We have all been bombarded with countless articles, books on natural ways to increase metabolism. This word pops up so often that we tend to overlook the real meaning behind it. So, this process consists of two main steps: catabolism – breaking down of substances and nutrients and anabolism – building up more cells and repairing our bodies. Throughout this energy exchange with our environment, we keep our own systems in a more or less steady state.
The number of calories your body burns to keep the organs working and to maintain all bodily functions is called BMR (basal metabolic rate) – roughly accounts for 70% of your metabolism. The consequences of low BMR:
- weight-loss resistance
- chronic fatigue
- dry skin and brittle nails
- hair loss
- frequent headaches
- poor memory
- low libido
So, how to boost your metabolism naturally?
Food is your medicine
Modern medicine is extraordinarily skillful at patching up people once they’re sick. However, its ability to ensure health is far from satisfactory. So, food is “it”! Unhealthy food is the major cause of disease, while healthy food can be its main healer.
With farmers’ markets opening up again and fresh produce easily available, spring is the best time of the year to start incorporating more freshness into your diet. Along with vitamins and minerals, fiber is a natural way to support detoxification of the gut. Also, fiber costs more energy which maximizes your BMR.
Stop counting calories
Under-fueling is just as risky as overeating – you lose muscle weight and your body hangs onto every calorie to save the energy. This unnecessary sacrifice puts you through the pain of hunger and deprivation which severely drops BMR. Yet, if you are already in the “conservation” mode – don’t panic. Our bodies are very resilient and adaptable – with the right mindset, you’ll bounce back to your natural status quo by daily amping up your calories.
- Breakfast is the fuel of the day. Go for protein foods. BMR is influenced by how much energy your body expends. About 30% of calories in protein goes into its digestion and absorption. Plus, it’s the essential
- Don’t give up on good carbs. Remember, the calories content in high fructose syrup isn’t the same as let’s say in blueberries.
- You have to monitor nutrients – not the amount of calories. All macronutrients, vitamins and minerals are vital for your health.
Catechins – molecules in green tea are powerful antioxidants that counteract some harmful effects of unhealthy fats and carbohydrates. It activates the process of fat burning and lowers cholesterol levels. Fix on the real thing – don’t take supplements that contain green tea extract and claim to have miracle benefits.
Traditional Chinese medicine has been using ginseng root for centuries. It was used as a supplement to improve general well-being, physical stamina, immune system and to slow the aging process.
- Lowers blood sugar levels
- Alleviates the effects of free radicals that are harmful byproducts of breaking down process
- Boosts metabolism – drinking ginseng root tea on a daily basis maximizes the breakdown of fat cells
Avoid metabolism killers
There are foods that could be acting like toxins on your body – cause inflammation, harm digestion, trigger diabetes, interfere with absorption:
- fried foods
- high-sodium snacks
- hydrogenated oils
- white flour products
- refined sugar
When in a hurry, it’s easy to nibble on potato chips or worse – a candy bar. But, you can make your own nutritious snacks on the fly :
- Wholegrain crackers with guacamole and sardines (a source of omega 3 acids)
- Granny smith apples with cottage cheese sprinkled with cinnamon. This natural metabolism booster is also a tremendous antioxidant: green apples are rich in polyphenols and cinnamon balances blood sugar and curbs cravings.
- Grapefruit – is known for being the weight loss food. Naringin – the compound in this full of vitamins and fiber fruit – lowers blood sugar. Enjoy one when you are feeling snacky without any sugar on top.
It goes without saying that exercise is among natural ways to speed up metabolism. You blitz calories when working up a sweat.
- HIIT – high intensity interval training. Burst training helps burn fat twice faster than any steady-state cardio.
- Weightlifting – strength training at least twice a week is beneficial for increasing lean mass. Muscle burns 6 calories per pound – fat burns 2. This difference isn’t too impressive. However, the body will feel the impact over time.
The majority of us live busy lives, and there hardly seems to be enough time to do all the things we need to do, much less get enough rest. Skimp on quality shuteye – equals striking changes in glucose tolerance and low speed of breaking/building process.
Not enough sleep affects: insulin, melatonin and cortisol which promote weight gain
- Get rid of your “sleep stealers”: reduce tech overload before bedtime
- Turn down the temp when you sleep – try to keep it around 64-65 degrees. Cool air around you fires up your own internal thermostat. Your body activates brown fat that burns extra calories to keep you warm.
- Limited sleepers experience the drop of leptin levels (the satiety hormone) which increases hunger and you often opt for junk food.
Things you hear or read on the internet aren’t always valid. For example, ‘drink more cold water’ – there’s no scientific evidence that cold water makes your body burn more calories. Drink any water, period. It’s like a lubricant for your body.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Media claims that people who drink a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar a day lowered body weight, visceral fat and blood sugar levels. However, only the research conducted on diabetic mice showed slightly positive results.
- The chemical components in the supplements that claim to be ‘natural metabolism booster’ often don’t match the label.
- Some could be toxic to the liver.
- The worst side effect – “the unknown”. Supplements aren’t FDA approved – you could do more harm than benefit to yourself.
To sum up – it’s very possible to increase metabolism naturally – exercise regularly, try to get sufficient sleep throughout the week, avoid stress at any cost, maintain a healthy diet. The result will be strong immune system and longevity.
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