Nothing can be more frustrating, then exercising your butt off, only to see the scale not moving. While regular, moderate exercise should always be a part of a healthy lifestyle and weight loss regimen, healthy nutrition is also a critical component that can’t be overlooked. You can exercise till your blue in the face (but please don’t), but if you aren’t also focusing on what you’re eating, then you will remain in that constant struggle to lose weight.
Body fat is actually a highly complex, metabolically active organ, responsible for transmitting dozens of chemical messengers, including the appetite-controlling hormones leptin and ghrelin, as well as the fat-regulating hormone estrogen. As strange as it may sound, the metabolic activity of body fat actually has a very powerful role when it comes to weight loss.
So, what exactly does this imply with regards to losing fat, especially stubborn, trapped fat? Researchers have discovered that certain micro-nutrients found in foods, can activate and release that stubborn, trapped fat. The key to stimulating the metabolic activity and function of body fat, so that our body can release excess fat stores, is to ensure that we receive ample amount of these critical micro-nutrients in our daily diet. When we consume adequate amounts of these micro-nutrients, this triggers and optimizes our weight-regulating hormones, and other chemical messengers, that are needed to release our body’s excess stored fat. Whenever this balance is disrupted, this results in cravings, mood disturbances, lethargy, a sluggish metabolism and weight gain.
Researchers at Harvard University have proven that certain micro-nutrients (key antioxidants, polyphenols and trace minerals) actually communicate with fat cells, and directs them to balance these weight-regulating hormones and chemical messengers. A healthy diet rich in vital micro-nutrients literally is a “magic bullet” when it comes to achieving our ideal weight and healthiest state.
Lipoic Acid – Lipoic acid is an antioxidant that is important in balancing our appetite-regulating hormones. Adequate amounts of lipoic acid will decrease production of the hunger-stimulating hormone ghrelin, while at the same time increasing the amount of the appetite-suppressing hormone leptin within our fat cells. This effect is so powerful, that study participants have been shown to lose up to 5% of their body weight just by this alone. Additionally, lipoic acid enhances the activity of mitochondria in our cells, which naturally boosts our energy levels, without the need for caffeine, sugar, nicotine or other stimulants. Food sources for lipoic acid: Spinach, kale, collard greens and Swiss chard.
Catechins – Catechins are polyphenols that are responsible for activating fat-burning genes within our abdominal fat cells. Catechin polyphenols can increase belly fat loss by 75% or more, as well as double the amount of our total weight loss. Catechin polyphenols also improve our body’s insulin sensitivity, which is necessary for keeping blood sugar levels stable and preventing the mood swings, low energy, cravings and eating binges due to spikes and crashes of erratic blood sugar levels. Food sources for catechins: Green tea and black tea. Fresh brewed – hot or cold.
Anthocyanins – Anthocyanins are plant compounds that disrupt fat storage. They cause fat cells to stimulate lipolysis, which is the breaking down of lipids so that our body can burn them for fuel, instead of storing them as fat. A study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry showed that when 2 separate groups of participants were fed the exact same high-fat diet, and 1 group also supplemented with an anthocyanin extract, this group gained 24% less weight vs. the other group that didn’t receive the anthocyanin extract. Additionally, for those suffering from memory loss, anthocyanins trigger a 100% improvement in short-term memory loss within just 8 weeks. Food sources for anthocyanins: Red grapes, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries and cherries.
Sulforaphane – How would you like to shed excess weight up to 20% faster? The micro-nutrient sulforaphane found in cruciferous vegetables can do just that. Sulforaphane triggers fat cells to release trapped toxins, which are responsible for slowing down one’s metabolism and prompting our bodies to store more fat in order to protect us from these accumulating toxins. For those who suffer from any from of cancer, or know someone with cancer, sulforaphane can halt the growth of cancer cells on contact! A daily dose of sulforaphane lowers the body’s level of cancer-stimulating estrogen in as little as 5 days. Food sources for sulforaphane: Broccoli, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower and bok choy.
If you are plagued with the constant battle of trying to lose those last 10-15 pounds, or if your weight loss efforts just seem to be going nowhere, you need to take a close look at your diet. Stop eating ALL processed and fast foods, and make sure you are adding generous amounts of micro-nutrient rich foods to your daily diet. The results will amaze you!
Bon Veggie Appetit!
Gina ‘The Veggie Goddess’ Matthews