From foods to workouts: 7 Ways to increase your metabolism

Understanding how to fire up your metabolism can feel like cracking a secret code. At the heart of weight management and energy levels lies this crucial body process that governs how quickly we convert food into energy.

Boosting your metabolism isn’t just about burning calories; it’s about enhancing your overall health and finding a zest for life that comes from feeling your best.

So, let’s cut through the noise and focus on seven actionable strategies that can help you rev up your body’s engine.

From what you put on your plate to the workouts that don’t just burn fat but keep the metabolic fire burning long after you’ve left the gym, we’ve got you covered.

What foods fire up your metabolism?

Certain foods have the power to nudge your metabolism into a higher gear. Think of your daily meals as a chance to stoke the fire of your body’s calorie-burning engine.

Here’s a rundown of top picks that nourish and enhance your body’s natural ability to burn energy efficiently.

Whole grains

Eating whole grains like brown rice and oatmeal is beneficial because they take more effort to break down than processed grains.

This means your body burns more calories during digestion, and you get a slower, steadier release of energy throughout the day.

  • Opt for quinoa or barley in your salads and soups.
  • Switch to whole grain bread for your sandwiches.
  • Start the day with a bowl of steel-cut oats topped with nuts and berries.
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Lean protein

Protein-rich foods increase the thermic effect of food (TEF), meaning your body uses more energy to digest them [1].

Lean meats like chicken, turkey, and low-fat cuts of beef are excellent choices, as are plant-based proteins like lentils and beans.

  • Grill or bake a chicken breast to pair with your greens.
  • Toss black beans into your favorite Mexican dishes.
  • Enjoy lentil soup for a warming, protein-packed meal.

Spicy foods

Capsaicin, the compound that gives chili peppers their heat, can boost your metabolism by raising your body temperature and increasing your calorie burn.

  • Spice up your dishes with fresh or powdered chili pepper.
  • Incorporate jalapeños into salsas and salads.
  • Enjoy a spicy curry to kick your metabolism into gear.

Green tea

Rich in antioxidants called catechins, green tea is famous for its metabolism-boosting properties. Caffeine and catechins make it a potent blend for weight loss.

Coffee

Caffeine in coffee can increase your resting metabolic rate. The key is moderation; too much coffee can lead to jitters or disrupt sleep.

  • Have a cup of black coffee before your workout.
  • Enjoy a latte with skim or plant-based milk for an afternoon pick-me-up.
coffee

What increases metabolism fastest?

Looking to give your metabolism a natural boost? These seven tips will guide you through simple yet effective methods to revitalize your body’s energy conversion processes.

From diet tweaks to exercise habits, learn how to enhance your metabolic rate with ease.

1. Eat smart

Your body expends more energy digesting protein than fats or carbs, which means you’re essentially burning more calories just by eating it. For a metabolism that works like a well-oiled machine, include good protein sources at each meal:

  • Start your day with Greek yogurt or eggs.
  • Snack on a handful of almonds or a cheese stick.
  • Opt for lean meats, lentils, or tofu in your main dishes.

This isn’t just about building muscle; it’s about creating a body environment that’s primed to burn energy efficiently. 

2. Feel the burn

Add a little heat to your meals and your metabolism could get a fiery boost. Here’s how you can turn up the heat:

  • Sprinkle some chili flakes onto your morning eggs or avocado toast for a zesty start.
  • Mix fresh or powdered chili into your soups and stews to elevate both warmth and metabolic rate [2].
  • Swap out your regular salad dressing for one with a spicy kick, or blend some peppers into your smoothie if you’re bold enough.

These simple additions can subtly increase your body’s calorie-burning capability. Plus, they make your food more enjoyable. Get creative in the kitchen and watch your metabolism respond to the heat.

3. Drink up

These compounds work together to enhance your body’s ability to burn fat. And let’s not forget water — staying well-hydrated is essential for your metabolism to function at its best. Here’s how you can drink to your metabolic health:

  • Start your day with a warm cup of green tea to wake up your metabolism.
  • Keep a water bottle handy and sip throughout the day to ensure your body isn’t mistaking thirst for hunger.
  • Consider ending your evening with a cup of herbal tea to keep hydration levels up.

Swapping out sugary beverages for these options can support your metabolism and contribute to overall well-being.

Remember, what you drink is just as important as what you eat to keep your metabolism humming.

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4. Meal timing mastery

Mastering the clock can be as crucial as what’s on your fork for stoking your metabolic fire. Waiting too long between meals can signal your body to conserve energy and slow calorie burn, while regular nourishment can keep the engines running. Here’s a simple guide to meal timing:

  • Aim for consistent meal times each day to help regulate your body’s hunger signals and energy levels.
  • If your schedule permits, space out your meals 4-5 hours apart to keep your metabolism steady.
  • Include a protein-rich snack if you have a stretch longer than 5 hours between meals to prevent energy dips and overeating later on [3].

Remember, regular meals and snacks can keep your metabolic rate humming along and prevent the body from slipping into energy-conservation mode. Listen to your body’s hunger cues, and you will find a rhythm that works best for you.

5. HIIT and strength training

When it comes to charging up your metabolism, not all workouts are created equal. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and strength training are your top tickets to a faster burn. Here’s why they work wonders:

  • HIIT: This workout method involves alternating between intense activity and rest periods, effectively burning calories during and after exercise.
  • Strength training: Building muscle is essential for a higher resting metabolic rate, as muscle tissue burns more calories than fat, even while you’re not moving.

Incorporating these workouts into your routine doesn’t require hours at the gym. Add quick HIIT sessions, like sprints or bodyweight circuits, a few times a week.

Use free weights, resistance bands, or bodyweight moves to challenge your muscles. These powerful workouts offer the double benefit of burning calories efficiently and bolstering your body’s calorie-burning machinery long after you’ve finished.

6. Sleep soundly

Skimping on shut-eye can throw off the hormones that regulate hunger and appetite, leading to overeating and a sluggish metabolism. Here’s how you can set the stage for quality sleep:

  • Stick to a regular sleep schedule, even on weekends, to maintain a consistent internal clock.
  • Create a restful environment – cool, dark, and quiet – to encourage deeper sleep.
  • Avoid stimulants like caffeine and screen time before bed, as they can disrupt your body’s natural wind-down process.

Sound sleep is a critical, yet often overlooked, component of metabolic health. It helps regulate the hormones that control your appetite and ensures your body has the chance to repair and renew overnight, keeping your metabolism in check.

sleep soundly

7. Stress less and move more

Managing stress keeps cortisol, the stress hormone that can lead to fat storage, in check. And you don’t need a gym membership to move more — everyday activities count too. Consider these strategies:

  • Cut down on stress: High stress levels can lead to the production of the hormone cortisol, which can cause cravings for sugary or fatty foods and slow metabolism. Find stress relief through activities like yoga, meditation, or simply taking a walk.
  • Limit alcohol and smoking: Both can decrease your metabolic rate, so reducing these can help keep your metabolism running smoothly [4].
  • Stand up more: Standing burns more calories than sitting, so try to get on your feet more often during the day.

Making these lifestyle tweaks creates a positive cycle: less stress leads to better sleep and more energy for movement, which in turn boosts your metabolism. It’s about finding balance and making small changes that add up to a significant impact.

Closing thoughts

Boosting your metabolism isn’t just about making one or two good choices; it’s about incorporating consistent, healthy habits into your daily routine.

You now have a toolkit of strategies, from optimizing meal times to harnessing the power of sleep, all designed to keep your metabolic fires burning. Remember, every small change contributes to a bigger picture of health and vitality.

Don’t wait for the perfect moment to start; make the next meal, the next workout, or the next hour your opportunity to act.

Swap out that soda for a green tea, choose the stairs over the elevator, pack your plate with lean protein, and consider timing your meals to support your metabolic rate.

FAQs

What foods help speed up metabolism?

Foods rich in protein such as lean meats, eggs, legumes, and nuts can speed up your metabolism because they require more energy to digest than fats or carbohydrates. Additionally, spicy foods, caffeine, and certain metabolism-boosting fruits and vegetables can provide a temporary increase in your metabolic rate.

Which foods have the highest effect on metabolism?

Foods high in protein like chicken, turkey, fish, tofu, and legumes rank highest in boosting metabolism because of their high thermic effect, meaning the body uses more energy to digest them.

How does water affect your metabolism?

Staying well-hydrated is essential for a smoothly operating metabolism because even mild dehydration can slow down metabolic processes and energy production in your body.

What is the best time of day to exercise for metabolic health?

While there’s no universally optimal time, exercising in the morning can jumpstart your metabolism; however, the most important factor is consistency and finding a time that fits your schedule.

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[1] https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-protein-can-help-you-lose-weight
[2] https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/8-benefits-of-cayenne-pepper
[3] https://www.eatingwell.com/article/291961/10-high-protein-snacks-that-keep-you-feeling-full-longer/
[4] https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/get-a-fast-metabolism

Photograph: YuriArcursPeopleimages/Envato
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