Every time you eat or exercise, your metabolism, the biochemical process by which your body converts calories into energy, kicks into gear. For those looking to lose weight and improve energy levels, there are various foods and practices that can boost your metabolism on a daily basis.
Depending on your age and body type, results will vary. Hence it’s helpful to experiment with different recipes and activities to find the optimal combination for you.
METABOLISM BOOSTING PRACTICES
One of the best practices to boost your metabolism is to get more Zzzzs. according to the American Sleep Apnea Association, people who get too little rapid eye movement sleep (REM) are more prone to cardiovascular disease and obesity. By sticking to a sleep schedule and averaging at least eight hours of sleep per night, the body has enough time to physically and mentally process everything from the day before, including digesting meals and converting them into energy for the day.
TIP: Late night meals can cause indigestion and prevent REM sleep cycles, so it helps to eat the last meal of the day a few hours before bedtime.
About 60 percent of the human body is composed of water, so it’s no wonder that water consumption is crucial to overall health. Most medical professionals follow the 8×8 rule and advise patients to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day to promote mental clarity, physical endurance and metabolism.
One of the best ways to drink more water is to sip it throughout the day, not just when you’re thirsty. Another tactic is to drink two glasses 30-minutes before a big meal, which can curb your appetite and promote weight loss.
TIP: Recent studies including one from the University of Washington found that cold water can boost metabolism because your body burns more calories as it heats the water to body temperature.
While regular exercise and yoga-type stretching are ideal exercises for cardiovascular health and longevity, weight training is the best activity for boosting your metabolism. Strong muscles burn a higher percentage of calories at rest — estimated at 50 calories per day per pound of muscle. Body fat has a much lower daily calorie expenditure rate and averages about three calories per pound of fat.
TIP: Weight training and High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) can be intimidating for first-timers and those who haven’t worked out in a while. Start slow and do 30 minutes one day a week and work up to one hour two days a week. Over time, increasing the amount of weight being used will help boost your metabolism as muscle memory kicks in and your body becomes stronger.
METABOLISM BOOSTING RECIPES
Apple Cider Vinegar
Like other types of probiotics, apple cider vinegar is excellent for boosting the metabolism because it promotes healthy digestion. In addition to helping burn belly fat and curb appetite, apple cider vinegar alkalizes the body preventing it from becoming too acidic.
Fat Burning Brew Recipe: Mix one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with a cup of water and a splash of citrus like grapefruit or orange juice. Drink upon rising before the first meal of the day or midday. Avoid drinking it undiluted or right before bed, as too much or too close to sleeping can cause nausea and damage the esophagus.
Dark, hearty greens like kale and broccoli boost your metabolism because they are low in calories and prolong the feeling of fullness. They are also high in fiber, minerals, vitamins and antioxidants.
Mean Green Recipe: Chop a bunch of raw broccoli and a handful of kale. Stir-fry with olive or coconut oil for 10 minutes and season with dashes of salt, cayenne pepper, dried basil, black pepper and turmeric. For a nutty flavor, add raw pepitas or almonds to the stir-fry about halfway through the cooking process.
Healthy Fats and Lean Proteins
As helpful as weight training is for your metabolism, it’s equally important to fuel your body with the amino acids it needs to build fat-burning muscle. According to a study by the Journal of the American Medical Association, people who regularly eat a low-fat, low protein diet stored almost 90 percent of their calories as body fat compared to 50 percent for those eating a high protein diet.
Not all fats and proteins are created equal, so it helps to make meals that combine healthy and lean sources. Examples of healthy fats and lean proteins are avocados, nuts and seeds, olive and coconut oil, wild fish, and legumes like lentils.
Quick and Lean Recipe: Cook one can of organic, low sodium lentils (any color) in a saucepan until warm. Add minced garlic, chopped parsley, cumin, salt and cayenne pepper to taste. Garnish with half an avocado, a squeeze of lemon and a sprig of cilantro.