Metabolism is defined as a chain of chemical reactions carried out in the body to maintain life.
The chemical reactions required to sustain the living state of all cells and microorganisms define this process within the body. Metabolism and metabolic rate are used interchangeably and refer to the number of calories you burn according to Healthline. A higher metabolic rate refers to the burning of extra calories, which means one can lose excess weight quicker than having a lower, resting rate. There are several ways to increase metabolism and ramp up the number of calories that are burned throughout the day. Here are a few recommendations.
Using Energy to Improve Metabolism
Proper nutrition can boost metabolism significantly by supporting the thermic effect that comes from breaking down nutrients to supplement the body with energy. This energy is then used to synthesize new molecules like proteins and nucleic acids (DNA, RNA). While calories are derived from food, meeting essential dietary needs like carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorus, sulfur, and around 20 other inorganic elements are necessary to provide the body with chemicals which itself cannot synthesize according to Dr. Anaya Mandal, MD with News Medical Life Sciences.
Key Foods for Increasing Metabolic Rate
- COLD WATER
- MINERALS & VITAMINS
Protein is responsible for increasing metabolism by elevating the thermic effect of food (TEF) and boosts metabolic rate by 15-30%. They also help the body feel satiated for longer which limits overeating.
Healthline reports that drinking 17 ounces of water increases resting metabolism by 10-30% for about an hour while the body uses energy to heat it up to body temperature. Water is useful in consuming before a meal to help feel full and ultimately reducing caloric intake, leading to weight loss.
The right kinds of fats and oils help squash hunger, maximize your metabolism, and speed nutrients through your body by helping to absorb fat-soluble ingredients. Diets high in healthy monounsaturated fats, like olive oil, can actually help the body to burn calories and lose weight compared to low-fat diets.
Certain foods contain some chemical compounds that help improve the body’s metabolic rate. Keeping a close eye on what you eat can help reach the body’s optimal functioning level. Some foods not only help you fight obesity and offer some bonus qualities such as relief from pain and inflammation.
Some of the most helpful foods to improve metabolism are eggs, flaxseeds, ginger, chili peppers, Brazilian nuts, broccoli, and dark leafy vegetables.
High Intensity Workout (HIIT)
High Intensity Interval Training has remained one of the hippest and most successful ways to burn additional calories while working out. This method of training targets burning fat before carbs and therefore shifts the body’s metabolism to boost itself and increase the body’s metabolic rate. For more information on this training method, visit: Keep Your Metabolic Flame Burning with HIIT.
Getting Enough Sleep
Ideally, 7 to 9 hours of high-quality sleep each night is optimal for maintaining a healthy metabolic rate. Having a healthy sleep cycle is essential for the overall functioning of our body and helps improve metabolism while the opposite, or lack of sleep, contributes to an increased risk for diseases to invade the body. Keeping a routine sleep schedule helps to maintain sugar levels and decreases the risk for metabolic changes and insulin sensitivity. Foods that can contribute to a restful slumber include:
- Banana with Almond Butter
- Protein Smoothie
- Nuts and Seeds
Stress can cause hormonal changes in the body, negatively affecting the metabolic rate over time. One of the most common stress hormones, cortisol, is released in response to stressful situations and slows down metabolism. An abnormal quantity of cortisol in the blood can cause eating disorders, which will eventually negatively impact the metabolism. Stress can also have a significant negative impact on restful sleep which adds to our chances of slow metabolic rate.
In 2015, researchers from Ohio State University interviewed women about the stress they had experienced the previous day before feeding them a high-fat, high-calorie meal. After finishing the meal, scientists measured the women’s metabolic rates (the rate at which they burned calories and fat) and examined their blood sugar, cholesterol, insulin, and cortisol levels.
The researchers found that, on average, women who reported one or more stressors during the prior 24 hours burned 104 fewer calories than non-stressed women. This could result in an 11-pound weight gain in one year. Stressed women also had higher insulin levels, a hormone that contributes to fat storage.
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