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First things first – what is metabolism?
The term metabolism refers to all chemical reactions in the body, where energy formation is one of its vital components.
Let’s dig deeper into the subject.
The key to metabolism is nutrition where the metabolic processes in the body rely on nutrients to produce energy enabling the body to synthesize new proteins, nucleic acid, etc., from the energy. Our body metabolism is based on three things: BMR – basal metabolic rate, thermic effect of the food and physical activity.
BMR accounts for about 60 to 70 percent of the energy we need for the fundamental body functions, like brain activity, breathing, heartbeat and so on. About 15 to 30 percent of the energy we use for daily physical activity, exercising, for example. Only 10 percent of the energy we use to digest food.
So, to rev up our metabolism we should make certain changes to our diet, including more food that has an impact on our body to be more active in terms of energy burning. The faster the metabolism, the easier we can lose or maintain our weight.
The question is: what food and drink or techniques can help us to increase our metabolism rate? Moreover, can we even achieve that without exercising? It seems we can.
I have compiled a list of things we can eat, drink or do to boost our metabolism.
Drink green tea
A cup of green tea can do miracles. I have already used my fair share of time writing about the numerous benefits of green tea, thus, let me keep writing about it. I dare say green tea is the healthiest tea on the planet. It is packed with antioxidants and nutrients that maintain our organism healthy in many ways.
But the biggest health benefits come from antioxidants called catechins, which inhibit the breakdown of fats. Catechins can raise metabolism by 4% and while this might not sound as much, it actually means you are going to burn about 80 more calories per day if you drink it. One study showed that green tea extracts can also promote fat oxidations.
What I love about this healthy beverage is that you can reap all the benefits without having to make any significant changes to your diet. Simply start drinking green tea.
Remember: One cup of green tea offers 142 milligrams of catechins, while one cup of black tea contains only 27 milligrams. This is a good enough reason why you should always opt for the green one.
Spice up your food whenever you can
Do you like spicy food? Good for you, and your body.
Remember the strong, slightly unpleasant feeling you have when you taste something spicy?
The fact is that spicy food can rev up our metabolism because of the increased blood flow. The compound called capsaicin is responsible for speeding up the metabolism.
Spicy peppers like cayenne, chili, habanero and jalapeno, to name a few, increase circulation and blood flow, so eating hot peppers can boost the metabolism by up to 25%, with the spike lasting for up to 3 hours, according to the research. But that’s not all as capsaicin has more health-promoting properties. It can help to relieve chronic back pain, help fight obesity and reduce calorie and fat intake.
Note: Capsaicin can also help your brain to release endorphins.
Don’t forget about the powerful spice turmeric
The powerful yellow-orange spice that adds a well-known flavor to curry dishes, has been used in medicine for centuries due to the high amount of antioxidants. One antioxidant especially, curcumin, is known to help with keeping many diseases at bay. The same antioxidant is responsible for boosting metabolism and detoxification.
Including turmeric in your diet can help with cleansing the liver, and thus additionally contribute to faster metabolism as it removes the toxins from the body. Moreover, turmeric has gained significant attention lately as a spice that is a helping hand in weight loss.
In a study published in the European Journal of Nutrition, the researchers revealed that turmeric can curb insulin resistance, high blood sugar and high cholesterol levels that result from obesity. This makes it more clear about the role the spice plays in fighting obesity-related metabolic diseases.
Note: If you have an allergy, consult with a doctor on how you can include turmeric in your diet. Otherwise, you can start adding it to your meals anytime.
Cinnamon and ginger
Spices, in general, are known to play an important role in helping our digestive system works effectively.
Cinnamon and ginger, in particular, have numerous health-promoting benefits, but, when it comes to nutrition, we are most familiar with their ability to help with fat loss.
Cinnamon has the ability to alter the metabolism in a way that helps our body better use the energy from carbohydrates. This means that adding a little cinnamon to your coffee from time to time will prevent carbohydrates turn into excess fat.
Additionally, cinnamon helps with speeding up our metabolism in a similar way how spicy peppers do, and this boost, in turn, helps us to burn more calories. When we consume cinnamon on a daily basis we can also see benefits related to the reduction of abdominal fat, which is the most dangerous fat as it surrounds some of the most vital organs.
The best thing about using cinnamon for metabolic boost is that you can add it to many common foods, in tea and coffee, fruits, smoothies, breakfast cereals, and so on.
Remember: Cinnamon is a natural metabolism-boosting spice, thus, use its benefits.
Ginger is as powerful as cinnamon when it comes to boosting metabolism. The spice has been heavily used to promote fat loss and reduce body weight because of its abilities to aid in digestion which in turn increases calorie burning.
But whether ginger can help with weight loss and metabolic boost depends on the following factors: percentage of body fat, levels of activity and exercise and diet in general.
Although there are very few studies that researched ginger’s benefits to metabolic boost, one study does point out how ginger can help with revving up metabolism. As a vasodilator, ginger increases blood flow and circulation leading to an increase in body temperature.
This, in turn, burns more calories and promotes metabolism, the study explains. Thus, according to Advanced Nutrition: Macronutrients, Micronutrients, and Metabolism, ginger can increase metabolism up to 5 percent.
Note: If you want to increase metabolism, consume ginger in higher dosages like in the form of capsules or liquid extracts. If you are taking supplements, consult with your doctor.
Chunk on almonds, walnuts and cashews
It is about time nuts become your favorite snacks. Why? Magnesium in nuts plays an important role for our overall health, from regulating heartbeat and maintaining the normal level of nerve function, to strengthening bones and maintaining muscles healthy.
If you want to increase your metabolic rate you need magnesium to metabolize carbohydrates and fat, and that’s where nuts come in.
But first, let’s see what do we mean when we say metabolize food.
This is the term we use to say that food is turned into energy – calories. When you have a slower metabolism, you are unable to turn more food into energy, and consequently, you will lose weight harder. Magnesium, however, doesn’t directly impact on weight loss or boost metabolism, but rather assist in the process. However, food rich in magnesium is very diet-friendly.
Note: It’s better to increase magnesium intake naturally through food, rather than with supplements unless you have been consulted to do so by your doctor.
Include high-fiber food in your diet
Why high-fiber food? Your body needs to work extra to digest food high in fiber. The body’s effort results in the increased caloric burn, keeping you feeling fuller for longer. The fiber, in general, enhances our body’s ability to process food, but there is a difference in the role soluble and insoluble fiber plays in boosting our metabolism. Soluble fiber slows down the absorption of carbohydrates, while insoluble fiber helps with the digestive system.
You can find soluble fiber in oats, apples, citrus fruits, carrots, peas and beans, and insoluble fiber in green beans, cauliflower, potatoes, nuts and whole-wheat flour.
Note: Drink plenty of water to help fiber do the work.
Eat Greek yogurt and low-fat dairy
The same way food rich in magnesium is more diet-friendly, calcium can help us too with increasing metabolic rate. Dairy products in general and Greek yogurt, in particular, is a great source of calcium, as well as protein, but we’ll talk about that later.
In one study, 32 obese people were divided into three groups to test how a diet high in dairy products can impact on weight loss. One group of participants was on a diet high in dairy, the second group had a diet low in dairy but took calcium supplements, and the third group was on a diet low in dairy and calcium. All three groups lost weight (fat) after 24 weeks, but the group who was on a dairy-rich diet lost five pounds more.
But how can calcium aid in boosting metabolism and decrease body fat?
Calcium helps the body burn fat as it provides a small increase in thermogenesis. This means that calcium boost metabolism because it increases the body’s temperature. On the other hand, not getting enough calcium can release more calcitriol, which is a hormone that increases fat storage.
Fat-free yogurts and dairy are also high in probiotics that may be conducive to faster metabolism and fat loss. Probiotics impact your gut microflora, helping our organism to faster metabolize fat.
Eat food high in protein
The reason Greek yogurt is good for fat burning is also due to the high amount of protein it contains. Food high in protein can help boost our metabolism because it forces our body to burn more energy. Protein stimulates the thermic effect of food, so our body burns more energy when processing dietary protein, and in addition, makes you feel fuller for longer.
However, eating more chicken or beef will not help you to magically shed pounds, but it will help to burn more calories especially in combination with exercising. Yes, I know I said without exercising – but when it comes to proteins, they are dense in muscles, and increasing your muscle mass will help you to burn more calories.
Muscle tissue requires more energy than fat, and increasing your muscle mass leads to increase your basal metabolic rate. Do you know how our metabolism slows down as we age? The reason for that is the loss of muscle mass.
Note: If you eat too much protein you will gain weight. The body spends more energy to digest food high in protein, but the food high in protein is also high in calories.
Drink water and keep your body hydrated
It’s amazing how this calorie-free, neural liquid can have many health benefits for our body. That’s not a surprise, given our body is ¾ water.
How water boosts metabolism? When you drink a few glasses of ice-cold water in the morning, the body tries to keep the optimum temperature and spends more energy. This technique is called thermogenesis. the ice water gets your blood pumping and flowing and boost your metabolism by up to 2 percent.
Note: Water is the single most important thing we need to sustain good health, but many of us are dehydrated most of the day. Read more about how to keep your body hydrated.
What do you think? Have you tried the thermogenesis technique? Do you know of more ways how to rev up our metabolism?
Share with us in the comment.
Images credit: DepositPhotos.com
Last article update: 5/6/2019