When most persons think about the word metabolism, the first thing that comes to mind is weight loss. While this is not incorrect, metabolism actually refers to any of the processes involved in the processing of foods, where the use of calories is required.
Thus, digestion is a metabolic process, as is the production of your body’s hormones or neurotransmitters. You can think of metabolism as the process of power usage, whereby calories are our body’s source of electricity.
For the purpose of this discussion, we will be considering ways to boost your metabolism in terms of weight loss, as this is why most persons actively want to increase their metabolic rate.
1. Consume More Protein Rich Foods
Protein is the source of raw materials that the body needs for rebuilding, otherwise known as the building blocks for all the body’s cell types. But how is it that consuming proteins helps to boost your metabolism?
The answer lies in something known as protein’s thermic effect. The thermic effect of a food refers to the number of calories it takes for the body to breakdown and absorb it into circulation. Of the three main macronutrient groups; proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, protein rich foods require the greatest amount of energy for processing.
This figure varies depending on the exact amino acid profile of the protein food, but generally ranges from 15 to 30% of the gross amount of calories the food contains. In effect, consuming 100 cal of protein food translate to a net caloric intake of between 70 to 85 cal, as the body uses the remainder for processing.
As you can guess, this help support weight loss, as if you calculated you need 1500 cal per day and consume a decent amount of protein, your net intake can end up being significantly lower than this.
2. Perform Weightlifting Exercises
The number one way to boost your metabolism over the long term is to partake in a weightlifting routine, and actively attempt to build muscle mass.
Muscles can be considered energy factories, where our body’s energy currency ATP is produced within mitochondrial units in muscle cells. By training muscles to grow larger (or increasing their number), these mitochondrial subunits either increase in size or number respectively.
What does this mean to you? It means that more calories (in the form of glucose, triglycerides or amino acids) enter the mitochondria to be burnt and made into fuel. Thus, even at rest, a person with more muscle mass will burn a higher amount of calories than someone that has significantly less muscle, but is active.
This is why you may have heard that increasing muscle mass is the best way to burn fat.
3. Drink Green Tea
Green tea has been consumed for centuries, and probably even longer, by people of the Orient for its anti-aging and overall health benefits. Today, while it is still consumed for these reasons, green tea consumption is encouraged as it can boost metabolism by increasing thermogenesis.
Thermogenesis is the process of heat generation by the body, via utilization of calories. Similar in the way that our body temperature increases in response to cold, regular consumption of green tea can support an increased amount of calories burnt via the process of heat generation.
Green tea also enhances the use of triglycerides (fat) for fuel, which means that you will lose a greater amount of weight. While the boost in metabolism is not massive, a few cups consumed daily can add to your bottom line over the course of a few short months.
4. Swap Out Vegetable Cooking Oils For Coconut Oil
Vegetable oils are not the best in class, many being pro-inflammatory in nature, and artificial. Coconut oil, on the other hand is very beneficial for overall health, and when coupled with its medium chain triglyceride content, can help improve your metabolic rate and support weight loss.
Medium chain triglycerides lend themselves to production of ketone bodies within the liver, these being alternative energy sources that the body uses when glucose is scarce. Coconut oil has also been shown to increase resting metabolic rate, so more calories are burnt by the body at any time.
5. Eat Enough
If you are serious about boosting your metabolism, one of the very first things you need to do is figure out how many calories your body needs just for sustenance every day. Naturally, many people assume this figure, and then think that you can safely err on the lower side when it comes to consuming calories.
This doesn’t work, however, as when too large a caloric shortfall is created, the body responds by decreasing your metabolic rate. If your body’s basal metabolic rate is 1500 cal per day, and you consume just 800, the body notices a significant shortfall and responds by dropping this 1500 number, and at the same time impairing your weight loss potential.
This is never good, as it places your body in a state of “power saving” or reduced efficiency. This is like living during prohibition, only having the absolute minimum necessary for survival. You need to ensure that the calorie shortfall you create is no larger than 500 cal less than your basal metabolic rate, or you will face metabolic collapse.
6. Stay Active For Much Of The Day
While hitting the gym for an hour or so every day is a great place to start, for many people it may not be enough to boost your metabolism and see weight loss.
If your job is largely sedentary; that is, sitting for multiple hours every day, you need to find ways to increase your activity level. Simple things can do, such as standing more (a standing desk is great for this), regularly scheduling breaks that you take walks around the office, or even performing activities while seated. Leg extensions can help you achieve this while sitting, as is flexing of the calf muscles.
While these may seem insignificant and only cause minimal calorie burning, that’s not what we are interested in. Physical activity of any sort results in a short term increase in or metabolic rate, with even activities such as washing the dishes, vacuuming the house, or writing with a pen sufficient to cause these moderate increases in metabolism. Don’t believe me? Try it. For one month, do anything to get more active, and you will notice a modest amount of weight loss at least (given that you do not over eat to compensate!)
7. Eat More Pepper
Hot peppers, especially chili peppers, contain a compound by the name of capsaicin, which is what is responsible for the hot sensation you feel after consuming food with a lot of pepper.
Do you know what this is? Similar to green tea, this compound increases body temperature and your metabolic rate, causing you to burn more calories as heat generated (thermogenesis). This compound also has many other benefits on health that are being studied, including relief of arthritic symptoms, and even treatment of male pattern baldness!
And by the way – peppers don’t necessarily aggravate stomach acidity unless you overdo it, so don’t be afraid to have some more.
Water is literally the liquid that gives life, as reducing your consumption of it is detrimental to all aspects of health. Water supports a healthy metabolic rate via numerous mechanisms, such as supporting an efficient rate of chemical processes (AKA, metabolic processes), helping to maintain your level of performance (as dehydration causes a significant reduction in physical performance), helps you to eat less, and of course promotes removal of the byproducts of metabolism.
The best way to boost your metabolism is to not focus on the short goal. Make changes that are sustainable, and lend themselves to a higher metabolic rate over the long haul. That way, it will also not feel like a chore, but a natural part of your lifestyle.