When it comes to weight loss, the first thing that comes to mind is how to increase metabolism. This is the ultimate question around for the simplest weight loss solution. But most people don’t know how metabolism functions. So, let’s first understand what metabolism is, and then get to know ways to boost it.
What is metabolism?
The term ‘metabolism’ refers to the function of enzymes in the body’s ability to digest food, function, grow, and adapt to varied situations. It transforms the food we eat into usable energy for our bodies. So, if your metabolism is slow, it either directly or indirectly affects your ability to lose weight.
Health Shots spoke to Dr Aparna Govil Bhasker, Consultant Bariatric and Laparoscopic Surgeon at Saifee, Namaha, Apollo Spectra, and Currae Specialty Hospitals, to find ways to speed up metabolism.
How to increase metabolism?
Metabolism refers to how effectively the body performs all its activities, including digestion and absorption of food that provides fuel to the body. Metabolism does not improve overnight by just consuming supplements like L-carnitine/fat burners, or green tea. It requires a holistic and consistent approach.
Tips to improve metabolism:
1. Engage in high-intensity exercise
In order to keep the metabolism and fat-burning rate elevated for hours, longer than just the time you exercise, you need to engage in high intensity workout. Dr Bhasker says, “HIIT, running, swimming, and cycling are some workouts that you can try to rev up your metabolism and grill that fat.” It can also burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time.
2. Do not skip meals
Skipping meals or eating very less is not the right way to lose weight. In fact, it can mess with your metabolism in the long term. According to Dr Bhasker, “Eating at regular intervals helps to maintain the metabolic balance. Having a small meal or snack 1-2 times between the main meals boosts the metabolism.” According to research, those who snack in between main meals eat less during meals. Otherwise, long gaps between meals slow down the metabolism and increase the body’s ability to store fat. Take the help of a nutritionist regarding when and what you should eat between the main meals.
3. Sip on green tea
As per a review study from the Maastricht University Medical Centre in the Netherlands, green tea can boost your energy expenditure, or the number of calories and fat you burn each day. Consuming 2-3 cups of green tea each day may encourage the body to burn calories more quickly than it would otherwise. It is a good option when compared to sugary juices.
4. Consume protein-rich foods in every meal
The body spends more energy breaking down proteins compared to carbohydrates and fats. This causes an increase in metabolism, referred to as the thermic effect of food. “High protein intake has been shown to significantly boost metabolism and increase the number of calories you burn,” says Dr Bhasker. In addition, protein also provides satiety, and prevents hunger pangs and overeating in subsequent meals.
5. Sleep well
Are you aware that sleep may not decrease or increase the metabolism, but lack of sleep can lead to imbalance and dysregulation of the hormones associated with hunger and appetite? Insufficient sleep can make you hungry, lead to mid night snacking, sugar cravings, and you will end up exceeding your calorie intake. This energy surplus will lead to a gradual weight gain by affecting the metabolism.
6. Drink enough water
Water aids in increasing metabolism, detoxifying the body of waste, and controlling appetite. Additionally, increasing your water intake encourages your body to stop holding onto water, which leads you to lose those extra pounds of water weight. However, your metabolism will slow down if you are dehydrated. Drink at least 10 to 12 glasses of water each day to try to stay hydrated.
Your regular diet should be full of fat burning foods that can speed up your metabolism rate. Apples, dairy products (high in protein), fish, eggs, lentils, avocado, red fruits (rich in antioxidants), pineapple, kiwi, lemon, ginger, cinnamon, grapefruit, etc. Make sure you’re eating healthy and following a healthy workout routine.