Your metabolism works around the clock, regulating the use of calories and revving up to help you shed fat. It is the sum total of everything that your body does for you.
However, millions of Americans suffer from a slow, sluggish metabolism, and many blame their genetics. While genetics play a key role in the efficiency of your metabolism, there are several other factors – well within your control – that can boost your metabolic rate, which means more energy and less hassle when it comes to weight loss.
Everyone knows breakfast has a reputation for being the most important meal of the day – and for good reason. When you roll out of bed every morning, your body is in starvation mode, because it has been eight or so hours since your last meal. At this point, your metabolism is set to a slow pace, hoping to conserve energy since you haven’t eaten. A healthy, hearty breakfast daily supercharges your metabolism.
Make time for tea
Just make sure your tea is green. Green tea is naturally caffeinated, which can stimulate your metabolism by up to 16 percent when compared to non-caffeine drinkers. Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system, increasing your heart rate and breathing – all of which require your metabolism to rev up. And green tea comes with a host of other benefits, including antioxidants to fight disease and flavonoids with fat-burning properties (more fuel for a faster metabolism).
Water on the rocks
It’s a model secret that’s actually true. Drinking ice cold water raises your metabolic rate, because your body has to do a little work to warm it up for digestion, meaning you burn calories. Don’t count on the pounds adding up with just one glass per day. Make it a habit, and consume several ice cold glasses of water throughout each day to burn calories without the effort.
Go au natural
Choose fresh, all-natural, whole foods and choose organic as often as possible. Processed foods contain chemicals that can destroy your metabolism, as can pesky pesticides that taint many of the fruits and vegetables in the produce section of the grocery store. Shopping at your local farmers market is a great way to avoid chemicals and pesticides, allowing you to enjoy food that is definitively all-natural and fresh from the farm.
Spice it up
Capsaicin, the compound responsible for the spicy kick you experience when eating a hot pepper, has been shown to boost the body’s production of heat. Just a tablespoon of chopped red chilies can ignite your sympathetic nervous system and induce a short-term 23 percent increase in your metabolism, according to a study published in the Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology.
Work it in intervals
Better results in less time – sounds too good to be true, right? For once, it is not a gimmick. Researchers have found that short, high intensity bursts of exercise stimulate a higher level of fat-burning than working out at a steady pace for a longer period of time. Mix in jumping rope or sprints between strength exercises for 20 minutes three to five days a week – it will work wonders for your metabolism and your physique.
Getting plenty of quality sleep, ensuring adequate nutrient levels with high-quality supplements, and balancing your hormones also play a significant role in maintaining a healthy metabolism. If your metabolism seems to have slowed to a crawl despite your best efforts, there may be more than your genetics at play. Thyroid disorders and the onset of conditions like menopause and andropause can wreak havoc on your metabolism. Talk with a specialist and work together to develop a plan that not only addresses your condition, but will help you stay healthy and keep your metabolism fueled for a lifetime.
Dr. Jennifer Landa is Chief Medical Officer of BodyLogicMD, the nation's largest franchise of physicians specializing in bioidentical hormone therapy. Dr. Jen spent 10 years as a traditional OB-GYN, and then became board-certified in regenerative medicine, with an emphasis on bio-identical hormones, preventative medicine and nutrition. She is the author of "The Sex Drive Solution for Women." Learn more about her programs at www.jenlandamd.com.