What is metabolism? The dictionary describes it as the sum total of the chemical processes that occur in living organisms, resulting in growth, production of energy, elimination of waste material. So it is the chemical process that helps us grow (well, if you are still growing - otherwise, it is to maintain your current stature), burn energy and eliminate waste. Who wouldn’t want to increase this? I mean, do you have days that you feel like you are dragging? Or you can't seem to muster up the energy to do anything? Does your body feel like jello? Are you shrinking in height but growing your waistline? Here are easy ways to kickstart your metabolism:
1. Think ahead. Eat for what you are doing 3-4 hours from now. Your body will retain less fat for stored energy because you are consistently giving it the fuel required for the activity at hand. Think about it – when do you burn the most calories? During the day (work, exercise, play). However, when do you consume the most calories (the fuel you need for that activity)? During the evening? Right before you sit down on your fanny in front of the TV? That does not make any sense. Think about making lunch the bigger meal and / or increasing the amount of activity you do after dinner. Turn off the TV and go for a walk.
2. Move it. Always look for ways to move. Park farther away from the door at the store. Take the stairs. Shovel snow. Carry the baby/toddler rather than using the stroller.
3. Eat breakfast. Your body has been starved for 8-10 hours and now it needs fuel to get the fire going. And don’t reach for the sugary cereal or worse – the pop tart. Think protein and complex carbs. Think fruit and whole grains. A fire won’t burn long if you only put paper in there to burn. You need to add some logs. It takes your body longer to burn the fiber and protein (log) than it does the pop tart (paper). So you will feel full longer and keep that metabolism cranked up.
4. Get your B Vitamins. B vitamins are key players in DNA synthesis, the central nervous system, metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and protein and energy production. Inadequate amounts of B6, B12, folate, thiamin and niacin can leave you feeling depressed and fatigued, slow the body’s metabolism and increase your risk for chronic diseases. Get the bulk of your B’s from food, where they pair up with other vitamins and minerals for a complete synergy of action. Foods high in the B’s include: spinach, asparagus, beans (navy, soy, black beans), melon, broccoli, fish, poultry and eggs.
5. Increase the amount of muscle you have. Lean muscle requires nutrients; therefore, your body will keep your metabolism up in order to feed the muscle. No muscle, no burn. This can be as easy as doing crunches, push-ups (even the girlie ones), lunges and wall sits. Ladies, don't worry about looking like Arnold (think Terminator, not Govenor) - you don't have enough testosterone for that to happen. But the benefits are tremendous. You will be stronger, feel stronger. increased energy, and a lean body.
7. Magnesium. Magnesium is a mineral needed by every cell in your body and is used in more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body, including proper muscle, nerve and heart function, protein synthesis and energy metabolism. The National Institutes of Health reports that most Americans are not getting enough magnesium in their diets for optimal health. Boost your intake of high magnesium foods to give your metabolism a boost. Go green with your vegetables. Green vegetables such as spinach provide magnesium because the center of the chlorophyll molecule contains magnesium. Other excellent sources of magnesium include: halibut, nuts such as almonds, cashews and peanuts, soybeans (edamame), whole-grain cereals, oatmeal, and legumes such as black-eyed peas and lentils.
8. Spice it up! It turns out capsaicin, the compound that gives chili peppers their mouth-searing quality, can also fire up your metabolism. Eating about one tablespoon of chopped red or green chilies boosts your body's production of heat and the activity of your sympathetic nervous system (responsible for our fight-or-flight response), according to a study published in the Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology. The result: a temporary metabolism spike of about 23 percent. Stock up on chilies to add to salsas, and keep a jar of red pepper flakes on hand for topping pizzas, pastas, and stir-fries.
Some sources used for this blog are:
Women's Health Magazine