Metabolism, Part 2 of 3

People often want to know which foods they can eat to give their metabolism a boost and keep it healthy. Yesterday you learned that metabolism requires certain vitamins and minerals in order to properly break down sugar molecules and create energy for your body.

B-vitamins are some of the main vitamins used in metabolism. They act as “carriers” to transport the tiny molecules of food from one step of metabolism to another. So, if you are not getting enough B-vitamins from your diet, you could be slowing down your metabolism. Two important B-vitamins are riboflavin (B-2) and niacin (B-3).

Foods that contain niacin and riboflavin include yogurt, broccoli, almonds, wild and brown rice, brie, roquefort, ricotta and Swiss cheeses, tuna, white meat chicken, swordfish, salmon, halibut, peanuts, beef, cod, sunflower seeds, whole wheat flour, and eggs. Animal organs also contain high levels of these B-vitamins, so those people in your family who volunteer to eat the turkey organs on Thanksgiving each year (that would be you, Ed) are actually doing their health a huge favor!

Certain minerals are also necessary for proper metabolism. These include phosphorous, magnesium, iron, copper and zinc. All of these minerals work with the B-vitamins to transport and break down food. Foods you can eat to obtain each of these minerals include:

Phosphorous: Swiss, American and cheddar cheeses, ham, tofu, beans, milk, raw almonds, oatmeal and lentils.

Magnesium: buckwheat and whole wheat flour, tofu, dried figs, Swiss chard, raw almonds, roasted cashews, halibut, pecans, walnuts, bananas, avocado, watermelon, baked squash, black strap molasses, sweet potatoes (with skins), kiwi and garbanzo beans.

Iron: Blackstrap molasses, amaranth, quinoa, teff (see recipe using these grains here) lentils, beef, beans, leeks, apricots, kale, pumpkin, squash, raw spinach, almonds and figs.

Copper: Cashews, peas, blackstrap molasses, sunflower seeds, mushrooms, almonds, whole wheat flour, prunes, white meat chicken, pecans, halibut.

Zinc: Oysters, beef, turkey, Swiss and cheddar cheeses, lima beans, rolled oats, pumpkin seeds, tuna, ginger, lentils, cashews and peas.

As you can see, it is very important to vary your diet to get all of these vitamins and minerals. Try keeping only whole wheat flour and brown rice in your kitchen, so whenever you bake or cook these are your only options. White rice and white flour are not helping metabolism (or your overall health) one bit, so why buy them? Another tip is to eat many different types of nuts and seeds either as a snack, on a salad, in the form of nut butter, or in things you bake or cook. You can see above that nuts and seeds contain many vitamins and minerals. Finally, try to buy new fruits and vegetables each time you grocery shop. Sometimes people get into the habit of buying the same things each week. This limits your diet and may prevent you from getting all the vitamins and minerals your body needs.

Other quick, easy tips to incorporate the above foods into your diet: Bake with blackstrap molasses as a sweetener (read more about it here); make homemade nut butter not only from almonds but with cashews and walnuts as well (find out how to do it here); whenever you prepare potatoes, always keep skins on for full health benefits; add some of the fruits and veggies above into a smoothie.

It is important to focus on healthy foods to keep your metabolism moving. Low-fat or low-calorie diets may prevent you from getting all the vitamins and minerals your body requires, which ultimately slows metabolism and prevents further weight loss. The best diet, whether you’re trying to lose or maintain weight, is a diet rich in whole foods and one that limits or completely eliminates processed foods and refined sugars. This will ensure your metabolism and other cellular processes are functioning properly, allowing for healthy cells and prevention of sickness and disease.

1 comment:

  1. Ann, it is great to see you blogs build on each other. Such great themes in eating whole foods!