You are struggling to lose weight and find it really difficult even after trying so hard. Instantly, slow metabolism is a reason that comes to your mind. Are we right? There can be thousands of factors which can hinder your weight loss. Often times, you count slow metabolism as a culprit behind your ever increasing weight. You also wonder how to increase metabolism to lose weight? 

how to increase metabolism

But, metabolism is not the real culprit behind your increasing weight. Slow metabolism can lead to weight gain but only in extreme cases [1] which includes condition like hypothyroidism. So, is it a myth that slow metabolism causes weight gain? And if yes, how to increase metabolism in such case?

There is a chance that you have all the wrong information related to metabolism. If you feel interested and wish to have better understanding. Read further on how to increase metabolism. We are covering lot of good information on body`s metabolism and how it works for you?

Reading this article, you will understand how to increase metabolism? We are further including the list of all the metabolism boosting foods to speed up your metabolism. Let us give you an outline of all the points covered in this article.

  1. Understanding what is Metabolism?
  2. Types of metabolism
  3. How your metabolism works?
  4. How to increase metabolism?
  5. 15 Metabolism Boosting Foods- Super foods to increase metabolism
  6. Metabolism Boosting Tips

Understanding what is Metabolism?

Metabolism is a process where your body produces energy by breaking down the food you eat or drink. If you go by science, metabolism is a set of chemical transformations in your body [2]. These transformations or reactions are responsible for conversion of food into energy to run all cellular functions.

The metabolism of your body combines nutrients from food with oxygen to produce energy for bodily functions. The metabolism of your body is further responsible for various processes in the body. These processes include

  • Food Digestion
  • Blood circulation
  • Elimination of waste
  • Regulating body heat

Types of metabolism

A human metabolism is responsible for numerous chemical reactions in the body. These chemical reactions are classified further into two types of different reactions namely the Catabolic metabolic reactions and the anabolic metabolic reactions. You can refer to these reactions as Catabolism and Anabolism in general terms.

Catabolism- The break down metabolism

Catabolism is a type of metabolic reaction where large molecules of food are broken down to smaller molecules. These smaller molecules are further combined with oxygen to drive energy and some of them are used for anabolic reactions.

Anabolism- The building up metabolism

Anabolism is the type of metabolism which allows your body to build cellular structures. The energy released during catabolism is utilized by the body for synthesizing complex molecules. These molecules are then used for building cellular structures.

How your metabolism works?

Now that you have understood what is metabolism and what processes it administer in your body. We would like you to understand how your metabolism works. The only way to boost your metabolism is by understanding how it works.

how metabolism works

As we have said earlier, your metabolism is responsible for lot of processes in your body. It seems to be difficult to understand and connect metabolism with your current goal of boosting it. But if we introduce the term energy expenditure into the discussion, the concept of how metabolism works will get easy. And, you will quickly get glimpse on how to increase metabolism.

The concept of Energy Expenditure

Energy expenditure refers to spending your energy for your daily body functions. There is a chance you consider only physical outer processes on which you spend your energy. But this is not the case. You burn energy during a physical workout. True, but what about the processes happening inside your body?

You also need energy for processes like breathing, functioning of brain, pumping of heart and even for blinking your eyes. Energy is not only consumed in physical process but also in internal processes of body. The energy expenditure of your body is divided mainly among three categories.

  • Basal Metabolic Rate(BMR)
  • Thermal effect of food
  • Energy consumed during physical activity.

The Basal Metabolic Rate is the metabolic process of your body by which it burns energy during resting state. The BMR is responsible for 60-75% of your TDEE. The thermal effect of food is a metabolic process which occurs when you eat something.

Your body requires energy to digest, absorb and transport the food to cells of the body. This means you are speeding up your metabolism whenever you are eating. The thermal effect counts for 10% of your TDEE. As the name suggests, the third metabolic process occurs when you do any type of physical activity.

Now, you might have understood these three processes and their connection with your metabolism. A metabolism is simply a way to produce energy for different processes. You can now move towards the space where you will understand on how to increase metabolism.

How to increase metabolism?

A high metabolism is sure to give you good energy levels and will make you feel better. The faster your metabolism is, the more calories you will burn. You need a right approach in order to have your metabolism work according to you. Speeding up metabolism depends upon various factors.

how to increase your metabolism

Working on these factors to increase metabolism will give your body a chance to increase its energy and well being.These factors revolve around the three metabolic processes. These processes include BMR, Thermal effect of food and energy consumed during physical activity which we have discussed above.

You need to influence these three processes in order to boost your metabolism. So, how to increase metabolism? In order to know how to increase metabolism, let us take account of all the above three metabolic processes individually.

How to increase metabolism- Increasing BMR

You have seen people who just eat anything to everything without gaining even a pound. But when you eat even a smallest piece of cake, you gain 2 pounds. Why does there is so much difference in people on gaining weight? It all depends upon your metabolism, specifically your basal metabolic rate (BMR).

The BMR of your body depends upon your age, sex, genetics, and body weight. A woman in her adult life can gain 1½ pounds on an average per year due to weak metabolism [3]. So you can expect a 40 pound of weight gain when a woman reaches in her 50`s. These factors are certainly out of your control. But, you can definitely increase your BMR. So, how to increase your metabolism when these factors are not in your control?

1.     Build Muscles to increase metabolism

An individual with good muscle mass will have more BMR than a person having less muscle mass. You need to build muscles in order to increase your metabolism. The muscle tissue in your body is the highest metabolically active tissue [4]. The more muscles you have, the more calories you will burn on rest.

2.     Eating enough to improve metabolism

Eating enough calories can increase your resting metabolism. It is always advised that a normal person should eat minimum of 2000 calories daily to keep your metabolism running. However, a common notion among few dieters and weight watchers is that eating less will promote weight loss. But, how much less is the concern? If you are planning to eat less than 1000 calories a day, you can expect a slowdown in your metabolism.

Going on a calorie restricted diet needs proper planning and execution. According to a study [5], if you are not eating enough for over 12 weeks, your metabolism can slow down by 24 percent. A point to mention here, if you are on calorie restricted diet and eating less than 1000 calories a day. You will surely lose weight but the weight is mostly from the muscle mass and not from fat.

Read: The right approach to fasting: Intermittent Fasting for weight loss

How to increase metabolism- Increase thermal effect of food

As, we have said earlier, your metabolism depends upon the thermal effect of food. So, you can increase your metabolism by increasing the thermal effect of food. In order to increase the thermal effect of food, you need to know what macro nutrients have the highest influence on thermal effect of food.

Also, eating the foods having high thermal effect will also increase your metabolism. We will be including the list of these foods later in the article.

The energy expenditure of your body for digesting food is different for different macro nutrients. Your body spends different amount of energy for digesting proteins, carbohydrates and fats. The thermal effect of protein is way higher than the other two macro nutrients namely the carbohydrates and the fats. [6]

Macronutrients Thermal effect magnitude
Protein 20% to 35%
Carbohydrates 5% to 15%
Fats 5% to 15%

(Table Data by Wikipedia)

This means your body burns more calories in digesting protein as compared to that of carbohydrates and fats. So, in order to increase your metabolism, you need to include protein rich food in your diet. The thermal effect of food further can further increase by doing aerobic and anaerobic training of right intensity and duration. We are including the details of all physical activities to increase your metabolism.

Tip for hard gainers:

A point also to mention here is that the thermal effect of food can benefit a person who is trying to lose weight. But, what about the thermal effect of food on a hard gainer? The thermal effect of food can negatively affect a hard gainer trying to add mass.

A hard gainer has a significantly high metabolism, so he will be burning more calories due to this effect. So, it is advised that you keep account of the lost calories due to thermal effect. And, you should add additional calories from fats and carbohydrates in order to make up for these lost calories. [7]

Read: Eat these foods to gain weight fast

How to increase metabolism- Exercises to increase metabolism

A good workout can set your metabolism on fire. Working out with right intensity is the quick fix for your slow metabolism. Why, we have included the term right intensity? You can`t aim to increase your metabolism if you are always working out in a steady state of cardio.

You need to employ a routine of different types of exercises to boost metabolism. Your routine should consist of strength training, HIIT workouts, strong man circuits, Zumba workouts and kick boxing. Occasionally, you can include workouts like cycling, swimming and jogging during your rest days.

The above mentioned exercises require high intensity and will keep on burning calories later in your day [8]. You are pumping iron or moving with full intensity, your body is sacrificing its muscle tissues. These muscle tissues need energy to build and recover, forming new cells. This way, you are keeping your metabolism running.

15 Metabolism Boosting Foods- Super foods to increase metabolism

A good workout regime is sure to boost your metabolism. How about making it even better? What if you eat the right foods and your metabolism starts working according to you. Well taking a step back, we wish to first advice you on making the right food choices.

You cannot eat anything to everything. Keep a watch on your diet and what nutrition you are supplying to your body? It is your body only that will stay with you till last. From so long, you might have been eating wrong and intoxicating your body.

Type of metabolism boosting foods

The metabolism boosting foods not only aim to increase your metabolism but will also help you feel energetic and healthier. The list of metabolism boosting foods will primarily contain food rich in protein. Also, including foods high in iron and calcium has shown to improve your metabolism.

We have already mentioned above the importance of including protein in your diet to increase your metabolism. Now, you might wonder how iron and calcium plays their role in boosting metabolism.

Iron is an essential mineral [9] required by your body to perform metabolic processes. Do you remember that it is oxygen which combines with nutrients and reach your cells to produce energy? So, how does oxygen reaches to your cells? It is the iron that transports oxygen to cells [10].

Talking about the other mineral calcium, how it increase your metabolism? Intake of dairy rich calcium provides slight increase in thermogenesis [11] which improves your metabolism. Also, it is very interesting to know that including soluble fibres in your diet has shown to improve your metabolism. [12]

15 Metabolism boosting foods

Reading the above information, you have got glimpse on foods to increase metabolism. So, the foods to increase metabolism should be rich in protein, iron, contains dairy calcium and should contain insoluble fibre. We shall now move towards the list of 15 metabolism boosting foods.

metabolism boosting foods

1.    Broccoli increases metabolism

Broccoli is one of the best foods one should add in their diet. Eat this super food for increasing your metabolism and availing its detox benefits. It is high in calcium and has good vitamin C content. It further serves you with folate and dietary fibre.

2.    Beans to increase metabolism

Eat beans to increase metabolism. The beans are rich in protein and are high on dietary fibre which can help you boost your metabolism.

3.    Cereals speed up metabolism

You can consider swapping your high sugar cereals with high fibre cereals in the breakfast. You can include either quinoa or oats in your breakfast to speed up metabolism. It will not only help you speed up your metabolism but will also help you curb continuous cravings.

4.    Tofu boost metabolism

Eating tofu can increase your metabolic rate. The tofu is rich in iron which elevates your metabolism. In addition to iron, tofu is also rich in protein.

5.    Lentils increase metabolism

Lentils contains good amount of protein, fiber and folate which can increase your slow metabolism.

6.    Yogurt to boost metabolism

A full fat yogurt should be your pick if you wish to boost your metabolism. A full fat yogurt contains good amounts of calcium and protein which is good enough to boost your slow metabolism.

7.    Chia Seeds to increase metabolism

Having one daily serving of chia seeds can keep your metabolism in a running state. These seeds are fortified with protein, calcium, fibre and omega 3 fatty acids. The Omega 3 fatty acids reduce the production of hormone leptin which slows down your metabolism [13]. Also, adding chia seeds in diet can reduce visceral adipose tissue [14] that further helps in boosting metabolism.

8.    Flax seeds improve metabolism

Flax seeds are good source of omega 3 fatty acids and adding them your diet can do wonders to your metabolism. They also help in balancing your blood sugar levels.

9.    Peppers to fire your metabolism

Including hot pepper in your diet improves your blood circulation. An improved blood circulation means increased metabolism. You can include chilli peppers like cayenne peppers, jalapenos, red peppers and dried peppers. These peppers contain a compound known as capsaicin which promotes thermogenesis in your body [15].

10. Eat Nuts to speed up metabolism

Eating nuts is a sure way to speed up your metabolism. They contain high amounts of fats, protein, iron and fiber. You can include almonds, cashews and walnuts to improve metabolism. Always eat 100% natural nuts which are not processed to avail the complete benefits.

11. Asparagus to increase metabolism

Asparagus is a low calorie and a natural metabolism boosting food. This super food contains riboflavin which has shown to improve your energy metabolism. [16]

12. Pomegranate Juice to influence metabolism

Pomegranate Juice is fortified with vitamins and minerals. Drinking a glass full of fresh pomegranate juice supplies you with lot of antioxidants, conjugated linolenic acid and polyphenols [17]. These antioxidants help breakdown the fat deposits on the walls of your arteries further helps you lower down blood pressure. This breakdown fat is utilized by your body to produce energy. That means you are increasing your metabolism, whenever you are drinking the pomegranate juice.

13. Celery boosts metabolism

Eating celery increases the thermal effect in your body. You need to chew it properly to get it inside your system. This action can improve your metabolism as it increases the stimulation of digestive enzymes in your body. Including celery in your diet also helps in slowing down the absorption of carbohydrates and keeping your blood sugar steady. You can also eat celery for a quick stomach bloating remedy.

14. Berries for a boosted metabolism

Blueberries and raspberries can help you with a boosted metabolism. These berries contain the right combination of dietary fibre and protein which helps in increasing metabolism.  Furthermore, the berries are rich in flavonoid known as anthocyanin. The anthocyanin has a direct relation with adiponectin [18] which helps in boosting your metabolism.

15. Ginger for improving metabolism

Ginger possesses thermogenic properties which is great to boost your metabolism. Consumption of ginger is known to increase thermal effect of food [19]. So the next time, you are preparing your food, be sure to include ginger powder to increase your metabolism.

Metabolism Boosting Tips

The most important tip to increase your metabolism is to make some necessary lifestyle changes. These changes include taking the right amount of sleep.  How much you sleep directly contributes to your metabolism. Sleep is important to regulate your metabolism [20].  A research [21] also indicates sleep deprivation profound your metabolic and cardiovascular implications.

So, it is advised you take right amount of sleep to keep your metabolism in a good running state. The second tip to increase metabolism is to drink adequate amount of water. A study indicates that drinking around 17 oz water can improve your metabolic rate by 30%. Further, it improves the ability of body to burn fat. [22]


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