Health & Fitness

Ten Tips to Speed up Your Metabolism

A fast metabolism means more calories burned and the more calories burned the more pounds you lose! While there are a lucky few with lightning fast metabolisms who seem to inhale junk food and not gain a pound, this isn’t the case for the masses.  Metabolism is affected by a number of factors including genetics, age and gender.  While there isn’t much you can do about your genes and it is inevitable that your metabolism will slow down with age, you do have the power to boost your metabolism.  Simple tips on foods to incorporate into your diet and the most effective exercise routines can help increase your metabolism regardless of your age and size.  Read on for the top ten tips to speed up your metabolism!

 

1. Breakfast

Eating breakfast shortly after getting out of bed literally wakes up your metabolism, it gets your engine going so to speak.  Skipping breakfast, on the other hand, sends your body into starvation mode causing your metabolism to significantly slow down in order to conserve energy.  Be sure to eat the right kinds of foods in the morning, such as oatmeal with almonds and berries or a spinach and feta omelet with whole grain toast.  Numerous studies have shown that eating breakfast every single morning helps not only in losing weight but in successfully keeping it off!

 

2. Caffeine

Coffee drinkers rejoice, your morning ritual not only tastes great and smells divine but can increase your metabolism too! When consumed in moderation, a short-term benefit of caffeine is its ability to increase your metabolic rate; it stimulates your nervous system by increasing your heart rate and breathing.  A cup of Joe can also help you feel less tired and increase your endurance throughout a workout.

 

3. Water

Your body is like a machine and metabolism is one of its many functions.  In order for it to run effectively it requires plenty of water.  Since your body requires water to process calories, if you are even mildly dehydrated your metabolism may slow down.  Experts recommend drinking at least eight glasses of water a day and consuming a glass before every meal and snack is extremely beneficial.  If you are finding it hard to drink that much water, try swapping out your usual snacks for fresh fruits and vegetables like cucumbers, watermelon and strawberries which are high in water content. 

 

4. Chili

Capsaicin, the chemical compound found in chilies and peppers, giving them that mouth-burning quality, can also fire up your metabolism. Adding a tablespoon of chopped red or green peppers to your meal can temporarily increase your metabolic rate by about 23 percent by boosting your body’s production of heat and the activity of your sympathetic nervous system!  The same burning sensation that you feel in your mouth is created internally for about 30 minutes after you consume the peppers, so spice things up and stock up on chilies and red pepper flakes to add a little heat to anything from pasta dishes to stews, pizzas and stir-fries. 

 

5. Protein

A key to revving up your metabolism is protein.  Your body burns twice as many calories digesting protein than it does digesting fat or carbohydrates. While it is essential to eat a balanced diet, by replacing some carbohydrates with proteins you can boost your metabolism at mealtimes.  Another added bonus is that protein keeps you feeling fuller longer. Healthy sources of protein include white meat chicken, beef, turkey and fish as well as nuts, eggs, beans and low fat dairy products. A recent study also indicated that eating protein with every meal helps build and maintain lean muscle, which is a fat burner in itself.

 

6. Green Tea

While green tea has long been praised as an essential antioxidant, studies now show that drinking green tea can also speed up your metabolism through the combined benefits of caffeine and catechins.  Catechins are said to improve fat oxidation and thermogenesis, the body’s production of energy or heat from digestion.  Ideally one should consume between three to five cups per day. Skip the tea bags and brew your own tea – for maximum effect, steep the tea for three minutes and drink it while it’s still hot or switch up your usual iced tea for a chilled green tea as the weather warms up. 

 

7. Calcium

Calcium is essential to boosting your metabolism; it helps metabolize fat more efficiently by increasing the rate at which your body eliminates fats.  In fact, obesity studies indicate that a dip in calcium levels can trigger the same hormone that causes the body to hold on to fat to be released.  Incorporate calcium-rich foods such as low fat cheese and milk in your meals and snacks to increase your metabolism.  Low fat yogurt is an excellent source of calcium as well as protein, another metabolism booster. 
 

8. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fats are essential for your cells to run properly. Among their many benefits is their ability to help balance blood sugar and speed up metabolism. Fish such as tuna, salmon and sardines contain oil that increases the hormone known as leptin, which is responsible for controlling appetite. In addition to oily fish, walnuts, dark leafy greens and whole soy foods or flaxseed oil are excellent sources of omega-3 or alternately, take a daily supplement. According to recent studies EPA and DHA, the omega-3 fatty acids found only in fish oil, may have the power to dramatically boost your metabolism by about 400 calories per day.  The fish oil is said to be responsible for increasing the level of fat-burning enzymes and decreasing the levels of fat-storage enzymes in your body. 

 

9. Build Muscle

The most effective way to maintain a fast metabolism and burn more calories is to build muscle and stay active.  We all know that muscle weighs more than fat, but what you might not know is that it uses more energy too – muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue and continues to burn calories long after you’ve left the gym.  You don’t have to start pumping iron like Arnold Schwarzenegger either, light weights used at high repetitions will tone muscle and burn fat, as will high intensity bouts of exercise. 

 

10. Hit the Sack

Not getting enough sleep can affect your metabolism. Since sleep levels are linked to hormone levels, lack of sleep leads to higher secretion of the Cortisol hormone, which increases stress levels and in turn triggers fat storage.  In addition, sleep deprivation is likely to cause a spike in blood sugar levels and an increase in the level of hunger hormones Leptin and Ghrelin.  So if you are serious about boosting your metabolism, getting enough sleep is an easy way to go about it.  Aim for six to eight hours a night and try to maintain a regular sleep pattern. 

 

 

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