reduced by around 20-30% due to the formation of retrograde resistant starch. However, if you have trouble with blood sugar control or if you are looking to lose weight, you will still need to be very cautious with these foods as the majority of the absorbable carb is still present.
  2. The unripe version of these foods have very little digestible carbohydrates. You know you are eating the resistant starch when the fruit is crispy or crunchy, and sometimes a little chalky.

Bottom Line

Dietary fiber is an essential component of a healthy diet. A high-fiber diet has many benefits: it normalizes bowel movements, maintains colon health, lowers cholesterol levels, regulates blood sugar balance, and helps in weight control.

Fiber is commonly classified as soluble, which dissolves in water, or insoluble, which does not dissolve in water. Most plant foods contain soluble as well as insoluble fiber, just in different proportions.

Both soluble and insoluble fiber can also be fermentable. Prebiotic fiber (from soluble fiber) and resistant starch (from insoluble fiber) ferment and feed the friendly bacteria in the colon. They have positive impacts on the diversity and number of beneficial intestinal bacteria in our gut. The more good bacteria we have, the harder it is for the bad bacteria to flourish. The by-products of fiber fermentation produces short-chain fatty acids like butyrate which has powerful anti-inflammatory effects that translate into protection against colon cancer, gastrointestinal disorders like constipation, diverticulitis, and IBS, and also obesity.

All dietary fiber is good for you. Ideally, you would want to get it from different sources of plant foods to reap their distinct benefits. Hopefully, this has given you more incentives to increase your daily intake of high fiber foods, like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, as well as beans and legumes. However, for individuals with blood sugar and weight issues, go easy on the carb-heavy fruits, whole grains, beans and legumes.

Herbal Teas – A Gentle Way to Assist Your Health

Herbal teas are a great alternative to the usual black tea cuppa. However they are more than just a nice warm drink on a cold night. Herbal teas can have a wonderful positive effect on your immunity and help prevent illness. Herbs have been used in various ways for centuries to help people improve their health. Why not try a few on this list to see how they can help you?

Rosehip will help raise your immunity as it is full of Vitamin C.

Ginger is well known for helping nausea and to settle the stomach but it is also good for colds and flu.

Chamomile will help you sleep better as it calms your nervous system. It is also good for digestion.

Green tea has become a substitute for normal black tea with many people. Green tea will help boost your immunity as it is an anti-oxidant. If the taste is not to your liking then add a bit of lemon to give it a bit of a lift.

Fennel is a great tea to help you with controlling that sweet tooth. It tastes like liquorice so it can satisfy your cravings for sweet feeds as well as help suppress your appetite.

Lemon grass tones your skin and is also good for digestion and fever.

Peppermint is a great stomach tea for digestion and to help with bad breath, congestion and fluid buildup. Peppermint is a stimulant so is a great tea to have in the mornings instead of that cup of coffee.

Spearmint is a good stand in for peppermint if you find peppermint too strong. Or you can add spearmint in with peppermint and chamomile if you want to make a great mix.

Brahmi tea will help your memory become a lot clearer

Dandelion is for fluid buildup and puffiness as it helps cleans the liver. If you feel unsettled when you drink it though see a naturopath as your liver function may need attention.

Raspberry leaf tea is for expectant mothers suffering from morning sickness and can also make for an easier delivery when baby is due.

So as you can see there are many teas to choose from each with their individual way of assisting you to get healthy. Maybe tomorrow instead of that cup of coffee or black tea, which both contain caffeine, which can be bad for you, try a cup of herbal tea and help clean up your body at the same time.

Creative Ways to Incorporate Fruit Into Your Menus

When you think of fruit, you’re probably thinking of them as a snack or dessert, but I challenge you to think again! Fruits can easily be incorporated into your everyday breakfast, and can be used to add sweetness to savory lunches and dinners. It just takes a bit of creativity. Summer is a great time to get some seasonal produce at your grocery or local farmer’s market, but canned or dried fruits are also a great addition to your meals.

How Much?

The American Heart Association recommends a colorful variety of 3 – 4 servings per day. If you’re using canned fruit, look for fruits canned in their own juice. A serving size is different based on the type of fruit and how it’s prepared.

• 1 medium apple, peach, orange or similar individual fruit (about the size of a baseball).

• 1 cup of fresh fruit, such as melon balls, watermelon pieces, pineapple slices, etc.

• ½ cup of dried fruit, such as cranberries or raisins.

• ½ cup of fruit juice. Juice doesn’t have the same nutritious extras you get with real fruit, like fiber, but it’s good in a pinch. Look for packages labeled 100% juice.

Be sure to wash your fruits just before you eat them. That keeps them from spoiling before you get to enjoy them. You can also keep them in the refrigerator for a cool, refreshing bite.

Fantastic Fruit Food Ideas

Fruits are a component of a well-balanced meal, so be sure to get in your dose of fruits along with vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and low fat dairy. How can you add fruit to your meals? See my suggestions below!

Breakfast

• Add fruit to your favorite dry cereal. Try adding bananas, strawberries, or blueberries.

• Include fruits in your hot cereal, like oatmeal. Try adding apples, bananas or nectarines.

• Mix fruits into yogurt. Try raspberries, blueberries, cherries and melons.

Lunch

• Add strawberries, pears, or pineapple to a salad of mesclun greens.

• Add dried cranberries or sliced fresh grapes to chicken salad.

• Spread nut butter on whole wheat bread and top with sliced apples.

Dinner

• Puree fruits and top them over your favorite lean meat dishes as a glaze. Try apricots or mango.

• Thinly slice fruits and add them to a slaw. Try slicing apples, pineapples or pears.

• Include fruit in your next BBQ by adding them to kebabs. Try pineapple or peaches with chicken or pork.

There are infinite ways to increase your fruit intake. Get creative! Think of the meals you consume most often and find a way to incorporate a fruit you enjoy. There are no culinary mistakes when it comes to fruit!

Bonnie R. Giller helps chronic dieters and people with medical conditions like diabetes break free from diets and food rules so they can make peace with food and change their relationship with food and their bodies forever. She does this by creating a tailored solution that combines three essential ingredients: a healthy mindset, caring support and nutrition education.