How to Boost Your Metabolism and Burn More Calories Naturally
Are you tired of feeling sluggish and frustrated with your weight loss progress? It's time to rev up your metabolism and make some real progress!
Boosting your metabolism isn't just about burning more calories—it's about optimising the way your body processes and uses energy at a cellular level. Once you master this concept, you'll be able to make informed choices about how to achieve your weight loss goals.
In this article, we'll share seven tried-and-true strategies that can help you ignite your metabolism and turn your body into a fat-burning machine. From dietary tweaks to exercise hacks, we'll provide you with the tools you need to take control of your health and achieve the results you deserve.
What is metabolism?
Metabolism refers to the intricate internal process through which your body utilises energy and burns calories. This process functions continuously, even when you're asleep or resting, to convert the food and nutrients you consume into the energy required for vital bodily functions like breathing, blood circulation, cell growth and repair, and other essential processes necessary for your survival.
The speed of metabolism varies from person to person and can be influenced by a variety of factors, such as genetics, age, gender, body size and composition, hormonal balance, and physical activity level. A faster metabolism means that the body burns calories at a higher rate, resulting in greater energy expenditure and potentially easier weight loss. On the other hand, a slower metabolism means that the body burns calories at a lower rate, making it easier to gain weight and harder to lose it. While some factors that influence metabolism cannot be changed, such as genetics and age, there are several lifestyle changes that can help boost metabolism and increase energy expenditure.
How to boost your metabolism naturally
1. Eat a balanced breakfast
Starting your day with a balanced breakfast that includes foods high in protein, fibre, and healthy fats can make a huge difference in your metabolism and overall health. When you sleep, your body goes into a fasting state, and a healthy breakfast helps you break that fast, jumpstart your metabolism, and provide the energy you need to tackle your day. To make your breakfast balanced, aim to include a mix of protein, healthy fats, and complex carbs. This will help keep you feeling full and satisfied, stabilise your blood sugar levels, and prevent energy crashes throughout the day. Some great breakfast options include scrambled tofu, oatmeal, Greek yoghurt, fruit, and nuts.
2. Drink plenty of water
Drinking enough water is essential for keeping your metabolism running smoothly. When you're dehydrated, your body's metabolic rate slows down, which can make it harder to burn calories and fat. Drinking at least eight glasses of water a day can help flush toxins out of your body, improve digestion, and increase energy levels. Drinking water before meals can also help you eat less and feel full faster. If you're not a fan of plain water, try adding lemon or cucumber slices to your water for added flavour and nutrients. You can also drink herbal teas or sparkling water to mix things up.
3. Build muscle with strength training
Strength training is one of the most effective ways to boost your metabolism and burn more calories. By building lean muscle mass, you can increase your body's metabolic rate, even when you're at rest. This means you'll burn more calories and fat throughout the day, making it easier to lose weight and keep it off. Aim to do strength-training exercises at least two to three times per week, focusing on major muscle groups like your legs, arms, back, and core. You can do exercises like squats, lunges, push-ups, and planks at home or at the gym. Don't worry if you're new to strength training, start with light weights or bodyweight exercises and gradually work your way up.
4. Get enough sleep
Getting enough sleep is essential for a healthy metabolism. When you're sleep-deprived, your body's metabolic rate slows down, which can make it harder to lose weight. Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep per night to keep your metabolism running smoothly. If you have trouble sleeping, try creating a relaxing bedtime routine, avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bed, and keeping your bedroom cool and dark.
5. Eat more protein
Protein is not only essential for building and repairing muscle, but it can also help boost your metabolism. When you eat protein, your body has to work harder to digest and absorb it, which can increase your metabolic rate. Aim to include protein in every meal and snack, such as lean meats, fish, eggs, nuts, and seeds. Protein can also help keep you feeling full and satisfied, which can prevent overeating and snacking on unhealthy foods.
6. Spice up your meals
Adding spices like cayenne pepper, turmeric, and ginger to your meals can not only add flavour, but also help boost your metabolism. These spices contain bioactive compounds that can increase your metabolic rate and help you burn more calories.
For instance, cayenne pepper contains capsaicin, which is known to have thermogenic properties that can increase body temperature and metabolic rate. This can lead to increased calorie burn and promote the breakdown of fat cells for energy. Similarly, turmeric contains curcumin, which has been found to increase adiponectin levels in the body. Adiponectin is a hormone that helps regulate blood sugar levels, increase insulin sensitivity, and promote fat burning. Ginger contains gingerol, which has been shown to increase calorie burn and improve insulin sensitivity.
Incorporating these spices into your meals is easy and versatile. You can sprinkle them on your favourite recipes, or add them to your smoothies, teas or dressings. Why not try adding garlic, cinnamon, or black pepper to your meals for added health benefits? Garlic contains allicin, which has potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Cinnamon has been shown to help regulate blood sugar levels, while black pepper contains piperine, which can enhance the absorption of other nutrients in the body. By incorporating these spices into your meals, you can add a flavourful and healthy boost while supporting your metabolism and overall health.
7. Stay active throughout the day
Sitting for long periods of time can slow down your metabolism and increase your risk of weight gain and other health problems. To keep your metabolism running smoothly, try to stay active throughout the day by taking short walks, doing stretches, or standing up and moving around every hour. Simple activities like gardening, cleaning, or playing with your pets can also help you burn more calories and stay active.
Remember, small changes can make a big difference, so start with one or two of these hacks and gradually work your way up to all seven.
Riya Lakhani-Kanji MSc ANutr is a registered nutritionist and health writer with a special interest in plant-based nutrition. She has completed a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Human Nutrition, and has developed a passion for writing about all things plant-based.