It’s easiest to blame our genes for all the flab we put on. But it’s easy to stay fit if we choose and eat food wisely. The aim should also be to increase metabolism, which is balancing the calories eaten with those spent. The challenge gets bigger with a wide variety of fast foods available loaded with sugar and trans fats, particularly when one gets to do nothing more than sit in front of a computer till dusk, only to get into a car and then on to the couch before the television screen, till you call it a day. Here are some natural ways to boost and increase your metabolism.
Type of Food:
Protein rich foods help burn twice the amount of calories. Skim milk, skim curd, low fat or fat free cheese, nuts in moderate portions, egg whites, dressed chicken, turkey and fatty fish are great choices. High fiber foods in whole grains, fruits and veggies with edible skin, make the body work harder to digest them, thus making the body burn more calories. Reducing some carbohydrates’ and replacing them with protein and fiver foods is a great start.
Big heavy meals and fatty foods slow down metabolism and can make you sluggish. Fasting (crash diet or starvation) and feasting, both have negative impaction metabolism and lead to more fat deposition and weight gain. Portion control of food is vital. Eating smaller meals and two to three smaller healthy snacks comprising fruits, veggies or lean protein are also known to boost metabolism. Healthier snacks also ward off the tendency to overeat during the main meals.
Frequency and Timings:
Eating every two to three hours is a guaranteed way to lose weight. However, timely eating is important for achieving synchronization with fat burning, as the body builds more muscles only to burn more calories. Eating a wholesome breakfast, when the body is at its peak metabolism, will certainly encourage better fat burning and weight control. It’s easy to stay fit if we choose and eat food wisely. The aim should also be to balance the calories eaten with those spent.
High intensity exercises such as interval training and weight lifting help burn calories long after one finishes the workout, which is referred to as the ‘after-burn’ effect. Strength training on the other hand, helps boost muscles mass, thereby increasing the metabolic rate, which in turn helps burn more fat and calories. Early morning exercise or yoga works best to prolong the after-burn effects.
Green tea with its powerful antioxidant catechins and caffeine, coffee (known to be a stimulant), and chilies with capsaicin, are known to elevate metabolism. Eicosa Pentanoic acid and Docosa Hexanoic acid, and Omega 3 fatty acids are also known to boost metabolism.
Cold water is the best remedy to rev up metabolism as it uses the body’s energy to warm it, thus helping burn some calories. At least three to four litres of water daily encourages higher metabolism rates.
As one ages, the metabolic rate also slows down. But physical activity and a balanced diet are two effective ways to keep your metabolism going. A few minutes’ break every now and then-to grab a glass of water, choosing the stairs over an elevator, or walking across to a grocery store can promote a higher metabolic rate.
A sound night’s sleep helps burn more calories by increasing the production of Leptin, a hormone that thwarts appetite and boosts metabolism. Good sleeping patterns also prevent late night bingeing and snacking.
Meals for the day:
Wake up: 1 glass of skim milk or green tea, or 1 cup of coffee
Breakfast: 2 to 3 slices of whole wheat bread, 2 egg whites and 1 cup of papaya
Mid-morning: Fruit yoghurt
Noon: 1 cup of green tea with a dash of lime to enhance catechin absorption
1.30 pm: 2 rotis, 2 pieces of grilled chicken or 1 cup of rajma, 1 cup of mixed vegetable curry and salad
3.30 pm: 1 cup of coffee
5.00 pm: Apple with 5 almonds or 2-3 walnuts
6.30 pm: Cracker with tahini or hummus
8.00 pm: Quinoa pulao (with lentils and veggies)
10.00 pm: 1 cup of skim milk