Many people say they would give anything to find a way to boost metabolism.
Metabolism is defined as the rate by which the body produces and consumes energy and calories to support life.
A fast or high metabolism burns fat more quickly, which allows you to lose weight easier without diet pills and supplements – and natural weight loss is always best.
Several factors help determine whether a person’s metabolism will be fast or slow – activity levels, the amount of muscle tissue in your body, genetics (yes there is a “you were born that way” element), stress levels, your diet and the frequency of your meals.
A slow metabolism could be due to any one of a number of factors including:
- loss of muscle due to lack of physical activity
- the tendency of the body to cannibalize its own tissue if it is not given enough food energy to sustain it and
- a decrease in physical activity (which comes naturally with old age).
Obviously burning food quickly and efficiently is a good thing, whether you are interested in weight control or simply good health. So how do we boost metabolism naturally?
10 Ways to Boost Metabolism
1. Drink Lots of Water
Yes, that old advice about 8 glasses of water really is good for us. Why? First of all, water flushes out the toxins that are automatically produced when the body burns fat.
The majority of our bodily functions also involve water, and too little water in our system causes the body’s operations to decrease, producing stress on your organs. Too much stress can lead to illness and disease over time.
2. Eat Breakfast Every Day
Another piece of tried and true advice. Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. Your body needs something in it to use for fuel after many hours without food.
Surprisingly, studies have shown that people who eat breakfast are thinner than those who do not.
Here’s another important consideration: Metabolism can actually slow down considerably if you eat breakfast later in the morning or if you wait until the afternoon to eat. So there’s a simple metabolism booster – just eat a bit of healthy breakfast to get you started on your day.
3. Eat Smaller Meals
It is better to consume 4 to 6 small meals that are timed 2 to 3 hours apart than the 3 larger meals most of us eat. It is just easier on your body and gives your body food to work on all the time, rather than a large amount of food, then nothing for hours.
4. Never Skip Meals!
People tend to skip meals thinking that will help them lose weight. Skipping meals actually slows down your metabolism, which is not the effect you are looking for.
If you plan your meals ahead it is much easier to make sure you don’t skip a meal.
5. Eat Spicy Foods
Hot peppers contain a chemical called capsaicin, which contributes to their spiciness. There is some scientific evidence that capsaicin can actually increase metabolism. A word of caution though. Peppers are not a magic food and you would have to eat lots of spice to dramatically speed up metabolism.
6. Avoid Sugar
This is good advice for so many reasons. First of all, sugar enables the body to store fat. It also increases blood glucose levels quite quickly and an even level of blood glucose is important for optimal health and to prevent Type II diabetes, a disease that is rampant in North America.
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7. Eat a Rainbow
Remember to include lots of fresh fruit and vegetables in your diet. A wide variety of vegetables and fruits from all the color groups lead to optimal health. As well, legumes and whole grains are high energy foods. More about this and other keys to a healthy lifestyle here.
8. Drink Green Tea
Green tea has been proven to boost metabolism somewhat. This is partly because of the caffeine it contains, but it does increase metabolism greater than other caffeine containing drinks.
Drinking green tea on its own probably won’t cause you to lose weight but if you substitute soda pop or fruit juices with green tea you are on your way.
9. Decrease Your Stress Levels
Stress not only decreases metabolism, but causes so many other negative things to happen in your body, it really is a killer over time.
Whether it is emotional or physical in origin, stress triggers the release of a steroid called cortisol and cortisol decreases your metabolism.
Another negative of being stressed is that people have been shown to eat more when they are stressed. So find ways to relax and let it all go for a bit.
10. Exercise to Build More Lean Body Mass
I saved the best for last because building more muscle and lean body mass really does boost metabolism. Your ability to burn calories and shed fat is very largely determined by the amount of muscle you have.
Metabolism does decrease with age but it is possible to counter those negative effects. Exercise is essential of course. It’s really the only way to do it. Even if you start out slow, any movement is an improvement.
Here is what the experts say about exercising to boost metabolism:
- Work out at least twice a week, ideally using weights.
- In between workouts, do simpler exercises like walking whenever you can and using the stairs instead of the elevator. All of it burns off calories.
The experts always advise a mix of strength training and cardiovascular exercises.
Strength training involves using resistance and building your level of resistance, which is why you work out with weights. Cardiovascular workouts include walking and aerobics.
Use the 10 tips above to boost metabolism and look here for more information about how to increase metabolism. Little by little you will get where you want to be.