Friday, January 20, 2012

How to Boost Your Metabolism

*Images courtesy: © Thinkstock photos/ Getty Images

There are several ways to give your metabolism an extra push. The key lies in maintaining the right balance between exercise, caloric intake and managing stress. Expert Shachi Sohal, H.O.D of the Dietetics Dept at Dr. B.L. Kapur Hospital, tells us 6 ways to boost metabolism.
  1. Add breakfast to your daily meal planner: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. By skipping breakfast your body assumes that you’re fasting and as a result it responds by slowing down your metabolism. Each morning, your body needs to rev up its metabolic rate and breakfast does exactly that. It keeps your hormone levels stable and helps regulate your blood sugar level, burning more calories.
  1. Eat more protein: It has been seen that the body requires 25% more energy to digest proteins as compared to carbohydrates and fat. However, the diet should be a balanced one, so try to substitute carbohydrates with proteins (e.g. potato with soybean, French fries with chicken). Also make sure you are eating healthy snacks. This will keep your blood sugar levels stable. Small frequent meals at regular intervals are always advisable.
  1. Water should be your best friend: The most forgotten nutrient ‘water’ is crucial for overall health. Water is also a natural appetite suppressant and washes out surplus amount of sodium and toxins from the body. An ideal healthy diet should include adequate amounts of liquids, such as fruit juices, skimmed milk etc. This is because if a person is dehydrated, he or she tends to feel more fatigued. Beverages like sweetened sodas, ultra sugary drinks should be avoided. According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, ‘green tea has thermogenic properties and promotes fat oxidation beyond that explained by its caffeine content per se.'
  1. Be stress free and burn calories. Studies suggest that stress poses a major hindrance in losing weight. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, a minimum of 20 minutes of exercise on a daily basis can reduce stress and improve overall health. This is because of a great mind-body connection. A body under stress has heightened levels of the cortisol hormone in the bloodstream, which suppresses the immune system and slows down digestion. So, the first step in boosting metabolism should be to cope with any stressful conditions.
  1. Workout with weights: The more lean muscle you have, the more calories you'll burn, even while resting. Gaining muscle mass boosts your metabolism and makes losing weight much easier. In a bid to give a boost to your metabolism and tighten your body on the whole, you must lift heavier weights for lesser number of repetitions. The tension in the body by lifting heavy weights will tone your body adequately. 
  1. Get enough chromium in your diet: Chromium is a vital mineral naturally found within the body and in some foods, such as apples, broccoli, green peppers, mushrooms, potatoes, and brewer’s yeast. Many studies have revealed that the mineral helps in losing weight. It actually increases insulin’s power to decrease the amount of body fat.The University of Maryland Medical Centre recommends only 600 mcg of chromium per day, if you are taking it in supplement form.

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