Metabolism is the set of life-sustaining chemical reactions in organisms. The three main purposes of metabolism are the conversion of food to energy in order to run cellular processes; the conversion of food and fuel to building blocks for nucleic acids, lipids, and proteins; and the elimination of nitrogenous wastes (ammonia, urea, creatinine, and uric acid).
Essentially, these chemical reactions that occur inside your body keep you alive and fully functioning. Having a high metabolic rate means you're burning more calories, losing more weight, and keeping those unwanted pounds off. Since having a high metabolism can help you feel much more energetic and healthy, it's essential to do all you can to give yourself a boost.
Here are some great tips for increasing your metabolism and living a much happier and healthier life:
Eat healthier foods
Pizza, pasta, and desserts are great, sure -- but they aren't doing your body any favors. When you're home, you should be trying to eat much healthier if you're serious about improving your metabolism. But you need to do the same when you go out to eat, as well. Luckily, we're starting to see more people consuming healthier meals while eating out. In fact, 67% of millennial consumers say that they love ordering healthy food options at restaurants.
Here are some of the most nutritious and metabolism-boosting foods to consider throwing into your diet:
- Seafood -- Seafood and seaweed are iodine-rich foods. Iodine is a master nutrient inside of the thyroid gland and plays a crucial role in building metabolism. Try incorporating a little more seafood into your diet and don't pass on the seaweed!
- Lentil Soup -- Lentil soup is packed with fiber and other helpful vitamins and minerals. The fiber can give your metabolism a significant boost.
- Pineapple Salsa -- The bromelain inside of pineapple will help you digest food much more efficiently. Additionally, the capsaicin found in jalapeño is a compound known for revving up the metabolism.
Get out and dance
Simply getting more exercise will help you feel better and give your metabolism a jolt, but high-intensity workouts like dancing can significantly increase your metabolic rate. One study in overweight men found that 12 weeks of high-intensity exercise reduced fat mass by 4.4 pounds and belly fat by as much as 17%.
Dancing can greatly boost your metabolism and can even burn as much as 400 calories in just thirty minutes. Also, resistance training and heavy lifting can lead to more burned calories and improve your metabolism.
"The more muscle you have the faster your metabolism is going to be," said nutritionist and dietitian Helen Bond. "You are going to burn more calories, even [during] rest."
Stand up and drink water
It sounds simple, but far too many Americans sit down all day and aren't drinking nearly as much water as they should. Long periods of sitting can actually lead to weight gain. Conversely, an afternoon of standing up can burn an extra 174 calories! If you work at a desk, try giving yourself a few breaks each hour to stand up.
Additionally, people who drink more cold water instead of sugary beverages are much more successful at losing weight and keeping it off. Luckily, the average person in the U.S. is drinking 38% more water than 15 years ago. Drinking as little as 17 ounces of water can increase resting metabolism by as much as 30% for an hour.
Cook with coconut oil
Rather than cooking with conventional saturated fats, coconut oil is a much better option. Coconut oils are high in medium chain triglycerides, which are fatty acids that are metabolized differently than most other fats, leading to all kinds of beneficial effects on metabolism.
Getting your body to a healthy weight is always a good idea, but finding ways to give you a boost in energy can be extremely beneficial, as well. It's time to start thinking about increasing your metabolism!