8 Foods That Will Boost Your Metabolism

8 Foods That Will Boost Your Metabolism

We all want the major secret to a fast metabolism, but the best thing we can do is eat healthy and stay active
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Your genetics are a major part in how your metabolism operates, but there are ways to still improve it. Some have naturally faster metabolisms than others, and it also slows down as we get older, but there are still ways we can improve it and slow down the slowing down. The healthier we eat and the more active we are, the faster our metabolism will work and the healthier we will be overall.

1. Water

The most important part of any diet is the most basic element — water. Every living organism needs water to live and we need it to thrive. Water is one of the most vital parts of a health diet and the easiest way to help boost your metabolism.

2. Hot Water and Lemon

We're back again with the importance of water. Hot water with lemon squeezed in it is a great way to start off your morning and get your metabolism working. This helps flush out our digestive system and rehydrates us before we start the day.

3. Egg Whites

Egg whites are a great base for your breakfast. You don't get the added fat from the yolk, but you get all the good amino acids that help boost your metabolism. Add vegetables in to your egg whites and you have an easy and healthy breakfast.

4. Coffee

Any type of caffeine will help boost your metabolism, but coffee specifically will do so without the added sugar of other caffeinated options. A cup of coffee in the morning will get your metabolism moving and will help your digestive system. The less cream and sugar you add, the better.

5. Lentils

Lentils are a great source of iron, which helps your body burn calories and improve your metabolism. Iron is needed for your body to function properly and these will help your waistline.

6. Spinach

Spinach is another food that is high in iron. The reason iron is so beneficial is because it helps carry oxygen in our muscles, which we need to be able to burn more fat.

7. Salmon

Any type of fish is great for our body, but salmon in particular is very high in Vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, which helps boost metabolism. Salmon is a lean protein, which is needed in a healthy diet and is high in satiety so it keeps you fuller longer.

8. Avocados

They are not just a new fad or a "basic" thing to eat. Avocados help boost metabolism functions, a good source of healthy fat and high in omega-3 fatty acids. These are best to eat in the mornings so your body can break down the fat throughout the day.

Cover Image Credit: Pinterest

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To All The Nurses In The Making

We tell ourselves that one day it'll all pay off, but will it actually?
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I bet you’re taking a break from studying right now just to read this, aren’t you? Either at the library with friends or in your dorm room. Wherever you may be, you never get the chance to put your books down, at least that’s how it feels to most of us. It sucks feeling like you’ve chosen the hardest major in the world, especially when you see other students barely spending any time studying or doing school work. The exclamation “You’re still here!” is an all too frequent expression from fellow students after recognizing that you’ve spent 10-plus hours in the library. At first it didn’t seem so bad and you told yourself, “This isn’t so difficult, I can handle it,” but fast-forward a few months and you’re questioning if this is really what you want to do with your life.

You can’t keep track of the amount of mental breakdowns you’ve had, how much coffee you’ve consumed, or how many times you’ve called your mom to tell her that you’re dropping out. Nursing is no joke. Half the time it makes you want to go back and change your major, and the other half reminds you why you want to do this, and that is what gets you through it. The thing about being a nursing major is that despite all the difficult exams, labs and overwhelming hours of studying you do, you know that someday you might be the reason someone lives, and you can’t give up on that purpose. We all have our own reasons why we chose nursing -- everyone in your family is a nurse, it’s something you’ve always wanted to do, you’re good at it, or like me, you want to give back to what was given to you. Regardless of what your reasoning is, we all take the same classes, deal with the same professors, and we all have our moments.

I’ve found that groups of students in the same nursing program are like a big family who are unconditionally supportive of each other and offer advice when it’s needed the most. We think that every other college student around us has it so easy, but we know that is not necessarily true. Every major can prove difficult; we’re just a little harder on ourselves. Whenever you feel overwhelmed with your school work and you want to give up, give yourself a minute to imagine where you’ll be in five years -- somewhere in a hospital, taking vitals, and explaining to a patient that everything will be OK. Everything will be worth what we are going through to get to that exact moment.

Remember that the stress and worry about not getting at least a B+ on your anatomy exam is just a small blip of time in our journey; the hours and dedication suck, and it’s those moments that weed us out. Even our advisors tell us that it’s not easy, and they remind us to come up with a back-up plan. Well, I say that if you truly want to be a nurse one day, you must put in your dedication and hard work, study your ass off, stay organized, and you WILL become the nurse you’ve always wanted to be. Don’t let someone discourage you when they relent about how hard nursing is. Take it as motivation to show them that yeah, it is hard, but you know what, I made it through.

With everything you do, give 110 percent and never give up on yourself. If nursing is something that you can see yourself doing for the rest of your life, stick with it and remember the lives you will be impacting someday.

SEE ALSO: Why Nursing School Is Different Than Any Other Major

Cover Image Credit: Kaylee O'Neal

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15 Easy Ways To Avoid The Freshman 15

From quick food swaps to healthy habits, here's a list of 15 ways to manage the dreaded weight gain that comes along with your first year of college.

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Ah, freshman year of college. Those words carry with them so much substance. As I meditate on them, I am reminded of the girl I was 365 days ago: excited, nervous, unsure, and expectant. Six months into my freshman year, the excitement and nerves had faded, but my doubts and expectations had only increased... along with my waistline.

During Christmas break, I realized I was not happy with who I was becoming. This wasn't just because of my weight gain (see here for my article about a radical change in mindset). I mean, I knew I was no longer a teenager and unexpected weight gain and loss sometimes comes with being a woman. The issue was I gained 14 pounds in a six-month period. While I was familiar with the infamous Freshman 15, I suddenly realized that my unhealthy habits put me on track to gain 30 pounds in just one year.

I was determined to make a change as soon as I got back to campus. No, it didn't mean I was going to starve myself or try a fad diet or buy some new weight loss product I saw on Instagram. I simply wanted to be more aware of how I was treating my body.

Here are 15 tips that will help you avoid the Freshman 15 (speaking from firsthand experience!).

1. Keep a food journal.

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Whether it's in your planner, notebook, or Notes app, logging what you eat helps you track how your body reacts to different foods, what foods keep you full, and how much you're truly consuming. Looking back and remembering you already had two cookies at lunch may help you stay away from the candy bar as a midday study snack.

2. Avoid fried foods in the dining hall.

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One of my FAVORITE parts of my campus' dining hall is the french fries. Crispy and shoe-string just like Steak'N'Shake... YUM. However, during the first semester, I was eating french fries as a side for almost every lunch and dinner. Not exactly the healthiest choice.

Opt instead for a baked potato, cooked vegetable, or salad! Most dining halls have salad bars that aren't too shabby. The more vibrant colors your plate contains, the healthier it is more likely to be!

3. Substitute cream or 2% milk with a nondairy alternative.

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As the workload increases and time for sleep decreases, many students turn to their trusty friend caffeine to stay alert. While black coffee has its health benefits, the calories that come with loading up a latte with cream and sugar basically cancel out the drink's positive effects.

Can't become a straight coffee drinker yet? You're not alone. However, asking for coconut milk instead of the default 2% milk in a grande Starbucks latte instantly saves you 50 calories. Almond milk is also an awesome alternative, containing 90 fewer calories, 1 less gram of fat, and 13 fewer grams of sugar than a grande latte with 2% milk.

Also, if you still need something else to dilute the bean taste, many coffee shops offer sugar-free sweeteners. Ditch your habit of asking for extra caramel drizzle and opt instead for a sugar-free syrup or 0-calorie sweetener packet instead.

4. Keep healthy snacks handy.

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After high school graduation, I was the QUEEN of Target gift cards. I tried my best to save them until I got to school so that I could use them while grocery shopping. When I finally realized college wasn't all fun and games and that I actually needed to make health-conscious decisions, I tried to stop buying so many Oreos and M&Ms. Instead, I loaded up on healthy dorm foods like hummus, carrots, and fresh fruit.

Worried you won't have enough fridge space? Some of my favorite HEALTHY snacks that can be stored at room temperature include canned chicken noodle soup, light kettle corn, oatmeal, unsalted pretzels, almonds, apples, and bananas.

Don't think you have enough dough to spend on healthy food? I have two words for you, my friend: Trader Joe's.

5. Be conscious of your sugar intake.

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Whether it be in a dining hall, freezer aisle, or a nearby shop, ice cream and I have a love-hate relationship. Because ice cream was basically at my disposal (and nothing relieves a stressful start to a week like Sundae Monday, right?), I took advantage of its availability.

I am an ice cream fanatic, so even though I decided to change my eating habits, I try to limit my ice cream intake to once a week. Also, on the days I do have ice cream, I steer clear of the rest of my favorite sweet snacks (M&Ms, Nutella, puppy chow, Dove chocolates, caramel macchiatos, frappes... you get the point).

Not an ice-cream addict? Remember carbs come in many different forms. If bread is your weakness, try to only use 1/2 of the bun on your next sandwich... or go crazy and skip it altogether!

6. Out of sight, out of mind.

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If I have learned anything in my struggle to be healthier, it is that as long as I know there is chocolate nearby, I will eat it. Keeping out a bowl of mini candy bars was a BIG mistake. Every time I'd pass by the bowl (in between classes, while changing, when coming back for a nap), I'd grab a piece. From Reese's pumpkins... to Reese's Christmas trees... to Reese's hearts... to Reese's Easter eggs... I could almost always find an excuse to pop a little (or a lot) of chocolate peanut butter heaven in my mouth.

However, I knew if I wanted to start being healthier, I needed to shake that habit. One day early second semester, I decided to put the bowl just outside my dorm room door. Turns out college kids are pretty receptive to free candy. I came back to the bowl to find it empty, along with an anonymous note on my dry erase board that said, "More, please!"

7. Consume what will keep you full.

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Protein is one of the most important parts of a balanced diet! You can eat unlimited veggies all day long, but you'll still feel hungry. You NEED protein. Lean meats like chicken (try it grilled instead of fried--you can even buy microwavable frozen grilled chicken for your dorm room), turkey, and fish are all good sources of protein that will keep you full longer than carb-filled foods.

Some foods that are considered "healthy" fats also keep you satisfied. These include peanut butter, avocados, and almonds. "Healthy" and hearty starches include popcorn and sweet potatoes (which you can steam in a microwave... and they don't need refrigerated!).

Also, thirst, often mistaken for hunger, can be cured by good ol' H2O. Drinking PLENTY of water is key to healthier living!

8. Get to the gym.

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This may sound like a no-brainer or a cliché when it comes to losing weight, but in reality, the benefits of working out stretch far beyond a few pounds. At times when I would feel overloaded with stress or overwhelmed with to-dos, I'd run a couple miles on the treadmill. Not only did I start to tone up, but I also felt less anxious and more energized.

The trick to losing weight is burning more calories than you consume. In turn, if you really want that chocolate bar, look at the number of calories it contains. If you are willing to work off the number of calories it contains, by all means! It's in your hands. :)

9. Get enough sleep.

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I cannot stress this ENOUGH. During busy weeks, I'd be up into the wee hours in the morning studying. To stay alert, I would snack on sugary treats or drink soda. If that wasn't bad enough, the following mornings were filled with so much fatigue that could only be subsided by lots of snacking.

More sleep = more energy.

More energy = less "quick fuel" needed from carbs.

10. Walk whenever/wherever you can.

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This is an easy fix (hence why it made the list). As college students, we can walk to class, the gym, restaurants, other dorms, etc. If you have a car on campus, try to limit yourself to only using it when you need to go somewhere far away. Get some fresh air and your heart pumping by walking anywhere in close distance.

11. Before going out to eat, do your research.

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One of the hardest things about being health-conscious is seeming like you're blowing off your friends when it comes to eating out. Because I wanted to avoid unhealthy foods, I often turned down dinner invites. After experiencing some FOMO, I realized instead of running away from that Italian place because of the carb overload, I could easily just do some background research to find some healthy options.

Most restaurants make their nutrition facts available on their websites, so if you want to eat healthily AND have a social life, just do a quick Google search before heading out the door.

12. Limit alcohol consumption.

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I know, it's college, right? How am I supposed to convince you not to drink? How about this: 1 glass of certain brands of Cabernet (a type of red wine) contains the same amount of calories as TWO BITES of an Egg McMuffin.

Yes, it's true that clear alcohols like rum and vodka contain fewer calories than darker alcohols, but rum and vodka are usually mixed or chased with sugary sodas or juices.

Let me remind you, this is only counting the calories in the drinks themselves. We haven't even considered the calories in the food consumed at the end of a night out. On Friday and Saturday nights, I can almost guarantee fast food joints and pizza places get a lot more business than the local farmers' markets.

13. Surround yourself with positive influences.

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One of the best things you can do for yourself is choosing to spend time with people who lift you up and encourage you. Whether you are in search of running buddies, fellow yogis, dance partners, or fresh-squeezed juice junkies, your people are out there! College campuses are full of people with diverse backgrounds and experiences. Find those who love the same healthy habits as you, or try out a new hobby! It's never too late to discover new passions.

14. Be realistic about your goals.

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You are YOUNG. Enjoy your life!! Maybe you'll weigh a few more pounds than you want to if you go get ice cream with your besties or eat a slice (or 3) of pizza during a Netflix binge. Don't beat yourself up. Each and every day is a FRESH START. It's impossible to be perfect. Just remember how foods make you feel and stay committed. Don't give up if you start to feel discouraged. It's way harder to get back on track after a bad week or bad month than it is after a bad day!

15. Remember that comparison is the thief of joy.

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College campuses, as well as social media, can become huge threats to a positive self-image. It's hard to see people who seem to have "perfect" bodies without even lifting a finger while you're grinding at the gym 5 days a week and avoiding dessert like it's the plague. However, remember that everyone is built differently, and being healthy is more important than a number on a scale.

You want his toned abs? Maybe he wants your wide chest. You want her small thighs? Maybe she wants your big booty.

Work toward being the best version of YOU, not a knock-off version of someone else. Plus, life would be pretty boring if everyone was the same.


After a semester of making these changes, I lost 20 pounds then gained back 9. If you're trying to figure this out in your head, you'll realize that overall, I still gained three pounds over the course of freshman year. From this information, remember that it is not just the number on the scale. You must keep in mind the benefits of increased muscle mass, more energy, reduced stress, and clearer skin.

The most important take away is to examine how your body feels (not looks) after making these changes. There is a range that, as long as you're living a healthy lifestyle, your weight will constantly fluctuate between. You're becoming an adult! Rapid and excessive weight gain due to overeating, lack of exercise, stress, and lack of sleep are when health becomes an issue. If you keep in mind these tips and positively manage stress, you'll be well on your way to a healthier lifestyle!

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