By Amanda Roberts
You’ve probably heard a lot of talk about metabolism: do you have a fast one or a slow one? Is it affecting your weight loss? Can you speed it up? What is it?
Today, we’re going to discuss how you can boost your metabolism, what risks it poses, and how to make the very most of your health.
What is Metabolism and Why is it Important?
The metabolism refers very generally to a collection of processes involving the production, storage, and use of energy. This means it is involved in everything from the food you eat to the exercises you perform.
Boosting the Metabolism
If you’re looking to be as healthy as possible and maintain a lean physique, an improved metabolic function is always good. A higher metabolism means you can consume more food on a daily basis which means more nutrients and better overall health.
This is even more important for those who are struggling to control weight in the first place. If you are looking to combat existing metabolic health problems, these tips may be even more useful.
1. Sleep More/Better
The hormonal and metabolic effects of sleep are hard to understate. Sleep deprivation results in an excessive build-up of cortisol and a drop in the muscle-building, fat-burning growth hormones. A single hour less sleep than you need can damage your hormonal profile and reduce key hormones by 10-15%.
Sleeping at least 8 hours a night has more positive effects on your overall metabolism than any foods or supplements, so you should prioritise it accordingly. This is easier when you avoid blue light in the hours leading to bedtime and ensure that you’re sleeping in a cool, dark room.
This one is predictable: exercise is a key player in the metabolism during and after a workout. When you perform a workout, you increase your metabolism by huge amounts in the short-term, using up food and other fuel sources to provide the energy you need to move.
However, increasing your lean muscle mass and your general fitness both increase your metabolism when you’re totally inactive. This is to say that a fit person burns more calories while lying on the sofa than a sedentary person.
The best way to boost your metabolism consistently with exercise is a combination of endurance exercise and muscle-building strength training. This isn’t going to make you look like Arnold Schwarzenegger, but it will increase your ability to eat more and look better!
3. Drink More Water
Water is essential to a healthy body. It should come as no surprise that staying hydrated is a great way to improve metabolism and stay healthy.
Drinking water has been shown to boost short-term metabolism by up to 30% for up to 40 minutes after drinking. You can extend this throughout the day by keeping a water bottle at hand and staying as hydrated as possible.
Be sure to match your water intake to your nutrient intake, however, as it is possible (though difficult) to drink so much that you lose too much salt.
Green tea and other green tea products like Matcha contain high quantities of catechins. These are compounds that benefit your health in a number of ways, one of which is the increased metabolism of bodyfat.
The effects of this are relatively small, but when combined with other benefits like improved resistance to illness and improved exercise recovery, green tea is a great option.
5. …and Coffee
Caffeine is a popular metabolic rate booster, being found in many dietary supplements and even your average cup of coffee.
You may have used caffeine for its amazing effects on awareness and fatigue before, but it also boosts your metabolic rate for a few hours. Be sure to start your day with a cup of coffee if you’re looking to stay energized and burn more calories.
6. Eat More Protein
Protein is not only great for building muscle and keeping your joints healthy, but for its ability to keep you fuller and improve your metabolic rate.
Protein has a greater thermic effect than other foods. This means that for every gram of protein, your body has to spend 20% of that energy breaking it down and processing it. This means that you’re going to burn 0.8 calories for every gram of protein you eat, compared to approximately 5% for other macronutrients.
A high-protein diet has many benefits, and if you’re looking to boost your metabolism it could be for you!
7. Dietary Fiber
Fiber is a great way to maintain the health of your metabolism and digestive system. While you are unable to digest fiber, the effects it has on your body are amazing, and deficiency can make almost any illness worse.
Dietary fiber improves gut bacteria and the metabolism of other foods. Through its effect on gut bacteria, insulin level, and carbohydrate metabolism, fiber improves the regularity of your metabolism and your ability to lose weight in a healthy way.
8. Key Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamins and minerals are the cornerstone of a healthy diet, but also play a major role in the metabolic rate. While they may not be as glamorous as the ineffective “fat-burner” supplements on the market, they’re distinguished by:
- Being effective, and
- Being cheap and easy to get
Vitamins in the “B” group are key to keeping your metabolism healthy. This means vitamins B1, B2, B6, B7, and B9, all of which are found in numerous animal sources, nuts, seeds, and legumes. A well-balanced diet should have all these compounds, as they are key to a healthy metabolic rate and energy transfer.
Among minerals, the most important compounds are iron and all the things that play a role in its absorption (Vitamin C, Manganese, and Zinc). These compounds ensure that your blood is healthy, which is a necessary condition for effective metabolism. Without these compounds, you’re susceptible to anemia and a whole host of other metabolic and cardiovascular issues.
9. Chromium Deficiency?
Chromium is another mineral that has been involved in discussions about metabolism and diabetes in recent years. This key compound has been misunderstood, but it may be a part of your metabolism that you’ve overlooked – with some severe consequences.
While it has been incorrectly sold as a weight-loss supplement, chromium does have positive benefits by combatting deficiency. If you have a chromium deficiency, you’re likely to experience poor metabolism, increased diabetes risk, and poor blood sugar control.
These are common problems of metabolic syndrome and addressing a deficiency in chromium is often effective in solving all these problems. However, if you’re not deficient It is unlikely to be effective at all – the best course of action, if you suspect you have a deficiency, is to ask your physician for a blood test.
There are numerous spices that should be involved in your diet due to their effects on health and metabolism. Often, the best foods for metabolism are simply the best foods in general.
- Cinnamon: this curious spice contains a compound called cinnamaldehyde which can boost metabolism, particularly of dietary carbs.
- Cayenne: although the effects are small, this household spice improves metabolism slightly and contains lots of essential vitamin A.
- Ginger: aside from curing common digestive problems, ginger improves metabolic and cardiovascular health.
- Turmeric: our favourite tuber, this fantastic spice provides plenty of curcumin (improving metabolism), essential iron and anti-inflammatory effects. Mix with black pepper for the best results.
Metabolism isn’t the key to weight loss, but it certainly helps to improve your metabolism and give yourself the tolerances for greater food intake. These 10 tips can contribute to an improved metabolism, better health and improve your overall fitness.
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