Do you feel some people are naturally blessed with a lean body while you have to struggle hard to lose those extra kilos? Well, the blessing in disguise here is their high metabolic rate which plays a vital role in keeping them fit.
Metabolism is the chemical reaction in our body that converts the food we consume into energy. This energy is what keeps us going and helps us perform our daily tasks.
A high metabolism determines how quickly you burn calories which ultimately leads to weight loss. Conversely, a slow metabolism can lead to unwanted weight gain and other related health complications.
Along with its primary function of energy generation, metabolism also helps the body regulate breathing, blood circulation, digestive functions, and body temperature. While age, gender, genetics, and weight gain can affect your metabolism, you can still boost it by adopting a healthy lifestyle.
Boosting your metabolism is the first and the most critical step in your weight loss journey. This article will help you get an in-depth understanding about metabolism and the different ways to boost it naturally.
What is Metabolism?
Metabolism is a complex process in which calories are combined with oxygen to release energy required by the body.
As per research, metabolism differs from person to person and depends on a variety of factors which we will discuss below.
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Types of Metabolism
Metabolism involves two kinds of activities:
- Anabolism – Anabolism is called constructive metabolism. It stores energy for future use in the form of carbohydrates, proteins, and fat molecules. It is responsible for the growth of new cells and the maintenance of other body tissues.
- Catabolism – Catabolism is a destructive metabolism. The process produces energy for all the cell activity in the body. The large molecules of carbs and fats break down to create energy. It helps the muscles contract, generates heat in the body, and flushes out toxins.
Factors that affect metabolism:
Age is directly proportional to metabolic rate. This means that our metabolic rate slows down as we age.
The loss of muscle mass, hormonal change, and neurological processes affect the metabolic rate. So as soon as you hit your 30s, your metabolism begins to slow down.
Muscle mass is the number of muscle tissues in your body. It protects an individual from obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease and facilitates hormone functions.
Having higher muscle mass at a younger age can help strengthen your endurance as muscle mass starts to decrease after the age of thirty. Furthermore, the more muscle mass you have the more energy your body needs. Thus metabolic rate tends to slow down post your thirties because of diminishing muscle mass.
Men have a higher metabolic rate than women in general. Even while sitting or resting, men tend to burn more calories than women due to their high metabolic rate.
Physical Activity Level
Exercise helps to boost your metabolism and burns calories at a faster rate. Strength training, lifting weights, muscle building, etc., can help you improve and maintain your metabolic rate.
Hormonal changes like pregnancy, puberty or imbalances like thyroid can affect your metabolism. So if you witness sudden and unreasonable weight gain or weight loss, get yourself checked for timely diagnosis and treatment.
Ways to Increase Your Metabolism
While some factors like age, gender, and genes are beyond our control, we can still manage our metabolic rate by making a few healthy modifications in our daily lives.
Some people lower their calorie intake to lose weight quickly. However, eating less is a fallacy, as not consuming enough calories can cause muscle loss in your body.
In addition, when you eat less, your body stops burning calories to preserve energy for vital functions. So instead, eat healthy and exercise to burn excess calories.
Eat At Regular Intervals
When you eat, your metabolic rate temporarily increases as a part of the digestive process. Keeping this in mind, it makes sense to have small light meals every 3 to 4 hours.
Not eating for long hours can starve your body and lead to a calorie deficit. In addition, long gaps between meals can slow down your metabolism in the long run.
However, you should carefully choose your options as it will also impact the calories you consume. Remember to include an adequate amount of protein in your diet as it not only helps build muscle but requires the most amount of calories to be digested of all nutrients as per research.
Here is a list of 10 high-protein foods to include in your diet.
Add Spices To Your Food
If you like spicing up your food with chillies, continue to do so.
According to research done by Central Food Technological Research Institute India, chillies contain capsaicin- a chemical component that gives it the ‘hot’ factor and has fat-reducing properties. Chillies boost metabolism and thus help the body burn excess fat.
Keep Yourself Hydrated
Water is essential for burning calories. When our body is dehydrated, our metabolism automatically slows down. A study shows that drinking 500 mL of water can increase metabolic rate by 30% within 10 minutes and will reach a maximum level after 30-40 minutes.
On the other hand, without drinking enough water, your metabolism can slow down and lower your metabolic rate. You can increase your water intake by simply drinking more water or increasing the intake of fruits and vegetables that are high in water content. Want to make hydration fun? Here are 10 easy ways!
Build More Muscle
As per research, massive weight loss may decrease your metabolism. However, studies suggest that metabolism improves when weight loss occurs with muscle building. Also, your body needs more energy to preserve muscle mass.
Every pound of your body’s muscle needs about six calories every day instead of a pound of fat that requires just two calories per day. There are various ways in which you can build muscle. Strength training, body weight workouts, and HIIT are practical ways to make your muscles.
Drink Green Tea
Research shows that green tea is key to improving metabolism and losing weight. Green tea is full of antioxidants that help to flush out toxins from our bodies. Drinking green tea twice a day can help boost your metabolism and also keep you hydrated.
Regular consumption of green tea can also help you lose that stubborn belly fat, provided you eat in moderation and combine some physical activity daily.
However, the research also suggests that green tea’s effects on metabolism are not universal, and different persons may respond differently. You should try it for yourself and see if green tea benefits you.
Strength training allows you to maintain your muscle mass and can even help increase it. You’ll burn more calories throughout the day if you have more muscle.
Lifting weights, pushing heavy objects, or exercising with weights on your body can help you build more muscle mass and enhance your metabolism. Also, your body needs more energy to preserve muscle mass. Every pound of your body’s muscle needs about six calories every day instead of a pound of fat that requires just two calories per day.
There are various ways in which you can build muscle. Strength training, body weight workouts, and HIIT are practical ways to make your muscles.
Chronic stress leads to the production of the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol also regulates our appetite. Therefore, an increase in stress levels can directly affect our food intake and slow our metabolism.
Practice mindful meditation to avoid stress. A short walk in the park or indulging in your favourite hobby can also help in reducing stress. Read about the best workouts for stress relief.
Get Enough Sleep
Research validates that quality sleep is directly associated with our metabolic rate. Good sleep translates to fast metabolism while sleep deprivation causes the metabolism to slow down.
Additionally, the lack of proper sleep disrupts the secretion of various hormones. For example, it negatively affects ghrelin levels (the hunger hormone).
This can result in eating disorders and impacts metabolism negatively. Though the amount of sleep varies from person to person, several studies have suggested that average adults need at least 7 hours of quality sleep per night.
Boost Your Vitamin B Levels
B vitamins such as B1 thiamine, B2 riboflavin, and B6 pyridoxine play an essential role in boosting the metabolic rate.
To get sufficient vitamin B, include bananas, eggs, potatoes, spinach, peanut butter, etc., in your diet. You can also take B vitamin supplements to fulfil your daily requirement.
Metabolism is the chemical reaction that controls other chemical reactions in our body. Therefore, a slow metabolic rate can mess up the entire system. However, you can tune back the rhythm of your body by incorporating some healthy lifestyle changes such as a proper sleep pattern, regular exercise, eating well, so on.
Every person is different and has a different metabolic rate. At the same time, some people might eat all they want and remain slim. On the other hand, some can gain weight in the blink of an eye.
Before you start comparing yourself to others or starve yourself to achieve your body goals, pause for a moment. Understand your body, see what routine works the best for it, what food and exercise help it to remain fit, and do it accordingly.
Eat more frequently if you want to lose weight. Never get into a rush, especially when it comes to your body and health.
Age is the most common factor that slows down our metabolism. So, do not worry if you suddenly find yourself a few kilograms above your usual weight; it is entirely natural.
Just remain active, eat healthy, exercise daily and live a stress-free life to keep your metabolism rate at its optimum level. Additionally, you can track your food through Healthify Pro’s calorie tracker, get tips from Pro coaches to boost your metabolic health and nudge you towards the right path.
We have also devised a comprehensive metabolic panel that will help you get a broad medical screening to better understand your health and monitor your bodily functions from time to time.
- Physiology, Metabolism – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31536296/
- The role of protein in weight loss and maintenance – https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/101/6/1320S/4564492
- Fat burning capacity of chilli – https://www.biotecnika.org/2019/10/way-to-enhance-fat-burning-capacity-of-chilli-found-by-indian-scientists/
- Water-induced thermogenesis – https://bit.ly/3iaFi2B
- Metabolic Slowing with Massive Weight Loss despite Preservation of Fat-Free Mass – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3387402/
- Basal metabolic rate as an integral indicator of metabolism intensity – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30695621/
- The Effect of Green Tea Extract on Fat Oxidation at Rest and during Exercise: Evidence of Efficacy and Proposed Mechanisms –https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3649093/
- Effects of sleep restriction on metabolism-related parameters in healthy adults: A comprehensive review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30870662/
- Guide to healthy sleep – https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/files/docs/public/sleep/healthy_sleep.pdf
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. How to lose weight with a slow metabolism?
A. Eating after a long gap can slow down your metabolism and lead to weight gain. Eat at regular intervals to lose weight.
Q. Can a faster metabolism make you poop a lot?
A. There is no definite answer to this. Digestion is not directly related or linked to metabolism. People with a fast metabolism might not poop so frequently as someone with a slow metabolism.
Q. Which food is good to increase metabolism?
A. Protein-rich foods such as eggs, milk, cheese, dairy, nuts, and seeds help boost metabolism. Then chilli, peppers, coffee, tea, beans, ginger, mineral-rich foods, apple cider vinegar, etc., can also help increase your metabolic rate.
Q. Can eggs boost metabolism?
A. Eggs are a great source of protein. A high-protein diet helps to boost metabolism by 80-90 per cent. So yes, eating eggs boosts your metabolism.
Q. Which fruits help to boost metabolism?
A. All fruits are suitable for the body. Still, watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew are some fruits that naturally help boost your metabolism. Watermelon also helps in weight loss due to the amino acid arginine, which reduces body fat.
Q. What drinks help boost metabolism?
A. Green tea, chilli guava lemonade, a spinach kale smoothie, apple cinnamon water, protein shakes, coconut water, apple cider shots, and ginger shots are a few drinks that can help boost your metabolism.
Q. What major factors affect a person’s metabolism?
A. Five significant factors for a person’s metabolism include their age, gender, height, weight, and the type and intensity of physical activity they engage in.
Q. Can a doctor tell you what your metabolic rate is?
A. Yes, your doctor can assess the efficiency of your metabolism using a technique known as biochemical methane potential (BMP). This blood test serves as a report card for your kidney function, blood sugar levels, and other factors. It can provide hints to aid in the detection of certain ailments.
Q. Can you explain what is BMR?
BMR stands for Basal Metabolic Rate. The term basal means basic. Your BMR primarily depends on involuntary functions like breathing, digestion, pumping blood, and reflex actions. Therefore, it is directly proportional to the type and intensity of the physical activity you engage in daily.
Q. What is a metabolic disorder?
A. Disturbances or malfunctions in normal metabolic processes develop into metabolic disorders. It can lead to frequent infections, chronic or persistent diarrhoea, muscle weakness, low blood sugar, fatigue, and bone abnormalities. Some metabolic disorders are genetic, while some don’t have a known cause. Prevention can be difficult when metabolic disorders are genetic or when the cause is unknown.
Q. What is RMR?
The RMR calculates how many calories a person consumes while at rest. This rate is often measured in the morning, after a whole night of restful sleep, but before you eat or exercise. People can obtain an estimate in a controlled atmosphere without having to fast or rest for a long time. The RMR might be less precise than the BMR because the testing requirements are less strict for measuring the RMR.
Nice blog! Boost your metabolism through natural process by drinking water, drinking energy drink, revive with green tea, caffeine etc.
A very helpful post to help me restart my program. I am presently plateaued and this article helps me decide to overcome this phase.
Good helpful tips . Thanks