All of us try to stay fit and healthy in our own ways. For most of us, keeping fit also means reducing weight. You may be exercising and trying to eat right or follow a diet to lose weight, but are not always happy with the outcome. On the other hand, your friend may be eating everything she wants, and not even exercise, yet look fit and lean.
If you are still wondering about why your efforts are not giving the desired result, maybe it is due to your metabolism.
What is Metabolism?
Metabolism is a term used to describe the process of breaking down of proteins, carbohydrates and fats to yield energy in the body. Our metabolism makes up for the entire range of biological processes that happen internally. The rate of metabolism depends on the interaction between the number of calories you consume and the number of calories you lose by exercising.
Metabolism is divided into two categories – Anabolism and Catabolism:
- Anabolism allows the body to grow new cells and maintain the tissues. It is the synthesis of all compounds needed by the cells.
- Catabolism is the series of chemical reaction that break down the molecules into smaller units, which help in obtaining energy.
A person with fast metabolism will lose more weight than a person with a slower metabolism rate.
What Influences Metabolism?
Our metabolism is determined by multiple factors. Some of the factors which influence the body’s metabolism rate include:
Our metabolism decreases by around 5% every decade after the age of 40 because of decreased muscle mass. As you mature, you need to be more active in exercising and watch what you eat.
It is believed that men burn more calories than women because of the muscle tissues present in their body.
You can inherit your metabolism from your parents and grandparents.
4. Thyroid Disorder:
Hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can slow down or speed up the body’s metabolism. Check with your doctor about your weight issues.
[ Read: Vitamin B ]
Ways to Increase Metabolism:
The best way to increase your metabolism is by increasing the body’s need for energy. Here are the 25 most effective ways to boost your metabolism:
1. Green Tea:
- Green tea contains an antioxidant called catechins, which help to increase metabolism.
- The compounds found in green tea boost the metabolic rate for 24 hours by increasing energy production.
- Researchers have concluded that those who drink green tea tend to lose more weight compared to those who do not.
- Drinking 8 ounces of green tea daily can increase your energy expenditure by 90 calories a day.
- It is also packed with cancer-fighting compounds, which can protect the body from cancerous tumors.
2. Avoid Trans-fat:
- Avoid consuming saturated and trans-fat as they slow down the body’s metabolism rate.
- Trans-fat binds with fat and liver cells, reducing the body’s ability to burn fat.
- Eating trans-fat can also lead to insulin resistance and inflammation, both of which can cripple one’s metabolism and cause weight gain.
3. Aerobic Exercises:
- Exercising is the safest way to increase metabolism.
- Exercise boosts the metabolic rate of the body
- It also keeps the energy expenditure high during the recovery period.
- You should exercise daily for 30 minutes to keep the metabolism levels high.
- Aerobic exercises can be very helpful for increasing the body’s metabolism.
- While walking or jogging, ramp up the intensity for 30 seconds and return to the normal speed afterwards.
[ Read: Omega 3 Fatty Acids ]
4. Interval Training:
- Incorporate interval training in your workout regime.
- Interval training alternates between high and low intensity exercises, allowing you to burn more calories in less time.
- Interval training exercises do not focus on hardcore running or cycling.
- Brisk walking followed by reducing the pace will go a long way in boosting the body’s metabolism rate.
5. Weight Training:
- Brief workouts using heavy weight can increase your metabolism by 452 calories for almost 24 hours.
- The more muscles you have, the greater is the number of calories you burn during weight training.
- Every pound of muscle gained increases metabolism by 20 to 30 percent.
- Muscle training exercises include weight lifting and high intensity exercise.
6. Be Active:
- Moving constantly may help you to increase your metabolism.
- Any extra movement is a boon.
- Look for ways to move around a few more minutes every day.
- Avoid the elevator and take the stairs instead
- Stretch every hour, even if you are seated at your desk.
The more you move the more calories you burn.
[ Read: Green tea ]
7. Consume Organic Fruits And Vegetables:
- Processed and non-organic foods contain chemicals, which can interfere with the body’s basic metabolic pathways.
- Fruits, vegetables and grains grown without pesticides keep the fat burning system running at full speed without exposing your thyroid to toxins.
- Non organic fruits and vegetables block the metabolism by interfering with the thyroid gland, which determines the metabolic rate of the body.
- Skipping breakfast slows down the metabolism and sends the body into starvation mode.
- Eating a nutrient rich breakfast boosts the energy levels of the body and also helps to burn the calories throughout the day.
- Include protein rich foods like eggs, milk and nuts in your breakfast menu.
- Consuming protein is critical for jumpstarting the metabolism process for the day and to prevent binge eating.
- Avoid sugar laden cereals, cakes and pastries, which can cause a spike in your insulin levels.
9. Light Dinner:
- Experts recommend eating dinner before 8 p.m. or 3 to 4 hours before bedtime.
- This helps the body to process and burn the food at the earliest.
- Stress and anxiety can interfere with the efficiency of metabolism process.
- It raises the amount of cortisol in the body, encouraging weight gain.
- It reduces the desire to be physically active and also encourages overeating.
- People who have a good stress management system are more likely to lose weight than those suffering from stress and anxiety.
- Try yoga or meditation to banish stress from your life.
11. Chili Pepper:
- Eating spicy foods increase the body’s production of heat and promote the activity of the sympathetic nervous system.
- Chili peppers contain bioactive chemicals called capsaicin, which increases energy expenditure by 50 calories a day.
- It also helps to reduce belly fat and appetite.
- You can try spicy foods such as mustard sauce, jalapenos, chili, Habanero, capsicum and cayenne.
- Cinnamon alone can increase the metabolism rate twenty fold!
- Coffee and other caffeinated drinks have been found to stimulate metabolism.
- Consuming small amounts of coffee boosts the metabolism rate of the body by stimulating the central nervous system.
- Avoid drinking too much coffee as it can cause trouble in sleeping, stomach upset and irregular heartbeats.
13. Protein Rich Foods:
- Protein is the main tissue builder in the body.
- It aids in carrying out a myriad of functions in the body.
- Protein rich foods contain amino acids, which help produce metabolism revving and calorie burning muscles.
- These foods also help in the release of glucagon, which signals the fat cells to release fat into the blood, thereby promoting its use.
- Our body needs more time to metabolize protein rich foods. Since it takes longer time to burn, our body expends more energy absorbing the nutrients in a high protein diet.
- Eating fish, lean meats, eggs and plant protein keep the metabolism high even after hours of consumption.
- Aim to eat one gram of lean protein for every pound of body weight.
- Beans are a cheap and convenient way to give your metabolism a boost.
- They are loaded with soluble fiber, which lower cholesterol.
- Beans are also a good source of B vitamins, which keeps the metabolism moving.
- You can add beans to soup, salads and casseroles.
15. Iron Rich Foods:
- Iron is an essential mineral required for transporting oxygen to tissues throughout the body.
- It also helps our body to produce energy.
- Low levels of iron in the body can lead to anaemia, fatigue and loss of appetite.
- Foods rich in iron include clams, oyster, lentils, pumpkin seeds, mussels, beef and lamb. These are all metabolism boosting foods.
16. Vitamin D:
- A study has revealed that low levels of Vitamin D can lead to fat accumulation in the body. Thus, getting adequate amounts of vitamin D may help to boost metabolism.
- Researchers have found that spending long periods of time in dull and dark environment stimulate the same physiological functions in the body as gaining weight.
- Soak yourself in natural sunlight or eat plenty of seafood like salmon or tuna.
- The best time to soak up the sunlight is 11 am to 3 p.m.
[ Read: Weight gain ]
17. Don’t Starve:
- The worst thing you can do to boost your metabolism is starving for long hours.
- Consuming extremely low calorie foods robs energy from the body, slowing the motion of metabolism.
- You need to consume at least 1,200 calories per day to meet your daily metabolic requirement.
18. Eating Small Meals:
- Eating regular meals at specified times and having healthy snacks in between will boost your metabolism.
- Extending time between the meals will send the body into the starvation mode, leading to decreased metabolism.
- Most people eat less overall when they eat small and frequent meals.
- Consuming regular small meals can support metabolism throughout the day to work effectively.
- Magnesium is a mineral used by 300 biochemical reactions in the body, including muscle, heart, and nerve function and energy metabolism.
- Boost your intake of high magnesium foods to give your metabolism a boost.
- Green vegetables like spinach, soybeans and legumes can provide you with adequate magnesium.
- Water plays the most important role in our digestive system.
- You cannot completely extract all the nutrients from food without consuming high amounts of water.
- Thus, drinking 2 liters of water will help to speed up the metabolism.
- It also increases the rate at which the body burns calories.
- Drinking water and eating water based fruits will keep you full for a longer time.
21. Vitamin B:
- Vitamin B is very essential for getting energy and maintaining a healthy metabolism.
- Inadequate amounts of folate, thiamin, pyridoxine and niacin can leave you feeling depressed.
- You can also take vitamin B supplements to boost your metabolism.
You can increase the Vitamin B levels in your body by incorporating small amounts of lean meat, seeds, nuts, chicken and legumes.
[ Read: Low Protein Diet Plan ]
22. Avoid Eating Refined Grain And Sugar:
- Keep your blood sugar levels steady and your metabolism up by limiting the consumption of sugar and refined grain.
- Products made from refined grain and sugar like bread, pasta, cookies, and cakes increases the insulin levels in the body.
- Insulin is secreted from the pancreas to facilitate the uptake of glucose from the bloodstreams into the cells.
- Excess insulin leads to the accumulation of fat in the body.
- Whole grain food should be consumed for increasing metabolism.
23. Get Enough Sleep:
- Getting 8 hours of sleep every night is crucial for a healthy metabolism.
- Studies have shown that lack of sleep can slow down metabolism and increase appetite.
- This increases the risk of obesity and weight gain.
- Lack of sleep also decreases the levels of leptin and ghrelin, the hormones that regulate energy use and appetite.
- Sleeping for five hours without any disturbance reduces levels of leptin by 15% and increases levels of ghrelin by 15%.
- Conversely, excess sleep will also have adverse effects on the body.
- Keep a consistent and balanced bedtime and try to wake up the same time every morning.
24. Omega 3 Fatty Acids:
- Omega is a type of polyunsaturated fat, which boosts the body’s metabolism and maintains heart health.
- Foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids may help balance sugar, reduce inflammation and help in regulating metabolism.
- They also reduce resistance to the hormone leptin, which can help burn fat quickly.
- You can also take omega 3 fatty acid supplements to increase metabolism.
- Apart from metabolism, omega 3 fatty acids are also known to lower blood pressure and triglyceride levels, combat atherosclerosis and reduce the prevalence of arrhythmias.
25. Turn Down The Temperature:
- Our body temperature sits pretty at 98.6 degrees, so if you reduce your internal temperature, the body will burn more calories to bring it back to where it belongs.
- Drinking two liters of ice cold water can speed up your metabolism by about 95 calories a day.
- By drinking cold water we force our body to work harder to bring back the body temperature to normal levels.
In another study, people who slept at 66 degree burned 7% more calories than those who slept at 75 degrees.
[ Read: Benefits Of Tryptophan Rich Foods ]
Our metabolism rate can make or break our body. As we age, our body’s natural metabolism rate tends to slow down. So, we need to try and incorporate the above mentioned tips into our life to kick start the metabolism process into high gear.
Follow the tips above and make the best use of a good diet and exercising to stay fit!