Four quick ways to maximize your metabolism

by SARA on November 2, 2010

Candy corn cupcakes

A slightly belated happy post-Halloween. Mine was colorful: I’m traveling to Kenya for ten days, leaving on the 8th, and I had my yellow fever vaccination on Friday. Turned out, I was among the 10-30% of recipients who actually got a mild form of the disease. Experiencing Halloween with a tropical illness (associated with exciting symptoms like “delirium” and “paranoia”) was a new one for me. I’m happy to say, I persevered–with the support of some candy corn, Twizzlers, and more than a few mini Reese’s. In honor of all those delectable leftover treats, today I’m bringing you four of my most tried-and-true, survive-the-test-of-time reporter’s tips for how to subtly nudge yourself (or, more accurately, your system) back on track….

Add some protein: Protein takes 25 percent more time to digest than other foods. Not only will you build energy and satiety, but you’ll also increase post-meal calorie burn by as much as 35 percent.

Yes, the spice thing does seem to have some credibility: The going theory on why this works is that burn-your-tongue spices heat up the body, causing it to go through calories in the same way it would after a small amount of exercise. According to a study published in the Journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, athletes who added red pepper to high-carb meals did slightly boost their resting and active metabolic rate for 30 minutes after the meal.

Coffee, tea, water…here’s what to know: There’s some evidence that drinking coffee, about six cups of cold water, or green tea can increase short term calorie burn by somewhere between five and 12 percent. Spicy food may also have a similar effect.

Pace your meals according to your body’s natural rhythm: This is an oldie but goodie. Since metabolism peaks midday—right when you’re most active—make lunch, not dinner, your biggest meal. Also critical is breakfast. According to a Johns Hopkins study, people who skip breakfast are 4.5 times as likely to be obese.

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Lauren Slayton November 2, 2010 at 8:26 am

Hope you feel better, Kenya sounds fun. Good post halloween “tricks” that really do work.

Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic November 2, 2010 at 11:05 am

Great tips! High intensity interval training also helps in boosting metabolism, and best of all – it makes for a shorter workout ;)

SARA November 2, 2010 at 3:57 pm

Yes!! That’s an excellent one, Bianca. Crazy how effective it is, too!

SARA November 2, 2010 at 3:59 pm

Thanks so much Lauren! I’m definitely excited for the trip itself. And, as a doctor friend pointed out, I now know that I have a “very robust” immune system!!

Marisa November 5, 2010 at 3:12 pm

Nice ideas! I’d been wondering about spicy food, actually.

Shelly November 5, 2010 at 10:49 pm

Really AWESOME post, I will defintely be a regular reader! All great points and short, sweet, and to the point, I like it!

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