You may have heard the term ‘metabolism’ used in connection with losing or gaining weight. It is the rate at which your body burns calories, which can have an impact on how easily you lose or gain weight. Apart from a range of factors that affect it (including age, genetics, and thyroid conditions), there are numerous things you can do to help your metabolism function at an optimal level.
Mini meals: Since eating takes a chunk out of the day, we tend to eat two or three large meals. This isn’t the healthiest way to lose weight or boost your metabolism. Most people will tell you it’s much better to have several smaller meals. Instead of three squares a day, reduce your portions and eat five.
Exercise: A high heart rate boosts your metabolism, so it’s important that you raise yours for at least 30 minutes per day. During this half-hour, keep your activity levels high and intense. Aerobics is a great way to boost your metabolism because of its intensity, as are cardiovascular exercises and strength training. After all, more muscle means a quicker metabolism.
The H2O factor: Water is great for your body, but did you know that warm water is a great way to speed up your metabolic rate? Dehydration slows the body down, so consume plenty of fruits and veggies with high water content if you don’t or can’t keep hydrated by drinking water. Drinking plenty of the stuff, whether warm or cool, is a very good way of regulating your internal furnace.
Beauty sleep: Sleeping well plays an important role in how the body functions; too much or not enough sleep can make you lethargic. Ensure that you get a proper 40 winks, and make sure the quality of your sleep is good as well. Get your mind and body on a healthy, regular sleep schedule – in short, go to bed on time!
Tea time: Time and again, we’ve discussed the overwhelming advantages of green tea. Apart from its many health benefits, it’s a great way to boost your metabolic rate. In fact, green tea can help with weight loss by improving the way your body burns calories. Three to four cups a day, and you’ll notice the difference.
Breakfast: Though we all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, not all of us eat it. With the morning rush before work and school, breakfast gets sidelined. It shouldn’t, even if means giving up ten extra minutes of sleep or eating on the go. Missing a meal, especially breakfast, can have an adverse affect on your metabolism. Your body is designed so that you benefit from eating more during the first half of the day and tapering your consumption after lunch.
Spice it up: Indians are used to considerably spicy food, and this can be a good thing. Spicy food generates heat within your body, and some believe that this heat can give your metabolism a nudge. Either way, hot sauce and moderately salted and oiled pickles are good alternatives to calorie- and fat-laden sauces and condiments.
Cuppa Joe: Caffeine is well known for its ability to keep the eyes open and the mind active. Coffee is a great boost of energy in the morning, but it does little more than spike your metabolism. Nonetheless, don’t forget your morning caffeine kick – the blacker the coffee, the better the boost. Or better still, have a cup of herbal tea.
Eat enough: In the process of losing weight, many of us skip meals and avoid eating in a bid to cut calories. But how much you eat matters less than what you eat. Fasting is not the solution; when your body doesn’t get the calories it needs, your metabolism suffers. Ensure you stay well-nourished with nutritious food to keep your body working at optimal levels.
Protein power: Protein is an important part of a good diet, primarily because the body has to work harder to digest protein than it does to digest fats and carbohydrates. Animal (chicken, fish, egg whites) and vegetarian (tofu, legumes, and many vegetables) protein sources can ramp up your metabolism, especially when combined with an exercise regimen that includes weight training.
Importance of iron: Giving your body the iron it needs is a necessary part of regulating your metabolism. Iron helps keep your energy levels up, which is why the lack of it (anaemia) causes your metabolic rate to drop. Eat foods rich in iron, like spinach and tomatoes, as essential parts of your daily diet.