Health - General
By: - at September 8, 2013

Top 15 Natural Ways to Speed Up Your Metabolism

Your metabolism can be one of the crucial deciding factors in successful weight loss, and it seems like one that is very much out of your control. This thinking can lead to a kind of desperation that drives people to try all kinds of dangerous stimulants and unnecessary supplements to try and unnaturally coax the body into revving up metabolism and burning fat. The downside to this is that when you choose this route, your overall health suffers. The point of losing weight in the first place is to improve your quality of life, so this becomes self-defeating. A better way is to examine natural, simple ways you can boost metabolism for the results youíre looking for. Metabolism can be affected by a lot of your habits and lifestyle factors, and learning to work with your bodily processes rather than against them can help you achieve your goals of living a healthy, fit lifestyle.


15)  Chew Your Food Well

chewing food eating lunch

Everyone is very used to rushing through things, including meals. There is never enough time in the day, and so you may find yourself taking it out of what is supposed to be the leisurely affair of eating in order to fuel your next spurt of activity. Thatís not a good way to redeem the time, though, because it does more harm than good. Eating too quickly not only can cause you to intake more air than necessary, leading to gas and bloating, but it can harm your metabolism if you arenít chewing your food well enough. Digestion begins in the mouth, with the tongue and teeth mechanically breaking down food, and the saliva chemically processing food stuffs to soften them for the gut to finish digesting. Not chewing your food enough means half-processed products are making it to the stomach which isnít equipped to handle digestion on that level. Partially chewed food takes much longer to digest, sits in the GI tract longer, and takes much more work to process. Rather than burning more calories - as most cellular work does - this only encourages the digestive system to slow down and the metabolism to move more slowly as a result.


14)  Get Enough Calcium
If you want to get slim, itís time to wear a milk mustache. You already know calcium is important for healthy bone density and strong teeth. The mineral is also a possible cancer fighter, and an important neurochemical for the brain as well as a signal ion for muscles. Studies published by the National Institute for Health also indicated calcium ó as that found in low-fat dairy products ó can be a proponent in weight loss, boosting the metabolism and helping to zap fat reserves, particularly those around the middle trunk area. Belly fat is a common complaint among those trying to slim down, and it can be some of the most dangerous weight to carry, correlated with a number of health problems like heart disease and diabetes.

sources of calcium dairy products

Studies are still in the works to determine exactly how calcium revs up metabolism, but the fact that it is now a proven fat burner indicates the connection is there to be found. In the meantime, you can take advantage of the latest research by reaching for a glass of skim milk, a slice of low fat cheese, or even a cup of a variety of dark leafy green vegetables that contain high amounts of calcium ó in addition to many other desirable nutrients. Worried youíre not maximizing your calcium intake in your diet? Experts agree that most adults, and especially women, could benefit from the addition of a calcium supplement as well.


13)  Eat More Berries
Acai and goji berries have gotten the most press for their touted health benefits, but you may be able to find humbler berries in your backyard that serve the same purpose. Berries are rich in ellagic acid, anthocyanins, and quercetin ó among other antioxidant compounds ó that have immune supporting and cancer-fighting properties as they protect you against cellular damage. In fact, overall, berries have the highest antioxidant levels of any other plant part, including spinach leaves. Berries are also high in dietary fiber and phytochemicals that improve the digestive system by helping push food through and cleanse the tract as they go.

strawberries blueberries raspberries blackberries

Berries rev up the metabolism by giving your body a quick jolt of sugars, but also a longer sustenance of more complex plant starches at the same time. Their acids encourage speedy digestions and fire up your metabolism, as well as being a snack or dessert able to satisfy your appetite and keep it below your metabolic level, helping you lose weight. Berries are also high in vitamin C ó strawberries boasting 150 percent your daily recommended intake of vitamin C in just one serving. While itís indirect, vitamin C does support the immune system, and a healthier you will have a more robust metabolism as well.


12)  Avoid Processed Foods
Not only can your body work too hard to digest foods, it can work too little as well. When your diet is mostly processed foods, the simple starches and sugars break down too easily and give your body a rush of energy it must either utilize or store. The metabolism slows, much like a line foreman might halt production if workers down the line were feeling overwhelmed, to deal with the ďpackagingĒ of this energy which turns to fat if not burned immediately. This is one reason low-fat diets of the past donít work well, because they rely on quickly digestible carbohydrates.

processed foods chicken nuggets french fries

Eating whole foods is more than a fad. Studies out of Harvard, among other institutions, have proven that itís not just the amount of calories that matter in weight loss and metabolism, nor the percentage sources of those calories. The quality of your food intake matters the most. Carbohydrates in and of themselves arenít bad, and other sources of calories arenít automatically good. Lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, and clean fats all taken from as close to the source as you can get will give you the best metabolic results, using the most energy to digest in a way that will rev your body up to take on the challenge, not slow down.


11)  Drink Green Tea
Green tea has been highly prized for several health benefits for centuries. Recently, modern science has supported many of these functions, indicating the antioxidants and tannins found in green tea boosts your immune system, cleans your cardiovascular system, and may fight certain cancers. Green tea also appears to have thermogenic properties that speed fat oxidation, which allows these reserves to be utilized for energy. While the provable benefits to it revving up your system seem to be small, even a minor percentage can help when used in conjunction with other metabolism busting tips.

green tea

Another added benefit to green tea in terms of metabolism is the fact that ó unless cut with fatty dairy or a lot of sugar ó green tea is calorie free and low in caffeine. The small energy shot can quell appetites until meal time, and fulfill the need for a refreshing morning drink that is far healthier for your waistline and sleeping patterns than coffee, particularly the latte and cappuccino variety that are more loaded calorically than most of your desserts.

Go here to learn how to make green tea healthy.


10)  Eat More Vegetables
Vegetables contain many needed nutrients whose fulfillment in the body leads to satisfaction, and so a reduced appetite that is in keeping with your metabolism. Vegetables are usually very bulky, giving you the same volume of food you would eat normally, but with far fewer calories. Being able to stay fuller on fewer calories and feeling the need to eat fewer to begin with are both staple tactics for weight-loss. Also, just like with berries, the fiber in vegetables supports a clean and healthy digestive track that is ready to work.

vegetables

Myths abound about some vegetables being ďnegative caloriesĒ foods, or their tough texture ó courtesy of cellulose ó causing you to burn more calories chewing them than you gain by eating them. This isnít true, unfortunately, and there is no magic veggie that will let you shed the pounds without examining your entire lifestyle. Instead, to get the maximum benefit from eating vegetables, go for a variety. A varied diet keeps the metabolism pumping, as it provides you all the many nutrients you need, and doesnít allow your system to develop its own lazy habits being too used to one kind of food. One rule of thumb is to get as many colors as you can on your plate at any given meal. Dark leafy greens like kale, spinach and broccoli, red tomatoes, yellow corn, orange carrots, and even white cauliflower can produce a rainbow at your dinner table that celebrates you being one step closer to an active metabolism and healthy life.





9)  Eat Raw Foods
Some raw foods are more difficult to digest, but many more arenít. Also, many raw foods contain nutrients that are delicate enough to break down or leach away with many common cooking practices. Many have a crisp and refreshing texture that satisfies us with a smaller volume of food than something soft and easy to eat. Vegetables in particular will give you the best benefit of their fiber and vitamins when theyíre eaten raw by themselves or in a salad with a light dressing.

raw nuts

Other raw foods to enjoy are some seeds, nuts, and many fruits. Some swear by raw dairy products to obtain some of the natural bacterial cultures that are destroyed in pasteurizing, but this can also be a dangerous practice if such dairy products are improperly stored and allowed to develop less beneficial bacteria. Raw sugar is also used sometimes, but is a process of rendering sugarcane no matter what form it is in, so there is little benefit there. Raw honey, however, has a maximized amount of immune support and its own cultures, and in this form, can be a good sugar substitute as its high sweetness makes it less necessary to fulfill your cravings for a taste of sugar in a way that can boost your metabolism instead of just your appetite like table sugar does.


8)  Eat Spicy Foods
In particular, peppers contain capsaicin, a colorless compound that causes the sensation of heat on your taste buds with a chemical reaction. Capsaicin also has a thermogenic effect on the rest of your body as well; sometimes inducing sweating and making your temperature feel elevated. On a cellular level, a study at Bowling Green State University found that this same process also ramps up the metabolism as well, with participants who ate spicy peppers in their foods burning an average of eight percent more calories per meal than participants who did not have spicy peppers in their food.

spices spicy foods

Another effect of spicy foods is that strong, flavorful foods leave you feeling satiated much faster than bland foods. Eating spicy foods like peppers can help you consume up to 200 calories fewer per meal than you would with blander foods, and so the combined effects of spicy foods on metabolism and appetite make them powerful fat-burning allies for you. Other foods that contain these same effects are black pepper and ginger, both of which have similar compounds in them that induce that kind of tingling burn you either love or hate. Finally, phytochemicals like capsaicin have been tentatively linked to helping lower the instances of certain cancers, and while not a metabolic effect, is certainly another healthy reason to spice up your life.


7)  Donít Starve Yourself
A common dieting trick is just plunging your calorie count below your necessary base caloric intake to burn weight. But this doesnít help your metabolism any. In fact, it sends your metabolism into a panic, and your body hits starvation mode, attempting to conserve as many calories as possible from your food. It also sends a signal to your cells to stop burning sugars and fats for fuel to conserve them, and instead, has them cannibalize your muscle tissue, leaving you weaker than before. Muscle loss is also linked to a slower metabolism as well, making this poor choice a double whammy.

girl eating salad

The same process goes for eating at your base caloric needs and then over exercising. The best way to determine how many calories you need each day is to find a reputable calorie calculator and be honest with it about your height, weight, age, and level of activity. Your doctor might also be able to offer an insight, or refer you to a nutritionist who can help you work out a plan to get the calories you need without any excess.


6)  Drink More Water
The most obvious point to this tip is water is calorie free, unlike many beverages. Secondly, liquids can fill you up as well as solids, and drinking plenty of water with meals can therefore save you on calories consumed, helping you to eat less and feel fuller. Another point about water is it is necessary to sustain health. Our bodies are mostly water and the oxygen and hydrogen in each molecule are broken down and reformed in cellular respiration processes to perform many of our metabolic tasks. If you donít have enough water available for your metabolism to run at peak performance, no other trick in the world is going to work for you. Itís like trying to run a car with no gas in the tank.

drinking water

Water also helps to cleanse toxins from the body. You have a natural filtration system through your kidneys and urinary system, and one of its main functions is taking out the trash from your metabolic processes. If those lines back up and this waste moves too slowly, the cells will take the hint and slow down production to keep from making your molecular environment too toxic to support life. While the amount of water you specifically need can vary with many circumstances, a rough estimate often given out is 64 ounces of water a day for an adult. This sounds like a lot, but eight 8 ounce glasses can actually go pretty quickly if youíre making a habit out of starting out your meals with one full glass, or always take a drink when you come back from the bathroom.


5)  Do Energy Work
This may sound a little New Age, but yoga and even reiki has become very mainstream in the health world. Yoga in particular can lower blood lipid levels and improve moods, and has the benefit of being physical activity; any physical activity you can do will help your metabolism. Yoga can improve flexibility and strength, and make more hardcore forms of exercising easier on you, which motivates you to do them more. Styles of yoga like bikram yoga are particularly helpful for metabolism, as they elevate your body temperature and heart rate, which speed catabolic processes of cells, allowing them to work faster.

woman doing yoga meditation

Itís also suggested that the energetic balances achieved in yoga and other energy work traditions align your bodily system to improve overall function on levels not yet measurable. There is certainly a long history for this theory, but even if the anecdotal evidence was disproved, yoga has proven itself to be a healthful activity if youíre seeking better body regulation in a quantifiable way. Will yoga alone boost your metabolism to speed you to your weight loss goals? Unlikely, but it will definitely make them easier, and you feel happier about working towards them.


4)  Build Muscle
Just as losing muscle mass from starvation or poor lifestyle will slow your metabolism, building more muscle will cause it to ramp up even faster than before. Muscle uses a tremendous amount of energy to work, as even at ďrestí it retains a certain amount of tension in each individual fiber ó called tone ó that keeps it ready to go at a momentís notice. The more physically fit you are, the more fibers you have, and so, this is why trim, athletic builds are called ďtonedĒ: they have more tone! Since muscle powers more than itself, and must exercise precise control, every flex and relaxation cycle costs the cells the energy of the muscle fiber itself, as well as the physical energy of whatever it is pulling. This is why when your body feels starved, it takes what it needs from muscle tissue itself, because breaking that down is more cost-effective for running all your bodily systems, than to use up the precious fuel the muscles themselves need.

weight training weight lifting toning muscle

Because of this energy expense, having more muscle tissue ó along with proper eating ó will burn more fat, because your body needs to consume more fuel to accomplish its tasks. Many people try to avoid strength training to keep from trying to bulk up like a body builder, though, and donít reap the benefits of denser muscle. You donít have to worry about that, because basic strength training alone does not make bulky muscles, but lean ones. The extreme of this is found in dancersí bodies, where they need to be as strong as possible, but still stay slim and graceful. Exercises like Pilates training are exceptionally good for achieving this effect.


3)  Find Outlets for Stress
Many experts already discuss how stress can cause you to gain weight through the cycling of hormones that promote nervous appetite and retention of calories. Long term stress can damage many metabolic processes as well, with the continual flood of alert hormones and other signalers that keep the body in a state of emergency. Think about how you feel after a long period of stress: tired and worn. Think about what your belongings look like or function like after ďstressĒ either in use and abuse or impact from accident. Everything wears down and gets broken. Your body is the same way. It isnít designed to operate on high alert all the time, and causing it to do so is harmful.

woman relaxing in bath bubble bath destress

Stress canít always be avoided, but you can choose how you handle it. Find healthful ways - yoga, hanging with friends, a fun hobby ó to keep down your stress levels and improve your metabolic function.


2)  Add High-Intensity Intervals
This form of exercising is usually found in an aerobic routine, which you should already be doing if youíre trying to rev up your metabolism. High-intensity intervals are sets of intense maneuvers done over 5-10 minutes, depending on your fitness level. These exercises help to further boost your heart and pulse rate during workouts, which will in turn spark your metabolism to keep up a supply of energy to the necessary limbs. Having periods of high and low intensity in the same workout is actually a better booster than high intensity alone, as it allows your body to recover functions and remain aerobic, rather than switching to an anaerobic pathway that can hamper your metabolism during exercise, as well as leave you very sore. Think about it as the difference between the way an athlete trains and the way they play.  Training is designed to build strength and endurance and make their bodies better, whereas games are a challenge of power that can drain them and force them to rest afterwards. Your body is the same way. Build workouts that charge your fat-burning cylinders in a sustainable way, and youíll be rewarded with a faster metabolism.

running on treadmill high intensity interval training


1)  Sleep Well
You have probably heard this before, and it canít be stressed enough: get plenty of sleep. As mentioned above, bodies need rest. You need time to repair damage from your day and reset your functions. Metabolism does drop during sleep, but in a healthy way. This allows energy to be diverted to restorative activities that improve overall health, and allow metabolic processes to be boosted back up further upon awakening.

woman sleeping peacefully

Most adults need a full seven to eight hours, and cheating just a little wonít help; Sanjay Patel, M.D., of Case Western University proved that the difference between the sleeping habits of fit people and unfit people could be as little as 16 minutes a night. The importance of sleep cannot be overemphasized, and while there are a multitude of excuses you could give for not getting the right amount of shut eye, if youíre serious about upping your metabolism to give you a healthier lifestyle, you'll make sure to get enough.


Final Words
However you decide to speed up your metabolism and boost your fitness goals, remember that itís important to know what your body needs and fulfill that in a healthy way, instead of punishing yourself for not being a perfect machine incapable of taking damage. Human beings are fragile cellular systems, and the tiniest changes can lead to big results for both good and ill. Take it slow ó odd to think about when trying to speed something up ó and be cautious about the methods you use. Many of the things on this list provide a wealth of benefits aside from boosting your metabolism: they can help prevent chronic disease and maintain good function for all your systems. Many other more harsh methods donít give you that, meaning while they may seem effective in the short run, in the long run, they might end up costing you far more than you want to pay for a few inches off.


 

 

 

 

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