Carrying excess body fat raises your chances of developing life-threatening conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke and even cancer. The LIFE Centre (Lifestyle Improvement and Fitness Enhancement) at Singapore General Hospital (SGH), a member of the SingHealth group, shares foods that you should include in your diet that boost metabolism and help you lose fat. (iStock photo)
Excess fat around the waist is particularly harmful. These excess fat cells, particularly visceral fat which is found in the liver and around our internal organs, actively secrete about 20 numerous hormones and other substances which can negatively impact your health.
To lose weight, the key is to consume fewer calories than you burn. Also, you should target to have at least 250 minutes of exercise per week, instead of the 150 minutes that is required for weight maintenance.
It may be interesting to note that some foods can help optimise the body's functioning and thus, your energy and metabolism, so be sure to include them in your diet.
Foods that help boost metabolism
Water constitutes two-thirds of a person's body weight. Yet few think of water as an essential nutrient. Water is needed to maintain normal physiological functions, including respiration, circulation and excretion. Not consuming enough water leads to dehydration, which can slow down metabolism. A general rule of thumb is to drink water throughout the day, before feeling thirsty. (Thirst signals the onset of early dehydration.)
2. Green tea
Studies show that having some green tea may help to raise your metabolism and speed up fat oxidation. There are other powerful health benefits associated with drinking a cuppa, including protection from heart disease, cancer and stroke.
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The unique chemical properties of this vitamin-C-packed citrus fruit aid in lowering insulin levels, promoting weight loss. Check with your doctor about any potential adverse drug interactions if you're on medication.
4. Apples and pears
Overweight women who ate the equivalent of three small apples or pears a day lost more weight on a low-calorie diet than women who didn't include fruit in their diet. Fruit eaters also consumed fewer calories overall. Next time you need to satisfy a sugar craving, reach for this low-calorie, high-fibre snack. You'll feel full longer and eat less.
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Apart from providing nutrients such as vitamins A and C, calcium and folate, this superfood also boosts your metabolism, while cancer-fighting phytochemicals bolster your immunity system.
6. Lean meat
When going for meats, go for lean cuts – sirloin steaks, turkey and chicken – which are rich in iron, the mineral responsible for the production of haemoglobin, the carrier of oxygen in the body. Lean meat jumpstarts your metabolism and energy levels, while burning more calories than the digestion of other foods.
A good source of cholesterol-fighting, fat-soluble fibre, this heart-healthy favourite ranks high on the list of good carbs that keep you full and provide you with energy for your workouts.
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