FOOD FOR Metabolism - She Runs Eats Performs

Episode 32

Published on:

12th Nov 2020

FOOD FOR Metabolism

Food For ... Metabolism

As runners our aim is to maintain optimal metabolism and metabolic rate to support our running performance as well as our body composition. Nutrition (and exercise) are central to this goal, so in this episode we discuss FOUR foods known to optimise metabolism and metabolic rate. We also share some delicious and easy to prepare meal and recipe ideas for you to try out in the kitchen. 

Show Notes


Defining Metabolism and Metabolic Rate in a simple way whilst also considering the 3 key aspects of Metabolic Rate, which include:

  • Basal Metabolic Rate OR Resting Metabolic Rate
  • Thermic Effect of Food
  • Energy used during physical activity



Introducing the first of the 4 foods being highlighted in this episode. Discussing chicken and its nutritional content known to support Metabolism and Metabolic Rate. Protein is the key nutrient here due to its effects on Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). It is thought that the digestion and absorption of Protein can raise BMR by approx. 20%-30% 


Moving on to discuss Grapefruit and the phytonutrient Naringenin found within, which is thought to increase energy expenditure, therefore influencing metabolic rate. Also discussing the novel idea of Naringenin being able to express Brown Adipose Tissue (BAT), which has been researched for its thermogenic effects (i.e. heat creation). 


Introducing Sardines and their Omega 3 Fatty Acid content, which is the nutritional property thought to support Metabolism and Metabolic Rate. Omegaa 3 FAs influence is thought to be via their ability to suppress lipogenesis i.e. limit the synthesis of “fat”.


The fourth food and its nutritional property linked to Metabolism and Metabolic now being discussed. The Capsaicin content of Jalopeño Peppers is thought to induce thermogenesis therefore increase Basal Metabolic Rate. Capsaicin is also thought to induce browning of white fat (in other words, changing the ‘fat’ so as we know, i(white fat) into thermogenic brown adipose tissue). 


Looking at some recipe and menu ideas using the foods discussed:

Chicken – Roast chicken, chicken bone broth, chicken curry or casserole

Grapefruit – Grilled grapefruit with cinnamon, nutmeg and maple syrup, Grapefruit Granita, Grapefruit salad

Sardines – Sardine pate, sardines on sourdough with watercress, cherry tomatoes, chopped garlic and parsley, sardines with lemon, chickpeas and parsley. 

Jalapeño peppers – Add to soups and stews, guacamole, bean chilli, chilli con carne


A one-day meal plan:

Breakfast: sardines on sourdough with the tomatoes and parsley

Lunch: chicken tray bake - chicken pieces (drumsticks, thighs, breast), baby potatoes, cooked artichokes, lemon wedges and fresh rosemary roasted in the oven. Serve it with a salad. 

Dinner: Bean Chilli served with brown rice

Snacks:  Grilled grapefruit with cinnamon, nutmeg and maple syrup. Mexican guacamole with vegetable sticks, sardine paté on oatcakes, grapefruit granite


Key Takeaways: nutrients of each food and how they could support your running:

  • Chicken’s key nutrient is PROTEIN, which is good for the muscle building and repair element of running  
  • Grapefruit is a good source of soluble fibre in the form of pectin, which is good for the reduction of digestive distress element of running 
  • Sardine’s key nutrient is Omega 3, which is good for the anti-inflammatory element of running 
  • Jalapeño pepper is a good source of potassium, which is good for the electrolyte balancing element of running

Related Topics:

Episode 18: intermittent Fasting and the Female Runner

Episode 20: Resistant Weight Loss for Runners

Episode 1: HWHR Weight Loss and the Mid-Life Runner


The suggestions we make during this episode are for guidance and

advice only, and are not a substitute for medical advice or treatment.

If you have any concerns regarding your health, please contact

your healthcare professional for advice as soon as possible.

Aileen Smith and Karen Campbell met at as nutrition students (Institute for Optimum Nutrition, London) and became lifelong friends and nutritional buddies! Both have a love of running and a passion for nutrition, delicious food and healthy living.

Together they host RUNNERS HEALTH HUB. A place for like-minded runners who are looking for simple ways to support running performance, energy, endurance, and general great health.

We are excited to be able to share our expertise, experience and short cuts with you. We hope you'll join us again. If you'd like to know more about us and She Runs Eats Performs please check out our TRAILER.

If you're ready to make learn more about how you may introduce easy nutrition into your running and training plan join our Runners Nutrition Zone for short videos, recipes, downloads and LIVE training and Q&A.

If you’d like help from Karen and Aileen to design a personalised sports nutrition plan for your running - please contact them at

Happy Running!

Aileen and Karen      



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About the Podcast

She Runs Eats Performs
for mid-life female runners of all abilities
Are you confused about the science around nutrition for runners? Listen in to learn about the WHY, HOW, WHAT, and WHEN of eating to fuel your running performance.

We are here to help you translate sports nutritional science, into easy to apply tips and plans, helping you enjoy peak running performance. We focus on the FEMALE FACTORS every mid-life woman needs to know to be a healthy runner.

About your host

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Aileen Smith

Nutritionists, Educators, Podcasters, Runners and Friends

We have a love of running and a passion for nutrition, delicious food and healthy living. She Runs Eats Performs for female runners of all abilities who are looking for simple ways to improve their running performance and their health with nutrition and lifestyle.
We enjoy sharing our nutritional expertise, reviewing the latest sports science and most of all helping you to take easy action so you can enjoy your running life to the full.
We are here to help you achieve great health and good shape whilst staying injury-free with easy-to-understand sports nutritional concepts and easy-to-implement tips and plans.

Aileen and Karen are BANT and CNHC Registered Nutritional Therapists.