Metabolism is affected by a person’s activity level, body size and composition, genetics, gender, age, and hormone levels. While not all of these factors are under our control, by understanding them and – more importantly – how to manipulate them, it is not only possible to naturally boost your metabolism, but also quite easy. Just follow any or all of these tips to start shedding those unwanted pounds right away, the healthy way.
1. Don’t Over-diet
While it may be tempting to dive headlong into a new weight-loss plan, it is important to recognize that sudden or drastic changes to your diet and calorie intake will most often do more harm than good where your metabolism is concerned.
For example, if your body is used to processing a lot of high-fat meats and cheeses as with certain fad diets, switching overnight to a vegetarian approach will almost certainly cause you a great deal of gastro-intestinal discomfort, as well as dehydration and fatigue. Also, shaving off too many calories at once from your daily intake will actually send your body into starvation mode which lowers metabolism in order to conserve energy.
Click this link to see about how many calories your body burns in a 24-hour period at rest then factor in any exercise you get on an average day. Remember that sustainable weight-loss usually occurs at a rate of one to two pounds per week, so try to burn at least 500 calories more than you consume each day either through exercise or by eating healthier.
Decide on the route that you want to take to progress slowly and steadily from Point A (your current eating habits) to Point B (a healthier metabolism-boosting diet) and stick to it. Not only is this better for your body, you’ll also be far less-likely to ‘cheat’ or regress back to your old habits as is common with fad diets and many ‘quick-fix’ metabolism drugs.
2. Build Lean Muscle
Most of us have heard the adage “Muscle burns more calories than fat.” It’s no lie. For every pound of fat that you replace with a pound of muscle, you’re boosting your metabolism by about six calories per day. While this may not sound like much, over time the numbers start to add up. At the rate of one pound per week, that’s over three hundred calories per day by the end of the first year – the equivalent of about two chicken breast halves or three chicken thighs with the skin removed.
3. Eat More Protein
One of the best ways to pack on extra muscle and boost your metabolism at the same time is to consume more protein. Soy, nuts, legumes, lean meat, and cold water fish like mackerel, tuna, and sardines are all good sources. Protein also helps to keep blood sugar levels stable throughout the day which will further increase your overall energy level, keep your body steadily burning calories between meals, and drastically reduce the urge to snack on high-carb, high-fat foods.
If you’re still not sure where to start, try one of these great high-protein, low-fat meal ideas!
4. Follow a Schedule
While this can be difficult for some people with very busy lifestyles, one of the best ways to boost your metabolism is to eat regularly. Avoid skipping breakfast whenever possible. Try to fit in one small meal every three hours for the best results. Also, remember not to eat too close to bedtime as this can interfere with sleep.
For an example: If you work from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, aim for mealtimes around 5:30 am (breakfast), 9:00 am (snack), 12:30 pm (lunch), 4:00 pm (snack), 7:30 pm (dinner) and remember to leave a couple of hours between dinner and bedtime for digestion.
Also, for some excellent high-protein snacks, check out this website.
5. Have a Cup of Coffee
If you aren’t one of the hundreds of millions of people who already enjoy a cup of Joe first thing in the morning, here’s something you may want to consider. Several studies published by the US National Library of Medicine over the past few years have indicated that coffee – once vilified for raising blood pressure, increasing risk of mortality from cardiovascular disease, and even for causing some forms of cancer – is actually more good for you than it is bad. (Read the science: Benefits of Coffee on page 2.) According to these studies, there are no confirmed health detriments for the average person enjoying anywhere from one to six cups of coffee throughout the day.
So brew up some java and jump start your metabolism! Also, try one of these recipes to mix things up a bit: Healthier “Coffee-cino” Frozen Coffee Drink or Wellness Mama’s ‘The Only Way I Drink Coffee…’
I recommend Bulletproof Coffee for the best flavor without all of the nasty toxins often found in commercially-grown and -processed beans.
If you’re not a big fan of the taste of coffee, you can still get a good dose of caffeine from tea. Try a sample of this Iron Goddess Oolong from The Tea Spot for a smooth and fragrant experience.
6. Add Ice to Beverages
For everything that you eat, drink, and breathe, some part of your body automatically works to bring the consumed substance to its optimum temperature of around 37.0 °C (98.6 °F). This process of thermoregulation burns calories and the more your body has to work to do it, the more calories you burn. Add ice to coffee, tea, juice, water, and smoothies. On a similar note, cold foods will have the same effect. Enjoy a few tablespoons of frozen yogurt or gelato for a cold treat which also contains calcium and a small amount of milk protein.
7. Wake Up Your Muscles
If your daily routine prohibits you from getting a lot of exercise, try to at least wake up your muscles every hour or two with short bursts of exercise. Jumping jacks, jogging in place, or a set of squats are a few good examples. How many to do in each set depends on the person, but a good indicator is your heart rate. When you start to feel your pulse speed up and your body temperature become slightly elevated, you can be sure that your metabolism is working harder to fuel the sudden movement of your muscles.
8. Zinc and Iron
Zinc is essential for hundreds of enzymatic processes inside the human body including cellular replication, protein digestion, and regulation of carbon-dioxide in the blood stream while iron is crucial for the transport of oxygen in your blood. Both zinc- and iron-deficiencies are often characterized by lethargy, loss of appetite, and a slow metabolism. Inadequate levels of zinc can also lead to impaired cell regeneration (healing) and a compromised immune system.
Want to know if you are iron deficient? Read this article and see if you are experiencing any of the warning signs.
That said, it is very important to ensure that you’re getting your daily doses of these two minerals. The average recommended daily intake (RDI) of zinc is around 8 mg/day for women and 11 mg/day for men. The RDI of iron is 18 mg/day for women and 8 mg/day for men. Common dietary sources of both zinc and iron include red meat, liver, shellfish, nuts, seeds, and dark leafy greens (read more here and here.) Both iron and zinc are also contained in most multivitamins.
Recommended Reading: 10 Ways To Get More Iron
9. Don’t Fear the Good Fats
Healthy essential fatty acids (EFAs) such as those found in olive oil, cold-water fish, and certain nuts and seeds are crucial to the production of hormones in the human body. Without those proper building blocks, hormones can easily become malformed, resulting in a whole host of physiological problems of which abnormal metabolic function, fatigue, and uncontrollable weight-gain are quite common. Read more about how to use fatty acids to balance hormones naturally in this article.
Recommended Reading: How To Use Coconut Oil To Lose Weight
10. More Foods to Boost Metabolism
We’ve already covered the basics: protein, caffeine, zinc, and EFAs, but these aren’t the only consumables that will help get your metabolism in gear. Also be sure to try some of the foods on this list to increase your body’s energy and fat-burning potential.
Matcha Green Tea – This highest quality green tea is packed with catechins and amino acids that boost metabolism and mental clarity. Read more about Matcha in this fantastic article.
Cayenne Pepper – Capsaicin contained in cayenne peppers increases blood flow to the digestive tract and provides a small but consistent boost to metabolism.
Lemon Water – Staying hydrated is crucial to a healthy metabolism. Try adding a squeeze of fresh lemon to your ice water to help your body absorb water faster and stay hydrated longer.