8 Tips To Improve Your Metabolism Naturally And Burn Calories
- Metabolism is a chemical process that occurs in our bodies to maintain life
- Even when we are resting, our body needs energy to keep our organs function
- Metabolism slows down steadily as people age, due to loss of muscle mass
We all have that one lucky friend who seems to eat whatever and whenever he or she wants but doesn’t put on any weight. On the other hand, the so many of us are constantly counting calories and working out vigorously, with no visible change on the weighing scale. The key to understanding this contradiction, according to nutritionist, dietician and founder of Health & U, Shreya Katyal, lies in our metabolism.
Most of us find ourselves struggling with weight management. Therefore, it is important to understand what metabolism means and how it influences weight control.
Metabolism is the chemical process that occurs within a living organism in order to maintain life, by converting what we eat and drink into energy. Even when we are resting, our body needs energy to keep our organs functioning normally, such as circulating blood, breathing, digesting food and repairing cells. The minimum amount of energy our body requires to carry out these chemical processes is called the basal metabolic rate (BMR).
The basal metabolic rate varies between individuals. Several factors play a crucial role in determining the metabolic rate such as body size, age, gender and genes. Metabolism slows down steadily as people age, primarily due to the loss of muscle mass.
“A lot of medical issues like thyroid, diabetes or any other metabolic disorders can affect the rate of a person’s metabolism too, causing metabolic processes to occur slower than usual,” says Shreya Katyal.
“Even if you stay stressed for a long time, your body releases extra cortisol which is a stress hormone, which slows down digestive functions. Cortisol also makes one hungrier as the body needs energy to battle with the stress. This leads to binge eating, eventually increasing your body weight and making you unhealthy,” she adds.
Although you cannot control your age, gender, or genetics, there are other ways to improve your metabolism. Here are 8 tips to boost your metabolism as suggested by our expert:
1). Never Skip Meals, Especially Breakfast
Often hailed as the ‘most important meal of the day,’ breakfast sets your metabolism for the day and keeps it going as long as you eat every three hours. ‘If you wake up early and eat a late breakfast, you miss out on several hours of burning calories. One should ideally have 5 to 6 meals a day and not a single one should be missed,’ recommends Ms Katyal.
2). Fuel Up With Water
All of your body’s chemical reactions, including your metabolism, depend on water. An essential nutrient and an important part of healthy eating, water not only removes toxins from the body but also increases the body’s metabolic rate.
3). Power Up With Protein
Our body burns more calories to digest protein than it does for fat or carbohydrates. Protein helps stabilize the secretion of insulin into our blood stream, a process that can boost metabolism. Good sources of protein include fish, white meat chicken, tofu, nuts, beans, eggs, and low-fat dairy products.
Quick tip: One should also consume lean proteins, available in food items like – skinless chicken or turkey, beans and lentils. Consuming high protein and low GI (glycemic index) food like oatmeal, seeds and nuts is also helpful in boosting metabolism. One can combine proteins with vegetables and a salad as it will help activate metabolism.
4). Be Physically Active – Step Up Your Workout
Because muscles use more calories than fat, strengthening your muscles can make you into a more efficient calorie-burning machine. Any kind of aerobic exercise, whether you’re running or doing bhangra, burns calories. Make it more intense, and your body will burn more calories.
A Helpful Tip: Walking is one form of exercise that requires no equipment and minimal time commitment. Take the stairs whenever possible or park further out to get that little bit of extra movement recommends Ms Katyal.
5). Spice Up Your Meals
Capsaicin, the compound that makes chili peppers hot, can kick your metabolism into a higher gear. Cooking food with a tablespoon of green or red chili, or Tabasco pepper can boost your metabolic rate.
6). Sip Some Coffee
Coffee contains several biologically active substances that can affect metabolism. Experts recommend having black and green coffee. People who are healthy and active can have black coffee and people with BP issues should consume green coffee as it is low in caffeine.
Tip: One can also have green tea, as it comprises antioxidants called catechins, which help in boosting metabolism.
7). Metabolism-Boosting Foods
Food can play an important role in boosting metabolism – it revs up energy levels and helps to improve metabolic functions. Here’s a checklist of certain foods that you should definitely be part of your diet:
Apple cider vinegar: It helps to burn fat naturally and increase metabolism. One can have it with diluted water in the morning.
Nuts and seeds: Known as great source of protein and a powerhouse of energy, nuts like almonds, flax seeds, walnuts have numerous health advantages, including a lift in your metabolism.
Green vegetables: Rich in mineral, protein and iron content, garden fresh vegetables like broccoli, spinach and asparagus, to name a few, provide sufficient energy to fulfill your daily requirements.
Dark Chocolate: The monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) in dark chocolate boost your metabolism.
Tip: Nutrition and diet expert Shreya Katyal recommends to eat dark chocolates, which contains 70% or higher cocoa content.
Fruits: Grape fruit, which is rich in vitamin C, is excellent for weight loss and improving metabolism.
8). Finally, Go To Bed Early
Our bodies require sleep in order to maintain proper function and health. Studies in the past have shown that those who go to bed late and sleep less than the required 6-7 hours tend to be more stressed out and have more visceral fat, also called intra-abdominal fat, which refers to the fat that surrounds the internal organs.
Tip: Maintain a regular sleep schedule – don’t let your sleep patterns get affected by a hectic lifestyle.
However, following all these recommendations to boost metabolism won’t deliver maximum benefits, unless and until one leads a healthy, active and happy lifestyle, said Ms Katyal.
About The Expert: Shreya Katyal, Nutritionist, Dietician and Founder of Health & U
Dietician Shreya Katyal, aims at lifestyle modification to motivate everyone towards a healthier version of ‘themselves.’ With a diploma degree in Dietetics, Nutrition and Health she has been practicing this for many years now.