- Personal Health Information & Self-Help
Ten Tips to Boost Metabolism
It’s the holy grail for weight-watchers in their quest to turn their bodies into fat-burning furnaces. Magazines, diets and new workouts all promise to raise your metabolism if you follow their advice. Some of their tips work, while other suggestions are no-starters. Before you can sort out the fact from fiction, you’ll need to understand what metabolism is.
Most people will tell you metabolism is the rate at which your body burns calories. While technically true, this definition is one of the shallower understandings of the term. Metabolism is the rate at which your body uses energy, and there are countless factors that determine this rate: age, gender, genetics, muscle-mass and diet just to name a few. Many of the variables that determine metabolism are out of your control.
Fortunately, there are plenty of things about your diet, exercises and way of life that you can change, and see an immediate rise in metabolism. Here are ten tips to boost your metabolism, and start burning the stubborn body fat that wouldn’t go away before.
1) Eat smaller, more frequent meals. This is an unambiguous way to spike metabolism, and after only a few days your body should start to show results. Eating anything at all raises your metabolism, but many people these days eat large meals that are separated by four hours or longer. By constantly giving your body food to digest, you’ll send it signals that there’s no food shortage, and higher metabolism and energy levels will be reached.
2) Drink plenty of water. Your body needs water to convert food to energy, and dehydration may make you more sluggish and prone to store food as fat. Drinking more than eight cups a day will ensure your body has the water needed to maintain high energy levels.
3) Exercise in the morning! Aerobic exercise may not do much for you if you want to gain muscle, but it’s great for raising energy levels. By jogging or running early in the morning, you will be jump-starting your metabolism, and it will stay at that heightened level for hours afterwards. Side note: your body burns 300% more fat exercising in the morning than at any other time of day.
4) Drink green tea. I wrote an entire hub on the benefits of green tea, and if you’re just focused on weight loss, this could be the decisive drink for you. Studies show that the enzymes in green tea will raise your metabolism by as much as 20% after drinking. The spike won’t last all day, so you may want to space out a few cups of tea throughout the day.
5) Put on muscle! This could be the most important step to take, because it has the most lasting benefits. The exercise required will burn calories and boost your metabolism for a short while, but the muscle you gain is metabolically active tissue; it will raise your metabolism for as long as you maintain it, whether you’re sleeping or eating or driving. A pound of lean muscle is estimated to burn around 70 calories a day. Of course, to do this, you have to be sure to..
6) Eat plenty of protein. Protein is the nutrient that is the least likely to be stored as fat; it’s also the hardest for your body to break down, meaning it will take more energy to use. Eating protein-rich foods like salmon or chicken will naturally raise metabolism for this reason, and the protein is precisely what your body needs to pack on that muscle.
7) Eat foods rich in vitamin B. Vitamin B plays a crucial role in the breaking down of carbohydrates for energy, and if your body has enough of it, it’s easy for your metabolism to stay high. The vitamin B foods are also low-calorie and packed with other nutrients. Broccoli, sprouts, eggs, cauliflower and seafood are all great sources.
8) Eat spicy foods! Chemicals in chili peppers and other spices have been shown to raise metabolism. Chopping up peppers in salads or baking them with meat can be a tasty way to incorporate these benefits. Angling for a few spicy meals a week can make the difference.
9) Go easy on alcohol. Alcohol isn’t going to be your friend if you’re trying to lose weight for more than a few reasons, but one of them is the effect it has on metabolism. Having more than one glass of wine a night has been shown to impair your body’s ability to tap into fat stores, and when alcohol is in your bloodstream, your body only resumes fat burning after the empty calories of alcohol have been consumed.
10) Get enough sleep! To keep your metabolism at optimal levels, you should be shooting for at least eight hours. Sleep deprived people tend to be heavier because their metabolism is hindered by late night shifts or bad sleeping habits. So get your sleeping patterns back on track, and see instant improvements in health, appearance and energy levels!