If you’re trying to lose a few pounds or have noticed that, as you age, it’s more difficult maintain your current weight, then chances are you’re familiar with “metabolism.”  

So, what exactly is “metabolism?” And, how does it impact your weight-loss or weight-management goals? More importantly, is there a way to boost metabolism? Keep reading to find out!  

What Is metabolism? 

When we talk about our metabolism, we are actually referencing our basal metabolic rate (BMR). BMR is the amount of energy or calories your body needs to function while resting within a 24-hour period. It is important to obtain enough calories each day to fuel your body’s normal functions. If calories are restricted to a critically low level, it may result in fatigue, heart problems, electrolyte imbalance and loss of lean muscle mass. 

How does metabolism impact weight-management? 

To lose weight, your body must burn more energy than it takes in. While there are many other factors that can impact weight, your metabolism is one of the key factors in determining an optimal calorie goal to achieve healthy weight loss. To learn more about weight-management programs, check out Dr. Redmond’s video below:  

How can I fire up my metabolism?  

There are several ways to help boost your metabolism but in general, metabolism can be modified by adjusting what you eat and the amount of physical activity performed daily. Here are five simple tips that can help!  

1.) Get spicy!  

Hot peppers can help get your metabolism fired up (no pun intended). Hot peppers contain an oily compound called capsaicin. Capsaicin is known for its thermogenic properties-thermogenesis (thermo-heat and genic-to create) is the process by which the body converts calories into energy which generates heat as a byproduct. 

Thermogenic foods can make you feel warmer than normal and may even cause you to perspire. Although thermogenesis does help the body burn calories, it is unlikely that you will see a result with hot peppers alone, which is why it is important to incorporate physical activity and a healthy diet into your daily regimen. 

Capsaicin can be found in a variety of sources like cayenne, green or red chili, and tabasco peppers. If you are not a fan of spices, you can opt for milder peppers. They have dihydrocapsiate (DCT) which is a non-spicy alternative to capsaicin that is known to have similar effects. 

2.) Exercise regularly. 

The National Weight Control Registry published data suggesting that people who exercise 45-60 minutes a day are more apt to maintain weight loss

Physical activity especially high intensity workouts and weight lifting can also help rev up your metabolism. High intensity workouts burn more calories but they also have the added benefit of helping you burn more calories even after you are finished with your workout. This phenomenon is due to excess post-exercise oxygen consumption or EPOC. 

Strength training and conditioning help to speed up your resting metabolic rate by increasing your muscle mass. Some examples of strength training include Pilates, yoga, hand weights or weight machines and body weight exercises such as push-ups and sit-ups. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that the average person gets at least 2.5 hours per week of moderate to vigorous intensity aerobic activity and two days of muscle-strengthening activity per week. 

3.) Enjoy tea-time!  

Green tea has great metabolism enhancing benefits. Catechins and caffeine are the main components in green tea, which are responsible for its ability to help rev up your metabolism. Catechins are a member of the chemical family of flavonoids. Catechins are natural antioxidants that help improve overall health by combatting free radicals or oxidative stress. 

Caffeine is a thermogenic that can increase your metabolism. Research studies have shown that green tea is able to stimulate brown adipose tissue thermogenesis through the synergistic interaction of caffeine and catechins. 

4.) Sleep. 

Who would ever think that catching some “Zzz’s” might help your metabolism? Well, short sleep duration or lack of sleep has actually been linked to increased risk for obesity. 

According to the CDC, adequate sleep is equal to approximately 7 to 9 hours per night. Interestingly, about one third of Americans complain that they do not get enough sleep. Specifically, sleep deprivation can cause your body to increase ghrelin which is a hunger hormone (think ghrelin makes your stomach growl), decrease leptin, the hormone that is responsible for making you feel full and increase your body mass index (BMI). 

So, turn off your phone and television, and take some time to get some quality sleep; your metabolism will thank you!  

5.) Eat protein!  

Specifically, eat more lean protein. Protein takes longer to breakdown than simple carbohydrates which means that your body expends more energy (works harder) to get its nutritive value.  

Your body burns on average about 10 percent of the calories you consume while breaking down food into energy and nutrients – this is referred to as the thermic effect or dietary-induced thermogenesis. The addition of more protein in your diet also gives your body the amino acid building blocks it needs to make more muscle.  


References

  1. National Weight Control Registry
  2. gov/physicalactivity/basics/adults/index.htm
  3. nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC524030/
  4. Varghese S, Kubatka P, Rodrigo L, Gazdikova K, Carprnda M, Fedtova J, Zulli A, Kruzkiak P, Busselberg D. Chili Pepper as a body weight-loss food. International Journal Food Science and Nutrition. June 2017.
  5. Taheri, S, Lin L, Austin D, Young T, Mignot E. Short Sleep Duration is Associated with Reduced Leptin, Elevated Ghrelin and Increased Body Mass Index. PLoS Med December 2004
  6. Prinz, P. Sleep, Appetite, and Obesity –What is the Link? PLoS Med December 2004
  7. Knutson K, Spiegel K, Penec P, Van Cauter E. The Metabolic Consequences of Sleep Deprivation.  Sleep Medicine Reviews June 2007.

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