The most effective way to raise your metabolism is physical activity. Not only do you burn calories while exercising, but a bout of moderate-intensity exercise can raise your metabolic rate for up to two hours after exercise. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week for the calorie burn and overall health benefits, and keep moving throughout the day. Minimizing the amount of time you sit and increasing your activity throughout the day can add up to big benefits over time. Get up from your desk and walk a lap around the building every hour or take the stairs instead of the elevator.
Muscle tissue burns up to three times as many calories as fat tissue when you are at rest. Strength training helps increase your muscle mass, meaning you’ll burn more calories even when you’re doing nothing. Plus, a 150-pound man will burn 220 calories in one hour of weight training.
Ditch extreme diets
When you eat far less calories than your body needs or fast for extended periods of time, your body goes into starvation mode and stores fat. Keep your daily calorie intake at a reasonable level (above 1200 calories per day is a good general benchmark) even when you’re trying to lose weight. Make each calorie count by filling your plate with fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and high-fiber whole grains.
Studies have shown that consuming three servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy every day can help you burn more fat and lose more weight. Beyond it’s role in weight control, low-fat or fat-free dairy also promotes bone and heart health.
Sip green tea
Drinking three cups of green tea per day can help your body to burn up to 100 extra calories thanks to catechins, powerful antioxidants that may have additional heart health and cancer prevention benefits.
Feel the buzz (in moderation)
Caffeine temporarily raises your metabolic rate. In fact, the amount of caffeine in one cup of coffee can temporarily increase your metabolic rate by 15%. Coffee may have other health benefits as well, including reducing risk of diabetes and heart disease and warding off mental decline and Alzheimer’s disease. Just don’t take it too far – excess caffeine intake can lead to headaches and insomnia.
Spice It Up
Hot chili peppers and chili powder contain capsaicin, an antioxidant that can temporarily increase metabolic rate up to 15%. As an added bonus, the heat in peppers can also increase satiety, helping you to eat less.
So what’s the bottom line?
Eat a well-balanced diet comprised of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein and whole grains and exercise more. While certain foods, including dairy, green tea, caffeine and hot peppers may increase your metabolic rate slightly, the difference is minimal compared to the effect of just 30 minutes of exercise daily.