Your metabolism basically amounts to how fast your body burns calories, and is influenced by a number of lifestyle factors including sleep, exercise, and what and when you eat. In addition, there are physical factors which influence metabolism — men tend to burn more calories, even at rest, than women do, and metabolism slows with age.
Many people want to boost their metabolism to help maintain a healthy weight — after all, the higher your metabolism, the more calories you burn and the easier it is to lose weight and keep it off. While you can't control your age, gender, or genetics, there are several things you can do to boost your metabolism. Here are 12 scientifically-proven ways to do so.
The thermic effect of food (TEF) increases your metabolism following a meal, and includes the calories required to digest and process your meals. Protein causes the largest rise in TEF, increasing metabolic rate by 15–30%, compared to 5–10% for carbs and just 0–3% for fats.
Additionally, protein helps you feel fuller for longer, ultimately resulting in lower overall calorie consumption throughout the day.
Hydrate with Cold Water
Research has shown that drinking water may also temporarily speed up your metabolism, anywhere from 10-30% in the hour following consumption of at least 500mL. Furthermore, drinking cold water requires your body to use energy to heat it up to body temperature, resulting in even greater metabolic expenditure.
Drink Green or Oolong Tea
Another hydration solution for boosting metabolism is to drink green or oolong tea. Some studies have found that drinking these types of tea can boost metabolism by as much as 5 per cent! Plus, green and oolong tea help convert some of the fat stored in your body into free fatty acids, potentially increasing fat burning by 10–17 per cent.
Like green tea, coffee has been shown to increase fat burning, and can help boost metabolism anywhere from 3-11%, so go ahead and enjoy your morning cuppa Joe with the knowledge that it’s helping keep your metabolism running — just stick to black coffee for best results.
It’s no surprise that sitting is bad for one’s health — touted as the new smoking, many health experts agree that any extended sitting can be harmful. When you compare an afternoon of standing up at work to sitting behind your desk, you can burn an extra 174 calories by simply standing up. Whether you take more breaks throughout the day or invest in a sit-stand desk, make it a habit to stretch your legs more.
Work Out at High Intensity
High-intensity interval training — also known as HIIT — involves quick and very intense bursts of activity, which increases your metabolic rate, even after your workout has finished. Instead of your regular workout routine, try mixing up your exercise by adding in a few high-intensity workouts each week to help boost your metabolism.
Another way to boost your metabolism through exercise is to lift weight. This is because muscle is more metabolically active than fat, which means you simply burn more calories on a daily basis than someone with less muscle mass. Weight training is also effective at maintaining muscle mass and combating the drop in metabolism that can occur during a period of weight loss.
Eat Spicy Foods
Spicy foods such as hot peppers contain a substance called capsaicin, which is proven to boost your metabolism. While the effects are generally quite small, every meal adds up over time and can result in sustained weight loss.
Get More Rest
Sleep deprivation can wreak havoc on your metabolism, which is why getting a good night’s rest is key to good health. A lack of quality sleep can also impact your body’s ability to manage blood sugar levels, leading to insulin resistance and even type 2 diabetes. It can also disrupt appetite-regulating hormones such as ghrelin and leptin, causing you to overeat.
If you’re struggling with sleep, we have a recent blog post with 8 tips to help you get a better sleep, starting tonight!
Swap Cooking Fats for Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is relatively high in what’s known as medium-chain fats, which can help boost your metabolism more than long-chain fats such as those found in cooking fats like butter. In fact, one study found that medium-chain fats increased metabolism by 12% while long-chain fats raised it by just 4 per cent.
Eat Small, Frequent Meals
Some researchers suggest that grazing — eating smaller, more frequent meals — can help keep one’s metabolism running smoothly. Just be sure you aren’t overeating at each meal time — you simply want small portions at regular intervals.
Avoid Crash Diets
Crash diets (eating less than 1,200 calories per day) can wreak havoc on your metabolism, even though they help you lose weight in the short term. The body is a complex, smart system, and will adapt its energy use to a lower energy intake — meaning you’ll end up burning fewer calories in response to eating less. Plus, crash diets often result in muscle loss, which in turn slows your metabolism.