We’ve heard the claims before: tricks to “boost your metabolism” simply by drinking a certain tea or ingesting an herb that promises to lose weight quickly. The problem with many of these fad diets is that most of these tips (like eating low-calorie meals with lemon juice and cayenne pepper, for example) are not evidence-based, healthy, or sustainable. But if you are trying to figure out how to boost your metabolism, there are is it so really effective and safe ways to do it.
For most of us, it eventually becomes obvious that our metabolism it begins to decline as we age. Factors that can affect your metabolism include age, height, muscle mass, hormones, resting metabolic rate, exercise, and more. And while there are some factors that are completely beyond our control, there are concrete ways to help boost your metabolism.
Don’t burn your butt for no reason. Whether you’re working on self-improvement in the weight loss department or just curious about how to keep your metabolism going, check out the following five ideas for scientifically proven methods that really work, and will keep your system running.
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Increase your protein intake.
You know that your body receives energy from food, but did you know that your body also applications energy to digest? The digestion process itself is actually an action that stimulates the metabolism. Your body should burn calories to take in calories (wow!). This is called Thermal Effect of Food (TEF).
We know that your body has the highest rate of TEF when digesting protein specifically. By increasing protein in your diet and decreasing empty carbohydrates and sugars, you can keep your body in the healthy burning zone. (Empty carbohydrates and sugars are easy to digest, require very little TEF, are not nutritious, and tend to cause weight gain.) Protein, my friends.
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Drink lots of green tea
Take advice from Chinese medicine and add green tea to your daily routine. Regular consumption of green and oolong tea has been shown to increase your metabolism by four to five percent.
Interestingly, green tea actually converts some of the fat stores in your body into free fatty acids that can cause up to a 17% increase in fat burning.
Try adding four to five cups of green tea per day. Sound like too much work? I hear you, busy people. You can also make a large pitcher each week to store in your refrigerator, and then fill a large bottle of water each morning to drink as you do so. Note that some of the effectiveness of the metabolic boost associated with green tea is related to the caffeine content, so if you are already a heavy caffeine drinker, this effect may be diminished. Unfortunately, research also shows that green tea doesn’t work like a charm for everyone, but it’s so easy, delicious, and healthy that there’s absolutely no harm in seeing if you’re one of the lucky ones. Burn baby burn
Drink more water
Another even simpler beverage to drink for metabolism-boosting effects is iced H2O! A. research team in Germany found that drinking cold water can help trigger a calorie-burning effect on your body, but there’s a catch. A later study found that the thermogenic effect of drinking cold water is only 4 to 7 calories per glass, or “equivalent to a simple M&M,” but all is not lost. Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN, Owner of Nutrition starring you He said Oneself that “adequate water intake is key to making sure your metabolism works at its maximum capacity.” Not to mention, by drinking more water, you will also incidentally replace the consumption of sugary drinks or empty calories from things like sodas, sports drinks, or juices. Drinking more water has a host of health benefits, so go ahead and turn up your H20 both at room temperature, cold, or however you want to consume it.
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Stand up more
More than 25% of American adults sit for more than eight hours every day to dub “Sitting like the new smoker.” What’s more alarming than that statistic is that 44% of those people do little or no exercise. So why is it so bad? Well, sitting for long periods slows blood flow, allowing fatty acids to build up in blood vessels, which can lead to heart disease. It is also linked to type 2 diabetes, obesity, and blood clots.
If your boss hasn’t gotten behind the standing desk option at work (or a standing desk converter) It might be a good time to send them some research and ask for one! When you stop, you burn between 100 and 200 calories per hour. Why? standing keeps all parts of your body – vascular, cardiac, and gastrointestinal systems, to name a few – working a little harder, increasing your overall metabolism. It is a very easy solution. Don’t have an expensive boss who is willing to participate? Don’t worry, there are super affordable standing desk options (I have one and I love it!) Available online, like this.
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Be intense and lift
Have you heard of HIIT? Research shows that high intensity interval training actually kicks up your metabolism and allows you to continue burning calories and fat even after you finish your workout. In fact you can Burn 25% to 30% more calories doing HIIT compared to other forms of exercise – the burn that keeps burning your baby. If you are looking for a new way to exercise or your form of exercise is not giving you the results you want, give HIIT a try.
Second, don’t be afraid to pump up some iron. (Insert Arnold’s voice here.) Muscle mass is more metabolically active than fat, and unfortunately, when people start to lose weight, they often lose muscle too. Studies show that when athletes build muscle during diet and exercise, they retain weight loss better than those who do not. If you have a small child or small dog, then you are already ahead of the lifting game. If not, see these weights.
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Personal care in the form of a DREAM!
If you haven’t heard of this yet, it’s time to jump on the train. Getting your fair share of sleep is very important to your health in both the short and long term. Lack of sleep it is strongly and directly related to many chronic diseases, and obesity and diabetes are two of them. This could very well be related to the negative side effects that not sleeping has on your metabolism.
When you don’t get enough sleep (chronically less than about 8 hours a night), your body maintains increased blood sugar levels, insulin resistance, and makes you feel hungrier and less full, even when you should feel full, that’s not cold! A well-rested body is satiated and balanced, so you won’t crave so much junk. Easy and simple fix. Oh excuse me, it’s 8pm, I need to go brush my teeth and apply a mask, good night!
This post was originally published on July 13, 2020 and has since been updated.