Boosting your metabolism and weight loss often go hand in hand and, thankfully, there are a few simple steps you can take to kick things off.
But first, why should you boost your metabolism? Put simply, a higher metabolic rate burns more calories, making it easier to lose weight and keep it off.
According to the health support website Webmd.com, your metabolic rate varies according to your age, gender and genetics, but there are some easy ways to improve your rate without radically altering your lifestyle.
Eat plenty of protein
Eating can boost your metabolism, but eating protein powers up the rate. Eating increases the thermal effect of food (TEF) as your body uses extra calories to digest, absorb and process food.
According to healthline.com, protein has the highest TEF and can increase your metabolic rate by 15 to 30 per cent compared to 5 to 10 per cent for carbohydrates and up to 3 per cent for fats. Eating protein can also make you feel more ‘full’ and prevent you from overeating.
Good sources of protein are lean beef, turkey, fish, chicken, tofu, nuts, beans, eggs and low-fat dairy products.
Drink more water
Your body needs water to process calories, so being even slightly dehydrated can lower your metabolism. It also helps to ‘fill’ you up.
Studies show that drinking water half an hour before a meal can help you eat less. A study of overweight adults found that those who drank half a litre of water before meals lost 44 per cent more weight than those who didn’t.
Work out to build muscle and increase aerobic fitness
You burn calories even when you’re doing nothing, but that improves if you have more muscle tissue. Every kilo of muscle uses about 12 calories a day, every kilo of fat uses only four calories a day, that can add up over time. Strength training also activates muscles all over the body, improving the metabolic rate. Increasing your aerobic fitness revs up your metabolism for hours after a workout and burns plenty of fat.
Spice up your life
Capsicums and chillis contain a chemical called capsaicin that can kick your metabolism into higher gear. Add a dash of chilli flakes to pasta or stews for a quick boost.
Everyone knows the energy boosting effects of coffee. Some of us couldn’t get through the day without it. It can also help your endurance as you exercise.
A controversial alternative as they can give you a bit of short-term zing, but overuse can cause anxiety, high blood pressure and sleep issues.
Talking of sleep, try to get more of it. Studies show that a lack of sleep affects your metabolism by boosting the hunger hormone ghrelin and decreasing the fullness hormone leptin, which is why some who are sleep deprived feel hungry and struggle to lose weight.
Having a small meal or snack every three to four hours keeps your metabolism cranking. It also means you feel less hungry at main meals.
Drink green tea
Green and oolong teas have caffeine and catechins and have been shown to increase metabolism by 4 to 5 per cent and up to 17 per cent more during exercise.
Stop dieting, or at least stop crazy dieting
Crash diets can help you lose weight, but they come at the expense of muscle loss and good nutrition, which in turn lowers your metabolism. As a result, your body will gain weight faster than before the diet.
Have you tried any of the suggestions above? Did they work for you? What are your tips to boost your metabolism? Why not share your suggestions in the comments section below?
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