Is it possible to speed up your metabolism?
When it comes to our metabolism, there’s a lot of conflicting information out there. Certain weight loss brands claim that their juices or teas are the answer, but any evidence to back these claims up tends to be pretty inconsistent. Whilst it is possible to boost your metabolism, it’s vital to first understand how the metabolism works and then implement some simple tweaks into your daily routine to help support its performance.
What is metabolism, and how does it work?
To put it simply, your metabolism is based on the number of calories or energy your body burns to perform its regular function, including breathing, digestion, blood circulation and cell renewal. A high metabolic rate means that the body can burn more calories faster, and a low or sluggish metabolism uses fewer calories to keep the body moving. Your metabolism exists in every cell of your body and is essential for keeping you alive.
What affects the metabolism?
The metabolism is a complex infrastructure. Several factors can influence its performance, including your body size, gender, age, hormones, genetics, diet, sleep, and hydration levels, to name a few.
Studies have shown a significant connection between hormones and metabolism. As we know, stable hormone levels are crucial for the smooth functioning of the body. A slump in hormones such as cortisol, thyroid, oestrogen or testosterone can lead to weight gain, which is why many women experience an increase in visceral fat (the excess weight that develops around the abdomen) during menopause.
An increase in cortisol (the stress hormone) can also lead to weight gain and a surge in appetite. This makes you more likely to overeat, mainly carbs and sugar, which drives insulin resistance and escalates levels of insulin which can cause the body to store more fat.
Small changes make a significant impact
An unstable lifestyle can significantly impact our metabolism, slowing it down so we’re not burning calories as we should be. And, in the same way, good choices can help to rev it up. Here are a few simple actions that you can implement into your daily routine to enhance your metabolism and keep it balanced at an optimal rate.
Eat right and leave longer gaps between meals
Snacking in between meals raises insulin levels which makes your body more likely to store fat. Try to leave at least four hours between meals and focus on nutrient-balanced meals that consist of foods like whole grains, vegetables and legumes, which are perfect for ramping up the metabolism and aiding weight loss.
The more water you drink, the better your metabolism performs, so aim for at least two litres of water per day.
Studies have shown that too little sleep can significantly impact your metabolism as well as your immune system and cognitive performance. It can also increase the stress hormone cortisol, which can have quite a negative effect on metabolism, as we’ve already established.
Less than six hours of sleep can increase your hunger and appetite for carbs and sugar so aim for at least six to eight hours of good quality sleep a night.
Building muscle mass with weight-bearing exercises is very important for ramping up your metabolism and burning more calories. And the good news is that you don’t need to spend hours in the gym to reap the benefits – start by adding some dumbbells into a home exercise routine. There are plenty of tutorials available on YouTube, showing you how to use them to their full advantage.
Focus on fibre-rich foods
High fibre foods fill you up for longer because they’re naturally bulky. Add greens, beans, legumes and whole grains to your meals as much as possible. These foods are all rich in fibre, nutrients, vitamins and minerals, and take longer to digest, which is excellent for our metabolism.
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Disclaimer: Please be aware that results and benefits may vary from patient to patient taking into consideration factors such as age, lifestyle and medical history.