When it comes to maintaining a healthy weight, your metabolism plays a key role.
Whether you’re looking to tone up, gain muscle or burn fat, your metabolism will have a big say in how quickly you can achieve your goals.Even if you’re doing all the right things – eating healthier, consuming fewer calories, staying hydrated and getting plenty of exercise – a slow metabolism can hamper your efforts and cause you to get downhearted.
Your metabolism describes the natural processes your body undertakes to keep your organs functioning normally. Breathing, repairing cells and digesting food are all metabolic processes.
However, all these require energy, and the minimum amount of energy your body needs to perform them is called your basal – or base – metabolic rate (BMR).
On average, your BMR will account for around 80% of your body’s energy requirements, although this will vary depending on a range of factors, including age, gender, body size and lifestyle.
If you have a high BMR, your metabolism will be faster – it will burn calories quicker to convert them into the energy your body needs to function.
If your BMR is lower, your metabolism will be slower, meaning it takes longer to burn calories.
So, if weight management is your goal, boosting your BMR is crucial.
In this blog, we take a closer look at some of the natural ways to boost your metabolism.
WHAT IS METABOLISM?Your body needs energy to function normally. It ‘metabolises’ the calories you consume through your diet and converts them into the energy you need to keep all your key body systems working as they should.
If you have a fast metabolism, your body will burn calories quicker. If you have a slow metabolism, it will burn calories more slowly, and any excess calories from your diet will be stored as fat.
Body size, age, gender and genes all play a role in the speed of your metabolism. And as it takes more energy to maintain muscles cells than it does to maintain fat, people with more lean muscle mass tend to have faster metabolisms.
Regardless of your age, gender, fitness level or body type, if you are looking to maintain a healthy, consistent weight, then it’s crucial that you don’t eat more calories than you burn.
It’s also essential to eat the right foods – fresh fruit and veg, lean proteins, wholegrains and unsaturated fats. These will give your body the energy it needs to function, along with the vital vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients you need to stay healthy.
However, if you are concerned that your metabolism is hampering your fitness efforts and are looking for ways to give it a natural boost, here are some things you can try.
EAT MORE PROTEINWhen it comes to your diet, certain foods are better at boosting your metabolism than others.
Your body needs energy to eat, digest, absorb and process the nutrients in your food. The process of burning calories while doing this is known as the thermic effect.
Simply put, foods that create a higher thermic effect burn more calories than foods with a lower thermic effect.
Protein causes the highest thermal effect. It can increase your BMR by between 15%-30%. In comparison, carbohydrates can raise your BMR by up to 10%, while fats raise it by between 0% and 3%.
Protein can help you to feel fuller for longer and prevent you from overeating. It is also essential for helping your body create and maintain muscle mass, which can help raise your BMR further.
DO HIGH-INTENSITY EXERCISESWhile all forms of exercise are vital if you’re looking to manage your weight, doing short bursts of high-intensity exercises can raise your BMR for longer than more gentle aerobic activities, such as walking, jogging or swimming. It can also help your body to burn fat quicker.
HIT THE GYMAs we said above, muscle burns more calories than fat, and burns them quicker.
So, increasing your muscle mass will help to raise your BMR and, in turn, help you to tone up and better maintain a healthy weight.
Focus on exercises that strengthen all the major muscle groups, including your legs, hips, back, belly, chest, shoulders and arms. These could include lifting heavy weights, doing push-ups, squats and sit-ups, or even strenuous household activities like cleaning or gardening.
When combined with eating more protein, you will help your body build lean muscle mass, which will help raise your BMR and boost your metabolism.
DRINK WATERIf weight management is your goal, swapping sugary fizzy drinks or alcohol for water will help you reduce your calorie intake.
However, studies have found that drinking water can also help speed up your resting metabolism by 10%-30%, for up to an hour after drinking it.
What’s more, if you drink chilled water, your body will burn more calories to heat it to body temperature, which will also temporarily increase your BMR.
GET ON YOUR FEETStanding up uses more muscles than sitting or lying down, and your body uses more energy when you’re on your feet.
So, standing up more throughout the day will help you burn more calories than you would if you are always sat down.
EAT METABOLISM-BOOSTING FOODS AND SUPPLEMENTSWhen it comes to what you eat and drink, there are a few things you can incorporate into your diet to give your metabolism a boost.
Caffeine is a natural stimulant that not only helps you stay mentally alert but can also temporarily increase your heart rate and, as a result, your metabolism. Getting it from natural sources such as freshly ground coffee or green tea is your best bet, as these also contain lots of beneficial antioxidants.
If you like spicy food, you’re in luck. Capsaicin, the compound that gives chilli peppers, ginger and strong onions their heat, also has metabolism-boosting properties. Adding a sprinkling of fresh chopped chillies to your food can help you burn an extra ten calories per meal.
But if heat isn’t your thing, there are natural supplements you can try.
For example, Lily & Loaf’s Kelp and Hops Combination is formulated to support healthy thyroid function. It helps regulate hormonal activity, heart rate and body temperature, all of which can affect the rate at which your body burns calories and absorbs nutrients.
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