Ever wonder why your friend seems to be able to eat an entire pint of ice cream without gaining a pound, while you eat just a bit and it all goes straight to your belly? The answer, fair or not, is in the metabolism. Metabolism is the rate at which the body burns calories, and much of it is dependent on factors outside of one’s control, like gender (males tend to have higher metabolisms than females), age (after age 40 metabolism decreases about 5% each decade), and the ratio of body muscle to fat, as muscle burns more calories than fat, even when you’re resting. Exercise habits also play a key role in metabolism.
While you may be burning fewer calories a day at 40 then you did when you were 30, there are many simple things you can do to stimulate metabolism and increase fat burning. The very best way to boost the metabolism is through exercise, including both fat-burning cardio exercise and muscle building. Aerobic exercise helps to burn calories immediately and also provides an immediate boost to the metabolism for several hours afterward. Muscle building workouts may burn fewer calories, but they’re a must, as they help to raise the metabolism so that you’ll burn more calories all day long, even when you’re resting.
Making smart choices about what you eat, including consuming lots of fruits and veggies as well as fat burning foods, can also make a significant difference in your metabolism. As such, it’s not surprising that making smart drink choices can give your metabolism a boost as well.
These aren’t magical elixirs that will make you instantly shed pounds while consuming whatever you’d like, but they can help you lose weight by boosting the metabolism, helping you stay hydrated which reduces feelings of hunger and can lower the overall number of calories you consume when replacing sugary, high-calorie drinks that don’t satisfy hunger and often increase cravings.
1. Green Tea
Organic green tea is one of the healthiest things you can consume. It contains a high level of antioxidants, including flavonoids and catechins which can reduce the formation of free radicals to protect cells from damage, and even help prevent disease and premature aging.
Its catechins in particular, along with theanine and caffeine, are what makes green tea so great for raising the metabolism, burning fat and supporting weight loss. One 2014 study out of Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences found that drinking green tea regularly can boost the effects of exercise to further weight loss efforts. The research was conducted on mice that were fed a diet that included a high amount of fat, exercised regularly, and given green tea extract. The mice showed an average body mass reduction of 27.1 percent and an average abdominal mass reduction of 36.6 percent.
Of course, experts say just adding green tea to your diet isn’t going to help you lose weight. But if you drink it instead of things like sugary drinks or even diet soda, you’re likely to drop those stubborn pounds. One important thing to keep in mind when it comes to diet soda is that it’s one of the worst things you can do for your health and your waistline. While it may not contain calories, it does contain artificial sweeteners which have been found to trick the body into believing that calories are on the way. When that doesn’t happen, the metabolism slows and throws off the body’s ability to regulate appetite
Organic wheatgrass is a staple at most juice bars, and there’s a good reason for that. A 1-ounce serving of fresh wheatgrass juice has 5 calories, 1 gram of carbohydrate and 1 gram of protein. It not only helps to boost your metabolism, but it alkalizes the system and is filled with important nutrients like vitamins A, B, C, E, and K, along with iron and minerals like zinc, copper, potassium, manganese, and selenium. It serves as an overall body detoxifier too as it binds with heavy metals and other toxins which allows the body to safely excrete them, preventing them from being stored in fat tissue. When toxins accumulate in the body, they’re stored in fat tissue – and too much of this can lead to serious health problems in addition to weight gain. That’s because an overabundance of acid can’t be easily processed and excreted, which results in the body holding onto fat as an adaptive mechanism. By reducing acid in the body, it helps prevent the storage of fat.
Drinking wheatgrass can provide the endurance and energy needed to burn calories without feeling fatigued as its nutrients speed up metabolism, converting calories to energy so you’ll burn more fat.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar
First off, we aren’t telling you to drink apple cider vinegar straight – you should never do that as it can burn your esophagus. Instead, simply mix a couple of teaspoons of organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar with 16 ounces of water, and a little raw honey to sweeten it up. Sipping it throughout the day can help increase the metabolism, fat burning, and weight loss. Vinegar has long been used as a weight loss aid as it also helps to make you feel full, and has been scientifically shown to increase satiety.
A 2009 study published in Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry found that participants who consumed ACV for 12 weeks managed to achieve significant declines in body weight as well as abdominal fat, waist circumference, and triglycerides.
Other research showed that overweight subjects who drank ACV every day for 12 weeks had less visceral fat, lower waist circumference, and a lower BMI as compared to those who didn’t drink apple cider vinegar.
4. ACV Pineapple Metabolism Booster
If you want to take ACV up a notch, consider throwing together this easy, three-ingredient recipe. It contains organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar which, as mentioned, serves as an excellent appetite suppressant, which can prevent overeating, as well as raising the body’s metabolic rate so that you’ll burn calories more efficiently, and alkalizing the body, further supporting weight loss.
It also features pineapple juice, which contains bromelain known to have the power to reduce inflammation and flush out toxins from the body, which in turn also helps to boost metabolism, aiding weight loss efforts. The raw, organic honey adds a touch of sweetness and has its own benefits too. The organic, unprocessed type of honey (ideally local) not only offers anti-inflammatory properties, it provides vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can strengthen the immune system, as well as bifidobacteria, a group of bacteria linked to digestive and immune health.
Simply add 4 ounces of pure pineapple juice (freshly juiced even better), 2 teaspoons organic unfiltered ACV and 1 teaspoon organic raw honey to a blender with ice and blend on high until ice is crushed and desired consistency is reached.
5. Lemon Water
Lemon water may be incredibly simple, all you do is mix the juice of a lemon into a glass of water, but it offers a ton of benefits, including the ability to raise the metabolism and burn fat. Whip up some in a large water bottle and sip on it throughout the day for the best effects. Not only will you stay hydrated, which keeps the metabolism burning at its max, but as lemons contain flavonoids with potent antioxidant properties, it will help protect your cells from damage.
Lemon water also helps to aid digestion, helping the body to better absorb nutrients from other foods and it aids in regulating insulin spikes too.
6. Vegetable juice
Vegetable juice, particularly the fresh juice of veggies like kale, Swiss chard, spinach, broccoli and other green leafy types, are a great way to flush the toxins out of your system to support weight loss and a faster metabolism. Vegetables that are packed with potassium are especially good for flushing out sodium that keeps the belly bloated.
One great trick for weight loss involving vegetable juice is to drink a big glass just before a meal. Similar to drinking water before eating a meal, it’s likely to help reduce the total of calories you consume by making you feel fuller faster.
7. Birch Water
Birch water is another great drink for supporting your weight loss efforts, as it aids in eliminating excess salt, phosphates, uric acids, ammonia and certain medicines. Getting rid of these impurities, as mentioned, can be important when it comes to losing weight, as when toxins are allowed to build up, the body tends to hold onto fat as a way to protect its organs. If those toxins are eliminated, it eases the struggle most of us face when trying to lose pounds.
Birch water also offers a host of other benefits too, including supporting liver health, thanks to its ability to eliminate toxins, which takes that heavy burden off the liver. It may also help lower cholesterol to support heart health, offer joint pain relief and a clearer complexion.
8. Alkaline Water
Reducing acidity in the body can help prevent the storage of fat that can occur when toxins accumulate. That’s because an abundance of acidity in the body’s tissues can lead to a number of health issues. When there is too much acid, it can’t be easily processed and excreted, so the body holds onto fat as an adaptive mechanism, resulting in weight gain.
In layman’s terms, when it comes to weight management, including burning fat and keeping the metabolism at its max, this means that in the bodies of those regularly drink alkaline water, there’s no need to create more fat cells to neutralize acids that come from things like junk food. Therefore fat storage is reduced, making it a lot easier to lose weight than a body that is highly acidic.
To learn how to make alkaline water, follow this tutorial.
9. Plain Water
If you’re on a tight budget or all you have access to is plain water, that can help too. Staying hydrated is a must for an efficiently running metabolism, and it will keep it going at its max, even when you’re just lounging around. One University of Utah study found that participants who drank eight to 12 glasses of water each day burned more calories when at rest as those who drank four.
Cold water, in particular, is said to help the body burn more calories, as it requires that energy to heat it up and digest it. While it may only be a small amount, every little bit counts. Plus, drinking a glass of water before each meal can help you to consume fewer calories when eating as you’ll fill up faster.
Researchers from the U.K.’s University of Birmingham have shown that drinking 500ml of water a half an hour before eating main meals may help obese adults to lose weight. Participants who drank 16 ounces of water 30 minutes before each meal lost nine pounds over a 12-week period, significantly more than those who didn’t drink the water.
Water can also be used to battle cravings. If you aren’t sure if you’re actually hungry or are actually bored, drink a glass of water before reaching for food. Wait 30 minutes and see if you’re still hungry to prevent overeating.
If you rely on your cup of coffee in the morning to get you going, don’t feel guilty about it, provided you’re drinking the caffeinated version without those processed creamers, sugar or sugar substitutes. As caffeine provides a stimulant effect on the central nervous system, drinking java is known to raise metabolism and increase the oxidation of fatty acids, aiding one’s ability to lose weight or maintain an already ideal weight. In fact, caffeine is actually one of only a very few natural compounds that have been scientifically proven to aid fat burning, with a number of studies revealing that it can boost the metabolic rate by 3 to 11%.
One study, published in the Journal of Physiology and Behavior, looked at people who drank caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee. They found that caffeinated coffee drinkers had a 16% increase in metabolism over the decaffeinated group, while later research showed that a person drinking two cups of coffee burned an extra 50 calories over the next several hours.
Coffee is also high in antioxidants which can help battle the harmful effects of cell-damaging free radicals. Studies have even shown that this fabulous beverage contains more healthful antioxidants than any other food or beverage typically assumed by Americans – of course, that doesn’t mean you can stop eating your fruits and veggies and just consume coffee. Everything in moderation, as always!