In America today, more than 149 million adults are overweight or obese and obesity is growing throughout many developed countries around the world.
There is much evidence that points to dietary and other lifestyle habits as the source of this problem, and as a result, numerous diet and exercise fads have taken the country by storm.
Unfortunately, most of them fail to deliver the promised results and often cause the individual to regain any weight lost plus some. Such fads ultimately fail to address the main cause of weight gain, which is a sluggish metabolism.
The only effective and permanent way to lose weight is to improve your resting metabolic rate, and this can only be done through a combination of exercise, lifestyle changes and a healthy, balanced diet.
Natural Metabolism Boosters
- Spicy Foods- If you’re into spicy foods, then you’ve already got a leg up on improving your metabolism. Common ingredients like hot sauce, cayenne pepper, jalapenos and ginger contribute to an effect known as thermogenesis, which
causes your body temperature to rise sharply. This increase in temperature takes energy, so your body boosts your metabolic rate in order to burn more calories to fuel the process. Numerous studies have shown that this phenomenon can increase metabolism by as much as eight percent for two to three hours. The effects are even greater when combined with exercise.As if that’s not impressive enough, research has found that people who eat more spicy foods tend to eat less overall. This is because spicy things suppress your appetite and make you feel fuller with less food.
- Coffee – Do you like to start the day with a piping hot cup of coffee? If so, you could already have an edge on weight loss. The caffeine found in coffee suppresses appetite and induces thermogenesis, much like spicy foods do. Because it also increases energy, it makes you more likely to get up and engage in physical activity. However, you will only reap noticeable benefits if you drink your coffee black. Dumping cream and sugar into your coffee adds a ton of extra calories and negates any of the caffeine’s positive effects.
- Fish Oil – A study performed by the University of Western Ontario in Canada found that taking fish oil can improve metabolic rates so much that the body burns an additional 400 calories per day. Fish oil is rich in the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, which discourage the body from storing fat and increase levels of fat-reducing enzymes. It is recommended that you take a fish oil supplement containing at least 300 combined milligrams of DHA and EPA, but you can also eat fish. A three ounce serving of salmon, tuna, mackerel or sardines provides roughly one gram of omega-3 fish oils.
- Fruit and Vegetables – Current government guidelines recommend at least five servings of fresh fruit and vegetables per day, but most Americans fall painfully short of that figure. Eating plenty of fresh produce is one of the best ways to increase your metabolism because most of them are calorie-negative. This means that they take more calories to digest than the few they provide. Fruit and vegetables are also rich in essential nutrients that help you body to sustain a healthy metabolic rate. Furthermore, when eaten at the beginning of a meal, they take up room in your stomach that you might otherwise fill with more calorically-dense foods like meat and carbohydrates.
- Mushrooms – Mushrooms have long been thought of as nutritionally useless, but the tide is beginning to turn on this unfortunate misconception. Besides containing an abundance of essential vitamins and minerals, they also possess special carbohydrates called polysaccharides that help to boost your resting metabolic rate. These carbohydrates will also reduce your cravings for unhealthy sweets. Because mushrooms are so versatile and mildly flavored, they can be added to almost any meal.
- Water – Most Americans, as many as 74 percent, suffer from chronic dehydration and aren’t aware of it. What’s worse is that it may be contributing to their expanding waistlines. The kidneys require plenty of water in order to function properly and when they aren’t getting it, they call upon the liver for backup. One of the liver’s many jobs is to help you metabolize stored fat into energy, but it can’t do this efficiently when it’s busy helping the kidneys. Drinking at least eight glasses of water each day, or more if you sweat a lot, can increase your metabolic rate by as much as 30 percent!
- Avoid Stress – Research has shown that excessive and prolonged stress is one of the biggest contributors to obesity in modern America. Stress causes your body to release large amounts of cortisol, also known as the belly fat hormone. This hormone raises blood sugar, increases appetite and slows metabolism, which makes it easy to gain weight and virtually impossible to lose any. It’s important that you eliminate stress as quickly as possible. Take time out for yourself, go on vacation, indulge in a hobby or just try to relax at the end of the day.
- Eat Less Sugar – The average American consumes about 200 pounds of sugar annually in the form of things like soft drinks, baked goods and candy. That’s not even counting the consumption of highly-refined flours, which are no better than sugar. Excessive consumption of sugars leads to high insulin, which causes your body to store calories as fat. Furthermore, all of that insulin simultaneously drives down your metabolism and makes it hard to lose weight. While it’s impractical to recommend that you completely avoid all sugar and refined flour, you should at least keep them restricted to special occasions.
- Weight-Lifting – Weight-lifting is a great activity for both men and women that will really help to ramp up your metabolism. Spending just half an hour lifting weights will provide a boost to your resting metabolic rate that lasts for several days afterward. Also, the increase in both testosterone and lean muscle mass will lend an additional metabolism increase that will cause your body to consume more calories, even while you’re sleeping!