9. Don’t Deplete Your Phosphorus

If your stress levels have caused you to stock up on antacids, you may want to consider supplementing your diet with phosphorus. This chemical element helps build strong bones and teeth, repair tissue, and build cell membranes (in the form of phospholipids), but it is also the primary regulator that transforms carbohydrates, proteins, and fats in the food you eat into energy and activates the B vitamins.

10. Protect Your Cells with Selenium, But Don’t Go Overboard

This very powerful antioxidant benefits the body by preventing oxidation of fat. Why is this important? By inhibiting oxidation, selenium slows age-related brain deterioration and preserves cognitive function. Selenium also benefits the immune system, and some studies suggest that it improves circulation. Because selenium levels tend to decline with age, older people should take selenium supplements and add selenium also improves blood pressure and, at levels rich foods to their diets.

Selenium also works with glutathione peroxidase to keep dangerous free radicals under control. In Japan, where people traditionally consume about 500 micrograms of selenium a day, the cancer rate is nearly five times lower than in countries where daily selenium intake is less. There is no established RDA for selenium, although men and women can safely consume between 50 and 200 micrograms daily, not exceeding 400 micrograms per day for adults over eighteen.

Natural sources of selenium include broccoli, cabbage, celery, cucumbers, garlic, onions, kidneys, liver, chicken, whole-grain foods, seafood, and milk.

WARNING: Selenium can become toxic if more than 400 micrograms are consumed on a daily basis.

11. Get Plenty of Zinc

When your body is running low on zinc, your metabolism may slow down. That’s because this mineral is one of the main regulators of blood sugar and carbohydrate levels, and without it, insulin levels can spike. Zinc also transports unnecessary carbon dioxide from tissues to the lungs, protects your sense of taste and smell, and assists with the products of RNA and DNA. If you prefer not to take a zinc supplement (which if you do, should not exceed 40 milligrams), you can dine on red meat, seeds, nuts, and wheat products. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding may require more.

12. Increase Your Chromium Intake

Chromium helps the body metabolize fat, convert blood sugar into energy, and make insulin work more efficiently. Several recent studies have also shown that chromium protects the heart by lowering serum cholesterol levels and triglycerides. Sources rich in chromium include whole-grain foods, egg yolks, broccoli, orange juice, grape juice, seafood, dairy products, and many different types of meat. Individuals with Type 2 diabetes or who are pregnant have increased urinary excretion of chromium and may benefit from supplementation. Trivalent chromium, the form in most chromium supplements, is also extremely safe.

13. Indulge in Tryptophan (5-HTP)

Why is it that on Thanksgiving there aren’t usually any squabbles after the standard turkey dinner? That’s because everyone has just ingested the amino acid tryptophan, a neurotransmitter (a chemical that carries messages from the brain to the body) that is transformed into serotonin, which improves both mood and the ability to sleep.

Tryptophan also assists with metabolism, not just by improving stress levels but also by contributing to the production of niacin, which lowers “bad” cholesterol levels in the blood. Great sources of tryptophan include egg whites, cod, Parmesan cheese, chicken breast, fish, beef tenderloin, and of course, turkey.

14. Eat Copper-Rich Foods

Copper is found in all the tissues in the body, but it is concentrated in the brain, heart, kidney, and liver. It helps the body make hemoglobin (needed to carry oxygen to red blood cells) and red blood cells by aiding in the absorption of iron. Copper is part of many enzymes in the body and helps produce energy in cells, helping boost your metabolism. In addition, copper helps make hormones that regulate a variety of body functions, including heartbeat, blood pressure, and wound healing. Copper is found mostly in organ meats, especially liver, and in seafood, nuts, and seeds. It can also be found in poultry, legumes, and dark green leafy vegetables.

15. Eat Foods Rich in Iron

Iron is crucial to metabolism. It brings oxygen to the cells, strengthens the immune system, and is one of the building blocks of carnitine and other enzymes required for digestion. Though iron toxicity can be very dangerous, iron deficiency will cause your body to become fatigued because your cells won’t be receiving the oxygen they need. Women need extra iron when they’re menstruating because of the loss of blood, but because of the dangers of toxicity, we recommend eating foods rich in iron—such as soybeans, beans, tofu, beef, and spinach—over taking an iron supplement.

16. Take SAMe

SAMe (pronounced “Sammy”) is a form of the amino acid methionine that occurs naturally in the body and is used for many essential functions, including stabilizing moods by increasing the levels of certain neurotransmitters; as a result, it may affect moods and emotions. In nine studies, SAMe compared favorably with antidepressant drugs, including imipramine, amitryptaline, and clomipramine. Some researchers have found that SAMe supplementation has improved mood disorders, without the side effects of other antidepressants (such as weight gain, headaches, sleep disturbances, and sexual dysfunction). And, SAMe works faster than some prescription antidepressants, often in four to ten days compared with two to six weeks for drugs. Also, it’s much easier to exercise and make healthy food choices that boost our metabolism when we are feeling healthy and happy!

Note: SAMe is not recommended for pregnant women during their first trimester or for women who are breastfeeding.

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