If you are among the millions trying to lose weight, the word metabolism might be familiar to you. But what is metabolism and why is it important when it comes to losing weight? Moreover, we’ll explore a few ways to naturally boost metabolism for a healthier and efficient weight loss.
What Is Metabolism?
Mayo Clinic defines metabolism as the bodily processes required to maintain life. It is the chemical processes in the body that takes place in the cells of living organisms.
Moreover, there are two categories of metabolism, namely;
- Catabolism – this is the process of breaking down molecules to produce energy.
- Anabolism – the process of synthesizing the compounds necessary for proper function of the cells.
Natural Ways To Boost Metabolism
Metabolism is really an important process in the body. However, not all people have the same level of metabolism. Some people have faster metabolism while others have slow.
It is said that the more muscles, the faster the metabolism. But this does not mean you should workout and eat like a bodybuilder. It simply means maintain an ideal muscle mass while keeping fat at a minimum.
The good news is that there are ways we can naturally boost metabolism and switch the body into a fat burning machine. This is particularly helpful for those who want to lose weight. Today, obesity is a huge issue and an epidemic1 affecting 10% of the global population2.
So, here are a few helpful ways to boost metabolism.
1. Stay Active Physically
In other words, the more you move, the more you stimulate your body to achieve a faster metabolism. On the other hand, a sedentary lifestyle makes the body’s metabolism slow and causing various metabolic disorders3.
Don’t worry if you don’t have or don’t want to go to the gym. There are full body exercises you can do at home without using special equipment. Your bodyweight alone is enough as a resistance to your exercise.
The good thing about it, you can do it anywhere. In fact, as mentioned, simple and fun activities to do like walking and running are excellent physical activities. Furthermore, adding HIIT and strength training to your routine can further help boost your metabolism.
How much exercise is necessary, you may ask? The World Health Organization has recommendations according to the type of exercise.
2. Eat More But Less
Sounds contradictory, right? Well, it is not and here’s what it means.
Most people eat three times a day plus snacks in between. However, a snack is not a meal. Furthermore, the type and quality of food may be hurting instead of boosting the body’s metabolism.
The other way of doing it, which is also helpful in boosting metabolism is to eat 5 to 6 small meals a day. You can eliminate snacks between meals. Or, if you do snack, choose healthy choices like nuts and seeds.
When it comes to diet, be meticulous about it as a poor diet can slow down metabolism.
What are the foods that can slow down metabolism and should be avoided? Dr. Josh Axe explains more on what he calls “metabolism death foods” in the Dr. Oz show.
3. Eat Hot and Spicy Foods
An earlier study found that eating spicy foods can prolong life. Well, this may be the reason because eating spicy foods can boost metabolism.
One study4 found that eating spicy foods have a thermogenic effect on the body and increases the resting energy expenditure.
In that study, researchers say that those who took capsaicinoids were able to burn 116 more calories per day than those who took the placebo.
Capsaicin is a compound present in red chili peppers. When consumed, it increases the body’s temperature triggering a boost in metabolic rate burning stored fat as energy.
Additionally, consumption of black pepper and ginger also induces a similar effect. For weight loss purposes, spicy foods are excellent natural appetite suppressants. This is helpful in preventing food cravings as it increases satiety or sense of fullness.
For people who are not comfortable eating hot and spicy foods, taking supplements containing capsaicinoids has a similar effect. In a different study by researchers at Purdue University, researchers say that people taking capsaicinoids supplement burned more calories and appetite suppression.
4. Maintain Proper Hydration
Pure drinking water contains no calories. Although water appears so simple and abundance, there is something in the water that baffles scientists until these days. Fortunately, as long as you drink enough water throughout the day daily, it can boost your body’s metabolism.
As a matter of fact, water is such a valuable element to our bodies when it comes to sustaining health.
Not drinking enough water causes dehydration, which is detrimental to overall health and even fatal when it reaches severe level. Water is also a good natural appetite suppressant. Once you feel an untimely craving for foods, simply drink water instead of reaching out for food.
In a study5, researchers mentioned the importance of water metabolising stored fat into energy.
Water is essential to metabolize stored fat into energy, so much so, that the body’s metabolism can be slowed down by relatively mild levels of dehydration. Slower the metabolism, slower is the weight loss.
5. Get Enough and Quality Sleep
Not getting enough rest can lead to many unhealthy consequences as in the case of chronic sleep deprivation. Even with just one night of depriving yourself of sleep has an apparent effect on your skin.
There is growing interest and evidence that sleep loss and sleep disorders have a significant impact on metabolism. Laboratory studies have clearly shown that sleep deprivation can alter the glucose metabolism and hormones involved in regulating metabolism, that is, decreased leptin levels and increased ghrelin levels.
Furthermore, if you are someone aiming to lose weight, depriving yourself of sleep can take you in an uphill battle. One study7 finds that;
…chronic partial sleep loss may increase the risk of obesity and diabetes via multiple pathways, including an adverse effect on parameters of glucose regulation, including insulin resistance, a dysregulation of the neuroendocrine control of appetite leading to excessive food intake and decreased energy expenditure.
A different study8 has similar findings.
Adequate sleep duration and quality are important for the normal functioning of daily metabolic and hormonal processes and appetite regulation. It is clear that chronic sleep deprivation has deleterious effects on carbohydrate metabolism and is associated with an increased risk of diabetes.
6. Eat Breakfast
When you have a good quality sleep the previous night, chances are you are going to wake up earlier and be able to prepare a healthy breakfast.
While not all people agree that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, skipping breakfast can have health benefits, too.
But for now, we’ll stick to breakfast as most people do have difficulty skipping it. In fact, one study9 says that a healthy breakfast containing low glycemic load and high protein foods can boost energy level.
Therefore, make sure you make and prepare a healthy breakfast every morning. Don’t just rely on what the morning TV show recommendation about healthy breakfast. Know the metabolism boosting foods you should be preparing for breakfast.
Of course, eating muscle building foods have similar effect. This is why bodybuilders are very picky about their breakfast foods.
But, is breakfast really the most important meal of the day? Well, it may not be, a new study suggests10. However, if you really like breakfast, which is very logical, make sure you pick the appropriate foods that can help boost metabolism and provide the body with essential nourishment.
7. Make Sure You Have Enough Calcium
Calcium can boost the body’s basal metabolic rate. In fact, one study11 suggests that losing weight increases calcium requirements.
On the other hand, focusing on calcium alone may not be a good idea if you’re deficient in magnesium. Magnesium helps absorption of various minerals in the body including calcium.
8. Practice Mindfulness Regularly
Mindfulness practice has many health benefits including your sex life. One study12 suggests that mindfulness practice along with diet and exercise program has a potential for improving long-term metabolic health.
The effect of mindfulness on metabolism may not be direct. However, due to the many health benefits of mindfulness practice, it creates a beneficial domino effect on the body’s entire health. Of course, this includes healthy weight loss and able to maintain ideal weight as well as making healthy choices.
Certainly, there are many other ways to naturally boost metabolism. However, starting with these few may be easier than having more. It is very common for most people to get confused with so much information.
Hence, let us start with a few and make the most of it until it becomes a habit. Once it becomes a habit, it is easier to do and implement more on top of the basics. Start working today working to boost your metabolism.
It is not just for weight loss purposes but for overall health and well-being.