Boost Your Metabolism With Herbs

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Excerpted from Boost Your Metabolism Cookbook, by Chef Susan Irby, the Bikini Chef, with Rachel laferriere, Ms, RD, with permissions from Adams Media (c) 2010. The following excerpt can be found on Pages 170 and 225 to 226.

Throughout this book, you’ve learned about many foods that will send your metabolism through the roof. As you probably suspect, there are many more that we didn’t cover that we’d like you to know more about. Read about them here!

Chives: Chives and chive flowers are high in vitamin C, folic acid, potassium, calcium, and blood-building iron. They promote good digestion, reduce flatulence, prevent bad breath, and help stimulate your metabolism. Chives, when eaten regularly, may help to lower blood cholesterol levels. Because of their high vitamin C content, they may help speed recovery from a cold; the sulfurous compounds contained in chives are natural expectorants. Best used fresh, chives are easy to grow in pots at home.

Chives are easy to grow at home and help stimulate your metabolism.
Photo by Peter Baer/Courtesy Flickr

Cumin Seeds: Cumin seeds stimulate the metabolism by turning up the body’s internal heat, but they are also rich in iron and may help promote the secretion of pancreatic enzymes that help with digestion and the absorption of nutrients. Cumin has also been thought to be able to improve the functioning of our immune systems and help the liver process the body’s toxins. In fact, recent studies have indicated that this powerful little seed may reduce the risk of stomach and liver tumors in animals. However, patients with bile duct obstruction, gallstones, and gastrointestinal disorders (including stomach ulcers and hyperacidity disorders) should avoid using cumin.

Curry: Next time you’re out at the grocery store or an Indian restaurant, order some curry. One of the primary ingredients in curry, turmeric, aids digestion by stimulating the flow of bile and the breakdown of dietary fats. It’s also a powerful source of antioxidants, containing in a single teaspoon as many antioxidants as in ½ cup of grapes. Its antioxidant and antiinflammatory capabilities can be traced back to curcumin, which gives turmeric its characteristic yellow color. For centuries, curcumin alone has been used to cure everything from heartburn to arthritis and, according to Earl Mindell’s Herb Bible, “The herbs that are combined to make curry help prevent heart disease and stroke by reducing cholesterol and preventing clots.”

Flax: Loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, flax bolsters cell membranes and helps your body respond more efficiently to insulin, thereby improving glucose absorption which in turn helps stabilize blood sugar levels. In other words, flax is one superfood you can easily incorporate in your diet and reap major metabolic benefits. You can buy flaxseed oil at most supermarkets or health food stores, or toss ground flaxseeds (if they aren’t ground, they don’t provide the same benefits) on your granola or oatmeal. Flax is also readily available in many types of bread; just check the ingredients!

Oven-Baked Eggplant with Fresh Herbs and Parmesan

Eggplant is high in fiber, and rich in B vitamins, potassium, and other metabolically important minerals. Serves 8

• 1 28-ounce can tomatoes, coarsely chopped, juices reserved
• 1 onion, sliced
• 1/2 pound green beans, sliced
• 1/2 pound okra, cut into 1/2-inch lengths
• 3/4 cup finely chopped green bell peppers
• 2 tablespoons lemon juice
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves
• 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh oregano leaves, chopped
• 3 medium zucchini, cut into 1-inch cubes
• 1 eggplant, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
• 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a baking dish, combine the tomatoes and their liquid, onion, green beans, okra, bell peppers, lemon juice, basil, and oregano. Cover with foil or a lid. Bake for 15 minutes.

2. Mix in the zucchini and eggplant, cover, and continue to bake, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 1 hour.

3. Sprinkle the top with Parmesan cheese just before serving.

Calories: 82
Fat: 1g
Carbohydrates: 17g
Protein: 4g

Burn It Up

Because organic foods are not subjected to pesticides, they retain more of their natural nutrients and fewer free radicals. This maintains cellular health, which in turn helps your body burn foods more efficiently, effectively boosting your metabolism. If you have to economize, opt for organic fruits and vegetables whose skin you eat–like the tomatoes and green beans found in this recipe.

Buy Boost Your Metabolism Cookbook.

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