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Our body's metabolism is higher and faster when we are younger; in our 20s and 30s. But as we grow older, not only do our nutritional requirements change, but we also see our metabolism slowing down. This is more exaggerated in women who are perimenopausal or approaching menopause, as hormonal fluctuations also significantly impact metabolic health. While this is a bleak reality, it is not the end. There are multiple ways to improve one's metabolic health using varied nutrition and exercise or fitness interventions. One such class of superheroes who can turn it around are Superfoods!
Table of Contents
What are Superfoods?
The term Superfoods refers to those foods that offer maximum nutritional benefits with minimal calories. Simply put, these food items pack more nutrients per calorie than other conventional foods thus not only fulfilling your nutritional needs but also doing it with fewer calories.
What are the Metabolic Benefits of Superfoods?
Our cells release free molecules, which are unstable and causing them damage to age faster. Superfoods are loaded with antioxidants which bind with cell-damaging free radicals, thus protecting your cells.
Protein-rich foods are often packed with fibre which makes our body take longer to digest them. This means our body has to work harder and use more calories to break them down thus increasing the rate of carbohydrate and fat utilisation.
Our metabolism is responsible for how many calories we burn to carry out basic body functions like blood circulation, digestion, breathing and even physical activities such as sitting, standing, sleeping, walking, and running. So a faster metabolism burns more calories helping us to lose weight faster.
One common rule when embarking on a weight loss regime, is to consume fewer calories than required during the day, called Calorie Deficit. But often this also means Energy Deficit. Superfoods can help in this situation. Most superfoods are high in one or two essential nutrients and provide fewer calories.
Top 7 Superfoods for improved Metabolism
1. Dark Leafy Greens
Calcium, iron, folate, magnesium, zinc, vitamin C, and fibre, among other minerals, are abundant in dark green leafy vegetables. One of the advantages of dark green leafy vegetables is that they can lower the risk of chronic illnesses, including heart disorder and type 2 diabetes. Some well-known dark green leafy vegetables are spinach, fenugreek, moringa, mustard and amaranth. You can use them in your favourite soups, salads, smoothies, stir-fries, and curries.
Berries are high in fibre, minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants, making them a nutritional powerhouse. Their high antioxidant content lowers the risk of heart disease, cancer, and other inflammatory disorders. When paired with modern medical therapies, berries help treat several digestive and immune-related disorders. The culinary applications of berries are as vast as their health advantages. You can eat them whole, add them to salads or smoothies, or cook them into desserts.
3. Green Tea
Green tea originated in China and is a peaceful beverage with a robust range of therapeutic benefits. It has caffeine as well. The leaf contains antioxidants that have anti-inflammatory properties. It also has polyphenolic substances. Its apparent potential to protect against heart disorder, diabetes, and cancer is most likely due to the presence of a catechin called EGCG or epigallocatechin-3-gallate. Catechins are natural antioxidants that aid in preventing cell damage. These chemicals can protect cells and molecules by reducing the generation of free radicals in the body. Free radicals contribute to ageing and a variety of ailments.
Because of their high cholesterol content, eggs have long been a contentious topic in the nutrition industry, but they remain one of the healthiest foods. In fact, eating eggs may increase good cholesterol in many, thereby lowering their risk of heart disorder.
Kefir is a probiotic-rich fermented milk beverage high in protein, B vitamins, calcium, and potassium. Kefir is similar to yoghurt. However, it is thinner and contains more probiotic microbes. Probiotic-rich foods like kefir improve digestion, lower cholesterol, and have anti-inflammatory properties. Even though kefir is made from cow's milk, those with lactose intolerance tolerate it well since bacteria ferment the lactose. Non-dairy beverages such as coconut milk, rice milk, and coconut water are also used. Kefir is available for purchase or can be manufactured at home. Keep an eye out for added sugar if you're buying something ready-made.
Some of the most popular edible mushroom varieties are button, portobello, shiitake, crimini, and oyster mushrooms. Mushrooms contain vitamin A, potassium, fibre, and numerous antioxidants not found in most other foods. However, the amount varies depending on the variety. Interestingly, consuming more mushrooms is linked to having more veggies, resulting in a more nutritious diet. Mushrooms' high antioxidant content may also aid in reducing inflammation and preventing some types of cancer. They also have the benefit of being grown with agricultural waste materials. As a result, mushrooms are an essential part of a balanced diet.
Cacao beans and roasted Cocoa extracts, increase the expression of fat-burning genes. This appears to be especially true in high-fat, high-calorie diets. Cocoa may impede the body from absorbing fats, carbs and the calories they provide by inhibiting the operation of enzymes needed to break them down during digestion.
According to studies, the consumption of superfoods has been associated with a lower risk of mortality and improved complexion, hair, nails, and energy levels. However they can neither compensate the damage caused by poor eating habits, nor be a replacement for a healthy balanced diet. Superfoods are an added benefit when you eat healthy and nutritious food with appropriate portion sizes and encompassing a wide variety of essential vitamins and minerals meeting our dietary needs.
This website's content is provided only for educational reasons and is not meant to be a replacement for professional medical advice. Due to individual differences, the reader should contact their physician to decide whether the material is applicable to their case.