Metabolism refers to the chemical reactions that occur in the body, mostly recognised as the break down of foods that we consume during digestion.
Metabolic rate describes the calories that we use up just doing every day things, including breathing (often called the resting or Basal Metabolic Rate – BMR).
Physical activity will also influence your metabolism. When you exercise you will obviously increase the amount of calories you are burning on top of your BMR, but you will also increase the amount of calories that you burn after your workout for a few hours.
The last factor to affect your metabolism is the thermic effect of food. If you follow us on Facebook or Twitter you will have seen our post back in February about thermic effects, but if not here’s a brief description:
When we eat we need calories to break up the food, this is known as the thermic effect of food. Some foods take more “effort” to break down than others, meaning that sometimes you can lose calories just by eating them, while other (fats for example) take hardly any effort at all.
Here are some top tips for maximising your metabolism:
- Eat high fibre carbohydrates – fruits, vegetables & whole grain products
- Eat vitamin rich foods – fruits, vegetables, eggs, liver & nuts
- Drink lots of water
- Make sure you are getting enough protein – milk, egg, fish, chicken etc
- Add spices to your diet – spices increase your body temperature for short periods, meaning that you burn more calories as you body regains its optimum temp
- Cut back on alcohol – alcohol dehydrates you and lowers you BMR
- Reduce your caffeine intake – same effects as alcohol
- Start a cardiovascular exercise routine – walk, jog, run, cycle, swim etc a few times a week
- Start a resistance training routine – by increasing your muscle mass you can raise you BMR