What is Metabolism?
You’ve heard all about our metabolism and how its “speed” affects the way we lose weight. But do you know what it really means? The metabolism is a set of life-sustaining chemical reactions in the human body which converts food to energy. Of course, things are not that simple. The metabolism actually breaks down food to building blocks such as proteins, lipids, nucleic acids, and other important biomolecules.
The rate at which our metabolism runs is individual, but usually at 60-75%. This indicates the number of calories to maintain basic bodily functions. In a 24-hour cycle, 60-75% of the calories you consume are used by the metabolism, while the rest, if not burnt through physical activity, is stored as fat. This is why people with a higher metabolism rate can eat more than you and not gain any weight. In short, their bodies burn calories faster and easier.
According to experts, men burn more calories than women on average, even when they’re not physically active. Our metabolism tends to slow down after the age of 40. While we can’t affect certain factors such as genetics, age, and gender to accelerate our metabolism, there are things we can do to speed it up. These include a healthy diet, regular physical activity (exercise) as well as staying properly hydrated (>2 l. water per day).
In recent times, the medical and scientific community is debating whether certain foods and ingredients can actually speed our metabolism up. Although there’s nothing to conclude yet, the fact is that some foods can increase our metabolic rate and help our bodies burn fat faster. In short terms, some foods can make us lose weight faster than others.
Foods that Raise Metabolic Rate
We’re going to start with the sweetest one – cocoa. Studies have shown that cocoa can stimulate genes that allow the body to use fat as a source of energy. Cocoa will also slow down the absorption of the calories you consume. Of course, in order to benefit from it fully, you need to add raw cocoa to your diet.
A thermogenic ingredient itself, chili will speed your metabolism up and help your body burn more calories. It’s all thanks to the presence of its active compound capsaicin. Although science still hasn’t found out the amount of capsaicin we need to raise our metabolic rate, eating chili definitely helps.
A few cups of Joe per day can boost your metabolic rate by up to 11%. More specifically, you can achieve this effect with 270 mg. of caffeine per day, which amounts to around 3 cups. Experts say that coffee can help you burn an extra 100 calories per day by boosting your energy levels, which will help you train more.
Of course, anything more than 2-3 cups of coffee per day can lead to insomnia, irregular heart rhythm, anxiety, and vomiting. If you want to benefit from the wonderful drink, keep it in moderation.
4. Protein-Rich Food
Any protein-rich food will jumpstart your metabolism and help you build muscle while melting down your fat. According to scientists, a diet based on 5-10% of carbs and 0-3% of fat can boost your metabolism by 15-30%, which is a lot.
Legumes are rich in fiber, protein, amino acids, vitamins B and C, magnesium, iron, and whatnot else. In short, they’re the perfect food to accelerate your metabolic rate. Consuming lentils or beans regularly, for example, will boost your metabolism and most likely help you lose weight.
The secret lies in inositol and choline, nutrients that promote fat burning instead of storage.
6. Apple Cider Vinegar
Drinking a bit of ACV every day will activate special enzymes that will prevent the accumulation of fats and help the body burn them faster. You need around 30 ml. of ACV per day (2 tablespoons) in order to kickstart your metabolism and start losing weight.
However, as ACV is too strong and can harm the enamel on your teeth and your internal organs, it’s best to drink it diluted with water.
7. Green Tea
Green tea is a commonly used “remedy” for a variety of health problems. Drinking green tea is said to accelerate our metabolic rate which results in weight loss. Green tea will boost thermogenesis and the oxidation of fats in your body thanks to the presence of caffeine and compounds known as catechins.
Scientists say that a few cups of green tea per day can raise your metabolic rate by up to 10%, which means losing an extra 100 calories per day. Of course, it only works in combination with a healthy diet and regular exercise.