How To Boost Metabolism? Effective Strategies

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The term ‘metabolism’ can be explained in two levels. Cellular metabolism and physiological metabolism. The total set of chemical reactions that occur within a cell for its proper functioning is called cellular metabolism. Physiological metabolism is the process of converting food and nutrients that we intake into energy, which is used for the smooth functioning of our body processes. Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is the energy you use up when sitting idly.  We should aim to boost our metabolism.  The lower the metabolism rate, the higher the calories stored in our body. Boosting our metabolism increases our immunity, reduces body fat, and helps us from ever contracting diseases such as diabetes.

Myths vs Facts about Metabolism

  • You cannot control your metabolism: Yes you can! Your body uses calories of energy to do even a simple task of moving your arm or a leg. So, exercising will increase the metabolism.
  • Thin people have a higher metabolic rate: No, they don’t. Thin people have a lower metabolic rate. Metabolism is directly related to muscles. Muscles burn energy and decide the rate of metabolism. It is advisable to exercise your muscles to boost your metabolism.
  • Skip meals to increase your metabolism: Skipping meals never increase your metabolism. It actually will have an antagonistic effect if you are trying to reduce a few pounds. Research has found that skipping meals will decrease your metabolism. Never skip a meal.
  • Certain foods will increase your metabolism: The fruits, vegetables, and grains we consume have no significant effect on our metabolism. 
  • Small meals will increase metabolism: This is not entirely true. Portion the meals according to your needs. Your body weight and muscle mass determine the size of the meal you should have. Include a variety of protein-rich and high-fiber foods in your diet. It can boost your metabolic rate and also help in the burning of fat without storing it.
Myths vs Facts about Metabolism

How to Boost Metabolism?

Workout more:

Muscles are the site where energy is expended. Increasing your muscle density increases your metabolism. Cardio exercises can help in increasing your metabolic rate. Walking a certain distance daily and gradually increasing the distance can also help you to boost your metabolism. Do heavy weight lifting and high-intensity workouts. A person with more muscle mass will have a higher basal metabolic rate. So, build muscles to boost your metabolism.

Protein is our friend:

Did you know that our body uses a lot of energy to chew, ingest, and digest the foods that we eat? This means your metabolic rate increases when you eat food. This is called the thermic effect of food. Protein takes longer to digest and absorb than fat or carbohydrates and makes the body spend more energy. Consume protein-rich foods such as dairy products (milk, yogurt, cheese), lean meats (beef and lamb), chicken breasts, and eggs. Legumes and beans are another excellent source of protein.

Increase your water intake:

Water is the medium through which all cellular activities take place. That includes metabolism. Water is an inevitable component of metabolism. Therefore it is necessary to stay hydrated for our body to function properly and it in turn boosts our metabolism. Include water-rich fruits such as watermelon, oranges, strawberries, and cantaloupe in your diet.

Never skip your meals:

Skipping meals can slow down metabolism since there is no food for the digestive system to break down, which means less energy is expended. Nutritionists often advise people to never skip a meal, especially breakfast. Breakfast is the first meal of the day and skipping it disrupts the metabolism of your body. Portion your meals correctly and never overeat. Take equal intervals of time between your meals and include protein-rich foods in your diet. Spicy foods can immediately boost your metabolism. Capsaicin, a compound present in chilies and peppers, can boost metabolism by increasing fat burning.

Vitamins and minerals boost metabolism:

Vitamin B-complex (B-1, B-2, B-3, B-5, B-6, B-9, and B-12) helps in the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats. It also mobilizes energy instead of storing it as fat in our bodies. Minerals such as calcium and iron also help in the process of metabolism.

Caffeine:

Drinking coffee can moderately boost your metabolism for a short period. Caffeine is a compound that stimulates the brain and increases the production of epinephrine, a neurotransmitter. Epinephrine is a hormone that triggers the fight-or-flight response in our body. It also spikes the metabolic rate of our body to produce a quick burst of energy. Energy drinks also contain caffeine. It also contains another compound known as Taurin, which increases fat metabolism, thereby boosting your body’s metabolic rate. 

Vitamins and minerals boost metabolism

Drink Green Tea:

Green tea contains antioxidants that help in the burning of fats. There are also traces of caffeine in green tea, which helps in increasing the metabolic rate of our body. Couple green tea with regular exercises to reduce the fat deposits in your body thereby boosting the metabolic rate.

Sleep:

Nothing can replace a good night’s sleep. Lack of sleep will affect your brain’s activity. Your brain works while you sleep and sleep depravity can lower your basal metabolic rate. Sleep for up to 8 hours. Studies have shown that lack of sleep can affect fat metabolism and decrease our metabolic rate. Our body reduces the basal metabolic rate if we are sleepless to conserve energy. This can lead to fat deposition and obesity. 

Conclusion

To have a very good metabolic rate all you need to do is eat well, workout regularly, and sleep well. Slightly increase your body’s basal metabolic rate by increasing your muscle gain and following the various instructions mentioned above. Avoid sitting in the same place for an extended period. It is recommended to move around frequently and remain active. Obesity is often thought to be caused by a high-calorie intake, but this is not entirely accurate. The rate of metabolism plays a huge role in fat deposition in your body. Lack of physical activity can lead to fat accumulation, obesity, and various other life-threatening illnesses. Boosting your metabolism can help you to live a healthy life, free of diseases. 

References

  • E.A. Finkelstein, J.G. Trogdon, J.W. Cohen, W. Dietz
    Annual medical spending attributable to obesity: payer-and service-specific estimates
    Health Affairs (Millwood), 28 (5) (2009), pp. w822-831 https://www.healthaffairs.org/doi/10.1377/hlthaff.28.5.w822
  • Wolf AM, Colditz GA. Social and economic effects of body weight in the United States. Am J Clin Nutr. 1996;63:466S–469S. [PubMed

Dr. David G Kiely is a distinguished Medical Reviewer and former General Medicine Consultant with a wealth of experience in the field. Dr. Kiely's notable career as a General Medicine Consultant highlights his significant contributions to the medical field.

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