15 easy ways to power up your metabolism

Exercise and healthy eating might be essential weight loss tools, but how about eating chocolate and sleeping? Here are some surprising ways to kick-start your metabolism.

Exercise and healthy eating might be essential weight loss tools, but you might be surprised to learn about some other great ways to kick-start your metabolism.

1. Eat slowly

Double the chew time of every bite; studies show doing so increases the number of calories your body burns during digestion, burning 10 extra calories for a 300-calorie meal.

This could mean burning an extra 2000 calories each month.

2. Fidget

Older relatives telling you not to fidget might have been the soundtrack to your youth, but researchers at the Mayo Clinic discovered people who are constantly in motion – pacing, crossing and uncrossing legs etc – are less likely to store calories as fat than non-fidgeters.

3. Get some sun

Spending time in darkened rooms is the human equivalent of storing nuts for the winter, the lack of sunlight stimulating the same physiological functions in the body as gaining weight and sleep.

Taking a daily walk under the sun’s glorious rays will give your metabolism a much-needed boost – and it’ll also do wonders for your heart.

4. Drink more water

Drinking eight to 12 glasses of water boosts metabolism, helping you to burn significantly more calories a day, according to research by the University of Utah.

5. Eat chocolate (yes, really)

Hooray for dark chocolate! Researchers at Queen Margaret University found chocolate containing at least 70 per cent cacao synthesises fatty acids works to reduce the digestion and absorption of fats.

Dark chocolate also contains caffeine and the antioxidant catechin – both known metabolism boosters.

6. Invest in a standing desk

Although research on sitting versus standing is still in their infancy, one study by the University of Chester found those who used standing desks burned an average of 50 extra calories an hour.

7. Eat before bed

It might seem counterintuitive to wolf down a (healthy) snack just before bedtime, but doing so can actually help keep your blood sugar levels from crashing overnight (and thus prevent slowing down your metabolism).

8. Stay under the covers

Compelled to get up early and hit the gym?

University of Chicago Medical Center researchers have found that unless you’ve had more than six hours of sleep, you’re better off staying in bed. That’s because those who aren’t well-rested have difficulty processing carbs.

9. Keep nuts on standby

Resist the urge to binge by keeping a small tub of walnuts, cashews and almonds in your handbag. Studies show all three are great sources of magnesium – a known metabolism booster.

10. Turn up the air-con

Keep your bedroom icy cold and you could double the amount of fat your burn while you sleep, say researchers at National Institutes of Health.

They found that those who slept for a month in rooms cooled to 18C doubled the amount of brown adipose tissue – a type of fat that burns rather than stores calories.

11. Get keen on mustard

Whether you’re eating a steak or fish, adding one teaspoon of hot mustard can boost your metabolism by up to 25 per cent for several hours after eating it, say researchers at Oxford Polytechnic Institute.

12. Watch a comedy

Put your feet up and watch something that truly makes you giggle.

According to one study by Vanderbilt University, a solid 10 to 15-minute chortle session can cause a 10 to 20 per cent increase in basal energy expenditure, burning anywhere between 40 and 170 calories.

13. Enjoy some ‘me’ time

If you’re stressed, it’s more than likely cortisol – the hormone that tells the body to grab onto fat just in case you’re in the middle of a natural disaster – is likely to be flooding your body.

To help keep your metabolism firing, seek out new ways to relax, such as yoga or meditation.

14. Have a coffee

Caffeine can boost metabolism by an average of 3 to 11 per cent, and researchers at the University of Lausanne have found that lean women have an extra advantage – it boosts theirs by 29 per cent.

15. Just breathe

And when all else fails, focus on your breathing for a period every day.

Research from the University of Toronto found that the more oxygen you can bring into your body, the more energy you burn and the better your metabolism performs.

Written by Dilvin Yasa

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