Metabolism is a biochemical process through which calories consumed through foods and beverages combine with oxygen to supply energy to the body.
A high metabolic rate indicates more fat-burning, less fat storage and faster weight loss.
Even while you are physically inactive, the body needs energy for involuntary functions like blood circulation, digestion of food, respiration and excretion among others. Age, Height, Weight and Gender are four factors that influence metabolic rate. Body composition impacts metabolic rate. Higher fat percentage indicates lower metabolism whereas higher muscle mass denotes high metabolic rate.
Nutrients that Boost Metabolism:
Incorporate the following nutrients in your daily diet:
Proteins are the mainstay of any metabolism-boosting diet since they elevate metabolic rate by 25-30% by stimulating the heat producing effect of food.
Protein-packed foods are egg whites, protein shakes, low-fat dairy products, chicken and fish.
A protein-rich breakfast is the easiest way to boost metabolism.
Fiber-rich whole grains, pulses, fruits, nuts and vegetables are complex carbohydrates, which boost metabolic rate by 10%. To digest starch, the body has to break down complex carbohydrates to glucose, increasing total energy expenditure (TEE).
Key role in metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and protein and energy production and deficiency lowers metabolic rate. B-complex vitamins: whole grain cereals, pulses, fish, poultry, dairy products and eggs.
Magnesium and Calcium:
Responsible for biochemical reactions like muscle building, nerve and heart function, protein synthesis and energy metabolism. Dairy products, white sesame seeds and ragi contain calcium whereas green leafy vegetables provide magnesium.
Transports oxygen to cells. Low iron levels leads to fatigue, loss of appetite, anemia and low metabolic rate. Watermelon, poha, black sesame seeds, mint leaves to contain high amounts of iron.
Top 3 Natural Metabolism-Boosting Foods:
Green Tea: Contains catechins, which boost metabolic rate by 17% and reduce absorption of fat from the intestine.
Spices and Condiments: Increase the heat producing effect of food. A study from the Journal of Nutrition says that garlic and cinnamon elevate metabolic rate and decrease the body's production of fat. Green chili contains capsaicin, a bio-active compound that increases metabolism.
Caffeine: A review in the "Obesity Reviews" found that caffeine stimulates the central nervous system (CNS) and increases metabolic rate by 10%. However, opt for black coffee without sugar.
A sample metabolism-boosting diet plan is as follows:
Breakfast - 1 cup green tea + egg white veggie omelette/tomato omelette with multi-grain bread
Mid-morning - Fruits
Lunch - Salad (with flaxseeds), chappati/brown rice, da /curd, vegetables
Mid-afternoon - Figs/dates with 3-4 almonds and walnuts
Evening snack - 1 cup green tea/black coffee + khakhra and sprouts salad/whole grain crackers with hummus
Dinner - Vegetable soup, whole wheat panini with vegetables and chicken/paneer
Bedtime - 1 cup of skim milk
Top 3 Metabolic-Boosting Blunders:
Starvation may seem a good solution for weight loss but eating a very low-calorie diet robs body of energy to satisfy its basic functions, which lowers metabolism.
Refined foods such as white bread, biscuits, chocolates and ice-cream are stripped of fiber and easily broken down to glucose. The body doesn't expend too many calories while digesting simple carbohydrates. They also elevate insulin levels hence promoting fat storage.
Fatty foods are easily digested by the body and get stored as fat in the adipose tissues; resulting in an increase in body fat, which reduces metabolism.
Tofu Veggie Spaghetti:
Tofu veggie spaghetti is a metabolic boosting dinner loaded with protein, whole cereals and vegetables.
► 2 cups boiled durum wheat spaghetti
► 100 g diced tofu
► 1 tbsp olive oil
► 2 tsp chopped garlic, 1 tsp chili flakes and oregano
► 1/4 cup boiled broccoli, 1/4 cup boiled corn, 4 sliced mushrooms
► 3/4 cup chopped bell peppers
Heat olive oil in a skillet on medium heat. Add oregano, chili flakes, garlic and saute tofu, bell peppers and mushroom. Once cooked, add corn and broccoli. Add spaghetti, salt and cook for 4-5 minutes.
Peanut Banana Smoothie:
Peanut banana smoothie is a metabolism-boosting drink brimming with protein, fiber and calcium. This smoothie is packed with protein and works as an excellent post-workout option too.
► 1 small banana
► 1 cup skimmed milk
► 2 tsp peanut butter
► 1 tbsp vanilla powdered protein powder
► 1/2 tsp cinnamon
In a mixer, mix all the ingredients and churn till you get a smooth mixture. Serve chilled.
Best Tips to Boost Metabolism:
The simplest way to jump-start metabolism is by eating a wholesome breakfast, which initiates thermogenesis i.e. metabolic process of digesting food.
A wholesome breakfast would incorporate healthy choices like fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, whole grains and lean meats.
Skipping breakfast may appear a good way to cut calories, but it puts your body in starvation mode, which lowers metabolic rate.
Starting your day with junk food negates the benefits that you can gain from eating a nutritious breakfast.
Small, Frequent Meals
Digestion is a high calorie-burning activity. Eating small, frequent meals enables the body to use more calories for digestion.
When you eat at short intervals, the body is constantly working at digesting food, which increases TEE. It also keeps insulin levels in control, which reduces fat storage.
Such an eating pattern keeps over-eating at bay by maintaining proper portion control.
To keep your metabolism running at full capacity, eat regular meals at short intervals.
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