Health Column: Naturally Boosting your Body

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By Alecia Sexton

Staff Writer

Happy Spring! We can finally pack away our winter coats and enjoy some warm weather! Since we all know that summer and beach season will be here in no time, and eventually the process of shedding ‘the “winter 10” will have to commence, I’d like to share some help-ful tips that can naturally increase the body’s basal metabolic rate.

While it may seem easier to walk yourself into the drug store and purchase some magical diet pill, they are often not the best choice. Diet pills are under no obligation to be checked by the FDA according to FDA.org, and have the potential for side effects such as vomiting, neurological and mood disturbances. These pills have also been known to contain hidden substances such as amphetamines, anti-anxiety drugs, and antidepressants, all of which can interact with medication and become addictive. The bottom line is that diet pills are a temporary and potentially risky fix that shouldn’t be our “go to” for weight loss.

Luckily, there are some simple ways that don’t involve diet pills to boost the amount of daily calories you burn. First is to try and increase daily activity levels via activities like going for a 20 minute walk instead of gluing yourself to the couch. Next is to cut back on daily consumptions of junk foods like chips and ice cream. Simple changes like these can burn up to about 300 calories more per day without even going to the gym.

The number-one calorie burning food, according to the American College of Sports Nutrition, is hot peppers. Oddly enough, hot peppers have a chemical in them called capsaicin that triggers our body’s pain receptors. While doing this, blood circulation increases, as does metabolism. This is why some people break out into a sweat when consuming spicy foods.

Green tea is another effective metabolism booster because it contains antioxidants that make it easier for the liver to breakdown fat for energy use. Additionally, green tea has the potential to stimulate the body to burn an extra 240 calories per day. Three to four cups per day should do the trick, however, avoid nighttime drinking since caffeine could lead to insomnia.

Increasing the amount of fiber consumed in a day to around 25 grams can increase the amount of calories burned by as much as 30 percent. Studies by NCBI show that fiber helpful insulin levels, preventing sudden crashes that lead us to grab quick, non-nutritious snacks throughout the day. In addition, fiber is a long term preventative measure for weight gain.

A major rule of thumb when trying to speed up your metabolic rate, or at least keep it working at its optimal level, is to always be sure to eat enough. Don’t skip meals or portion yourself so much that you never feel satisfied. As your body is moving from source to source to find the energy to get you across campus to your next class, it’s simultaneously decreasing the rate at which it’s functioning so that, just in case food isn’t around for awhile, it will be able to preserve what it has in order to last longer.

Follow these steps and you’d be surprised at what can happen in just a few weeks. The key is to not deprive yourself of every tempt or crave. Slow and steady wins the race, but incorporating these points into a new regime of increased physical activity and adequate daily rest will undoubtedly show results. Not only will you see the difference, but you’ll feel more energized and ready to take on the day. Good Luck!

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