Metabolism is a term that describes all the chemical reactions in your body. These chemical reactions keep your body alive and functioning. However, the word metabolism is often used interchangeably with metabolic rate, or the number of calories you burn. The higher it is, the more calories you burn and the easier it is to lose weight and keep it off. Having a high metabolism can also give you energy and make you feel better. Here are some natural ways to boost your metabolism.
1. Eat Plenty of Protein at Every Meal
Eating food can increase your metabolism for a few hours.
This is called the thermic effect of food (TEF). It’s caused by the extra calories required to digest, absorb and process the nutrients in your meal.
Protein causes the largest rise in TEF. It increases your metabolic rate by 15–30%, compared to 5–10% for carbs and 0–3% for fats (1Trusted Source).
Eating protein has also been shown to help you feel more full and prevent you from overeating (2Trusted Source, 3Trusted Source, 4Trusted Source, 5Trusted Source, 6Trusted Source, 7Trusted Source, 8Trusted Source).
One small study found that people were likely to eat around 441 fewer calories per day when protein made up 30% of their diet (9Trusted Source).
Eating more protein can also reduce the drop in metabolism often associated with losing fat. This is because it reduces muscle loss, which is a common side effect of dieting (10Trusted Source, 11Trusted Source, 12Trusted Source, 13Trusted Source, 14Trusted Source, 15Trusted Source).
2. Drink More Cold Water
This is because sugary drinks contain calories, so replacing them with water automatically reduces your calorie intake.
One study of overweight adults found that those who drank half a liter of water before their meals lost 44% more weight than those who didn’t (19Trusted Source).
3. Do a High-Intensity Workout
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) involves quick and very intense bursts of activity.
One study in overweight young men found that 12 weeks of high-intensity exercise reduced fat mass by 4.4 pounds (2 kg) and belly fat by 17% (35Trusted Source).
4. Lift Heavy Things
This means you will burn more calories each day, even at rest (40Trusted Source).
In one study, 48 overweight women were placed on a diet of 800 calories per day, along with either no exercise, aerobic exercise or resistance training (45Trusted Source).
After the diet, the women who did the resistance training maintained their muscle mass, metabolism and strength. The others lost weight, but also lost muscle mass and experienced a decrease in metabolism (45Trusted Source).
5. Stand up More
Sitting too much is bad for your health (46Trusted Source).
Some health commentators have even dubbed it “the new smoking.” This is partly because long periods of sitting burn fewer calories and can lead to weight gain (47Trusted Source).
In fact, compared to sitting, an afternoon of standing up at work can burn an extra 174 calories (48Trusted Source).
If you have a desk job, try standing up for short periods to break up the length of time you spend sitting down. You can also invest in a standing desk (49Trusted Source, 50Trusted Source, 51Trusted Source, 52Trusted Source).
6. Drink Green Tea or Oolong Tea
These teas help convert some of the fat stored in your body into free fatty acids, which may increase fat burning by 10–17% (56Trusted Source).
It’s thought their metabolism-boosting properties may help prevent the dreaded weight loss plateau that occurs due to a decrease in metabolism.
7. Eat Spicy Foods
However, many people can’t tolerate these spices at the doses required to have a significant effect (65Trusted Source).
One study of capsaicin, at acceptable doses, predicted that eating peppers would burn around 10 additional calories per meal. Over 6.5 years, this could account for 1 pound (0.5 kg) of weight loss for an average-weight male (66Trusted Source).
Alone, the effects of adding spices to your food may be quite small. However, it may lead to a slight advantage when combined with other metabolism-boosting strategies (67Trusted Source).
8. Get a Good Night’s Sleep
This may partly be caused by the negative effects of sleep deprivation on metabolism (70Trusted Source).
Lack of sleep has also been linked to increased blood sugar levels and insulin resistance, which are both linked to a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes (70Trusted Source, 71Trusted Source, 72Trusted Source, 73Trusted Source).
9. Drink Coffee
However, this seems to affect lean people more. In one study, coffee increased fat burning by 29% for lean women, but only 10% for obese women (80Trusted Source).
10. Replace Cooking Fats With Coconut Oil
Unlike other saturated fats, coconut oil is relatively high in medium-chain fats.
In one study, researchers found that medium-chain fats increased metabolism by 12% compared to long-chain fats, which raised it by just 4% (87Trusted Source).
Natural Ways to Boost Your Metabolism