A healthy, active metabolism is a critical - and critically overlooked - part of any workout routine, or just life in general. A well-calibrated metabolism will help you feel better, burn fat faster, and help keep that fat off once its gone.
Many of the best things you can put into your body aren’t hard to find. One of the most important is actually free.
Every chemical reaction that takes place within your body requires water. If you’re dehydrated, your body isn’t working at peak efficiency. Drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day is usually enough to ensure you're properly hydrated, perhaps more if you are more active or intend to be more active.
Water also has the side benefits of helping to flush toxins from the body and helping us to feel fuller with a meal.
Capsaicin, the chemical that gives everything from the humble jalapeño to the atomic habanero its heat, may not only light your mouth on fire, it may light a fire under your metabolism, making your furnace burn just that much hotter as well.
Capsaicin is also a potent antioxidant, and by substituting the flavor of a jalapeño for, say, butter or cream, you make your food that much healthier.
Plant-based Calcium supplements and/or Dairy
In addition to being a critical component for strong bones, calcium is also a critical electrolyte that keeps your body working at peak efficiency. Calcium deficiency is also believed to slow down your metabolism, and dairy products like low-fat milk and yogurt are among the best natural sources of this key mineral.
Another good reason to add dairy is…
If you want to build muscle and keep it, then Vitamin D is critical, but most American diets are sadly deficient in this key nutrient. It’s easily found in dairy, cereals, and especially in fish oils.
Vitamin D is also produced by our bodies by exposure to sunlight; yet another reason to get outside and enjoy the sun. Just be sure to use sunscreen and take the usual precautions when catching some rays.
It’s not just for the 4th of July anymore. Watermelon is one of the highest natural sources of the amino acid arginine, which has been shown to increase your body’s fat burning potential during exercise. Arginine can also be found naturally in nuts, seeds, and many seafoods.
The caffeine boost in your morning cup of coffee or tea is a potent metabolism kickstarter. The many health benefits of both coffee and tea are well known, and more are being discovered each day. Coffee and tea have been shown to contain dozens of powerful antioxidants, for example.
So does this mean a caffeinated soda is good for you? That would be a definite “no.” Whatever health benefits the caffeine in a Mountain Dew might have are more than eliminated by the negative effects of high fructose corn syrup, sugar, and carbonated water.
The hemoglobin in your blood cells - which transports oxygen to your cells - is like the fuel in your car; when you don’t have enough iron in your body, it’s like trying to run your car on kerosene - it may run, but it won’t run well. Iron is also a critical muscle building component. Muscle cells burn half the calories of fat cells, so the more muscle cells you have, the better.
Great sources of natural iron include lean meat, shellfish, spinach, and especially beans and legumes, which are powerful sources of protein as well.