Diet & Nutrition

Fire up a slow metabolism

When your metabolism is in peak condition, you can rev up the rate at which you burn fat. Start your engine with these six tips.

1: Eat breakfast
There is a link between eating breakfast and increasing the kilojoules you can burn, perhaps because your metabolic rate slows while you sleep. The best breakfast is a mix of protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats: try a small bowl of muesli with skim milk and a few almonds, or a poached egg on a wholegrain muffin.
2: Light your fire
Spices have thermogenic (fat-burning) properties. A Canadian study found that people who ate chilli powder with meals lost more weight than those who didn't. It is thought that the capsaicin in chilli increases metabolic rate by raising the body’s temperature. Add cayenne, ginger, wasabi or tasty hot salsas to food.
3: Choose the right fats
According to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a daily serving of fish high in omega-3 fatty acids helped people lose more weight than just reducing kilojoule intake. Eating omega-3 fatty acids is also good for your heart, either as a portion of oily fish, such as salmon, mackerel or sardines 2 or 3 times a week, or using flaxseed oil on your salads, or taking fish oil supplements.
4: Stay hydrated
Most of your body's reactions necessary for metabolism and energy production require a well-hydrated system, as does the transport of chemicals and nutrients around the body. Your liver flushes out toxins and converts fat to energy, and it needs water to function properly. Drink a minimum of eight glasses a day.
5: B sure
A marginal deficiency in B vitamins may be behind general sluggishness, including a slow metabolism. B vitamins are involved in the activity of neurotransmitters (brain chemicals that keep you relaxed and alert) and they are needed for the metabolism of carbohydrates, a process integral to your body's ability to produce energy.
6: Breathe deep
According to Ayurveda, India's traditional healing system, breathing techniques that 'massage' the abdomen from the inside also facilitate digestion and support correct metabolism. After a meal, sit quietly, close your eyes and clear your mind. Take several deep breaths for a count of five, expanding your belly as you breathe in, contracting as you exhale. Repeat 10 times.

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