If you’re trying to lose weight or build muscle, the one thing that your gym instructor has probably told you to do is to “boost your metabolism.” And if you’ve only begun to work out, it can be difficult to understand what metabolism is or how it helps you lose weight.
So, here’s the gist – everything that you eat is broken down by your body into simpler molecules or basic building blocks of energy. The nutrients from your food are released into your bloodstream. Your body either burns these nutrients for energy or stores them for future use. This conversion of food into energy is basically referred to as metabolism. And an increased metabolic rate means you burn more calories and lose more weight. Although metabolism is largely genetic, there are a few things you can do boost it and here are some of them.1
1. Go Cycling
Exercise is one of the ways in which your body burns calories. Studies observe that cycling for 45 minutes can boost your resting metabolism and keep your calories burning for up to 14 hours after performing the aerobic activity.2 Alternatively, you can also opt for swimming or a round of Zumba to reap the benefits of aerobic exercise. If you’re a gym person, you could also try high-intensity interval training.
2. Eat 5–6 Meals A Day
It is commonly believed that by eating less, you can lose more weight, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. For your a high metabolism, it’s important that you eat and eat well. Certain experts claim that your metabolism slows down during the period between meals, so it’s smarter to have 5–6 smaller meals throughout the day instead of sticking to 3 heavy meals. In your diet, include foods like oatmeal (whole grains), eggs, plums, apples, and even avocados – they burn calories quickly and boost metabolism. Also, eat plenty of protein-rich foods like lean meat or nuts, as they can significantly increase your metabolism.3
3. Opt For Whole Grains
If you eat more food than what your body actually requires, the excess calories are stored in the form of fat for later use. To avoid putting on weight in this manner, eat foods that will keep you full for a long time. So, every time you find yourself reaching out for that bag of chips, stop and consider a healthier alternative –whole grains. Recent studies suggest that whole grains can significantly boost metabolism and aid weight loss.4 They are filling and keep you satiated, reducing your chances of overeating. If you’re going for bread, opt for whole grain and stay away from the multi-grain ones.
4. Drink Green Tea
Who knew that by sipping on a delicious cup of green tea, you could boost metabolism and lose weight? Green tea contains antioxidants and caffeine, which are believed to heighten metabolism. Drinking about 2 cups of green tea might help you burn an extra 70 to 100 calories every day.5 If you’re diabetic, green tea can not only help you lose weight but also reduce your systolic blood pressure 6
5. Eat Spicy Food
Good news for the lovers of spicy food – it’s good for your metabolism. Certain studies propose that the capsaicin, the chemical responsible for the “heat” in spicy food, boosts metabolism. By heating and increasing the temperature of your body, spicy food can increase metabolism. It is suggested that for every half-a-degree increase in your body temperature, your metabolism increases by 7%.7
6. Stay Hydrated
Yet another reason to drink water! One study concludes that you can increase your metabolism by up to 30% by drinking 500 ml water.8 To ensure that optimum metabolism, it’s important that you drink at least 2 litres of water every day.
7. Have A Good Night’s Sleep
Yes, you heard us right! Sleeping can actually increase metabolism and burn calories. If you don’t get 7–8 hours of sleep every night, your metabolic process could be affected. Improper sleep can alter your glucose metabolism and the hormones that are involved in maintaining your body’s metabolic equilibrium. However, there’s a downside to this – excess sleep also negatively affects metabolism.9
All the steps mentioned here ultimately tie up to your diet and lifestyle. So, making these small dietary and lifestyle changes, you can boost your metabolism and burn more calories.
|↑1||Metabolism: From Food To Fuel. Learn Genetics, Genetic Science Learning Center, University of Utah.|
|↑2||Knab, Amy M., R. Andrew Shanely, Karen D. Corbin, Fuxia Jin, Wei Sha, and David C. Nieman. “A 45-minute vigorous exercise bout increases metabolic rate for 14 hours.” Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 43, no. 9 (2011): 1643-1648.|
|↑3||Pesta, Dominik H., and Varman T. Samuel. “A high-protein diet for reducing body fat: mechanisms and possible caveats.” Nutrition & metabolism 11, no. 1 (2014): 53.|
|↑4||Switching to wholegrains may boost metabolism. U.S. National Library of Medicine.|
|↑5, ↑7||Morning workout increases metabolism throughout the day? Go Ask Alice, Columbia University.|
|↑6||Mousavi, Ateke, Mohammadreza Vafa, Tirang Neyestani, Mohammadebrahim Khamseh, and Fatemeh Hoseini. “The effects of green tea consumption on metabolic and anthropometric indices in patients with Type 2 diabetes.” Journal of research in medical sciences: the official journal of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences 18, no. 12 (2013): 1080.|
|↑8||Boschmann, Michael, Jochen Steiniger, Uta Hille, Jens Tank, Frauke Adams, Arya M. Sharma, Susanne Klaus, Friedrich C. Luft, and Jens Jordan. “Water-induced thermogenesis.” The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 88, no. 12 (2003): 6015-6019.|
|↑9||Sharma, Sunil, and Mani Kavuru. “Sleep and metabolism: an overview.” International journal of endocrinology 2010 (2010).|