Metabolism refers to how quickly a person’s body utilizes calories for energy. This rate varies based on factors like age, activity level, genetics, and more. Adopting regular eating habits, getting adequate sleep, and exercising can all contribute to enhancing one’s metabolic rate.

Calories are essential for the body’s energy needs – from movement to vital functions like breathing, blood circulation, cell growth, wound healing, and even cognitive processes. The body’s calorie-burning speed to generate this energy is known as the metabolic rate.

To calculate the resting metabolic rate (RMR), also known as resting energy expenditure (REE), scientists use various formulas. RMR and REE indicate the energy a body expends while at rest, such as during sleep or while sitting.

Individual metabolic rates can differ due to factors like age, gender, and current activities.

While genetics play a role in metabolism that can’t be altered, studies suggest certain methods can accelerate calorie processing. Notably, boosting metabolism alone isn’t enough; it should be part of a comprehensive plan that includes balanced nutrition and regular physical activity.

In this article, we explore 10 tactics that might help to rev up your metabolism

1. Maintain a Consistent Eating Schedule

The body thrives on stability and routine.

A 2019 study posited that adhering to a consistent meal schedule could yield numerous health benefits. These include reducing inflammation, enhancing circadian rhythms, bolstering the body’s resilience to stress, and maintaining a healthy gut microbiome.

Key recommendations from the researchers for optimal health include:

  • Eating breakfast regularly.
  • Consuming the bulk of energy-rich foods earlier in the day.
  • Sticking to two or three meals daily at set times.
  • Incorporating periods of fasting.

The study also explored the potential impact of meal timing on resting energy expenditure. While the findings were inconclusive, they indicate a need for further research in this area.

Discover more about time-restricted eating and how meal timing can enhance health and muscle development.

2. Eat enough calories

Skipping meals or eating unfulfilling ones in an attempt to lose weight can actually hinder metabolism. When one consumes too few calories, the body may slow its metabolic rate to conserve energy, states the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

According to prevailing dietary guidelines, adult women aged 19 and above typically require between 1,600 to 2,400 calories per day, varying with their level of physical activity. Adult men in the same age range generally need between 2,000 to 3,000 calories. For women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, additional caloric intake—up to 452 calories—is necessary, depending on the stage of pregnancy or lactation.

Wondering about your ideal daily calorie intake?

3. Eat More Protein

While simply lowering calorie intake might not boost metabolic rate, the type of food those calories come from can make a difference. For instance, protein is more likely than carbs or fat to enhance thermogenesis, which is the process of calorie burning in the body.

In a 2020 research study, 38 participants were divided into two diet groups: one with a high protein intake (25% of total calories) and another with a moderate protein intake (15% of total calories). The study found that participants on the higher protein diet had a higher rate of energy expenditure compared to those on the moderate protein diet.

4. Green Tea is your friend

Several studies suggest that green tea extract could aid in enhancing fat metabolism. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, while the effect may be modest, green tea contributes to weight management and overall health in various ways:

  • Swapping sugary beverages with green tea reduces sugar consumption.
  • Regular consumption throughout the day promotes hydration.
  • The antioxidants in green tea are associated with a reduced risk of inflammation, cellular damage, heart disease, high blood pressure, and cholesterol.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health considers consuming up to 8 cups of green tea daily as safe.

However, it’s advisable to consult a healthcare provider before significantly increasing green tea intake, especially during pregnancy or when on certain medications. During pregnancy, excessive consumption might lead to birth defects owing to reduced folic acid levels.

4. Do Strength Training

Strength training not only builds muscle but can also modestly boost metabolism during periods of rest, such as sleep or sitting. A small 2018 study showed that while combining resistance training with dietary changes slightly increased metabolic rates, the change wasn’t statistically significant. Participants engaging solely in resistance training experienced reduced fat mass and increased lean mass.

Further research indicates that higher muscle mass enables the body to utilize food energy more efficiently, essentially making metabolism less wasteful. In a study where participants engaged in resistance training for nine months, an average 5% increase in metabolic rate was observed, although results varied significantly among individuals. This variation could be attributed to differences in lean mass and thyroid hormone levels.

Resistance training typically involves exercises like weight lifting, bodyweight exercises, or using resistance bands to enhance muscle strength. Another study from 2012 found that high-intensity interval resistance training also raised metabolic rates, with energy usage remaining elevated for at least 22 hours post-training.

However, due to its intensity, interval training is generally more suitable for those who are already accustomed to regular exercise rather than exercise novices.

5. Drink Water

Hydration is crucial for the body’s optimal functioning, including maintaining a healthy metabolism, and it might aid in weight loss.

A 2016 study examined the metabolic rates of 13 individuals who drank either 250 or 500 milliliters (ml) of water. The results showed that consuming 500 ml of water increased fat oxidation while at rest, suggesting that water intake can influence metabolism. However, the study did not indicate an increase in metabolic rate.

This effect could be due to the body utilizing fat over carbohydrates more efficiently when adequately hydrated.

6. Reduce Stress

Stress can disrupt hormonal balance, leading to an overproduction of cortisol in the body.

Cortisol, a hormone crucial for appetite regulation, often spikes during stressful periods. A 2011 study observed abnormally elevated cortisol levels in individuals with disordered eating behaviors. Despite this, a small 2020 study found no direct correlation between resting metabolic rate and anxiety levels.

Additionally, stress may indirectly influence metabolism by altering dietary habits and sleep patterns, both key factors in metabolic regulation.

7. Sleep is essential

A 2016 study suggests that inadequate sleep can lead to a decreased metabolic rate. Conducted in a sleep lab, participants slept for only four hours each night over five nights, followed by a 12-hour recovery sleep. The study observed a decline in metabolic rate after the nights of reduced sleep, which returned to normal after the recovery sleep.

The researchers proposed that the body might lower its metabolic rate to save energy when sleep is insufficient. This reduction in metabolic rate could potentially contribute to weight gain in those who consistently lack adequate sleep.

While individual sleep needs vary, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advise that adults aged 18–60 should aim for at least seven hours of sleep per night.

Wondering what to do about sleep difficulties?

8. Get Enough Vitamins

Vitamins are vital for metabolic processes.

A 2018 rodent study indicated that insufficient intake of certain B vitamins might affect how the body processes lipids, such as cholesterol and triglycerides.

Further studies are necessary to explore the connection between vitamin intake, metabolic rates, and weight loss.

Explore our comprehensive guide on B vitamins, including their types, sources, and benefits.

9. Spice is nice

Studies have indicated that consuming spices like chili, rich in capsaicin, could potentially raise metabolic rate, including fat burning and energy usage.

However, a 2014 study from China observed that daily consumption of spicy foods correlated with a higher body mass index (BMI). The reasons for this are still unclear, and further research is necessary to understand this phenomenon.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics notes that while hot chilies might temporarily elevate metabolic rate, their overall impact is likely to be minimal.

10. Treat Hypothyroidism

Individuals with deficient thyroid hormone levels often experience a reduced metabolism.

This hormone is essential for stimulating activities that elevate oxygen use, breathing rate, and body temperature, all of which contribute to a higher energy expenditure.

In contrast, those with hypothyroidism typically experience a reduced rate of energy burning. As a result, they may have a slower metabolic rate, increasing their likelihood of weight gain and obesity.

Treatment for hypothyroidism, which includes medication to elevate thyroid hormone levels, can effectively raise the resting metabolic rate.

Addressing hypothyroidism not only accelerates the metabolic rate but also mitigates the risks associated with this condition.


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