Between eating healthy, hitting the gym regularly, starvation and restricting yourself to the occasional treat, you’ve probably tried almost anything to drop unwanted weight. You may get hopeless when your efforts bear little fruit. What you may not know is that your body may be working against you in the form of a slow metabolism. Fortunately, you can adopt these healthy habits that have been scientifically proven to speed up your metabolism.
Drinking the recommended eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day can help raise your metabolism and fill you up. Dehydration slows your metabolism and can trick you into thinking you’re hungry. A good rule of thumb is reaching for water when you develop food cravings and waiting for about 20 minutes to see if you were really hungry. Researchers from the University of Utah found that subjects who drank four 8-ounce glasses of water showed symptoms of dehydration and burned 2% fewer calories than those who drank the recommended amount.
Add Some Ice to Your Water
There’s some evidence that cold water can moderately raise your metabolic rate. The core temperature that your body normally maintains is about 37.0°C or 98.6°F. After you consume cold water, your body will bring it to that temperature and burn calories in the process. According to Discovery Health, drinking eight glasses of cold water each day can burn an additional 70 calories daily. A German study found that participants who took 16 ounces of water at a go had a 30% higher metabolic rate an hour later. The researchers recommended cold water due to the calories expended during the warming process.
Spice Things Up
Instead of shelling out big money for miracle pills, you could head to the kitchen and find an excellent solution to your slow metabolism: hot peppers. They not only add flavor to your food but also rev up your body’s temperature. That temporarily increases your metabolism and stimulates the fat-burning process. Researchers from the University of Tsukuba in Japan found that consuming a meal containing red pepper immediately caused an increase in the metabolism of the participants.
It’s time to sip some java for your metabolism. The caffeine in coffee raises your metabolism for a couple of hours and boosts fat oxidation. A study that was published in the Psychology & Behavior journal found caffeinated coffee drinkers to have an average metabolic rate that was 16% higher than that of those who abstained or drank decaffeinated coffee.
Opt for Organic Produce
Fruits, vegetables, and grains that are grown without pesticides don’t subject your thyroid to contaminants. As a result, they keep your metabolism and fat-burning process operating at full tilt. Researchers in Canada found that people who had the most organochlorides, which are chemicals present in pesticides, in their fat cells had more disrupted thyroid function and mitochondrial activity.
Put Protein on Every Plate
Digestion of proteins takes longer and uses more energy than that of carbs and fat. A high-protein diet keeps you feeling full longer and makes your body expend more energy while absorbing nutrients, keeping your metabolism high for a few hours. A small study done by researchers from the University of Washington School of Medicine found that people were likely to consume about 441 fewer calories each day if their diet consisted of 30% protein. Another study from Purdue University showed that diets high in protein helped maintain lean body mass, an excellent fat burner.
Turn to Green Tea
Green tea contains a chemical known as ECGC that stimulates your metabolism and improves your nervous system function. It’s also an antioxidant that helps boost your immune system, lower cholesterol and promote weight loss. Researchers from the University of Birmingham found that green tea increases fat burning by 17%. A study that was published in the Phytomedicine journal found that people who drank 3-5 cups of green tea per day dropped 5% of their body weight. According to other studies, taking 2-4 cups of green tea daily may burn 50 extra calories.
Get More Dairy
Calcium can increase your basal metabolic rate, which in turn promotes weight loss. A study that was funded by the National Dairy Council found that a low-calorie diet that was high in calcium increased fat loss by about 42%, which was significantly greater than the 8% loss brought about by the low-calorie diet on its own. According to a study at the University of Copenhagen, calcium increases the rate at which your body eliminates fat as waste, making your metabolism more efficient. Make sure you add calcium-rich dairy foods to your diets, such as low-fat cheeses, yogurt, and skim milk.
Take your training and metabolism to an entirely new level by incorporating intervals into your workouts. Mix in quick, intense sets of activity with your usual, slower-paced workouts. For example, if you’re running, sprint for one to two minutes then return to your normal speed for the next 60 seconds and repeat the entire sequence 10 or more times. This strategy keeps your metabolic rate high even after you’ve finished working out. An Australian study found that women who rode a stationary bike at intervals of sprints and easy pedaling lost three times more body fat than those who were biking at a steady pace.
Catch More Sleep
Sleep deprivation has a negative effect on metabolism and hormone levels. It can make you have to eat more than you normally do. A joint study by Stanford University and the University of Wisconsin found that participants who slept for only five hours each night reduced levels of leptin, the satiety hormone, by 15.5% and boosted levels of ghrelin, the hunger hormone, by 14.9%. In another study published in the International Journal of Endocrinology, subjects slept for only four hours each night. After six nights, the rate their bodies burned calories from sugar reduced by 40%. Experts recommend getting 7-8 hours of sleep per night.
Incorporate these tips into your lifestyle to get a higher metabolism that will give you more energy and help you lose more weight.