Many of us try to increase our metabolism to lose weight, be healthier, or have more energy to keep up with the rush of daily life. What do we mean by ‘metabolism’, and how does it work? Metabolism is the rate at which our bodies convert the food and drink we consume into the energy we require to sustain our bodily functions. It is a non-stop, 24/7 process that supplies the energy needed for our respiration, blood flow, and cell cycle, and all of our daily movements.
Many factors can determine our metabolism rate, including our genes, age, sex, body fat, muscle mass, and activity level. You may not think you can influence it, but there are certain habits you can adopt to help increase your metabolism. If you apply these to your daily life and set a healthy routine, you will see the changes in both your body and your energy level.
1. Drink More Water
Increasing your water intake is the number one habit you should implement to increase your metabolism. There are many other benefits like clearer skin, enhanced gut health, boosted physical performance, better-regulated digestion, and improved brain function. Your body will reach its ideal metabolic rate and help you to lose weight. You can infuse your water with lemon or cucumber to add some flavor. Including fruits and vegetables as snacks will increase your fluid intake as well.
2. Reduce Your Stress Level
Stress can have an impact on both our mental and physical health. The human body secretes more cortisol when it is experiencing stress, and high cortisol levels can lead to irregular eating and metabolic disruption. Additionally, people tend to eat foods loaded with fats and sugar instead of making healthy choices during stressful times. When a slow metabolism and high-calorie foods are combined, they can drastically gain weight. To reduce your level of stress, you can start by finding a new hobby, doing yoga, or adding meditation to your daily routine.
3. Drink Green Tea
Research shows that green tea has a fat-burning effect on the body. The catechin found in green tea works as an antioxidant and burns an extra 70-100 calories per day. Instead of drinking juices, which can be loaded with added sugar, switching to green tea can help you cut calories, increase your fluid intake and boost metabolism, all at the same time.
4. Increase Your Muscle Mass
Muscle mass needs more energy to function and sustain itself, and it has a higher metabolic rate than fat. So gaining muscle mass is a good way to increase your metabolism and strengthen your body. When you increase your muscle mass, your resting metabolic rate (RMR) gets higher, which means you burn more calories, even while doing nothing. Start by exercising 3 times a week. Then add more days or lengthen the workout when you feel ready. Resistance training is a beneficial way to increase your muscle mass. You can either use your own body weight or free weights, like dumbbells, according to your current strength level.
5. Be Sure to Sleep Well
Your energy decreases when you are tired, and this also affects your metabolic rate. If your body doesn’t get enough sleep, it secretes more ghrelin, which makes you feel hungry, and less leptin, which makes you feel full. To balance your hormones and have a regular appetite, you need to have a healthy sleeping schedule and get at least 7 hours of sleep per night.
6. Eat Spicy Food
When you eat spicy foods, your body heat and adrenaline levels rise, which in turn can increase metabolism and burn more calories. The capsaicin in pepper starts the reaction for heat generation and enhances caloric burn after the meal in which it is consumed. Try adding some spicy pepper to your dishes. If you don’t like spicy foods or pepper, using ginger can have the same effect.
7. Drink Coffee
Caffeine consumption is an effective way to burn fat. According to research, it temporarily increases the metabolism rate by 3-11%. Caffeine also increases adrenaline, which signals fat tissue to break down into fatty acids. You still have to get rid of these fatty acids by burning more calories than you consume, or they will stay in your bloodstream. You should also keep your coffee consumption at a healthy level to avoid health conditions that may be caused by caffeine.
8. Eat More Protein
The digestion, absorption, and processing of nutrients also require calories and is called the thermic effect of food (TEF). This means that when you eat, you take in and burn calories at the same time. Protein increases metabolism by 15-30%, carbohydrates by 5-10%, and fats by 0-3%. Besides having a high TEF, protein keeps you full by reducing the production of the hormone ghrelin, which makes you hungry, and elevating the production of appetite-reducing hormones. Another benefit of protein is that it prevents muscle loss during your diet while keeping your metabolic rate high. Good protein sources to add to your diet include lean beef, fish, chicken, turkey, tofu, beans, nuts, eggs, and low-fat dairy products.
9. Don’t Skip Meals
Your body needs a regular eating pattern to keep its metabolic rate high. If you crash diet, binge eat and then starve yourself for a long period, your metabolic rate will drop and the body will start to store fat cells to survive. When you have a regular eating schedule, your body is nourished by a healthy routine, and muscles are fueled and ready to increase metabolism and lose weight.
10. Reduce your Alcohol Consumption
You don’t need to avoid alcohol completely, but it’s a good idea to reduce consumption to have a faster metabolism. Drinks like cocktails, which are especially high in sugar, are not optimal choices because they lower the secretion of digestive hormones and slow metabolic processes down. Choose low-calorie drinks instead, especially red wine, which may have other benefits besides weight loss.