Easy ways to boost your metabolism for energy and weight control
If you’ve ever tried losing weight, chances are at some point you’ve said to yourself: “I’ve got a slow metabolism, I just look at cake and I gain weight.”
So how do we boost your metabolism in a healthy way?
There are always healthier, safer alternatives when it comes to caring for your body. So in this post, we discuss some ways to help your metabolism perform optimally.
What is metabolism?
The word “metabolism” describes the chemical reactions and processes that occur in cells and organisms. This name further describes the process of “Catabolism.” This is when the cells break down molecules to create energy.
There is also the process of “Anabolism.” This is the process of synthesising various compounds essential for cell development and nutrition.
Together catabolism and anabolism bring about the process of metabolism. Metabolism is also responsible for transporting, absorbing and digesting nutrients.
So in short, it’s the assimilation and use of the food you eat. It’s the conversion of the food we eat to energy.
Why does metabolism slow down?
Every living species undergoes metabolic processes. All species including mammals, plants, reptiles, birds, and humans have a metabolic system. This is necessary for the body to digest food, produce energy, perform repairs and eliminate waste.
In some cases, the metabolic rate may not be as efficient in some organisms as it is in others. In the case of humans, this differs. People with slower metabolic rates tend to gain weight faster. This is because their body cannot process fat stores as quickly as a person who has a faster metabolism.
Our metabolism slows down as we age, partly as a result of age-related muscle loss. That’s why it’s so vital to exercise and lift weights!
Boosting your metabolism allows the body to process and digest foods at a higher rate. This can assist with weight loss efforts in some people. With a higher metabolic rate and a healthy metabolic system, your body is able to function better.
What factors may have an effect on you trying to boost your metabolism?
Some people’s genetics may influence whether they have a fast or slow metabolism. Health conditions or medication may also slow down metabolism to some extent. If the condition is hereditary, then genetics will have an effect.
Size of the person’s body
Petite and short people require fewer calories than their bigger-built counterparts.
In general, men and tall women will need more calories to do activities and could have a faster metabolic rate. So too would people who have more muscle on their frames.
Young people in their 20s and younger will burn calories at a higher rate than older people in their 30s and older. Middle-aged people often struggle with weight loss in comparison to their youthful counterparts.
We’ve written an article specifically for losing weight if you’re over 40. Read it here.
The effects of hormones
The thyroid produces certain hormones to help with metabolism and when this isn’t functioning properly it will slow the rate down. Estrogen and insulin also play huge roles in how we process food and/or store fat.
Benefits when you boost your metabolism
- Benefits the body including hair, skin, nails, and other main organs
- It helps balance hormonal functioning
- Supports a healthy immune system
- Provides natural energy
Here are 8 simple ways to boost your metabolism
1. “You are what you eat”
When thinking about food, we consider the fact that it is there to help nourish and hydrate our bodies. Food provides various sources of vitamins and minerals. These are all essential to help the body operate at its best.
Selecting the right foods in your diet is going to help you feel sustained for longer. It will also help you feel energized as well as have better focus. A healthy balance of food may complement a better sleep too.
There are many things to consider when boosting metabolism. Amongst these things includes eating the correct foods?
Some foods that will help you meet this goal include the following:
Protein provides natural energy and the feeling of being “fuller” for longer. You can find protein in meat products, lean meat, fish and chicken. You can also get your protein intake from seeds, nuts and other grain products.
Protein is the building blocks of our body and essential for repair, recovery and functioning.
- Foods containing selenium, zinc and iron
Zinc, iron and selenium are vital minerals found in foods and help to enrich your metabolic system. All these minerals support healthy thyroid function. Lower levels of zinc, iron and selenium levels may lead to limited thyroid function, thus slowing metabolism.
- Caffeine in coffee
The boost you get from your favourite cup of coffee may help improve metabolism. The caffeine helps to burn calories and some people enjoy it before a workout.
Yet, there are also some cases in which too much coffee over a long period can cause tolerance. Hence the body may not burn calories when already accustomed to large amounts of caffeine.
Some doctors also recommend not drinking coffee after 2 pm. This is because it takes longer to process. The stimulating effect could contribute to feeling irritable, and may deprive patients of getting a good night’s rest (deep sleep).
- Herbal tea
If you don’t enjoy coffee, try tea.
Herbal tea has long been revered for its health benefits. Certain teas may decrease appetite or increase energy levels. Herbal teas such as oolong and green tea are able to help the body to use stored fat for energy.
2. Eat more, not less
Try eating 6 small meals a day. Some people feel that this breakdown assists with keeping their metabolisms “revved”.
The more often you eat, the better the calories disperse throughout your activities. You will also feel more sustained throughout the day than having to wait long periods between meals.
Waiting a long time before your next meal may lead to overeating.
Test for yourself to determine if smaller meals eaten frequently suits you better than 3 bigger meals a day.
3. Don’t eat too late at night
Your metabolism functions at a slower pace at night when your body realises that it’s sleep time. This will affect digestion causing it to slow down as well. However, when you eat, remember to bear two “Q’s” in mind the “quantity” and “quality” of your food.
Eating a big, rich meal before bed will hamper your ability to get a good night’s rest.
You want to avoid that if you’re looking to lose weight.
Also, don’t eat food rich in sugar because that also has a negative effect on the body.
4. Skip on the dieting
At first glance, it may seem like dieting is the perfect strategy to combat weight loss, but truthfully, it isn’t.
Not all diets are beneficial for good health. In fact, there are many “fad diets” that promise results in a few weeks. There are also supplements and products flooding pharmacies and grocery stores that won’t do you any good.
Starving yourself is a quick way to get your body to hold onto every gram of fat it has. In other words, dieting slows your metabolism.
Then when you resume eating ‘normally’ again, what happens?
You gain the weight back (with interest).
Instead of dieting, rather try to eat the right amount of portions for each meal throughout the day. Portion control will help to avoid binging on unhealthy foods or ingredients.
Controlling your portions will also help you to minimise too many calories per day.
5. Treat yourself to snacks and your favourites
Eliminating your treats altogether will only do more harm than good. People tend to binge as if driven by the munchies if deprived of their favourite treats.
So, instead of “punishing” yourself, why not have your treats in moderation? You can also allow yourself designated days or one day of the week for treats.
Remember, healthy snacks are good to have throughout the day. This will avoid the feeling of being ravenous by the time you have dinner.
6. Practice proper sleep hygiene
Sleeping plays an integral role in improving the way the body works. It is during this time that the body is resting and rejuvenating.
When overtired, your body struggles to use energy efficiently. This slows down the process of burning calories and with that, it will slow down weight loss.
If you struggle with insomnia, read this blog here.
7. Take a break between exercising
If you do strenuous exercises, it’s important to take breaks in between your exercise days. This is because you need to give your body time to recoup.
The rest period in between will help to recover, build your muscles and get your body ready for the next session.
8. Don’t eat foods that will slow down your digestion
Foods that slow down digestion is known as “inflammatory foods.” Examples of high inflammatory foods include the following in excess:
- Processed sugars (table sugar), high fructose corn syrup
- Artificial trans fats
- Refined carbohydrates (fibre is removed)
- Processed meat (polony, ham, bacon, sausage)
Closing thoughts about how to boost your metabolism
Depriving your body of essential calories will only cause your metabolism to slow down in trying to reserve energy. You need calories to produce energy, without it, your body won’t function at its best.
If you want to boost your metabolism, keep it reasonable. Weight loss won’t happen overnight and you will need to follow a healthy regimen of exercise and balanced meals.
Add some of these natural ways to increase your metabolism into your lifestyle and see how it works for you.
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