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10 Ways to Increase Your Metabolism

by Wendy on July 26, 2013

Use these diet, exercise, and lifestyle tips to boost your body’s fuel-burning power  

It’s true. Your metabolism does decrease over time. After the age of 30, your metabolism slows by about 1% to 2% per decade; that’s about 70 daily calories every 10 years.

And while you can’t change your genes or your age, there are many things you can do to rev up your metabolism. Think of it this way: every day your metabolism sets a “budget” for how many calories it takes to perform your daily life activities as well as manage your desired weight. Your diet, exercise, and lifestyle choices can all turn your metabolic dial up or down. Knowing that, here are 10 ways to speed up your metabolism naturally!

1. Don’t overdo the calorie cutting.

It’s amazing, but true. Eating too little actually slows down your metabolism. Stick to no fewer than 1,200 calories a day — maybe more depending on your weight — to boost your metabolism and still lose weight. Here’s how to calculate your daily calorie needs with an easy Q&D (quick and dirty but it works!) method. Multiply your weight by 12 to 13 get the number of calories you need to maintain your weight OR multiple by 11 to get the number you need to safely lose.

Image about Breakfast of Yogurt and Berry Parfait | Bazilian2. Eat breakfast.

Studies show that people who eat breakfast are leaner than those who don’t. The best breakfast to boost your metabolism? Aim for about 300 calories and a healthy mix of lean protein, good carbs, and a fruit or vegetable. A few ideas: Whole-grain toast topped with natural peanut butter and a sliced banana or low-fat Greek yogurt sprinkled with blueberries and muesli.

3. Add some protein.

Protein revs up your metabolism in a multiple ways: 1) It takes more energy (calories) for your body to break down than fat or carbohydrates and 2) it keeps your blood sugar steady to keep hunger and cravings at bay. Have a modest, healthy source of protein in every meal and most snacks. Think whole egg or egg whites at breakfast, grilled chicken at lunchtime, and peanut butter at snack time.

4. Eat good carbs.

These are the high-fiber, complex kind found in whole grains, fruits, and veggies. Good carbs like these take more energy to metabolize than unhealthy carbs — the refined and super-sugary kind found in most commercial bakery products and many processed foods — and they help keep your blood sugar and insulin levels in check. Good carbs rev your metabolic engine; the processed and refined ones slow it down.

5. Eat frequently, but don’t graze all day.

It takes energy (calories) to break down the food you eat. This so-called “thermic effect of food” means that eating boosts your metabolism (by up to 30%!) for a short time after a meal. Eat something nutritious and balanced every 3 hours or so to keep your energy and metabolism revved up.

Image about Glass of water to hydrate for metabolism | Bazilian6. Hydrate smarter.

Skip the cocktail! Alcohol is a drag on your metabolism and your body. Studies also show that when you imbibe, you’re likely to consume up to 200 extra calories! Instead, hydrate the smart way. Sipping 3 or more cups of green tea daily and staying hydrated in general will boost your metabolism. Maintaining adequate hydration will help you burn an extra 20 to 50 calories a day. That may not seem like a lot, but over the course of a year that translates into 2 to 5 pounds worth of extra calories expended by doing nothing more than downing your daily H20.

7. Spice it up!

Cayenne, paprika and red pepper flakes kick up the flavor factor of your food as well as your metabolism. Capsaicin in these spices fuels your metabolic fire, helps you feel satisfied sooner, and may even promote fat burning. Get a little metabolic boost from paprika with Rancho La Puerta’s Shrimp and Red Peppers on Rosemary Sprigs recipe or the Citrus Salmon with Orange Relish courtesy of SpicesforHealth.

Image about dumb bells | Bazilian8. Keep moving.

Exercise boosts your metabolism in a number of ways. The more you move, the more calories you burn, but did you know that your metabolism remains revved up for up to 2 hours after a strength-training session? That eats up an extra 100 calories! And simply having stronger muscles helps you burn more calories at rest. Varying your workouts by doing different activities or interval training keeps exercise interesting, but may also give your body an extra challenge and increased calorie burn.

So, try biking one day and walking on the treadmill or hiking the next. Different speeds and inclines can also make your body work harder resulting in extra effect.

9. Chill out.

Chronic stress wreaks havoc on your body, including your metabolism. Increased levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, have been associated with weight gain and nagging belly fat. It’s important to take daily “stress breaks.” Journal, talk to a friend who gives you joy, practice meditation, flip through a magazine, or simply take 10 deep, yoga-breaths a couple times a day to help you chill out and keep stress from working against your body’s furnace.

10. Catch some Zzzs.

Several studies have shown a link between sleep and metabolism, weight, body mass index and overall health. You’ve probably noticed that a lack of sleep makes you gravitate toward the refrigerator, but did you know that getting less than about 7 1/2 hours of quality sleep per night throws your appetite hormones (leptin and ghrelin) out of balance? Low sleep can also impair blood sugar and insulin regulation during the waking hours. And that’s a formula for weight gain. Practice good sleep hygiene and aim to get at least 8 hours of quality sleep every night no matter what!

Now you have 10 tools to nudge yourself into high metabolic gear. Even making a few simple lifestyle shifts in the right direction will improve your metabolism and overall health.

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