Metabolism is the rate at which our body burns calories. A good metabolism provides fuel for proper functioning of the body and also holds the key to losing weight fast and effectively. Factors such as genes, age, gender, stress level, hormones and overall lifestyle comprising diet and activity level determine how efficient your metabolism is.
If our metabolism is slow, the body tends to gain weight and becomes susceptible to serious medical conditions, including type 2 diabetes. In a typical scenario, clients complain that while they have been physically active and have cut down on calories, they are still unable to lose weight.
Unfortunately, many crash diets and restrictive weight loss programs end up slowing down your metabolism instead of activating it. Some of them involve diets that break down your muscle mass for energy. Less muscle mass is equal to slow metabolism, that gradually paves way to fat accumulation.
Diet and fitness coaches at OneFitplus place tremendous importance in determining the BMR(Basal Metabolic Rate) of a person, before devising a custom weight loss diet plan for her/him. An accurate measurement of your BMR can be helpful in understanding how fit you are and fixing the minimum number of calories you need to function.
Some of the best foods to boost metabolism and help burn calories at a faster rate are:
- Spices- They not just add flavour to your food and drinks but pack a punch when it comes to health benefits. They have metabolism boosting properties that prevent fat build up and promote weight loss. Spices such as ginger, chilli peppers, garlic, cinnamon, black pepper, mustard, turmeric, cardamom and cumin should be a regular part of our diet to keep our metabolism rate up. Spices decrease our hunger pangs and regulate our blood sugar level as well.
- Coffee- Coffee has substances like Theobromine, Theophylline and Chlorogenic Acid which help in processing the sugars better and slows down the absorption of carbs in the body. The caffeine present in coffee, doesn’t just give us a burst of energy, but can stimulate and burn visceral fat. Studies have shown that consumption of coffee can increase our resting metabolic rate as well. We can have up to three cups of coffee a day to rev up our metabolism. However, you must keep in mind not to have an overdose of coffee as too much caffeine can raise our heart rate and leave us in jitters.
- Legumes- The family of legumes comprising beans, lentils, chickpeas etc. are full of fibre and protein, that promote good health. They are also low in fat and keep us full for a long time, reducing our tendency to snack on unhealthy items. Legumes contain arginine, an amino acid that helps the body burn more calories and help you lose weight. Legumes are available in many shapes, sizes and colours and can be consumed as whole, split, canned, cooked, frozen or as flour.
- Green Tea- This zero calorie beverage has a substance called EGCG as well as polyphenols which increases the rate of metabolism and burns body fat more quickly. Green Tea is also rich in antioxidants that have a number of health benefits. It is understood that consuming green tea can help boost your metabolism even when you’re at rest. Combined with regular exercise and a clean diet, green tea can be a welcome addition to a healthy lifestyle.
- Yogurt- Yogurt is rich in calcium that speeds up the process of thermogenesis, which in turn boosts our metabolism. Also a rich source of protein, yogurt is helpful in protecting our lean muscle mass which is imperative for maintaining high metabolism. It keeps you satiated for long and also keeps our blood sugar in control. The live cultures in yogurt keeps our gut flora and overall digestion in good shape, which is a prime driver of good health and steady metabolism.
- Whole Grains- Full of complex carbohydrates, essential dietary fibre and micronutrients, whole grains stabilize insulin levels and speed up metabolism. Whole wheat flour, steel cut oats, millets and brown rice release sugar gradually and provide long lasting energy to our body, in addition to a revved up calorie burn rate. In contrast, junk and other sugar laden foods give us a spike of energy, telling our body that it needs to store fat. For full metabolic advantages, you must intelligently substitute whole grain alternatives in place of refined flour in our day-to-day diet.
- Nuts and Seeds- Rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, nuts and seeds should be included in our daily diet to elevate our metabolic rate and better manage our weight. They are loaded with protein, healthy fats, fibre, vitamins and minerals that keep our appetite and blood sugar in control. This further leads to reduced fat storage in the body. Regular consumption of nuts and seeds like almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts, flax seeds, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds etc. will supply us with necessary nutrients, keep our energy supply up and hasten our metabolism, ensuring a slimmer waistline.
- Green leafy Vegetables- Loaded with essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients, green leafy vegetables such as spinach, methi, kale, lettuce etc. stimulate our metabolism and play a vital role in maintaining good health. Our thyroid gland should work properly in order to have a steady metabolism. Green leafy vegetables supply us with iron, that is essential for a well-functioning thyroid and there by a fast metabolism.
- Fish- Fish, such as salmon, tuna, sardines, hilsa and mackerel, is rich in Omega 3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) and protein that help in preserving muscle mass and keep up our calorie burning rate. Consuming fish can lower the levels of leptin in our body, which has a direct effect on our metabolism. Fish is also rich in iodine, which helps in the proper functioning of thyroid gland, thereby letting our body burn calories at a steady rate. Regular intake of fatty fish can boost your metabolism and bring down fat-storage enzymes in our body.
- Citrus fruits- The antioxidants and phytonutrients present in citrus fruits such as orange, lemon, lime and grapefruit help the body process insulin efficiently and speed up calorie burn. Studies have proven that increasing the intake of vitamin C mobilizes fat burning in our bodies. They also play a role in curbing hunger pangs and detoxifying our system from within. Clever use of citrus fruits like lemon in our daily diet can jumpstart our metabolism and help in weight loss.
Making the correct diet choices can go a long way in boosting our metabolism. Junk and processed foods may provide us with a temporary high but will eventually slow down our metabolism and contribute to weight gain.
Apart from food, including regular physical activity in our daily life, staying hydrated, eating frequent but small meals and ensuring good sleep are other important factors that are crucial to boost your metabolism.