Long gone are the days of crazy, chemical-laden “magic” metabolism-boosting supplements. (Well, they’re probably still around, but hopefully people have stopped buying them!) These days, waking up a sluggish metabolism—and keeping it working correctly—is encouraged via some simple diet and lifestyle changes like exercise, supplements and, you know, actually eating.
Of course everyone’s metabolism is different, it’s largely hereditary (thanks, Mom!), and it changes as we age, so don’t fret over taking it from zero to 60—that’s just not possible, nor is it healthy. So how to boost your metabolism? Just through some easy changes in how you exercise, eat and sleep:
1. Drink Green Tea
Studies have shown consumption of the antioxidants (especially one called catechin) in green tea can help boost the amount of energy your body burns during digestion. If you’re in need of inspiration, we have 25 Tasty Ways to Up Your Green Tea Intake.
2. Eat Omega-3s
Yet another reason to love avocados, walnuts, chia seeds, grass-fed beef and salmon: Omega-3s are anti-inflammatory and help regulate blood sugar, which means they help your body regulate its metabolism.
3. Weight Training
No, you don’t have to become a bodybuilder. But strength training instead of cardio once a week can reverse some of the metabolic slowdown that comes with age.
4. Do Yoga
Try a Yin yoga sequence (like this one from MindBodyGreen), which includes some simple, yet effective, twists and moves that help support metabolism and encourage detoxification through the liver and gall bladder.
5. Run or Swim Intervals
If you’re a runner or swimmer, a few 30- or 60-second high-intensity intervals (once every five minutes or so) can ramp up your oxygen intake and train your cells to work harder to burn energy.
6. Eat at Regular Intervals
That’s a green light on snacking, folks. Grazing throughout the day (on healthy foods, of course) keeps your metabolism steady and avoids blood sugar spikes.
7. Eat a Healthy Breakfast
We’ve all heard this one since kindergarten, right? That’s because it’s true! Your metabolism slows way down while you’re sleeping, and it needs food to wake it up. Go for something with protein/omega-3s and healthy carbs, like apple-cinnamon chia pudding, a nettle omelet or avocado toast.
8. Eat Enough
Depriving yourself of calories doesn’t help your metabolism; in fact it can hurt it. When you’re not consuming enough, your metabolism slows down and goes into hibernation mode. You should eat at least enough to match your Basal Metabolic Rate (the number of calories you burn in resting state). Calculate your BMR here.
9. Protect Your Thyroid
Pesticides, environmental toxins, chemical cleaners, BPA in plastic containers, and countless other unhealthy things we encounter every day, can slow down your thyroid—an even bigger problem if you have an existing thyroid issue. Switch to green cleaning methods, store your food in mason jars, and opt for organics whenever possible—or at least wash your produce when you get it home.
10. Eat More Protein
No need to go full-on paleo, but your body takes longer to digest proteins, meaning it expends more energy doing so—which keeps your metabolism running at a higher level. We’re partial to this protein-packed pumpkin pie smoothie and chocolate-chia protein balls (pictured above).
11. Do a (Food-Based) Cleanse
Juice fasts are a mixed bag when it comes to metabolism. A short-term juice cleanse (think one or two days) can help reset your metabolism and digestion, but doing one for too long can wreak havoc on your metabolism. A food-based detox, where you may eliminate things like refined sugar, processed foods, dairy and/or gluten (while concentrating on metabolism-friendly healthy foods) can be a great way to give it a boost without making your body crazy. Try our 24-Hour Detox for Body and Mind, and our guide to making detox meals.
12. Support with Supplements
Thyroid-supporting supplements like zinc, selenium, quercetin and B vitamins can help stabilize your body’s insulin response and thyroid function, keeping your metabolism at a healthy level. We love Gaia’s Thyroid Support Supplement.
13. Get Enough Sleep
This one’s not optional! There have been so many studies over the past few years about the relationship between sleep and a healthy metabolism; sleep is essential to keeping everything in your body working like it should. Read this study and give yourself permission to go to bed an hour early!
14. Eat Spicy Foods
Spicier foods not only temporarily boost your metabolism, and they can help you feel full longer. Sure, the effect is minor (and temporary), but that’s reason enough to grab the Sriracha bottle for a Spicy Chicken Salad.
15. Avoid Overdoing it on Alcohol
Alcohol is right up there with sugar and caffeine in terms of its detrimental effects to your metabolism. Alcohol slows down the metabolism and spikes blood sugar levels. It also impairs brain function, is toxic to the liver, and disrupts the digestive tract. Not too fun, right? Limiting your consumption of alcohol can have a huge impact on your health, as well as your metabolism.2