15 Tips for A Healthy Metabolism

Body weight is typically a difference in energy intake and energy expenditure. An ideal equation would be:

Rate of changes in energy stores (Body Weight) = Rate of Energy intake- Rate of Energy expenditure

Metabolism constitutes a part of the energy expenditure. When we say metabolism we typically mean basal metabolic rate or resting metabolic rate each of which account for calories burnt during resting conditions.

It is the energy required to keep the body functioning.

Firstly get over the idea that overweight individuals have a slow metabolic rate. In fact they have a higher metabolism rate than leaner counterparts. You can find more details about it here (Is Metabolic Rate Linked To Weight Loss).

So this article is suggesting 15 ways by which you can maintain a healthy metabolism and lose weight too. However this does not mean that any of these tips will raise your metabolism to an extent that you can eat anything you want and still remain thin.

A great metabolism reflects great health and what’s better if you can stay in shape while developing a healthy metabolism.

15 Tips for a Great Metabolism

Here are some scientifically proven methods for attaining a great metabolism. Following these for a long term is definitely going to reap some worthwhile benefits.

1.Burn more calories with intense workouts

15 tips metabolism image1You don’t need science to tell you that exercise makes you lose weight. Performing physical activity means using calories which in long term translates to weight loss.

When you exercise your body produces heat from the work and you sweat. Sweat is a good indicator of high metabolism.

When you stop exercising, your metabolism drops and takes around 15-30 minutes to come back to normal. So longer and vigorous the exercise, higher the metabolism and longer it takes to come back to normal.

A study shows that a vigorous exercise of 45 min cycling bout increases energy expenditure by 190kcal and this increase in metabolism lasts for around 14 hours!  40 minutes of aerobic training raises metabolism for 19 hours.

Our metabolism decreases with age since our muscle mass reduces. 16 week heavy resistance strength training in elderly men increases metabolism by 7.7% with a decrease of 25.6% of fat mass and 60% increase in muscle mass.

Another study demonstrated that 8 week endurance training in older individuals caused a 10% increase in resting metabolic rate.

What does this mean?
If you are looking for a workout that raises your metabolism then a vigorous exercise like resistance training is the answer. However any form of exercise is likely to elevate your metabolism for quite some time and sweating while working out is a good indicator.

2.Build muscle to fan the metabolic flames

This one is really controversial.  Building muscle mass isn’t going to turn your body into a fat burning furnace but it is much better than carrying fat around.

Skeletal muscle accounts for 40% of adult human body weight and is centre for protein metabolism.

Resistance or strength training aids in building muscle mass when protein synthesis exceeds protein breakdown and this process accounts for 20% of resting metabolic rate. Scientific estimate of metabolic rate of muscle tissue is 10-15kcal/kg per day which is around only 20% of total daily energy expenditure.

So if you have around 4.5 pounds of muscle mass that would increase resting metabolic rate by 50 kilocalories a day. That isn’t a really significant amount but when you consider metabolic rate of fat that accounts for only 5% of total daily energy expenditure, developing muscle is a much better option.

What does this mean?
Replacing your body fat with muscle can bring about a decent increase in your basal metabolic rate.

3.Revamp your regular routine with HIIT

Interval training is a type of physical training where you alternately perform low and high intensity workout with relief period. Regular aerobic exercise seems to have negligible effect on fat loss.

High intensity intermittent training (HIIT) is more effective in reducing subcutaneous and abdominal fat than traditional workouts.  And it is also a great solution for those who are short on time.

A study presents that HIIT can increase whole body and muscle capacity to oxidize fat and carbohydrate even in those individuals who don’t train regularly.  It is also proven to improve cardiovascular factors.

HIIT increases metabolic rate up till 22 hours after workout.

A study was conducted to compare the effects of high intensity interval training and moderate intensity continuous training (MICT) on fat loss. Boxing training (HIIT) in adults with abdominal obesity improved fat loss and cardiovascular outcomes better than brisk walking (MICT).

Revving up your routine workout with HIIT can surely increase your body’s capacity to burn fat.

What does this mean?
Alternating intensities of exercise boost your metabolism, improve fat loss and is also cardioprotective.

4.N.E.A.T way to get a metabolism boost

Finally a God sent angel for all those couch potatoes who don’t want hit the gym (like me!). Well I don’t really want to create a hype about this but in place of no exercise NEAT makes a lot of difference.

NEAT is Non exercise activity thermogenesis.  It is a term coined for every activity apart from sleeping, eating and sports like exercise. That would be fidgeting, walking or standing.

Research states that high effect NEAT movements can result in extra 2000kcal energy expenditure beyond basal metabolic rate depending upon body weight and level activity.  Pacing up during a phone call, dancing while cleaning, taking the stairs, using a standing desk are simple ways to get you started.

What does this mean?
Fidgeting, pacing up during a phone call or even using stairs is a good way to burn your calories.

15 tips metabolism featured

6.Gorge on protein

Protein is a metabolically expensive nutrient. It takes around 20-30% of the energy consumed to digest and store protein.  Overconsumption of protein significantly raises energy expenditure.

Normal (15%) and high (25%) protein diets have proven to increase energy expenditure in the range of 160-230 Calories a day.   Substitution of carbohydrates with protein in diet is proven to increase metabolism by 2-3%.

High protein diet also strengthens body’s capacity to burn fat.  A clinical trial showed that a protein based breakfast increased energy expenditure and fat oxidation in overweight children.  Protein supplementation prior to exercise significantly increases metabolic rate.

What does this mean?
Including lean meat or even vegetable protein is a great way to increase metabolism since this nutrient requires maximum energy to digest and store.

6.Stock on dairy food for a speedier metabolism

Dairy proteins specifically increase thermogenesis. Dairy protein consists of two classes of protein: casein (80%) and whey (20%).

A study  shows that casein consumption leads to increased diet induced thermogenesis than isocaloric shakes of egg protein and gelatine. In a study  investigating the effects of three proteins on metabolism and appetite reported that whey protein has a significant thermic effect compared to casein and soy.

Fortified yogurt drink served at breakfast is proven to increase energy expenditure and suppress appetite.

Not only the protein, but the calcium and vitamin D content of dairy products can aid in regulating metabolism. High calcium diets inhibit production of fats and increase thermogenesis. Calcium intake increases oxidation of fat and vitamin D adds to the thermic effect of food.

What does this mean?
The protein content, calcium and vitamin D present in dairy products are proven to increase thermogenesis (conversion of food into heat and energy). Snacking on yogurt is an option.

7.Spice up your meal

15 tips metabolism image 2Research states that spices such as red chillies and mustard raises metabolism.  Don’t we sweat or become teary eyed when we consume a lot of spicy food.

Capsaicin in is the prime ingredient that imparts pungency to hot pepper. Capsaicin and its nonpungent analog (capsinoids) are known to be food ingredients that increase energy expenditure and decrease body fat. It employs brown fat and subsequently augments energy expenditure.

Addition of 2.5 mg of capsaicin in the form of 1g of red chilli pepper increases body’s capacity to burn fat.

Consumption of chilli pepper is found to increase metabolic rate by 20% within minutes of consumption. Garlic is another spice that is proven to cause weight loss by inducing thermogenesis  and activating brown fat.

Ginger also has a thermic effect on food and it induces thermogenesis and reduces feelings of hunger.

What does this mean?
Spicy food not only increases thermogenesis but also curbs your appetite. Red chillies, mustard, garlic and ginger are natural thermogenic agents.

8.Bring on the ice cubes

If you have already checked out our article Water Aids Weight Loss , you must be already aware of this point.  Drinking lots of water especially cold water helps in losing weight mostly by curbing appetite and by causing thermogenesis- utilization of energy or calories to generate heat.

One study  reported that drinking 500 ml water increased metabolic rate by 30% and this was caused by raising the temperature of water from 22 to 37 degree Celsius. Interestingly in men fats were used as energy while in women carbohydrates were used.

Researchers state that drinking 2 litres of water per day can increase energy expenditure by 95 Calories.

Another study showed that only consumption of cold water brought about an increase of 4.5% in energy expenditure for 1 hour.  More significant results were seen in another trial where drinking cold water increased resting energy expenditure by 25% in overweight children which translated into a weight loss of 1.2 kg per year.

Multiple studies have shown that consuming 1.5 l of water everyday can cause loss of body fat and weight.

What does this mean?
Water consumption and specifically cold water raises metabolism. Drinking 1.5 to 2 litres of water everyday can increase metabolism by 95 calories.

9.Sip on some green tea

phenelite image 2Green tea is perhaps the most famous weight loss remedy that you must have heard of so far. And yes we have a whole article dedicated to it (Read Green Tea for weight loss).

One of the ways by which green tea causes weight loss is by raising metabolism. It raises the flight and fight hormone which in turn supports breakdown of fats.

Two of its bioactive ingredients, caffeine and catechin cause energy expenditure.  One clinical trial  reported that 8 week supplementation of green tea raised metabolism of obese individuals. The difference in metabolic rates of the treatment group and placebo group was 183 kJ/day.

Another study reported a 4% increase in metabolism upon consumption of green tea extract.

What does this mean?
Bioactive ingredients of green tea- caffeine and catechins, aid in burning calories. Studies say that it can bring about a 4% increase in metabolism. Two cups of green tea a day should do the trick.

10.Jolt your metabolism with a daily dose of java

Caffeine in coffee is the one who has anti-obesity property. 4-8mg/kg of caffeine is found to increase metabolic rate in both normal weight and overweight individuals up to 3 hours post consumption.

Caffeine increases the body’s capacity to break down fats after exercising.

Many weight loss supplements contain caffeine and ephedra combination. This combo is proven to increase metabolism by 8% and supports fat loss. But ephedra has been banned by FDA as it causes serious side effects.

A clinical trial  demonstrated that caffeine consumed 90 minutes prior to exercise led to a significant increase of 250kJ of energy expenditure. Similar results were seen in another trial where caffeine brought about 7% increase in energy expenditure up till 3 hours after consumption.

Caffeine consumption brings about thermogenesis (production of heat by burning calories) which occurs as a result of breakdown of fats and carbohydrates and that leads to weight loss.

What does this mean?
Caffeine is popularly used as weight loss supplement. Coffee is an excellent source of caffeine and boosts energy levels. Coffee consumption is also associated with low BMI.

11.Spike your metabolism with a cup of mate

Yerba mate is a beverage prepared from leaves of the plant Ilex paraguariensis. What was once consumed as a part of social practice in South America is now popularly consumed for health promotion and body weight reduction.

Animal studies report that yerba mate consumption reduces body weight and body fat by increasing basal metabolic rate.  A clinical trial  was conducted wherein individuals were given 1000 mg of yerba mate 1 hour prior to exercise of differing intensities.

It was observed that yerba mate consumption increased the rate of breakdown of fats and the rate of energy expenditure by 24%.

A study  investigating the effect of blend caffeine, green tea extract and yerba mate reported that this thermogenic aid increased energy expenditure up to 4 hours post consumption.

What does this mean?
Yerba mate is a drink native to South America which is said to cause weight loss by increasing rate of energy expenditure.

12.Balance your minerals and vitamins for a good energy balance

15 tips metabolism image 3A good balance of vitamin and minerals is vital for an efficient energy metabolism and well being. Complaints of fatigue, tiredness and lack of energy could be associated with lack of vitamins and minerals.

A study  was conducted where 96 obese women were supplemented with multivitamin and multiminerals for 26 weeks. At the end of the study the treated group had reduced body weight and higher resting energy expenditure.

A healthy and well balanced diet can provide you with all the necessary vitamins and minerals. It is advisable to take supplements only in case of deficiencies or when advised by the doctor.

To know more as to how minerals and vitamins affect body weight check out ( & How Minerals Play An Important Role In Weight Management)

What does this mean?
Maintaining minerals and vitamins at healthy levels is essential as a preventive measure against diseases and also to maintain an energy balance.

13.L-carnitine is a fat burner

L carnitine is an amino acid that serves as a precursor for L-arginine. These supplements are consumed by body builders and athletes for development of muscle mass.  Research proves that L-carnitine stimulates fat oxidation.

Animal studies prove that L-carnitine supplementation increases resting energy expenditure and stimulates breakdown of fats.

L-carnitine supplementation is proven to enhance exercise performance in humans.   It alters metabolism by stimulating muscles to make use of fats in place of carbohydrates as a source of energy.

A supplement containing capsaicinoids, piperine, green tea extract and L-carnitine was found to promote satiety and increase metabolism in overweight individuals.

You cant expect miraculous weight loss with L-carnitine and instead of opting for supplements make use of natural sources like red meat, poultry, avocado, soybean; unless you need it in therapeutic doses.

What does this mean?
Research proves that L-carnitine, a popular supplement among body builders, increases metabolism and breakdown of fats.

14.Don’t ever go for crash diets

Extreme dieting or starvation can indeed lower your metabolism. In such a phase your body feels threatened and makes the most efficient use of resources in turn reducing metabolism.

Also it saps you out of energy to perform any physical activity in order to increase energy expenditure.

Weight loss by dieting does result in a lower basal metabolic rate but eating anything less than 1000 calories a day can spell disaster for those who are looking for a metabolism boost. These diets result in a loss of weight but also a loss of muscle mass which lowers metabolism and that is when you experience a plateau in your weight loss graph.

Therefore you should choose a diet that matches your needs, like for those looking for a metabolic boost can opt for a high protein diet.

What does this mean?
Severe caloric restriction can slow down your metabolism as well as your weight loss efforts.

15.Punctual eating habits ensure a better metabolism

Time and again consuming meals at regular intervals is being reinforced as a good habit and a dietary strategy to maintain healthy weight. Apart from eating at regular intervals one should split daily energy intake into roughly 6 meals a day to ensure better metabolism.

A study  comparing regular and irregular meal pattern reported that irregular meal pattern reduces post meal energy expenditure and reduces thermic effect of food. Thermic effect of food is the energy required to assimilate food.

On the other hand regular meal pattern that is 6 meals per day, results in post meal thermogenesis, improved insulin sensitivity and better lipid profile.

What does this mean?
Dividing your daily intake into meals at regular intervals can benefit your metabolism and improve metabolic parameters such as insulin sensitivity.

Conclusion

There aren’t magic spells to elevate your metabolism and it is quite possible that your metabolism is just doing fine irrespective of your weight. Only those who have metabolic conditions that lower metabolism (hypothyroidism) can look for ways to boost metabolism but only under the supervision of a doctor.

The above listed tips will definitely elevate your metabolism but not to an extent that it can burn all the calories you consume. So please do grow out of the idea that you need to boost your metabolism in order to lose weight. Instead make use of these tips to bring about a healthy change in your lifestyle.

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