Metabolism: our body’s internal governor of how efficiently we burn calories and, by extension, unwanted fat.
Some are blessed with a fast metabolism (meaning as they sit still doing nothing they’re burning more calories than the average Joe) and some are cursed with a slow metabolism (sitting still they burn less calories than the average person). And metabolism slows down with age.
Though it may feel like it, fortunately, the deck isn’t stacked against you. Even if you’re past your early twenties and you have a slow metabolism to begin with, there are things you can do to give your metabolism a bump, which will boost your ability to burn fat.
Here are 5 natural ingredients that boost metabolism. In this article you’ll learn everything you need to know about what these ingredients are and how they do what they do.
Cayenne (Capsicum annuum)
Cayenne pepper is a delicious spice used in many different cuisines – Creole, Asian, and Mexican, just to name a few.
While it is a great part of food and can easily be incorporated into your diet, those among us that don’t like the heat may prefer to use cayenne as a supplement instead (a much cooler way to get some of the same benefits).
One of the primary ingredients in cayenne pepper is capsaicin. It’s this component of cayenne Dr. David Heber, a researcher and physician at the University of California Los Angeles Center for Human Nutrition, found encourages your body to use more fat as fuel.
In addition to upping your body’s fat burning ability, capsaicin generally increases energy expenditure.
Green tea (Camellia sinensis)
Arguably, one of the healthiest things to drink on the planet; it improves brain function, fat loss, and lowers the risk of cancer. All that and it gives you that little pick me up only caffeine can supply.
Why does it have so many benefits?
Because green tea and its extracts are chalked full of nutrients and antioxidants, one of these being Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) – a substance that has been shown to boost metabolism.
EGCG boosts metabolism by inhibiting an enzyme that breaks down the catecholamine norepinephrine. Because it prevents its breakdown, norepinephrine is active longer, increasing the length of time that it’s effective. This simultaneously increases its activity and its circulating levels.
The downstream effect of all this is: fat cells break down more fat, which is released into the bloodstream and used as energy by cells.
Cocoa (Theobroma cacao)
Cocoa is most commonly found in chocolate.
How is it listed in a post describing natural ingredients that can help weight loss and boost metabolism? Because in isolation it has those properties. Cramming a bar of dark chocolate with the justification that you’re “burning fat” won’t cut it here. Everything else in the chocolate is probably going to undermine you fat-burning goals with this approach.
To talk about cocoa more specifically, it is a mild stimulant and diuretic (means it increases the amount of water and salt expelled from the body); it can also improve insulin sensitivity and elevate mood.
Cocoa influences weight loss by mimicking some of the stimulating properties of its brother caffeine (Theobroma cacao and caffeine have a similar chemical structure allowing them to have some effects on the same receptors). Stimulants increase metabolism.
Because cocoa is also a diuretic, it will increase weight loss by losing water.
Cassia cinnamon (Cinnamomum aromaticum)
Cassia cinnamon, also known as Chinese cinnamon. In 2012, a study published in the International Journal of Preventative Medicine showed cinnamon supplementation in diabetic patients was able to significantly improve blood sugar and triglyceride levels after eight weeks. The patients also experienced weight loss.
Improved blood sugar levels are most likely due to improved insulin sensitivity, which has also been observed as a result of cinnamon supplementation.
Glucose, or sugar, is too big of a molecule to pass through the cell membrane. If it can’t get over the cell membrane it can’t get into cells and get broken down for energy. So, it just sits in the blood stream. Glucose in excess in the blood stream is assumed by the body to not be needed by cells for energy and some of it is converted to fat and stored.
Glucose needs the help of the hormone, insulin, to transport it across cell membranes and into cells.
Cinnamon appears to be able to increase insulin sensitivity – this means cells are more responsive to the hormone and get glucose into the cell more efficiently.
Less glucose lying around in the blood stream means less is converted to fat for storage.
Piperine (Piper nigrum)
Also known by a much simpler name, black pepper. It’s one of the most common spices used worldwide and has been used as a traditional medicine for ages.
Black pepper may be able to boost metabolism by increasing lipid (fat) breakdown. It’s known as a thermogenic food, which means it speeds up metabolism and increases calorie expenditure by stimulating the production of heat in the body.
It’s through these thermogenic properties that black pepper is thought to enhance lipid metabolism and its breakdown.
Metabolism can be your enemy, but it can also be your closest ally. Some are blessed with a naturally fast one, and others have to work a little harder in other areas of their life to make up for an inherited deficit.
Whatever the case, diet is one way metabolism can be altered. I’ve outlined 5 ingredients that have been shown to boos metabolism in some way. If you do your research, you can find all these ingredients in one place and in one supplement. Contact me and I’ll tell you a little more about your options.
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