Metabolism is a word we see and hear on almost a daily basis. We are bombarded through media coverage with diet pills, supplemental powders, weight loss programs, and super food lists to help boost metabolism, have more energy, and burn fat away.
Unfortunately, starting at the age of 25, without proper diet and exercise, our metabolic rate slows down 5-10% each decade. However, this need not happen. The most important thing to remember when looking to avoid and fix a slow metabolism is eat a good, nutritious diet coupled with healthy lifestyle changes. That’s it!
The following are 18 simple ways that are proven to help boost your metabolism, give you that extra oomph throughout the day as well as for faster weight loss success.
1. Always Eat Breakfast
The most under-rated meal of the day. Eating breakfast is kick-starting the body and telling the metabolism to wake up because it’s time to work! Even its very name is important, breaking the fast. Fire up your metabolism for the day with a healthy breakfast like scrambled eggs on whole grain toast, or oatmeal with a sliced banana.
2. Caffeine Boost
Whilst for some caffeine may have health negatives; for some 1 cup can offer a metabolism boost of 5-8%. However limit the sugar, milk or cream. Whilst chocolate does contain caffeine if you’re going to opt for chocolate choose dark chocolate and limit your serving size to avoid high fat calories.
3. Be More Active
People generally think of being active as physical exercise like running and cycling but increasing your daily general activity boosts your metabolism and burns fat. Research has even shown the people that fidget have a higher metabolism than those who sit motionless. So while your parents may have told you to stop fidgeting but if you want to add a little fire to your metabolism then fidget away!
4. Eat Every 3 To 4 Hours
Reduce the serving size and eat more often seems to be the key to revving the metabolism throughout the day. This will also help prevent the “food coma” effect and energy dips during the day.
5. Eat Plenty Of Protein
Eating protein-rich foods help to keep you satisfied and has a slower, more even release of energy than regular fats and carbs. The body will expend more energy burning the protein through the digestion process as well.
6. Choose Whole Foods
Instead of juice, eat the fruit. You’ll not only get the heart healthy fiber but you’ll need to chew more which burns calories and increases your metabolism. Choose fibrous foods like whole grains, fruits, vegetables and lean proteins.
7. Cut The Trans Fat
These fats originally start as vegetables oils that have water added to become solid at room temperature. Trans fats not only increase LDL cholesterol, and reduce HDL cholesterol but they slow down the metabolism by binding to fat and liver cells. Thankfully trans fats have to be labelled, but on your food labels look for hydrogenated oils.
8. Sprinkle On The Spices
The body responds to spices in metabolism boosting ways. Spices like capsicum pepper, jalapeños, habaneros, cinnamon and cumin can promote a temporary rise in metabolism by as much as 8%. If you notice when you eat those spicy foods your body reacts immediately, we get hotter and start to sweat. Whilst this increase isn’t a long lasting rise it’s also worth noting that people who eat spicy foods also tend to eat less food overall.
9. Spend Time In The Sun
Vitamin D deficiency is rising and so is metabolic syndrome, research now shows a definite link between low levels of vitamin D and reduced metabolism. To ensure you get your vitamin D, get outside in the Sun more, eat Vitamin D rich foods like fish, dairy products, eggs or take a supplement.
10. Increase Your Lean Tissue
The biggest factor to increasing your metabolism is your percentage of lean body tissue compared to fat. In basic terms muscle burns more calories than fat at rest, and simply torches the calories when active.
11. Add Resistance Training To Your Workout Schedule
One way to get the increase muscle mass and increase your metabolism is to do some resistance training. The Center for Disease Control recommends resistance training two or more days a week for all the major groups. Resistance training isn’t just about pumping iron, body weight exercises like push-ups and pull ups count too!
12. Exercise Twice A Day
We’ve learned about the EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, or informally known as afterburn) metabolism increase and we can improve that EPOC by simply switching from one 90 minute exercise session a day to two 45 minute sessions a day. Even adding in a separate 15 minute workout hours after your previous workout will help boost the metabolism.
13. Go For The H2O
We all know that there is a link between hydration and weight loss, and that’s because ? of our body is water. In order for it to function at its best it needs water, but now there is an even better reason to drink water! Research has shown that it can increase our metabolism as much as 30% and it’s a sustained increase for up to an hour after drinking.
14. Go For Green Tea
Whilst it contains a little caffeine its metabolism boosting property is an antioxidant called Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG) and combined with the caffeine can provide an added calorie burn of 70-100 calories per day.
15. Get More Omega 3s
More than just a current trend, omega 3’s help regulate our metabolism by increasing the fat-burning enzymes whilst at the same time decreasing the fat storing enzymes. Omega 3 can be found in oily fish, flax seed or oil, soybean oil, and walnuts.
16. Boost Your Metabolism With Vitamin Bs
Low levels of B vitamins like B12, and niacin can cause fatigue and slow the body’s metabolism. Foods rich in B vitamins include beans, broccoli, fish, and eggs.
17. Go Organic
Your thyroid is your body’s metabolism regulator and it is sensitive to toxins. Especially those toxins in fruit and vegetables. Researchers found that the organochlorines from pesticides resulted in metabolism decrease. Whilst the decrease may be small giving our body the food it needs without the pesticides might just be the boost you need While organic food can be more expensive, try to focus on just buying organic the dirty dozen to make the greatest impact.
18. Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is more than just dreams, it’s the body’s time to recover and repair. Whilst everyone is slightly different it’s recommended that we get 7-8 hours of sleep per night. It’s no coincidence that as nation we are getting less sleep than 100 years ago but have obesity rates spiraling out of control. When your body is sleep deprived the stress hormone cortisol gets increased, which causes an increase in appetite. Your body will also struggle to regulate carbohydrate metabolism which can lead to fat storage, high insulin levels and can be a precursor to type 2 diabetes.
Things To Watch Out For
- Avoid drastic diets. Crash diets mess our metabolism up big time. The rapid weight loss experienced from crash diets, rather than boosting our metabolism actually slows it down. What happens then is once you fall off the fad diet, the weight comes back on, plus more weight, and the metabolism is slower which means you’ll struggle harder to get the weight off again. Avoid this by taking the healthy option of a balanced diet and exercise.
- Ditch diet soda. Whilst they seem like the perfect alternative to regular soda, what actually happens is that they initially trick our body by providing the sweet taste without the calories. Unfortunately this is short lived as our body responds to this by releasing insulin. Not only this but because the body didn’t get the calories it associates with the sugary taste it signals the stomach to increase your appetite. Ditch the diet pop and opt for water instead.
- Avoid alcohol. Metabolism wise its way worse than just the calories in the alcohol. To our body, alcohol is a toxin and it cannot store it, therefore it will try and get rid of it as quick as it can. It does this by shutting down your metabolism while it processes the alcohol. Not only that but alcohol intake increases cortisol levels and decreases testosterone, not good for weight loss or building muscle. The bottom line is alcohol has no nutrients the body can use, so think twice about that glass of wine!
- Reduce stress. This comes back to that cortisol hormone again. Once our stress levels rise so does the cortisol which means the metabolism takes a dive and our body becomes a fat storer rather than a fat burner. So try a yoga class, meditation, or just some deep breaths and counting to 10 before getting stressed.
- Reduce the TV time. While we all strive to be more active in our daily lives something countering this is sitting to watch television. Not only does sitting have a lower resting metabolic rate than standing but while we sit glued to the screen we tend to make poor food and drink choices which can also lead to reduced metabolism.