At age 25, the inevitable has finally happened to me — my metabolism has slowed down. Until recently, I was always one of those people who could eat whatever I liked with minimal consequence. “Wait until you go hit your mid-20s!” older people would tell me. “Then you’ll have to work so much harder.” Turns out, they were right. Gone are the days when I could scoff an entire pizza and half a pint of ice cream without so much of a blip on the scales. Sad times!
Luckily for me (and pretty much anyone else in their 20s who doesn’t have the surname ‘Hadid’) your metabolism isn’t actually fixed. There are things you can do to get your metabolism firing on all cylinders. Read on for 5 simple hacks you can add to your everyday routine to rev up your metabolism.
If you want to ramp your metabolism, consider adding some spicy curries to your dinner rotation. Chilli peppers contain a substance called capsaicin which can boost your metabolism by around 8%. That said, nutritionist Emma Cronin warns that this strategy isn’t for everyone, as spicy food can aggravate the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
We’re officially giving you permission to nab a few extra hours of sleep! If you’re not already getting enough shut-eye, improving your sleep habits could be the key to speeding up your metabolism. “Lack of sleep can negatively affect metabolism and lead to increased blood sugar levels and insulin resistance,” says nutritionist Emma Cronin.
“Lack of sleep can also boost the hunger hormone ghrelin and reduce the fullness hormone leptin which could explain why improved sleep has also been found to reduce the intake of carbs and fats compared to periods of sleep deprivation, leading to weight loss.”
Yes, we know it’s uncomfortable. But research shows that taking an ice-cold shower can help kickstart your metabolism. As your body has to work hard to generate more heat (which is what causes you to shiver), it increases your metabolic rate. But that’s not all! Cold showers have also been known to cause hormonal changes that trigger the production of brown fat — ie. the fat that burns calories to produce heat. Plus, it’s a super refreshing way to start your morning, once you get over the initial shock!
It’s no secret that green tea has dozens of health benefits. But did you know it can boost your metabolism, too? “There are some studies which show that green tea can raise metabolism by up to 5% as it helps convert some of the fat stored in your body into free fatty acids, which can increase fat burning,” says nutritionist Emma Cronin. Another study revealed that 4 cups per day resulted in a significant reduction in weight, waist circumference and blood pressure amongst diabetics.
By far one of the most effective ways to stoke your metabolism is to ensure you’re eating enough protein with every meal. “Increasing protein intake to 20-30% of your daily calorie intake can assist in protecting your muscle stores and fat-free mass,” says nutritionist Emma Cronin. “This keeps your metabolism high, increases the thermic effect of food, and keeps hunger at bay to prevent cravings and bad snacking that can occur after the initial weight loss.”
Need some help upping your protein? Check out some of our fave protein-packed breakfasts, or convenient high protein snacks that aren’t boiled eggs.