5 Dishes That Can Help Fight Inflammation

It’s always great to hear about studies that tout the anti-inflammatory benefits of certain foods. Step it up a notch by combining these anti-inflammatory foods into scrumptious dishes. Here are five ways to do so.

Creamy Broccoli Salad

A March 2014 study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics examined whether consumption of cruciferous vegetables like broccoli may relate to inflammation. Researchers analyzed the diets of more than 1,000 middle-aged Chinese women as part of the Shanghai Women’s Health Study and found those who ate the most cruciferous vegetables had the lowest inflammation compared with women who ate a diet with fewer of these veggies.

Tara Donne, 2012, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Green Salad with Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

Fruits and vegetables are antioxidant-rich foods and contain numerous phytochemicals with a variety of health benefits. The more colors you eat, the more of these inflammation-fighting nutrients you’ll take in.

Stephen Johnson, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Food Network Kitchen Cherry Almond Chocolate Clusters Healthy Eats Food Network

Cherry Almond Clusters

Cherries have both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, making them a wonderful addition to any diet. Dark chocolate is packed with theobromine, a powerful antioxidant known for helping to reduce inflammation. Pack them together in a cookie for a powerful anti-inflammatory punch.

Ekaterina Garyuk

Flax seeds

Healthy Breakfast Muffins

Bake a batch of these breakfast muffins that have two foods to help fight inflammation: flax seed and walnuts. Flax seed contains alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a type of omega-3 fat. Walnuts are overflowing with omega-3 fats, with one serving having 2,565 milligrams.

Matt Armendariz, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Stock Photo of Salmon on Zinc

Green Tea Poached Salmon with Ginger-Lime Sauce

There are three inflammation-fighting ingredients in this powerful recipe! Omega-3-packed salmon helps decrease inflammation, and so do green tea and ginger. Green tea is brimming with phytochemicals that can help fight inflammation and preserve joints longer. Ginger also appears to have anti-inflammatory properties, with studies suggesting it offers benefits to those with osteoarthritis.

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. She is the author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More Than 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day.

Everything you need to know about inflammation

Inflammation is a defense mechanism in the body. The immune system recognizes damaged cells, irritants, and pathogens, and it begins the healing process.

When something harmful or irritating affects a part of our body, there is a biological response to try to remove it. The signs and symptoms of inflammation can be uncomfortable but are a show that the body is trying to heal itself.

Fast facts on inflammation

  • Inflammation is the body’s attempt at self-protection to remove harmful stimuli and begin the healing process.
  • Inflammation is part of the body’s immune response.
  • Infections, wounds, and any damage to tissue would not be able to heal without an inflammatory response.
  • Chronic inflammation can eventually cause several diseases and conditions, including some cancers and rheumatoid arthritis.

What is inflammation?

Inflammation is part of the body’s immune response.

It can be beneficial when, for example, your knee sustains a blow and tissues need care and protection. However, sometimes, inflammation can persist longer than necessary, causing more harm than benefit.

Wound healing

Our immediate reaction to a swelling is to try and decrease it. However, it is important to remember that inflammation is an essential part of the healing process.

The first stage of inflammation is often called irritation, which then becomes inflammation. Inflammation is followed by the discharging of pus. The granulation stage comes next, and new tissue is formed in the wound.

Without inflammation, infections and wounds would never heal.

Innate immunity

When a person is born, certain defenses in the immune system are naturally present in the body. This is known as innate immunity.

It is different from adaptive immunity, which we develop after an infection or vaccination when the body “learns” to fight a specific infectious agent.

Innate immunity is generally nonspecific, while adaptive immunity is specific to a particular pathogen. Inflammation is one example of an innate immune response.

Symptoms

Symptoms of inflammation vary depending on whether the reaction is acute or chronic.

The effects of acute inflammation can be summed up by the acronym PRISH. They include:

  • Pain: The inflamed area is likely to be painful, especially during and after touching. Chemicals that stimulate nerve endings are released, making the area more sensitive.
  • Redness: This occurs because the capillaries in the area are filled with more blood than usual.
  • Immobility: There may be some loss of function in the region of the inflammation.
  • Swelling: This is caused by a buildup of fluid.
  • Heat: More blood flows to the affected area, and this makes it feel warm to the touch.

These five acute inflammation signs only apply to inflammations of the skin. If inflammation occurs deep inside the body, such as in an internal organ, only some of the signs may be noticeable.

For example, some internal organs may not have sensory nerve endings nearby, so there will be no pain, such as in certain types of lung inflammation.

Symptoms of chronic inflammation present in a different way. These can include:

  • fatigue
  • mouth sores
  • chest pain
  • abdominal pain
  • fever
  • rash
  • joint pain

Causes

Inflammation is caused by a number of physical reactions triggered by the immune system in response to a physical injury or an infection.

Inflammation does not necessarily mean that there is an infection, but an infection can cause inflammation.

Three main processes occur before and during acute inflammation:

  • The small branches of arteries enlarge when supplying blood to the damaged region, resulting in increased blood flow.
  • Capillaries become easier for fluids and proteins to infiltrate, meaning that they can move between blood and cells.
  • The body releases neutrophils. A neutrophil is a type of white blood cell filled with tiny sacs that contain enzymes and digest microorganisms.

A person will notice inflammation symptoms after these steps take place.

Acute inflammation

An acute inflammation is one that starts rapidly and becomes severe in a short space of time. Signs and symptoms are normally only present for a few days but may persist for a few weeks in some cases.

Examples of diseases, conditions, and situations that can result in acute inflammation include:

Chronic or acute inflammation

These are the two types of inflammation that differ in how quickly symptoms escalate and how long they last.

The following table shows the key differences between acute and chronic inflammation:

Acute Chronic
Caused by Harmful bacteria or tissue injury Pathogens that the body cannot break down, including some types of virus, foreign bodies that remain in the system, or overactive immune responses
Onset Rapid Slow
Duration A few days From months to years
Outcomes Inflammation improves, turns into an abscess, or becomes chronic Tissue death and the thickening and scarring of connective tissue

What is chronic inflammation?

This refers to long-term inflammation and can last for several months and even years. It can result from:

  • failure to eliminate whatever was causing an acute inflammation
  • an autoimmune disorder that attacks normal healthy tissue, mistaking it for a pathogen that causes disease
  • exposure to a low level of a particular irritant, such as an industrial chemical, over a long period

Examples of diseases and conditions that include chronic inflammation:

Rheumatoid arthritis involves chronic inflammation.

Although damaged tissue cannot heal without inflammation, chronic inflammation can eventually cause several diseases and conditions including some cancers, rheumatoid arthritis, atherosclerosis, periodontitis, and hay fever.

Inflammation needs to be well managed.

Is inflammation painful?

When people have inflammation, it often hurts.

People will feel pain, stiffness, discomfort, distress, and even agony, depending on the severity of the inflammation. The type of pain varies. It can be described as constant and steady, throbbing and pulsating, stabbing, or pinching.

Inflammation primarily causes pain because the swelling pushes against the sensitive nerve endings. This sends pain signals to the brain.

Other biochemical processes also occur during inflammation. They affect how nerves behave, and this can enhance pain.

Common treatments

As mentioned earlier in this article, inflammation is part of the healing process. Sometimes, reducing inflammation is helpful, though not always necessary.

Anti-inflammatory medications

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can be taken to alleviate the pain caused by inflammation.

They counteract an enzyme that contributes to inflammation. This either prevents or reduces pain.

Examples of NSAIDs include naproxen, ibuprofen, and aspirin, which are available to purchase online.

Avoid the long-term use of NSAIDs unless advised by a doctor. They increase a person’s risk of stomach ulcers, which can result in severe, life-threatening bleeding.

NSAIDs may also worsen asthma symptoms, cause kidney damage, and increase the risk of having a stroke or heart attack.

Acetaminophen, such as paracetamol or Tylenol, can reduce pain without affecting the inflammation. They may be ideal for those wishing to treat just the pain while allowing the healing factor of the inflammation to run its course.

Corticosteroids

Corticosteroids, such as cortisol, are a class of steroid hormones that prevent a number of mechanisms involved in inflammation.

There are two sets of corticosteroids:

Glucocorticoids: These are prescribed for a range of conditions, including:

  • arthritis
  • temporal arteritis
  • dermatitis
  • inflammatory bowel disease (IBS)
  • systemic lupus
  • hepatitis
  • asthma
  • allergic reactions
  • sarcoidosis

Creams and ointments may be prescribed for inflammation of the skin, eyes, lungs, bowels, and nose.

Mineralocorticoids: These are used to treat cerebral salt wasting, and to replace important hormones for patients with adrenal insufficiency.

The side effects of corticosteroids are more likely if taken by mouth. Taking them with inhalers or injections can reduce the risk.

Inhaled medications, such as those used long-term to treat asthma, raise the risk of developing oral thrush. Rinsing the mouth out with water after each use can help prevent oral thrush.

Glucocorticoids can also cause Cushing’s syndrome, while mineralocorticoids can cause high blood pressure, low blood potassium levels, connective tissue weakness, and problems with the levels of acids and alkalis in body tissue.

Herbs for inflammation

Discuss any possible use of herbal supplements with a doctor.

Harpagophytum procumbens: Also known as devil’s claw, wood spider, or grapple plant, this herb comes from South Africa and is related to sesame plants. Some research has shown it may have anti-inflammatory properties. Various brands are available to purchase online.

Hyssop: This is mixed with other herbs, such as licorice, for the treatment of some lung conditions, including inflammation. The essential oils of hyssop can lead to life-threatening convulsions in laboratory animals. Caution is advised.

Ginger: This has been used for hundreds of years to treat dyspepsiaconstipationcolic, and other gastrointestinal problems, as well as rheumatoid arthritis pain. Ginger may be purchased online in supplement form.

Turmeric: Current research is looking into the possible beneficial effects of turmeric in treating arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, and some other inflammatory conditions. Curcumin, a substance found in turmeric, is being invested for the treatment of several illnesses and disorders, including inflammation. Supplements with turmeric and curcumin are available.

Cannabis: This contains a cannabinoid called cannabichromene, which has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. However, cannabis is not legal in many places.

Inflammation diet

There are several foods that can have been shown to help reduce the risk of inflammation, including:

  • olive oil
  • tomatoes
  • nuts, such as walnuts and almonds
  • leafy greens, including spinach and kale
  • fatty fish, such as salmon and mackerel
  • fruit, including blueberries and oranges

Avoid eating foods that aggravate inflammation, including:

  • fried foods, including French fries
  • white bread, pastry, and other foods that contain refined carbohydrates
  • soda and sugary drinks
  • red meat
  • margarine and lard

While these dietary solutions do not alone hold the key to controlling inflammation, they can help prime the immune system to react in a measured way.

Source: medicalnewstoday.com ~ By: 

Science-Backed Ways to Treat Chronic Inflammation

It might sound strange, but if you twist your ankle, and it swells up to the size of a small chihuahua, that’s actually a good thing. Inflammation helps wounds heal, and our body would be pretty screwed without it. Of course, if the swelling never went down, problems would arise. One, it would be ever-so-hard to find knee-high boots. And two, that chronic swelling would damage the tissues around the ankle, causing pain and lack of mobility.

Now, there are different types of inflammation, and in the case of a sprained ankle, chronic inflammation is very rare. But chronic inflammation inside your body may be more common than we thought. When your insides are constantly aflame, it can cause symptoms like digestive issues; rashes; fatigue; and joint, chest, or abdominal pain. Even depression has been linked to inflammatory problems.

Unfortunately, inflammation is mysterious: Until recently, the medical community only cared about inflammation in conditions like lupus or inflammatory bowel disease. But growing evidence shows that inflammation could be a factor in a wide variety of diseases. From cancer to diabetes to ALS, studies are beginning to show that inflammation could be an underlying cause of many illnesses.

But please don’t panic: If you have joint pain or another mild symptom, that doesn’t mean you’re going to get cancer. In fact, inflammation is tricky because it’s not always linked to disease. And to be clear, there is not enough evidence to prove that inflammation has a solid link to cancer. Still, the fact that inflammation keeps showing up to the terrible-illness party means we should take it seriously.

Fortunately, there are a few remedies that can help symptoms of chronic inflammation. Most are available over-the-counter, and if you’re pill-averse, there are even some natural remedies that show real scientific promise.

Is This Burning an Eternal (In)Flame(ation)?

It’s hard to know how long your inflamed organs will stay, uh, aflame—mostly because it’s hard to tell what’s causing the inflammation in the first place. “Chronic inflammation is such a broad topic that it can be difficult to pin down to one or two distinct causes,” says Holly Lucille, ND, RN. “Constant oxidative stress, genetics, and of course, daily physical activity can all be causes of inflammation.”

Inflammation doesn’t always make itself known—and pain is far from the only symptom. “Even though it’s happening every day, you may not notice the effects until they manifest themselves in more visible signs of aging, or as a serious health condition like heart disease, arthritis, or cognitive challenges,” Lucille says.

That all sounds super scary. But again, a little inflammation doesn’t mean you’re going to get cancer with a side of Alzheimer’s. It’s best to pay attention to your body, and if you’re experiencing signs of chronic inflammation, see a doctor. In the meantime, there are a few remedies to treat your symptoms—and hopefully, help ease inflammation before it causes any major problems.

Corticosteriods

This is not an over-the-counter option. In fact, this is usually prescribed for people with diseases like inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and lupus. For less severe chronic inflammation, steroids usually aren’t the best choice.

Though corticosteroids like prednisone are good at relieving swelling and suppressing inflammation, they can come with unpleasant side effects. With chronic use, you can get brittle bones, reduced immune capacity, high blood sugar, bruising, and behavioral problems.

Another counterintuitive effect: weight gain. Yeah, even though you’re reducing inflammation, steroids can cause swelling in other areas of the body—or just straight up weight gain. Of course, having brittle bones and a higher risk of infection and diabetes is way worse than gaining a little weight, but it doesn’t mean this problem isn’t annoying.

NSAIDs

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen can help with inflammation. I mean, they are called anti-inflammatory drugs, so it’s really the least they could do.

Anyway, this stuff is best used when inflammation is causing pain or a lack of mobility. When I was 16, I had a doctor tell me to take four ibuprofen pills four times a day to fight off cramps, so I’m quite familiar with their bloat reducing, pain-relieving qualities.

Turns out, my doctor’s advice may not be ideal. Though it’s perfectly safe to use NSAIDs on occasion, consistent use can cause intestinal bleeding, according to a study from the American Gastroenterological Association. That doesn’t mean that taking ibuprofen for your cramps is bad, but if you’re taking it every day to stave off inflammation, that could lead to some real problems.

Diet

Since the most common anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs, steroids) have bad side effects with persistent use, it’s no wonder that doctors are starting to recommend more holistic treatments. “Eating a diet low in refined carbohydrates and high in fruits and vegetables—as well as avoiding saturated and trans fats—can reduce inflammation,” says Ann Shippy, M.D.

Lucille agrees. “We know that refined sugars, fried foods, alcohol, and many other popular foods are inflammatory,” she says. Yeah, of course, all the best-tasting things are bad. No surprise there. But Lucille says you don’t have to cut out everything at once. “One easy way to address that is by replacing one inflammatory food each week with something more helpful, like fresh fruits or vegetables.”

Shippy also recommends eating a healthy dose of omega-3 fatty acids to ward off inflammation: Omega-3s inhibit the production of prostaglandins—a lipid that triggers the inflammatory response. Foods like walnuts, salmon, chia seeds, and sardines are all good sources of omega-3.

Even if you’re not into a dinner of sardines and seeds, simply adding in leafy greens and removing or reducing fried and refined foods can make a big difference. Though the occasional French fry won’t kill you, keeping fries out of your daily diet will definitely help.

Curcumin

Though it sounds like a distant cousin of Kirk Cameron, curcumin is actually found in the spice turmeric. You may know turmeric from curries or from turning your hands bright yellow whenever you touch it. The spice is easy to find, and there’s growing evidence that it could be a great tool in fighting inflammation.

This spice has been shown to greatly reduce pain in people with rheumatoid arthritis—without any bad side effects. Compiling information from a range of studies, a meta-analysis in the Osteoarthritis and Cartilage Journal found that curcumin has the potential for relieving symptoms of osteoarthritis (though they recommend further scientific study). Curcumin has also been found to be a useful anti-inflammatory agent. Though there aren’t tons of studies on curcumin yet, there’s enough to show it has potential.

Lucille recommends taking a curcumin supplement to get the best results. “The reason that I don’t recommend plain turmeric powder is because it may only contain about two percent curcumin per dose, and curcumin is one of the main compounds in the botanical that stops inflammation.” A supplement, especially one that includes turmeric essential oil for absorption, will give you a higher dose of the active ingredient, she says. Plus, you won’t have to worry about dyeing your teeth bright yellow every time you want to reduce inflammation. Win/win!

Cannabidiol

Before you get too excited, I’m not telling you to smoke weed to reduce inflammation. Cannabidiol (CBD) is an extract of cannabis that contains no psychoactive properties. In other words, it doesn’t get you high.

Though you won’t feel like reenacting Cheech & Chong sketches, CBD may greatly relieve pain and inflammation. Blake Pearson, M.D., an expert in the field of cannabinoid medicine, says it has changed patients’ lives—he’s seen people get pain relief from CBD when other pharmaceuticals stopped working. In fact, he sees CBD as a potential replacement for NSAIDs, especially for patients with NSAID allergies or sensitivities.

How does it work? “CBD works by modulating the immune system at the cellular level to suppress proinflammatory cytokines and reduce inflammation,” Pearson says. Since cytokines hang around to produce inflammation, blocking them will help calm the flame.

Pearson has seen countless patients thrive with CBD, but there’s more than anecdotal evidence to support this claim—a study published in Neurotherapeutics found that CBD reduces neuroinflammation and pain, and could be used as a treatment for epilepsy.

Sadly, there aren’t many other studies to prove the potential of CBD because of its ties to marijuana. Since marijuana is a Schedule 1 drug (meaning the government says it has no medicinal use and high likelihood of addiction), it’s a real pain in the A to get a clinical study approved.

Thankfully, in December 2017, the World Health Organizationclassified CBD as safe with no likely potential to cause abuse or harm. With that proclamation, there will hopefully be more studies to prove (or disprove) the effects of this very promising drug. In the meantime, there are several studies on CBD in progress, and doctors like Pearson will continue to use it for inflammation and pain.

If you’d like to try CBD, it’s legal in all 50 states. And while it won’t give you dry mouth or the 3 a.m. munchies, it’s always best to consult your doctor before trying any new treatment. Though inflammation now has some scary connotations, don’t worry if you have a symptom or two. If you’re feeling the pain or experiencing significant fatigue, moodiness, rashes, or joint soreness, it’s best to see your doctor and try to soothe inflammation before it gets serious. Or, use inflammation as an excuse to eat more curry. Both are great ideas.

Source: greatist.com ~ By: Amber Petty ~ Image: pixabay.com

What is mindful movement (and how to do it)

What IS mindful movement? It’s yoga, right?

As a health professional who runs mindful movement classes from time to time, this is a question I get quite a lot.

And for sure, many yoga classes could fall into the category of mindful movement, if you’re practicing mindfully – but yoga classes may also have a different focus, depending on the class, the teacher, and your own frame of mind.

Mindful movement – the way I practice it – refers to moving your body while placing your attention and focus on really noticing and feeling what your body does throughout those movements. This is different to just noticing a pain point, such as feeling that your hamstring is being stretched during a forward bend (and then often being encouraged to push it a bit further to see how far it can go.)

In mindful movement we are practicing being aware of our whole body. So during that forward bend, seeing if we can move in concert with our breath – noticing both our breathing pace and the forward movement of our torso. Once in the position, noticing if the weight is towards our toes or our heels. How does the position of our torso change slightly as we breathe in and out. Standing back up, lifting our arms above our head and noticing – what muscles contract to do this movement? Can we lift our arms without also lifting our shoulders towards our ears? Does one arm feel lighter or heavier than the other? Often in a yoga class, we are instructed to move quickly enough that we don’t get time to ponder all these distinctions.

And as with other mindful practices, we aren’t bringing awareness to the body so we can fix it. This might be your focus in a yoga or tai chi class – to be aware of where your body is in space to be able to correct it and bring it into the right position to achieve a certain posture. In my version of mindful movement though, it’s about simply noticing. It’s actually really hard to notice where your body is and then not move it, if when you notice it you realise it’s actually uncomfortable. How much of the time are we in slight discomfort and don’t realise because our attention is elsewhere?

A little exercise I often do in a mindful movement class, and that you can easily try out at home, is just getting people to sit down on the floor, and then get back up again without thinking too much about it. Then we repeat the actions, only this time doing it slowly and really noticing the way your body instinctually moves with this one simple direction. Do you roll over towards your side, use one or two arms to push up, which foot do your preferentially place on the floor first? Theres so much movement we do throughout the day with out being aware of it. Sitting, standing, walking, bending, lifting.

Please don’t think I’m dismissing yoga as a non-mindful practice – by placing your awareness on your breath and your body as a whole, you can definitely get a mindful experience of a class. I personally really enjoy using yoga as a mindfulness practice. But it might be interesting to take note of when the class is triggering you to compare the shapes your body is making to other people’s, or when you get so distracted trying to keep up with the teachers instructions that you realise you are moving without awareness.

Mindful movement can be done in a class-type situation, as in yoga or other mindful movement practices like tai chi or martial arts – but it doesn’t have to be. Mindful movement can just be part of your usual daily activities – done with a touch more awareness. Next time you sit down or get up; brush your teeth; dry yourself with a towel after a shower – try and bring awareness to the movements and see if you experience them differently.

Source: themindmovement.co ~ By: Louise ~ Image: Pixabay

7 Surprising Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Metabolism

You might complain about the endless rush of daily life and meditate for a few minutes during the day, but there’s one thing you typically don’t want to slow down — your metabolism.

Think of it like an engine: Your metabolism is those series of chemical reactions that convert what you eat and drink into energy that your body can use. Your metabolism is influenced by your age, sex, body size and composition. That means men typically have faster metabolic rates since they tend to carry more muscle and less body fat than women. Your metabolism also decreases with age (more on that below).

While you know that sitting around all day can cause your metabolism to plummet (and exercising regularly can boost it), there are other simple things you may be doing to clog your engine. Here are seven ways that you’re slowing down your metabolism.

7 Common Mistakes That Slow Down Your Metabolism

1. Fasting for too long.

While you probably have heard that skipping meals isn’t great for your metabolism, leaving big gaps between your meals doesn’t help either, says Lauren Antonucci, RDN, owner of Nutrition Energy and certified sports dietitian. “You get a thermic boost every time you eat. Your metabolism revs up to process the food you’re eating,” she says.

But when you eat breakfast at 5 a.m., lunch at 4 p.m., and dinner at 9 p.m., you’re not doing your metabolism any favors. Instead, Antonucci suggests eating every two to three hours to keep your metabolism humming. All about intermittent fasting? While it can help decrease your calorie consumption, the drawback is that if it isn’t done with correct guidance, it can lead to unhealthy eating choices and weight gain. Our recommendation: Call in the pros.

2. Avoiding the weight room.

You’ve heard over and over that muscles burn more calories — and it’s true. Studies have found that strength training revs your resting metabolism rate. That also explains why your metabolic rate declines, as you get older. “Your muscle mass decreases over time because you’re typically not doing as much resistance training,” says Antonucci. Schedule regular strength training sessions as part of your workout schedule.

3. Eating inconsistent daily meals.

If you eat breakfast first thing in the morning some days and don’t eat until lunch on other days, then you might be wrecking your metabolism. Whether you eat three meals a day or nine seems like it should be NBD, but a study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutritionfound that an irregular meal schedule might negatively affect your metabolic health. Instead, aim to eat a consistent number and schedule of meals each day.

4. Not eating enough.

If you want to lose weight, you should just eat less, right? It’s not quite that simple. Antonucci says that chronically dieting or consistently eating just a little less than what your body needs, whether inadvertently or on purpose, can wreak havoc on your metabolism. She sees this often in her athletes, especially those training for endurance events like Ironman triathlons. “Their caloric needs can be ridiculously high and they don’t eat enough,” she says, which can also lead to fatigue and injuries.

“Guessing your metabolic rate is a shot in the dark,” says Antonucci. That’s why she recommends metabolic rate testing for anyone who’s having trouble losing weight or athletes who are constantly injured or fatigued. “It’s like a VO2 max test except you just sit and breathe into a mouthpiece for 15 minutes,” she says.

5. Skimping on your zzzz’s.

Sure, dark circles and a long-standing caffeine habit are downsides of skipping sleep, but they’re not the only ones. Researchers have found that sleep deprivation can significantly impact your metabolism — and not in a good way — by decreasing energy expenditure. Plus, when you’re sleepy, you don’t move around as much, says Antonucci. “Studies have shown that people who sleep less move less during the day. You may not exercise or you may choose to take a cab rather than walk because you’re tired,” she says. So be sure to get a full night sleep regularly!

6. Neglecting protein.

calorie is a calorie, right? Not quite. Your body requires different amounts of energy to process the various macronutrients: carbohydrates, proteins and fats. “The cost of processing protein is higher than the cost of processing fat,” says Antonucci. “You need protein to increase muscle mass and to fuel your metabolism.” A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that a higher protein diet increased resting energy expenditure.

But Antonucci also advises that it’s not a license to eat only protein. A balance of macronutrients is key. “You need enough carbs to have enough energy to move through the day. And you need enough good fats to keep you satiated,” she says.

7. Stressing out.

You know that stress is bad for your health, but it turns out that it’s also bad for your metabolic rate. Researchers from Ohio State University found that stress affected how women metabolized food. Those who experience one or more stressful events the day before eating a high-fat meal burned 104 fewer calories in the hours following the meal compared to the non-stressed women. While that may not seem like a lot, researchers said that over the course of a year, that could mean an 11-pound weight gain. Just one more reason to chill out!

Source: dailyburn.com ~ By:  ~ Image: pixabay.com