5 min read
It's a story that's all too familiar to many people: you watch your diet closely and you exercise religiously, but you still can't seem to lose weight. For better or for worse, your metabolism may be the reason why you are struggling with your weight loss efforts.
Your body's metabolic systems are responsible for converting the food you eat into the energy your body needs to function, and how efficiently (or efficiently) your body processes food is known as your metabolic rate. You metabolic rate is affected by your gut health and many other things.
In other words, your specific metabolic rate dictates how many calories your body needs each day to perform basic functions. If your metabolism is low, your daily caloric needs will be, too--and any excess calories will be converted into fat. Boosting your metabolism means that your body will burn more calories each day, significantly helping in your quest to shed pounds. Diet and exercise can help--but if that's not enough, these nine supplements may be able to increase your metabolism and help you burn more calories.
For many people, their morning cup of coffee provides a necessary burst of energy to help them start their day. Perhaps unsurprisingly, then, caffeine can also help boost your metabolism and increase your caloric expenditure. Taking 270 milligrams of caffeine per day--the equivalent of about three cups of coffee--helps to stimulate the body's energy expenditure and increase calorie burn.
Perhaps best known as the chemical that makes jalapeños hot, capsaicin also has the potential to help improve weight loss. After reviewing 20 studies on capsaicin’s effects, researchers concluded that supplementing with capsaicin daily can increase your metabolic rate by about 50 calories each day. That may not sound like much, but it works out to about one additional pound lost every two months!
Known as CLA for short, conjugated linoleic acid is a healthy fat that can be found in dairy and meat. Studies have found that taking a CLA supplement can help lower body fat by about a pound per month in addition to helping increase muscle. You can add CLA into your diet through organic milk, grass-fed beef and eggs--or just take a 3.2 gram supplement each day.
The beneficial microorganisms known as probiotic supplements have a wide range of health-boosting effects, from improving digestion to helping immune system function. Scientists have demonstrated that a probiotic supplement can also affect metabolic function by changing the makeup of microbes in the gut and influencing how the body absorbs fat. Incredibly, research indicates that probiotics may even be able to treat metabolic disorders like obesity and diabetes!
Getting enough fiber in your diet is key to maintaining a well-functioning digestive tract, but fiber can also help combat the damaging metabolic effects of sugar and bad fats. Researchers have discovered that rats who were given a daily fiber supplement maintained a healthier weight while on a high-fat, high-sugar diet than those who weren't. So while you should probably avoid too much fat and sugar while trying to lose weight, supplementing your fiber intake can help you avoid the worst side-effects when you do indulge.
Your thyroid plays an important role in regulating your metabolism through hormone production, and an under active thyroid can lead to a drop in your metabolic rate. Several nutrients help promote a healthy thyroid, and selenium is one of them. Indeed, too little selenium can lead to thyroid disease--and thus a lower metabolism. The average adult can benefit from 55 to 70 micrograms of selenium per day, with pregnant or breastfeeding women needing more.
Like selenium, getting adequate amounts of zinc is critical for maintaining proper thyroid function and supporting your metabolism. Studies have found that zinc deficiency can reduce your thyroid's ability to produce key hormones that affect your metabolic system. Supplementing with about 8 to 11 milligrams of zinc a day is enough to avoid these negative effects. As an added benefit, there's evidence that zinc can help you control your appetite as well.
Naturally found in the skin of grapes and certain berries, resveratrol has the potential to give your metabolism a much-needed kick-start. Researchers at the University of Georgia, Athens found that mice who were given a resveratrol supplement gained less weight when put on a high-fat diet than those that weren't, indicting that resveratrol can help boost metabolic rate.
A type of antioxidant found in tea, catechin is the main component in green tea extract and is thought to help treat cardiovascular disease. Another benefit of a catechin supplement: the substance can help protect your body's natural stimulants that boost cell activity and thus energy consumption. Indeed, studies have found that a daily supplement of 690 milligrams of catechin can lead to reduced body fat.
Keep in mind that your metabolic rate is influenced by many factors: age, gender and overall genetic makeup, to name a few. Adding metabolic-boosting supplements to your daily routine, however, can help give you the push you need to overcome your weight loss plateau.
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