When it’s fired up, a healthy metabolism helps our whole body run in optimal condition. While exercise and good sleep are important factors to a healthy metabolism, eating certain foods can actually slow our metabolism down. And no one’s got time for that.
Scan this useful list of metabolism wreckers from functional medicine pro, Dr. Josh Axe, then hit the pantry to clear out the bad and make room for the even better…
In addition to eating healthy and working out, monitoring your metabolism is yet another important piece of the weight-loss (or weight-maintenance) puzzle. Metabolism is a broad term that encompasses all of the chemical processes going on within your body. The higher your metabolism, the more calories you burn and the easier it is to keep your waistline in check. A low metabolism, on the other hand, can make it a real challenge to lose weight, no matter how many miles you clock on the treadmill or how many salads you eat.
What you eat is one of the biggest drivers of metabolism, and incorporating a few natural metabolism boosters into your routine can speed up your metabolism and help you stay trim. Meanwhile, certain metabolism death foods can make it all but impossible to shed excess pounds.
So how do you know which foods you should be nixing from your diet to keep your metabolism up? Here are a few of the biggest offenders to keep an eye out for:
Although a staple in the typical western diet, refined grains can wreak havoc on your metabolism. During processing, these grains are stripped of their fiber — as well as many important nutrients — in an effort to improve the taste and texture of the final product. Because they are low in fiber, these grains area also digested much more easily than their whole grain counterparts and require fewer calories to break down, leaving your metabolism slowed down and sluggish.
Steering clear of sugary drinks like sodas, sports beverages and energy drinks is key if you’re looking to keep your metabolism running smoothly. Besides offering little to nothing in terms of nutrition, they can also skyrocket your appetite by altering your levels of ghrelin, the hormone responsible for stimulating hunger. Plus, studies have even found that regularly sipping on fructose-sweetened drinks can drain your metabolism and bring fat-burning to a screeching halt.
Processed Vegetable Oils
When it comes to your health, there are plenty of reasons to skip the heavily processed vegetable oils such as soybean oil, canola oil and sunflower oil. Not only are they associated with a higher risk of heart disease, but they’re packed with highly inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids, which can bump up the risk for weight gain and obesity. (Instead, swap out the vegetable oil for coconut oil, which has actually been shown to increase metabolism by up to 12 percent.)
Popular among dieters looking to cut calories and rev up weight loss, artificial sweeteners may actually do more harm than good in terms of your metabolism. Mounting research shows that artificial sweeteners like aspartame, sucralose, and saccharin may be linked to weight gain, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes. They can also alter the amount of good bacteria in your gut, which is believed to play a key role in weight management.
Non-Organic Fruits and Vegetables
Spending just a few dollars more at the grocery store — especially for foods on the Dirty Dozen list — can make a big impact on your health; not only can opting for organic produce limit your exposure to harmful pesticides, but it can also help keep your metabolism running. According to one animal study, pesticide exposure lowered metabolism and even caused some detrimental effects on health in mice, including glucose intolerance, high insulin levels and dyslipidemia, or unhealthy levels of fat in the blood.
Despite its long-standing status as a favorite among foodies and health enthusiasts alike, store-bought granola is often brimming with added sugar and extra ingredients that are no good for your health or your waistline. Overloading on sugar can cause a condition called leptin resistance, which drives up hunger and slows down metabolism. The better alternative? Try making your own homemade granola using your favorite combination of nutritious nuts, seeds and oats to take control of what’s really going on your plate.