Monday, June 20, 2011

Fire Up Your Metabolism With These Power Ingredients In Your Smoothies

by Dr. Natasha Turner

Here’s a simple thing you can do to tune up your metabolism for summer: have a protein shake each day for breakfast. Choose to do this over cereal or a bagel and you will enjoy better appetite control, increased fat burning and blood sugar balance to avoid cravings all day long. When making your breakfast power treat, consider these super foods or supplements to enhance its therapeutic effects:

The Foundation: Whey Protein Isolate

This powdered supplement is the most bio-available source of protein we can get, making it a great addition to smoothies and shakes. Your liver loves whey protein because it offers us a concentrated source of one of our strongest antioxidants, glutathione. Whey has been proven to promote fat loss, preserve muscle tissue, enhance immunity, aid insulin sensitivity and support recovery after exercise. It is also a source of tryptophan, which can help raise our happy hormone, serotonin, and combat stress. Add one serving to your smoothies (approximately 25-30g of protein for women, 35 to 40 g for men).

Sprinkle In: Cinnamon

I encourage you to add cinnamon to your smoothies, foods and hot drinks as often as possible not only because it tastes so nice but also because it offers wonderful insulin-balancing effects. A study published in the journal Diabetes Care (December 2003) showed that cinnamon may cause muscle and liver cells to respond more readily to insulin. Better response to insulin means better blood sugar balance and, therefore, less insulin in your body and ultimately less fat storage. Cinnamon also seems to reduce several risk factors for cardiovascular disease, including high blood sugar, triglycerides, LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol. Just a ½ teaspoon a day for 30 days is enough to significantly improve your insulin response and trim your waistline.

Be Generous: Berries

Berries have gained plenty of good publicity as a super food choice for protection against free radicals and inflammation, both of which accelerate aging and contribute to diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s. Blueberries, in particular, can protect us against sun damage and support eye health. They are high in fiber, low in sugar and contain a potent dose of proanthocyanidins, which are beneficial for skin, cognitive function and cardiovascular health. I recommend adding one cup of mixed frozen berries to your smoothie. As a bonus, raspberries have a whopping 9g of fiber per cup!

Heaps Of: Ground Flaxseeds For Cancer Protection

Flax is full of lignans — phytoestrogenic compounds that have been proven to help protect us against certain kinds of cancers, especially breast, prostate and colon. Adding two to three tablespoons of flaxseeds to your smoothies, oatmeal, salads or cereals daily can reduce your cancer risk and also provide a dose of four grams of fiber and essential fatty acids. The oils in flaxseeds can go rancid quickly, so be sure to purchase ground flaxseed in a vacuum-sealed package and store them in the freezer. Better yet, you can grind your own daily.

Go For: Ground Chia For Anti-inflammatory Effects

Chia is a gluten-free ancient grain that can be added to just about any food. Chia stabilizes blood sugars, manages the effects of diabetes, improves insulin sensitivity and aids symptoms related to metabolic syndrome, including imbalances in cholesterol, blood pressure and high blood sugar after meals.

On a per gram basis, chia is touted to be:

The highest source of omega-3′s in nature – with 65% of its total fat is from omega-3 fatty acids
The highest source of fiber in nature – 35% (90% of which is insoluble and 10% is soluble)
Abundant in the minerals magnesium, potassium, folic acid, iron and calcium
A complete source of all essential amino acids and bio-available protein
If you don’t liek the consistency or taste of ground flaxseeds, you can add 1-2 tbsp of chia seeds to your shakes, and even top your salads, or other dishes with this mild flavoured seed.

Soothe and Strengthen: L-Glutamine Powder

L-glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in your body. In times of stress or increased metabolic demand, like after exercise, it is an especially important nutrient for energy and repair. Glutamine also maintains healthy integrity of your intestinal tract and enhances the protective mucosal lining, which helps ensure proper nutrient absorption while limiting the amount of toxins that can pass through your intestinal walls. I recommend adding a serving of l-Glutamine powder to your smoothies daily.

Balance and Calm: Inositol

Naturally present in many foods, inositol improves the activity of serotonin in the brain. As a supplement, it is an excellent choice for alleviating anxiety, depression, cravings and for supporting nervous system health. New research also suggests this supplement can be helpful for fertility and polycystic ovarian syndrome. I add one to two scoops of a product called Cenitol from Metagenics in my daily smoothie, which is about four to 12 grams per day.

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