How to Naturally Increase your Metabolism
Your metabolic rate is the speed which the chemical reactions happen in your body. It’s the thing determines how much fuel your body needs to do certain things, but some people can burn more energy and fat doing the same thing as someone else. Generally, having a high metabolic means you need to eat more food as your body burns more calories, even at rest.
There is a way of working out what your BMR (Base Metabolic Rate) although it’s important to remember that if you’re very muscular or obese, the results won’t be correct, and to take it with a pinch of salt. This only gives you an average of the calories you should intake, but it’s best to consult a doctor before making any changes.
Woman: 655 + (4.3 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age in years);
Men: 66 + (6.3 x weight in pounds) + (12.9 x height in inches) – (6.8 x age in years).
So, for example, if you’re a 45-year-old woman, 5ft. 6in. tall weighing 140 pounds you would calculate 655 + (4.3 x 140) + (4.7 x 66) - (4.7 x 45)
This means that in order for your body to do the basic it needs to survive, such as process food and keep your organs working, this is what you should consume daily at an absolute minimum.
You should then work out how much you need to consume per day to maintain your weight, taking into account how much exercise you do using the Harris Benedict Formula:
Little/no exercise: BMR x 1.2 = Total Calorie Need
Light exercise: BMR x 1.375 = Total Calorie Need
Moderate exercise (3-5 days/wk): BMR x 1.55 = Total Calorie Need
Very active (6-7 days/wk): BMR x 1.725 = Total Calorie Need
Extra active (very active & physical job): BMR x 1.9 = Total Calorie Need
Your metabolic rate is determined by your thyroid, which produces hormones that control how fast your food is converted into energy. If you’re having trouble losing weight it could be because you have a slow thyroid, and this can be checked by the doctor with a simple blood test. Similarly, if you’re losing weight quickly, you could have an over-active thyroid.
If yours is slow (and your metabolic rate does slow down with age) here are some simple and effective ways to speed up your metabolism.
Your metabolic rate after eating is always higher than normal, as the thermic effect of food (TEF) uses extra calories to digest, absorb and process the nutrients in your food.
But protein causes the highest increase in TEF, and it gets your metabolic rate up by 15-30% compared to carbs which increase it by 5-10% and 0-3% for fats. It’s also known to help you feel fuller, which prevents you from overeating. By eating more protein than fats, you will increase your metabolic rate in the short term.
Drinking water is a much healthier alternative to sugary drinks, so it's generally the better option. As well as this, it also helps speed up your metabolism temporarily, as your body has to work, and use calories, to heat the water up to body temperature. So drinking 6 cups of cold water a day can help burn up to 50 calories!
Although it’s mainly the temperature of the water which increases your metabolism, just being hydrated in general will affect your metabolism too.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) involves quick, and very intense, bursts of activity. It burns more fat by increasing your metabolic rate, which continues even after the workout has finished.
This is the more long-term option when trying to increase your metabolic rate. This is because muscle burns more calories than fat does, and so your body will burn more calories at rest than you usually would. By working out and weight lifting, not only will you get fitter, but you will burn more calories, even when you’re doing nothing.
If you lose weight, you can also combat the drop-in metabolism by retaining the muscle.
Drink Green Tea
Green tea and Oolong tea have been shown to increase metabolism by 4-5%, burning an extra 70-100 calories per day. This is due to the antioxidants called catechins in the tea which help crank up metabolism.
Metabolism has been linked to sleep deprivation as not sleeping enough changes the way you process sugars and disrupts your appetite-regulating hormones. Not getting enough sleep has also shown to increase the hunger hormone ghrelin, and decrease the fullness hormone, leptin. This explains why when you’re tired, you usually overeat.
Similar to green tea, coffee can boost metabolism by around 3-11% by promoting fat burning. But, this has a different effect on different people, so it may increase one person’s metabolism more than another’s.
By replacing cooking fats with ones like coconut oil, you’re switching from long-chain fats to more medium-chain fats. These can increase your metabolism more than long ones can, and is generally a healthier choice.
Generally, having a higher metabolism doesn’t mean you are more or less healthy than those with a lower metabolism. However, if you’re struggling to shift weight, these few small changes in your daily routine can help get your body burning calories quicker, and by building more muscle you can combat a drop in metabolism when you lose weight.
If you’re having problems with losing or putting on weight, it’s best to discuss this with your doctor, and have a simple blood test to see if your thyroid is functioning correctly.
It’s also important to know that most of these are short term ways of increasing your metabolism, and before making any changes to your diet or routine for these reasons, you should consult your doctor.
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