11 Amazing Metabolism Boosters to Quickly Rev Up Your Metabolism Naturally

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etabolism is a set of chemical reactions that break down food to produce energy for sustaining the cellular processes, convert the different food constituents into the building blocks of the body and eliminate the metabolic wastes. These chemical reactions enable organisms to grow, reproduce and maintain their structures and respond to the environment. [1] The minimum amount of energy needed for fueling your body’s metabolic reactions is called the basal metabolic rate (BMR). It is the amount of energy your body uses while you are resting. Your age and lifestyle, in addition to other factors, affect your body’s BMR. It is responsible for 40 to 70% of your body’s daily energy expenditure. A slow metabolism means your body’s BMR is lower than the BMR of a normal healthy individual. [2]


When Do You Need Metabolism Boosters

You need a metabolism booster when you notice the signs of a sluggish metabolism. The low energy level is the most common symptom of a slow metabolism. Regardless of your eating habit, you’ll experience fatigue when your body cannot properly metabolize foods for energy production. Slow metabolism weakens the immune system leading to frequent infections. As your body cannot break down enough foods to release the nutrients essential for preserving the normal functions of the immune system, you fall sick easily. A sluggish metabolism also slows down digestion. It makes you susceptible to constipation, bloating and acid reflux. Depression and poor memory, concentration and mental alertness are symptoms of the adverse effects of sluggish metabolism on your brain health. Inadequate nourishment and energy affect the health of your hair, skin, and nails. It makes your hair dry and dull and increases hair loss. The nails become dry and brittle and the skin tends to become dry, itchy and pale. Furthermore, sluggish metabolism increases sensitivity to cold. [3]

Slow metabolism is believed to be one of the possible causes of unintended weight gain. However, sluggish metabolism is associated with excess weight gain in a small number of cases. Only people with a thyroid gland disorder that slows down the body’s metabolic reactions tend to gain weight because of slow metabolism. The factors that determine an individual’s metabolic rate are genetics, family history, gender, age, and physical activity level. Moreover, the foods that you eat can affect your metabolic rate. Your body spends more energy to digest proteins and burns fewer calories to digest fats. Hence, the metabolic rate increases when you eat protein-rich foods. [4]

Unintended weight gain occurs when you consume more calories than the amount permitted by your BMR. For instance, an individual whose BMR is 2000 calories per day gains weight by consuming more than 2000 calories per day. Increasing the level of physical activities, by increasing the BMR, enables the body to burn more calories and reduce fat storage. [5]


Causes of Slow Metabolism

1. Hypothyroidism

The body’s metabolism is regulated by the hormones released by the thyroid gland. The metabolic processes associated with the body’s normal growth and development slow down when the thyroid gland fails to produce sufficient hormone to sustain the activities. The condition, known as hypothyroidism, causes hypometabolism, which decreases resting energy expenditure and increases weight gain and cholesterol level. [6]

2. Age

The basal metabolic rate tends to decline with age. A decrease in muscle mass in older adults is believed to be a possible cause of sluggish metabolism. [7]

3. Calorie-Restricted Diet

Skipping meals or frequent dieting to reduce the excess body weight pushes the body into starvation mode that limits your body’s ability to burn calories, thereby slowing down metabolism. Dieting also harms the thyroid gland. If you are overweight, instead of yo-yo dieting, to rev up your metabolism increase your activity level. [8]

4. Poor Sleep

The quality of your sleep affects your body’s metabolic rate. Sleep deprivation causes hormonal imbalance, sympathetic overstimulation, and subclinical inflammation. All these factors adversely affect the body’s metabolism. Owing to metabolic dysfunction, studies have shown that people with chronic sleep deprivation usually have higher body mass index. [9]


How to Boost Metabolism Naturally

A sluggish metabolism can be easily increased naturally with exercises and healthy eating.

1. Aerobic Exercise

Physical activities that increase the body’s maximal oxygen uptake or VO2 are called aerobic exercises. Working muscles during these activities require additional energy that helps in boosting metabolism. Aerobic exercises such as walking for 30 minutes a day causes a slight increase in metabolism. Furthermore, the metabolic rate remains at a higher level for a few hours after the aerobic exercise session. It has been observed that the increased metabolic rate following aerobic activities is almost equal to burning 15% more calories than normal. [10] To rev up your metabolism further, increase the intensity of your aerobic workouts. Interval training comprising of alternating high and low-intensity aerobic exercises could boost metabolism. [11]

2. Anaerobic Exercise

Apart from aerobic exercises, anaerobic exercises are also known to stimulate the metabolic rate. Activities that involve cellular metabolism without oxygen are known as anaerobic. Resistance training is an example of anaerobic exercise. The faster muscle movements involved in anaerobic activities increase energy expenditure. Resistance training stimulates fat loss and promotes the development of lean muscles. Your body needs more energy to maintain the muscle cells. Therefore, an increase in muscle mass following resistance training pushes up your body’s metabolic rate. [12]

According to a study, nine months of resistance training causes 5% increase in the resting metabolic rate on average. However, the exact increase depends on changes in the body’s fat composition and the thyroid hormone level. [13] To increase your body’s resting metabolic rate focus on muscle strengthening workouts that target the major muscle groups at least twice a week. In addition to lifting weights and high-intensity workouts, heavy gardening is known to be an effective muscle-strengthening exercise that helps boost metabolism by promoting lean muscle mass. [14]

3. Eat More Protein

Your body needs the energy to digest foods. Hence, metabolism increases after eating. The amount of calorie that the body burns to digest a particular food is known as the thermic effect of the food. Protein has the highest thermic effect. Your body spends more energy to digest high protein foods that help increase metabolism. It has been observed that higher protein intake induces fat loss. Furthermore, a protein-rich diet supports muscle growth when combined with appropriate muscle-strengthening workouts. The positive effect of increased muscle mass on metabolism has been discussed earlier. Recent studies suggest that consuming protein along with fat is more effective in boosting metabolism than eating a high protein, low-fat meal. [15]

4. Eat Coconut Oil

Coconut oil contains medium chain fatty acids (MCFA). Unlike the long chain fatty acids, MCFAs are quickly absorbed and metabolized. After digestion, these fatty acids are transported to the liver. Here they are either promptly utilized or stored in the form of ketones to meet the body’s future energy need. Foods like coconut oil that are rapidly absorbed and serve as a quick source of energy are known to boost the body’s metabolism. A study suggests that ingesting coconut oil daily could stimulate your body to burn up to 120 kJ additional calories each day. This thermogenic effect of coconut oil, by increasing energy expenditure, helps in eliminating the excess body fat. To stimulate your body’s metabolism, add one to two tablespoons of coconut oil to smoothies or beverages. You can also use coconut oil as an alternative to vegetable oil, butter, and margarine. [16]

5. Drink Green Tea

Green tea is regarded as a metabolism booster owing to its thermo genesis effect. Catechin polyphenols, the major bioactive constituents in green tea, stimulate secretion of norepinephrine, which plays an important role in increasing metabolism. Green tea can induce your body to burn 100 kJ extra calories. Moreover, the compounds theobromine and theophylline found in small amounts in green tea are known for their caffeine-like metabolism boosting effect. [17]

According to a study, drinking four cups of green tea daily could help in increasing the metabolic rate. Researchers found that people with type 2 diabetes who took four cups of green tea daily for eight weeks experienced a significant reduction in total body weight, waist circumference, and systolic blood pressure level. [18]

6. Drink Coffee

Ingesting caffeine or coffee is known to increase the metabolic rate. Studies have revealed that the metabolic rate increases significantly following consumption of 4 to 8 mg caffeine per kilogram of body weight. Furthermore, drinking coffee along with a meal increases the thermic effect of the meal. However, a similar result was not observed by drinking decaffeinated coffee. The metabolism boosting effect of caffeine or coffee was observed in obese individuals as well as in people with normal body weight. [19] However, excess caffeine intake can adversely affect your health. Therefore, limit your daily coffee consumption to one to two cups. Avoid sugar and cream, though you can add skim milk to your coffee. [20]

7. Drink Lots of Water

Water not only keeps your body hydrated. Studies suggest that drinking lots of water could increase your body’s metabolic rate. Researchers had observed in a study that the metabolic rate increases by almost 30% by drinking 500 ml water. The metabolic rate starts rising within 10 minutes after water intake and it peaks after 30 to 40 minutes. About 100 kJ additional calories are burned by drinking 500 ml water. Drinking warm water was found to be more effective in boosting metabolism. Warming water from 22 to 37 degree Celsius increased the thermogenic effect by 40%. To rev up your metabolism drink two liters of water daily. [21]

8. Add Hot Pepper and Mustard to Your Meal

The hotness of pepper helps to increase energy expenditure. According to a study, combining 10 g of red pepper with a 650 calories breakfast stimulated metabolism immediately after red pepper ingestion. The metabolic rate remained at a higher level for 30 minutes after eating the meal. [22] In another study, researchers found that cayenne pepper can boost metabolism by almost 20%. [23]

To make your foods spicier and to further boost your metabolism, combine mustard with chili pepper. According to a study, metabolism increased by 128% after eating a meal without spices. However, metabolism increased by 153% when a teaspoon of chili sauce and a teaspoon of mustard were added to the meal. Mustard contains a sulfur-containing compound called allyl isochtiocyanate. It stimulates norepinephrine secretion, which stimulates metabolism. [24]

9. Eat Ginger

The metabolism boosting effect of ginger is comparable to that of chili pepper. Gingerol, the active constituent of ginger is capable of activating the sympathetic nervous system that helps raise the internal body temperature, an effect similar to chili pepper. A study had shown that oxygen consumption increases following ginger intake, which indicates increased metabolism. For best result consume fresh ginger, dried powdered ginger or take ginger in the form of tea. The active constituents in ginger are intact in these forms. [25]

10. Vitamin B-Complex

The eight B vitamins that comprise the vitamin B-complex family work synergistically to boost metabolism. Since these vitamins are water soluble, they cannot be stored in the body. To minimize deficiency of these vitamins, they need to be replenished daily through a balanced diet. The B vitamins essential for boosting metabolism are thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, biotin, folic acid, and vitamin B12. [26] Cereal grains, fish, egg, milk, and meat are excellent sources of B vitamins. [27]

11. Boost Thyroid Function

When a sluggish thyroid gland slows down your body’s metabolism, restoring the normal thyroid function helps increase metabolism. A diet rich in protein and healthy carbohydrates and low in sugar and unhealthy fats is good for the health of the thyroid gland. Foods rich in zinc are known to stimulate the thyroid gland. Iodine plays a crucial role in maintaining thyroid function. Fruits and vegetables loaded with antioxidants can help in maintaining a healthy metabolism.

Food allergy is believed to be a possible cause of thyroid malfunction. Eliminating common food allergens such as gluten and lactose from your diet can help in restoring the normal thyroid function. Regular exercises help to reduce stress, which worsens thyroid dysfunction. Exercises are also believed to stimulate secretion of thyroid hormone. To reduce stress, you can also practice yoga and meditation. [28]