Ever have a friend that seems to burn food calories off as soon as they have finished eating? Some people seem to be born with the best metabolisms, but there are some handy ways that you can boost yours. Healthline lays out some helpful tips in “How to Speed Up Your Metabolism: 9 Easy Ways Backed by Science.”
Metabolism refers to the chemical reactions taking place in your body that keep you healthy and functioning. It converts the food taken in into nutrients and fuels your daily activities, including internal ones, such as the energy to breathe, move, digest food, circulate blood, and even to repair damaged tissues and cells. Colloquially, metabolism is a term often used in reference to your basal metabolic rate, the number of calories typically burned when at rest.
The higher this metabolic rate is, the more calories will be burned at rest. Many dynamics can alter your metabolism, such as age, diet, sex, size and overall health status. Let’s look at some ways to help your metabolism along,
- Make a point to have protein star in every meal.
When you eat, your metabolism typically rises for a few hours, known as the thermic effect of food (TEF). The extra calories taken in require more energy to digest, absorb and process the nutrients. Dietary protein accounts for the largest TEF rise, a whopping 20 to 30 percent of its energy going toward metabolism opposed to 5 to 10 percent for carbs or 0 to 3 percent for fats. Proteins also tend to make you feel fuller and prevent overeating. A protein increase can also reduce the potential metabolism loss associated with dieting.
- Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!
We all know that drinking water is good for you, but did you know that it can help possibly speed up your metabolism as well? Some studies have shown that increasing water intake can increase resting metabolism for short periods, though it is still a concept that needs research. However, studies have shown that proper water intake before meals can help curb appetite, another factor that can pay dividends in the waistline.
- Burn off calories with a high-intensity workout.
HIIT, High-intensity interval training, utilizes fast and intense activity bursts for a great metabolic boost. Only attempt if this is a safe exercise style for you, but it can help you burn more fat and raise your metabolic rate even after you’ve finished working out. Try this out with a workout type you are already familiar with, such as running or biking.
- Lift heavy for a lifted metabolism.
Muscle movement helps activate metabolism, so building up your muscle strength can help you burn more calories each day. Weightlifting can also help counter a drop in metabolism that may occur when you lose weight.
- Take a stand.
Ever here the saying that sitting is the new smoking? That is a major exaggeration, but it is certainly true that we live in a society that is becoming dangerously sedentary. Long periods of sitting can lead to weight gain and can negatively affect metabolism. Standing or even walking at work can help with metabolism and better health overall. If you work in an office or have to study, try standing up for short periods to avoid sitting for too long. A walk is also a good idea, as well as possibly installing a sit-to-stand desk so you have to option to stand comfortably and work.
- A spot of tea?
Green tea and oolong tea have been shown to increase metabolism and fat burning in some people, so it might be worth adding a cup or two to your daily hydration routine.
- Add some spice to your life.
Eating peppers that contain capsaicin can boot your metabolism. Of course, this depends on your tolerance for heat in your food, and some people can’t tolerate spicy foods at the level needed for the added effect. The boost is minimal anyhow, so don’t worry if it isn’t for you, but every little bit can help.
- Get on a good sleep schedule.
The link between obesity risk and lack of sleep has been recorded over time, and it might have something to do with how sleep deprivation negatively affects metabolism.
Not sleeping well can also have a harmful effect on blood sugar levels and insulin resistance, contributors to the development of Type 2 diabetes. Lastly, sleep-deprived people can have affected levels of ghrelin, the hormone regulating hunger, as well as leptin, a hormone controlling feelings of fullness.
- Consume caffeine safely.
Caffeine can help temporarily boost metabolism. Primarily this phenomenon has been studied through the caffeine in coffee, showing it can also promote the burning of fat. But remember to only consume caffeine in safe levels and take note of how much sugar, creamer or other potentially unhealthful ingredients might be included in your morning pick-me-up.
Interested in boosting your nutritional knowledge? Explore Life U’s Nutrition and Dietetics programs, such as a Master in Clinical Nutrition.
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