It goes without saying that the metabolism is an essential function of your body - after all it is how we process food and create energy. So obviously it can also have a profound impact on how we look and feel within. No matter where you are with your wellness routine, giving the metabolism a little extra love and attention can enhance your overall health and give your body a delicious reset.
So here are my top 10 ways to boost your metabolism and leave you feeling lighter, more energized, and more aligned.
1. Move Your Body
Interval training is a great way to kickstart the metabolism. But, you don’t have to overdo it to reap the benefits. My kind of interval training for the metabolism includes a combination of the roller, mat, and rebounder to get a well-rounded workout with elevated cardio and nourishing recovery. This type of training that involves moving intensely with an elevated heart rate alternated with recovery periods has been shown to have a statistically significant impact on the metabolism.
2. Think Happy Thoughts About What You Eat (Yes, I am Serious!)
This might sound out there but it is a real thing. In fact, One of the most powerful components of how your metabolism works is not so much aboutwhat you eat, it’s about your relationshipwith your food. It’s the sum total of your innermost thoughts and feelings about what you eat. You could eat the healthiest meal on the planet, but if you’re thinking toxic thoughts the quality of your digestion goes down and your fat storage metabolism can actually go up. If a group of us were looking at the same plate of food, no two people would see the same thing, or metabolize it the same way.
It works like this: If you were to eat some ice cream, the image of that ice cream would first appear in the higher center of the brain. Then, information is relayed to the limbic system or the “lower” portion of the brain. Within the limbic system is the hypothalamus, which takes sensory, emotional and thought input and translates this information into physiological responses. Whatever you are thinking sends the signal to your brain, and your brain sends the signal to your body which creates a physical response as to how to digest the food. So, if the ice cream is your favorite flavor and you consume it with a full measure of delight and pleasure, the hypothalamus will take this positive input by sending signals to the salivary glands, esophagus, stomach, intestines, pancreas, liver, and gallbladder. Digestion will be stimulated and you’ll have a better metabolic breakdown of the ice cream while burning its calories more efficiently. But, if you feel guilty about eating the ice cream or you are judging yourself for eating it, the hypothalamus will take this negative input and signal the digestive organs leading to a poor breakdown and burning of its calories.
Any guilt about food, shame about the body, or judgment about health are considered stressors by the brain and the brain sends stress signals throughout the body. This puts the body into fight or flight mode, which turns off your digestion. You could eat the healthiest meal on the planet, but if you’re thinking toxic thoughts the digestion of your food goes down and your fat storage metabolism can go up.
3. Limit Toxin Exposure
It’s no coincidence that the average toxic burden on Americans and the obesity rate in the United States are both higher than ever. Reducing your toxin exposure can have an amazing impact on your health and give the metabolism a boost. Replace chemical-based cleaning products with natural ones like distilled white vinegar, baking soda, borax, and other products you can find at a local health food store. And don’t forget to look in your beauty bag and swap out products for non-toxic formulas. Keeping the air in your home clean is also important. Install an air filter and keep indoor plants to improve air quality. And, lastly, filter your water. Tap water is a major source of toxins.
4. Add Probiotics and Fiber to Your Diet
When your body absorbs toxins, it stores them in fat, which is why fiber and probiotics are strategic weapons for weight loss. Fiber is an excellent way to reduce the body’s absorption of toxins and consuming at least 35 grams of fiber per day (plus drinking lots of water) can make an impact. Probiotics are also excellent for digestion as they support the healthy bacteria in your gut. You can increase your probiotic intake by consuming natural probiotic foods such as pickles, sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha, and yogurt. It might also help to add in a probiotic supplement that contains 80 billion bifidobacteria and lactobacilli. Check out my fermented foods blog for more!
5. Reduce Stress
Easier said than done, I know, but decreasing stress can have a profound ripple effect on the body and on your overall health - including the health of your metabolism. Stress impacts hormone levels, which can cause cortisol — the hormone that regulates appetite — to spike. By reducing stress, you can lower cortisol levels, control your appetite and keep the metabolism running efficiently.
6. Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Sleep is so important for the metabolism to function properly. Lack of sleep has been linked to increased blood sugar levels and insulin resistance, and can boost the hunger hormone and decrease the fullness hormone. Getting into a parasympathetic “rest and digest” state and sleeping well is crucial to digestion and overall metabolism.
7. Eat before 7 p.m.
Allowing the body to fast overnight is a great way to boost the metabolism. And, the good news is, no complicated time-keeping is necessary to achieve this. Simply try to eat your last meal before 7 p.m. This will allow the body around 12 hours to rest, digest, and recharge.
8. Get Your Vitamin Bs
Vitamins and minerals are ultra-important for well-balanced health. And, B vitamins especially play an essential role in metabolic rate. Adding B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), and B6 (pyridoxine) to your diet through food (hello, bananas!) and supplements can support the metabolism.
9. Support Your Thyroid With Thyroid Superfoods
The cause of thyroid disorders is largely unknown, but there is evidence that some foods can give thyroid function a good boost. Because the thyroid supports the body’s metabolism, eating these foods can aid in the improvement of metabolism function, especially if you have hypothyroidism. I recommend incorporating the following foods into your diet for thyroid and metabolism health:
- Roasted Seaweed:Kelp, nori, wakame, and other types of seaweed are excellent sources of iodine, which is a trace element that is necessary for healthy thyroid function.
- Nuts:Selenium helps support a healthy thyroid function and some nuts, such as Brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, and hazelnuts, are rich in this beneficial element.
- Fish:Rich in both selenium and Omega-3 fatty acids, fish can help decrease inflammation, which is helpful for the thyroid.
- Organic Dairy Products:Yogurt, kefir, cheese, and milk all contain iodine, which helps prevent enlarged thyroid glands (known as goiter).
- Fresh Eggs:Eggs are another amazing thyroid superfood to consume because they are rich in selenium and iodine. For maximum benefit, it is best to consume the whole egg as the yolk holds the most nutrients.
10. Nourish Your Metabolism
In addition to incorporating more thyroid superfoods in your diet, other ingredients such as celery juice, cinnamon, and chia seeds can also support a healthy metabolism. This list includes some of my most favorite metabolism-boosting foods to consume in addition to the thyroid superfoods.
- Protein:Filling up on protein helps stabilize blood sugar and can boost your metabolism so that you burn even more calories. And, because it fills you up with that good kind of full, it can also help you eat less.
- Fiber:Eating at least 35 grams of fiber per day is areallygreat way to awaken the metabolism. That’s because fiber is hard for the body to digest, it takes more energy to digest it, thereby expending more calories. If you consume a high fiber diet, be sure to drink plenty of water to keep your digestive track running smoothly.
- Digestive Enzymes:With age, the body produces fewer enzymes, making it harder to digest and assimilate all of the nutrients from the foods we eat. Digestive enzymes help increase metabolism, speed up digestion, boost energy, break down food, and eliminate excess fat. I recommend taking a digestive enzyme at the beginning of each meal to help you absorb more nutrients from your meals.
- Hydration:Water is so important for overall health and plays an important role in the metabolism. The body needs clean water to burn fat and awaken the metabolism. By increasing your water intake you may increase lipolysis - the process by which the body burns fat for energy. So, drinking enough water is essential to flush toxins and for metabolizing fat from food and drink, as well as any stored fat in the body. I recommend you start each day with a large glass of water with either the juice of half a lemon or lime. This helps to alkalize the body and citric acids can boost metabolism, helping you burn more calories and store less fat. Plus warm lemon or lime water on an empty stomach early in the morning helps stimulate the gastrointestinal tract.
- Celery Juice:Starting your morning with some fresh celery juice is another great way to improve the metabolism. It’s a fantastic hydrator and helps the body flush out toxins, reduce bloat, improve digestion, and relax the nervous system. Just wash one bunch of celery, press in your juicer or blend in a Vitamix with a bit of water and one juice of a lemon and strain. Drink immediately.
- Coffee:Your morning cup of Joe comes with some fantastic metabolism-boosting benefits. In fact, studies show that the caffeine in coffee can increase the metabolism by 3-11% and promote fat burning. To up the ante, add a dash of cinnamon to enhance the flavor and increase fat-burning. Cinnamon also helps support the conversion of sugar to energy, suppresses appetite, and speeds up the metabolism.
- Pickle Juice:It sounds a little strange but drinking pickle juice is great for the metabolism because it contains vinegar and is known to stabilize blood sugar levels. It’s also an amazing probiotice, which aids digestion and the metabolism. Plus, pickle juice contains sodium and is a natural electrolyte to prevent dehydration.
- Apple Cider Vinegar:Speaking of vinegar, apple cider vinegar is another great thing to consume for a metabolism boost. It contains acetic acid, which is known to reduce belly fat and prevent fat deposition. Drinking 1 TBSP per day is a good way to activate the metabolism.
- Chia Seeds:These tiny but mighty seeds are rich in fiber, which is excellent for the metabolism. Additionally, chia seeds come with a host of great weight loss benefits. On top of that, chia seeds contain Zinc, which helps the body’s leptin production, aka the appetite regulating hormone.
- Green Tea:Green tea contains caffeine and a flavonoide called Cetachin which is an antioxidant. Both these compounds can speed up your metabolism, breaking down excess fat. Be careful not to consume too much caffeine, though. A great alternative is to add matcha to your yogurt for breakfast.
- Spicy Foods:Peppers contain capsaicin, a substance that can boost your metabolism and help you maintain a healthy weight. Eating spicy food in general is great for metabolism because the spiciness causes the heart rate to increase and, in turn, you burn more calories.
- Ginger:Ginger is an amazing detoxifier that comes with lots of amazing benefits. By consuming ginger, you enhance the thermic effect of food and promote feelings of satiation. It also helps with digestion.
There you have it! My tried-and-true ways to boost the metabolism. In addition to trying these out, I created a 5-Day Metabolism Boost program to ignite the metabolism, boost immunity, burn fat, reduce inflammation, elevate confidence, improve sleep, and feel lighter in just five short days. In this program, I include daily morning and evening workouts for movement, delicious and nourishing recipes and shopping lists so you can eat with your metabolism in mind, ideas on how to cleanse the body, and daily accountability. This program is included with the Aligned Life Studio membership or is also available on its own for non-members. And trust me, the results people are getting are absolutely amazing!