If you are trying to lose body weight, you must burn off more calories than you consume.
Looking at your diet and activity levels will certainly help, but your metabolic rate or metabolism plays an important role too.
Metabolism is a process whereby the food you eat is converted into energy. Even when you are resting, your body is still burning calories.
The higher your metabolism, the higher your calorie burn, making it easier to burn off excess fat and avoid weight gain in the future.
This article will provide you some natural ways to speed up your metabolism while separating those metabolism myths from facts.
- 1. Eat Plenty Of Protein at Every Meal
- 2. Drink More Water
- 3. Do a High-Intensity Workout (HIIT)
- 4. Lift Heavy Weights And Build Muscles (Resistance Training)
- 5. Eat Enough Calories And Avoid Crash Diets
- 6. Stand Up More And Walk
- 7. Drink Green Tea Or Oolong Tea
- 8. Eat Spicy Foods
- 9. Take Vitamins And Supplements
- 10. Get A Good Night’s Sleep
- 11. Drink Coffee
- 12. Lower Your Trans Fats Intake
- 13. Eat Regularly And Smaller Meals
- 14. Reduce Stress
- 15. Eat Organic and Whole Foods
- The Takeaway
1. Eat Plenty Of Protein at Every Meal
The first method we will use to boost your metabolism is to eat protein-rich foods and fiber.
Eating food will lead to your body using calories to digest, absorb, and process the meal’s nutrients. This process is known as TEF (thermic effect of food).
Foods high in protein cause the highest rise in TEF, so use the highest number of calories when broken down.
Protein will cause a 15-30% increase in your metabolic rate, with only a 5-10% rise in carbohydrates and 0-3% rise in fats (1).
Another proven benefit of protein is that it can help you feel fuller, which will help combat overeating.
Research has found that people who had a diet that consisted of 30% protein consumed 441 fewer calories than those with a lower percentage (2).
Adding ingredients rich in protein to your diet nutrition (even at breakfast) has another benefit. It helps build muscle when combined with resistance workouts and helps reduce muscle loss when dieting, which is a common problem associated with dieting (3).
The right amount of protein to consume each day is around 1 gram per kilogram in body weight.
Good sources of protein include:
- Lean meats
- Fish and seafood
- Dairy products
You should also consider increasing your fiber intake and making sure you are eating fiber and protein-rich foods at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
When you combine fiber and protein at lunch, you can improve appetite control for many hours.
It is recommended that you aim to increase your fiber intake up to 30 grams daily with the best fiber sources, including whole-grain breakfast cereals, fruits, vegetables, peas, beans, and pulses.
2. Drink More Water
If you are looking to drop a few extra pounds, you should consider making changes to your diet, reducing the number of soft drinks and energy drinks you consume.
Most soft drinks and energy drinks are full of calories and sugars that can ruin your dieting efforts.
Zero-calorie soft drinks also should be avoided. The research has found that the sweeteners they contain can lead to sugar cravings and overeating.
A much better alternative to soft drinks would be water. Staying hydrated will help your body function optimally. Water is essential for optimal speed of metabolism and is necessary to process calories. It should be consumed with every meal, including breakfast.
Water contains zero calories and has been shown to cause a temporary increase in metabolism.
Research has shown that if you wish to increase your RMR or resting metabolic rate by 10-30% within the hour, you should aim to drink 17 ounces (0.5 liters) of water (4).
Drinking cold water is even more effective at calorie burn, as your body will use extra energy to warm up your internal body temperature.
One final weight loss benefit of water is that it will fill you up. Drinking water half an hour before your dinner will result in less food being eaten, and ultimately fewer calories will be consumed.
With this in mind, is there any wonder those people who drink water instead of sugary soft drinks are better able to lose weight and keep it off?
3. Do a High-Intensity Workout (HIIT)
Cardio exercise, unsurprisingly, is one of the best ways to burn more calories, and a HIIT workout, otherwise known as a high-intensity workout, is one of the best forms. Steady-state cardio is also an effective option but is not as good at boosting your body’s metabolisms.
HIIT workouts involve quick and incredibly intense exercises. It is extremely effective at boosting your fitness levels.
Research has shown that this type of interval training will cause a metabolism boost in people, even after your workout has ended.
It is more effective at fat burning than many other forms of exercise routine, with one particular study finding that for 12 weeks of HIIT, young men were able to reduce their fat mass by 4.4 pounds (2 kg) with a 17% reduction in belly fat (5).
4. Lift Heavy Weights And Build Muscles (Resistance Training)
The higher your muscle mass percentage, the more it will affect your metabolic rate.
When you train with weights, you activate the muscles all over your body, which will increase calorie burn. You are also helping build more muscle mass.
Muscle is more metabolically active than fat, which means you need to use more energy to preserve.
Lifting weights and performing resistance training to build muscle will help you burn more energy, even while you are at rest.
Strength training can be beneficial while dieting to prevent muscle mass loss when you lose weight. It can also help counteract the muscle loss and subsequent slowing of your metabolism that occurs as you age. Some diets, unfortunately, cause your body to break down muscle for energy.
A study of 48 overweight women who were asked to eat a diet that consisted of only 800 daily calories, alongside either no exercise, aerobic exercise, or resistance training (6).
All participants lost weight, but only those who performed resistance training were able to maintain muscle mass, strength, and metabolism.
The women in the other groups lost muscle mass and saw that their metabolism had slowed.
5. Eat Enough Calories And Avoid Crash Diets
Nutritionists will often recommend cutting your calorie intake to lose weight. However, this should only be a few hundred at most. How many of you skip breakfast to lose weight?
The truth is that if you cut your calorie intake too drastically, then your body will realize this and believe that you are starving. It will then take steps to slow your metabolism to try and conserve energy and fat from your nutrition.
Another potential issue that may arise due to you essentially starving yourself is losing muscle mass, which may slow your metabolism even further.
You may also experience nutritional deficiencies when you starve yourself, so make sure you do not go to extremes when cutting calories.
To find out how many calories you should be eating to lose weight, you will need to calculate your BMR (basal metabolic rate). This is the amount of energy your body needs while resting.
Once you understand your calorie limit, you will know how many you need to consume daily to maintain your weight based on your BMR. To lose weight, you should cut this number by 200-300.
6. Stand Up More And Walk
Many of us nowadays spend most of our days sitting, either at the desk, work or in front of a screen.
Our bodies are not designed for these sedentary lifestyles as we have evolved to be more active in searching for food and fuel.
Unfortunately, as we are no longer as active as we once were, our metabolic rates are suffering, along with our fitness levels.
Research has shown that fewer calories will be burned when you sit for long periods, and weight gain may be experienced.
Luckily there are ways and things that we can do to overcome this lifestyle and health issue.
If you work a sedentary job, you should schedule mini activity breaks to stand up out of your chair and move about.
Simply standing while you work will help boost metabolism. Compared with sitting, standing at your desk for the afternoon could result in an extra 174 calories being burned (7). Perhaps you should invest in a standing desk!?
7. Drink Green Tea Or Oolong Tea
There are plenty of health reasons why you should consider drinking green tea or oolong tea for breakfast.
Both types of tea offer numerous health benefits thanks to the various antioxidants and nutrients that they contain.
Tea contains caffeine that is a natural stimulant shown to boost your metabolism.
Research has shown that thanks to caffeine’s ability to stimulate your central nervous system, you will be able to boost metabolism by up to 11% and fat burning by 13% (8).
Green tea also contains epigallocatechin gallate (EGCC), a compound that can help speed up metabolism and convert stored body fat into free fatty acids.
A study has shown that combining green tea extract with exercise can be even more effective at burning fat.
With the proven metabolism-boosting benefits of green tea, you should consider adding 1-2 cups a day to your daily diet.
8. Eat Spicy Foods
Eating spicy foods is another proven way to increase your metabolism and help you lose weight.
Peppers are full of capsaicin, a substance that gives them that spicy kick. This substance has been proven to speed up your metabolism by increasing your internal body temperature through a process called thermogenesis.
A study on capsaicin found that by eating peppers with your dinners, you will be able to burn off an extra 10 calories per meal (9).
While this does not seem like much, those additional calories will start to mount up when combined with other nutrition and lifestyle changes.
Unfortunately, not everyone can tolerate the spices at a dosage that is required to burn calories.
Luckily though, there is an alternative available.
Scientists have discovered similar benefits can be experienced by consuming dihydrocapsiate (DCT), which is the non-spicy cousin of hot peppers.
9. Take Vitamins And Supplements
If you value your health, then you have to take steps to keep your metabolism healthy too. Otherwise, you run the risk of developing metabolic syndrome that can potentially lead to diabetes, weight gain, and heart disease.
Your diet and exercise routine should be the first thing you look at, but this may not always be possible if you lead a busy life. This is where vitamins and supplements can help.
There is lots of research available showing how vital vitamins and minerals are for a healthy metabolism.
Vitamin D is an important vitamin and is essential for preserving muscle tissue. Unfortunately, only 20% of Americans get enough through their diet.
To increase your intake, you could eat more salmon or a more convenient solution to take a vitamin D supplement.
Other vitamins are crucial for a healthy metabolism, including vitamin E, vitamin C, and B vitamins found in food sources like bananas, orange juice, and whole-grain foods.
Zinc is also important as it is a mineral critical for thyroid health. A study shows that those who consumed 30 milligrams of zinc daily had better BMIs and had better cholesterol levels (10).
10. Get A Good Night’s Sleep
The right amount of sleep will be different from person to person. However, if you are not getting enough each night, you are putting your weight loss efforts at serious risk of failure.
Research has concluded that a lack of sleep can slow your metabolism and, in the process, leave you feeling hungry and with more food cravings.
When you don’t get enough sleep, your body will over-produce ghrelin, which is a hormone that makes you feel hungry. It will also cause a reduction in leptin production, with this hormone shown to increase the feeling of fullness.
A lack of sleep may also cause your cortisol levels to rise. Cortisol is known as the stress hormone, and when production increases, you are more likely to store fat, especially belly fat.
The experts recommend that you aim to get 7-8 hours of good quality sleep each night as this will help ensure these hormones remain in balance.
To make sure you are getting the right amount of sleep, it is recommended that you avoid napping during the day, avoid caffeine and other stimulants before bedtime, and limit your screen time just before sleep too.
The blue light produced by the various electronic devices can disturb the hormone melanin production, which will affect the time and quality of your sleep.
11. Drink Coffee
Drinking coffee can help speed up your metabolism, energy levels, reduce fatigue and help you burn more calories throughout the day.
Coffee contains caffeine, a natural stimulant that has been proven to speed up your central nervous system.
Research has found that the caffeine found in coffee could lead to a 3-11% metabolism increase (11).
Caffeine seems to help slimmer people more than those carrying a little extra body weight. One study found that coffee could increase fat burning in lean women by 29%, with only a 10% increase in metabolism for obese women (12).
Just make sure you avoid those coffee varieties that are laden with cream, syrup, and sugar. These additional calories may ruin your weight loss effect.
12. Lower Your Trans Fats Intake
Trans fats are bad for your health; they can cause your bad cholesterol levels to rise, which may raise your risk of developing heart disease and stroke.
They also negatively affect your metabolism and ability to burn fat, and the number of calories you burn. When you eat these fats, you may experience insulin resistance, affecting your ability to use the glucose in your blood and may cause inflammation. Both of these can affect your metabolism.
Junk and snack food is the primary source of these bad fats, so you should try and avoid eating them if possible.
Monounsaturated fats are the better option as they can improve your overall health, lower the risk of heart disease, and will help keep your metabolism working as it should throughout the day.
Sources of monounsaturated fat include avocadoes, olives, and nuts, among others. Make sure you are eating these foods often.
13. Eat Regularly And Smaller Meals
Another way to keep your metabolism high is by eating smaller meals at regular intervals.
Not only can these smaller meals help keep you feel fuller during the day, but a study has shown that they can also keep your metabolism throttling.
When you eat little and often, your blood sugar levels will not drop too much, and you won’t experience any insulin spikes that can cause weight gain.
14. Reduce Stress
Reducing stress is a great way to increase your metabolism.
When you are stressed, your body will start to overproduce cortisol. Cortisol is the hormone that helps regulate your appetite.
Research has found that those with higher than usual cortisol levels are more likely to experience unhealthy eating patterns that can affect their metabolism and weight loss efforts.
Luckily there are various ways to reduce your stress levels.
Yoga, meditation, or simply having a candle-lit bath with your favorite book are effective.
Laughing is one of the most effective ways to reduce stress. Not only will it improve your mood, but research has shown that it can increase your metabolism and resting heart rate by 10-20% (13).
15. Eat Organic and Whole Foods
The final tip to help keep your metabolism high and aid your weight loss effect is to eat organic foods.
Eating organic is essential for your metabolism, as no pesticides present can interfere with your thyroid gland.
When you eat fruits, vegetables, and inorganic grains, you expose your thyroid to toxins that can lower your metabolism-boosting process.
Whole foods are also recommended as they take extra effort by your body to break down compared to refined and processed grains.
A study found that eating whole foods led to an increase in the energy your body burns by 50% compared to eating processed foods (14).
Metabolism-boosting whole foods that you should add to your meals include:
- Brown rice
- Sprouted grain bread
A slow metabolism can be a significant issue that can cause reduced calorie burn and weight gain.
If you can’t address this issue, you may experience a whole host of health problems, including heart disease and diabetes.
After reading the above tips, you should now know how to increase metabolism. Follow them, and you will soon start seeing rewards for your weight loss efforts.
These processes are simple, but you need to stick with them long-term to see the results you would hope for.
Remember to achieve your weight loss effect and to burn calories; you need to look at your current activity level, make sure to eat more proteins, limit carbs and undertake some strength training.
These simple changes can help you win your battle against obesity and poor health.