Metabolism can either be your best friend or your worst enemy. The unbelievably thin actress who claims she "eats whatever she wants and it just falls off" versus the overweight person who can't seem to maintain a healthy weight.
Keeping your metabolism where it needs to be -- your metabolic rate -- is key to weight loss and continued health. So how do you make sure it's working for you and not against you?
What makes it slow down?
Your metabolism is how your body produces energy to function properly. When we take in food and beverages, our body breaks them down to see what it can use. The fat and calories then combine with oxygen and are sent all over the body as a natural source of energy. Energy is not just for physical activities -- it fuels every single process within the body, including cell production and circulation.
According to the Mayo Clinic, three factors affect your personal metabolic rate:
Age -- As we get older, our ratio of muscle to fat changes. As more of our body weight becomes fat, we burn calories less quickly.
Sex -- Since men tend to have more muscle mass than women, they tend to burn calories faster, even compared to women of the same weight and age.
Body Size/Composition -- If you're a person of larger stature, you're better able to move calories, even when the body is not active. Also, the more muscle mass, the faster the metabolic rate.
Your metabolism can also be affected by the time it takes your body to digest the food you eat (this actually burns calories) and any exercise you engage in. But you can't trick your body into losing weight by taking in too few calories, this will cause your body to go into survival mode, burning off calories more slowly. Consuming more calories than you burn off is the main reason for weight gain, along with medical conditions like hypothyroidism.
The Doctor's Top Picks
On the April 30 episode of "Dr. Oz," Dr. Mehmet Oz decided to end the month with a bang and list his favorite supplements for boosting your metabolism:
This compound is derived from a type of brown seaweed. Once combined with pomegranate seed oil, you get Xanthigen, which is responsible for the metabolic effect. What makes it so effective is that it doesn't utilize the central nervous system to promote weight loss, but instead goes right to the source, the fat stored around your body, particularly in your belly. Take just 200 mg per day to help blast belly fat.
This powerful supplement is derived from nuts (well, actually seeds that taste like nuts when roasted) found in Peru. Also called Inca peanuts, the plants that produce these seeds are found in the rainforest as well as the Andes mountains. Among their key components are vitamin E and omega-3 essential fatty acids. Sacha Inchi also has anti-inflammatory properties that also target fat around the midsection, like the fucoxanthin. To really get your metabolism revved up, try 600 mg of Sacha Inchi daily.
Popular with athletes for years, l-arginine helps to build lean muscle mass by keeping hormone levels in balance. This amino acid is found naturally in certain foods and helps promote the release of insulin. L-arginine has also been shown to promote cardiovascular health by improving blood circulation. Dr. Oz recommends 2,000 mg three times per day for the best results and be sure to exercise regularly.
Dr. Oz said the supplements are fine to mix, since none of them are synthetic stimulants. However, if you're looking for a starting point, fucoxanthin is the way to go. This supplement will help you perk up a lagging metabolism while targeting the fat that's the most difficult to get rid off. All three are available in capsule form. Consult with your doctor if you're currently being treated for a medical condition or if you're pregnant or nursing.
These three supplements are all natural and a much safer way to help your body burn fat. So now you have the doctor's orders. Have list, will burn.
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