A healthy and fast metabolism is often associated with the ability to lose weight and stay in shape!
Metabolism is the collection of many chemical reactions that take place continuously in the cells of our bodies, which convert the carbohydrates, proteins and fats we consume into the energy that fuels our lives.
It’s the self-renewing process of all living things, and it influences many aspects of our wellbeing, including body composition, our moods, immune function and our energy levels.
Having a healthy and fast metabolism is often associated with the ability to lose weight and stay in shape easily, while those who struggle to shift unwanted weight might be experiencing a sluggish metabolism.
However, our weight isn’t the only thing at the mercy of our internal chemical processes. When it’s really slow, we can end up with chronic fatigue, high blood pressure, and a weakened immune system, among other issues you don’t want.
Our basal metabolic rate is unique to each of us and is influenced by our genes, age and gender to some degree, but it’s also influenced by factors that we can control. Essentially, the healthier our lifestyle choices, the faster our metabolism will be at rest.
Moving more, eating right, staying hydrated and sleeping well are the essential elements of living a healthier lifestyle, but there are some more specific things we can do to turn up the heat of our internal processes.
Here are 8 ways to speed up your metabolism:
1. Eat plant-based protein at each meal
When we eat, our metabolism is boosted for a few hours. This is called the thermic effect of food (TEF). While eating carbohydrates and fats also raises our metabolism through the TEF, eating protein results in the biggest boost (15-30%).
Consuming sufficient plant protein also helps reduce the drop in metabolism that often results from losing weight, as it contains the amino acids responsible for building and repairing muscle tissue.
Maintaining or increasing your muscle mass is essential to a healthy metabolism, and is especially important if you’re trying to reduce your body fat. Fortunately, there are many tasty sources of plant-based protein to choose from, so it’s easy to have some with each meal to help maintain your lovely muscles.
2. Start with breakfast
Not only does eating breakfast prevent dietary disasters later in the day, it literally wakes up your metabolism.
If you add fuel to your metabolic fire first thing in the morning with a balanced and nutritious breakfast, you’ll be on your way to a much better day.
If you have a sweet tooth at breakfast time, try this Blueberry Orange Breakfast Smoothie - it’s deliciously purple! If eating breakfast every day can speed up your metabolism AND be this delicious - why would we ever skip it?
3. Wetter is better, colder is bolder
It’s not just food that can speed things up - water-induced thermogenesis means there’s yet another reason to make sure we’re drinking plenty of water. This phenomenon is the increase in the number of calories burned that results from drinking water.
As thermogenesis refers to the production of heat within the body, drinking cold water is even more effective because it requires even more warming.
The more heat our bodies need to generate to maintain our internal temperature, the more calories we’ll need to burn, which will require our metabolic processes to speed up. It may seem so simple - but it’s science.
4. HIIT it
Adding some High-Intensity Interval Training to your new year’s workout regime is a great way to get fit and speed up your metabolism. Although this workout style can get a little uncomfortable, it’s well worth it for the effect it has on metabolism.
Not only do HIIT workouts torch a huge number of calories in a short amount of time compared to other workout styles, but it’ll also keep your metabolism elevated all day long, burning more calories while you rest and recover.
This is because HIIT triggers a reaction called Excess Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC).
If you’re new to this workout style, start out with a couple of 15-20 minute sessions each week.
5. Lift weights, gain metabolism
As if feeling energetic and strong wasn’t enough, strength training has so many more benefits. From sculpting a lean physique to maintaining strong bones as we age - boosting your metabolism is just the icing on the cake when it comes to lifting weights.
Generally speaking, men have faster metabolisms than women, but this is mainly due to the fact that they naturally have more muscle mass. The more muscle we have, the more calories we burn at rest. Although it’s impossible for women to naturally gain the amount of muscle that men can, ladies can definitely build strong, lean bodies to rev up their metabolism.
6. Get upside-down
Not only is developing a daily headstand or handstand practice a great way to build strength, reduce stress and have a bit of fun, getting upside-down can actually speed up your metabolism.
By increasing the rate of blood flow through your neck and head, inversion practice stimulates the endocrine system. This is the collection of all the glands in the body, which produce the hormones that regulate all bodily functions, including your metabolism.
As the blood flows to the neck, it meets the thyroid gland, which produces the hormones responsible for controlling your metabolic rate - T3 and T4.
A stimulated thyroid gland is a healthy thyroid gland, and a healthy thyroid gland means a faster metabolism - so get upside-down, have some fun, and feel your mood and energy rise with your feet.
7. Feed your Thyroid
Doing handstands isn’t the only way to stimulate your thyroid gland and boost your metabolism. It’s also important to make sure your thyroid is well-supported by your diet. Iron, Zinc and Selenium are the most important micronutrient for proper thyroid function, and getting enough on a daily basis can help speed up your metabolism.
Zinc can be found in legumes, nuts, seeds and oatmeal, and just 2 brazil nuts each day will provide you with enough selenium. If you’re not a fan of brazil nuts, don’t worry - there are many other high-selenium foods to choose from.
As for iron, blackstrap molasses, potatoes and tahini are some surprisingly awesome sources and are among many iron-rich, plant-based foods.
8. Sleep well
Insufficient and poor-quality sleep is bad for all aspects of our health and well-being, and metabolism is no different. In addition to decreasing the number of calories we can burn each day, poor sleep can increase insulin resistance and disrupt our appetite-regulating hormone, ghrelin.
In fact, a consistent lack of sleep can be linked to an increased risk of obesity, whereas those who prioritise a good night’s sleep tend to have fewer weight problems, more energy and better health in general.
To help your metabolism operate at its peak, aim to get around 8 hours sleep each night, avoid bright lights and screens in the evening, and turn your bedroom into a sacred sleeping space.
Even though the processes that make up your metabolism are quite complex, speeding these processes up to a healthy rate doesn’t require anything artificial or complicated - it really is as simple as committing to a healthy lifestyle.
So, this year, make sure you move more, eat right, stay hydrated and sleep well, and you’ll benefit from better moods, more energy, and a fitter, healthier body.