Metabolism describes all the chemical reactions that occur in your body that keep it alive and functioning well. It refers to the cellular process that turns food into energy, and particular proteins in the body control these chemical reactions.
The word metabolism can easily be confused with the term metabolic rate, the amount of calories you burn. Having a high metabolism means you burn more calories and lose weight faster. Here are ten easy ways to boost your metabolism:
1. Replace sugary drinks with water
Those who drink water instead of high sugar drinks are lose weight better and keep it off, according to Harvard Health. These sugary drinks contain calories that accumulate throughout the day, while the water is calorie-free and hydrating. Even if you only replace one to three cups with plain water, you might see improvements. Water is also satiating.
Some sources indicate that drinking more cold water may help boost your metabolism. An older study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that the energy expenditure results are negligible. Cooling the water before drinking produced less than 5% energy expenditure in 60 minutes.
2. Eat more protein
When you eat, your metabolism reacts. The thermic food effect (TEF) refers to the increase in calories needed to process nutrients from a meal. Proteins cause the greatest increase in TEF from 20 to 35% compared to carbohydrates and, therefore, increases your metabolic rate. Protein can also keep you full longer.
3. Do high-intensity interval training (HIIT)
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) engages the body in intense, rapid bursts of aerobic and resistance workouts. This variety of activity at fast and intense levels can help you burn fat by increasing your metabolic rate, which persists for hours after activityaccording to a 2021 systematic review published in Opinion on Obesity.
A HIIT workout can last anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes. You can try anything, like dancing, sprinting, cycling, or jumping rope at a fast, intense pace for 30 seconds, then a few minutes at a slower, more relaxed pace. The number of repetitions usually ranges from four to six. Including HIIT workouts in your exercise routine could help you avoid weight plateauing.
4. Lift heavier things
Fat is less metabolically active than muscle. Your metabolism goes down when you lose weight, if you are sedentary. However, lifting weights can help combat this drop and build muscle. Resting energy expenditure is 60-75% of the calories you burn every day, according to Harvard Health. This is the rate at which you burn calories after a workout.
If you can’t make it to the gym, start slowly at home by taking the time to revamp your closet or pantry. According to the Washington Post, the calories you burn doing chores can fight weight gain at home. And remember to lift with your legs, not your back.
5. Stand up more often
Sitting has too often been called “the new smoking” because both are linked to higher rates of obesity, increased blood pressure and other risk factors for chronic diseases. Sitting too long can also harm your mental health.
Standing burns eight more calories per hour than sitting, according to Harvard Health, walking burns a lot more. A good rule of thumb is to avoid sitting for intervals longer than 40 minutes. Invest in a standing desk or consider a treadmill or bike under the desk to keep your legs moving. Although standing doesn’t burn many calories, variations between sitting and standing throughout the day are better for your health.
6. Drink green tea
Can green tea speed up weight loss? Drinking green tea will not help you lose weight, but it may help slight increase in your metabolic ratereports NPR.
A 2012 meta-analysis published in Cochrane reviewed 15 weight loss studies and three weight maintenance studies involving green tea consumption and found it had an effect, albeit small. The weight loss benefits of green tea may be applicable to certain subsets of the population.
However, green tea has antioxidant effects which are helpful in fighting free radicals and increasing oxygen in your bloodstream. These antioxidants could have a beneficial effect on helping your muscles recover after a workout.
7. Eat spicy foods
A 2017 study published in the International Journal of Food Science and Nutrition found that chilli (peppers) can improve insulin control, helping with weight management. Chilli decreases energy expenditure by activating brown adipose tissue. The researchers also noted that this discovery had positive effects for the treatments of diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disorders.
Bell peppers also contain capsaicin which can boost your metabolism. The McCormick Science Institute reports that red bell pepper may increase satiety and improve your metabolism and energy.
8. Get plenty of rest
Did you know that a lack of sleep can influence insulin resistance as well as your blood sugar? Pennsylvania State University reports that sleep deprivation can hurt your metabolism and contribute to weight gain. Longer exposure to short periods of sleep may increase the risk of obesity and other chronic diseases. However, missing several hours of sleep over several days can also affect your metabolism.
It takes time for your system to get back to its basal metabolic rate, and catching up on sleep over the weekend is not the answer. Take the time to develop a bedtime routine and between seven and nine hours of sleepthe recommended amount of sleep for adults.
9. Drink coffee
Normal caffeine consumption can increase energy expenditure, increase resting metabolic rate by 3-11% for lean and post-obese people, according to an older study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Interestingly, this effect may diminish with age and is more effective in young adults.
Caffeine boosted fat burning closely 29% in lean women and 10% in obese womenreported an older study published in The Journal of American Physiology, Endocrinology, and Metabolism.
10. Use coconut oil
Use coconut oil as your primary cooking fat because it contains many medium-chain fats in place of the saturated and long-chain fats found in other cooking oils. Medium chain fats can boost your metabolism and help with weight losswhile potentially reducing obesity-related risk perimeters, according to a 2020 study published in Food and function.
Simple lifestyle changes can help boost your metabolism, like including more green tea in your diet and HIIT in your workout routine. A higher metabolic rate can help you maintain a healthy weight and provide you with more energy over time.