Boost Your Metabolism!
Our bodies are amazingly efficient! They process the food we eat, and delivers important nutrients to all the body's cells. It takes energy just to stay alive and perform basic functions like breathing, keeping your heart beating and maintaining your body's tissues. How it does that is in a great part defined by your metabolism, a complex network of hormones and enzymes that converts food into fuel. Your metabolic rate defines how efficiently your body can create and use that fuel ... how quickly we gain weight and how easily we can lose it!
Metabolism is influenced by age, slows about 5% per decade after age 40, men usually burn more calories at rest than women, and the more muscle you have, the higher your metabolic rate tends to be. Heredity also can be a factor. We can't control our age, gender, or heredity, but we can boost our metabolism!
Finally, skip the crash diets, you may drop some pounds, but at a cost. You can lose muscle, which in turn slows your metabolism and burns fewer calories making it easier to gain weight than when you started!
- Drink Water. Your body needs water to process calories. Even slight dehydration can slow down your metabolism. A recent study found that adults who drank eight or more glasses of water a day burned more calories than those who drank four. Drink a glass of water or other unsweetened beverage before every meal and snack to help stay hydrated.
- Increase Your Muscle Mass. Muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue does and is a key factor in weight loss. A pound of muscle burns aproximately 6 calories a day, compared to the 2 calories it takes to sustain a pound of fat! Strength training is the best way to boost your metabolism and turn that fat into calorie-burning muscles!
- Give Your Workout a Boost. Physical activity is a huge factor in how many calories you burn each day, so challenge yourself! Aerobic exercise revs up your metabolism for hours after a workout and higher-intensity workouts give you bigger, longer rate increases in your resting metabolic rate than lower-intensity workouts.
- Refresh Yourself With Green Tea. Many studies have found that green tea has thermogenic properties that promote fat oxidation. A 2009 study from the University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy found that green tea improves the use of oxygen by muscles and the antioxidant function within muscles while increasing the rate of fat burning.
- Snack Healthy and Often. Small, healthy snacks every 3 to 4 hours during the day helps your metabolism rate hold steady throughout the day. The key word here is healthy ... have an apple, or a hand full of walnuts and skip the salt and sugar!
- Go Hot! Hot peppers get their heat from capsaicin. It is found in jalapenos, habaneros, cayenne, and most other chili peppers. Studies have shown that a spicy meal can give a temporary rise in metabolism of about eight percent! Along with its slimming effects, capsaicin has been shown to work as a blood thinner, helping in the prevention of blood clots.
- Don't Forget the Protein. You burn more calories digesting protein than fat or carbs. In fact, protein has a known thermic effect, meaning that 25 to 30 out of every 100 calories from protein get burned in the digestion process! Be sure to include lean, protein-rich food such as lean beef, turkey, fish, chicken, tofu, nuts, beans, or eggs to your daily regimen.