3 Diet Hacks To Boost Your Metabolism

When you think of metabolism, weight loss is probably one of the first things that come to mind. That's because, as Mayo Clinic explains, your metabolism is the body's way of turning food and drinks into energy. Your body needs energy in order to perform basic functions. Everything from balancing hormones to blood circulation takes energy in the form of calories to get the job done. Even the acts of resting and breathing require energy to be burned. 

How many calories the body needs to fire up to complete these basic functions is referred to as basal metabolic rate (BMR) or metabolism and that amount is not fixed. Your BMS is based on your body size and composition, age, and gender. According to Healthline, the higher your BMR, the more calories your body burns at rest — and that means it'll be easier to lose weight and keep it off for good.

Get enough calories to boost your metabolism

You may think boosting your BMR is all about getting more active. Yes, it's true that cardio workouts and weight training burn calories, per Everyday Health, but all that exercise won't stimulate your metabolism if you're not eating right. What you choose to put in your mouth and how you eat are critical. 

For starters, make sure you're eating enough. WebMD says that not getting sufficient calories every day can cause your body to go into starvation mode. As a result, your body stores calories instead of burning them. When you don't eat enough, you deprive your body of the vitamins and minerals it needs to thrive. According to Dietary Guidelines set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Department of Health and Human Services, women should get between 1,600 to 2,400 calories a day, and men 2,200 to 3,200 calories daily.

Some of us prefer to eat a small meal around every three hours throughout the day, but Livestrong warns that if you're not paying attention to portion size and the nutritional value of your food, this habit could lead you to consume too many calories. If you're trying to lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you consume in a day. So get your recommended daily calories from healthy foods, and get active... and you'll burn baby burn those calories away. A calorie deficit of 500 to 1,000 calories per day should help you shed two pounds per week — and that's the healthy way to go.

Add more protein to your meals

Including plenty of high-protein foods in your diet is also good for upping your metabolism. Eat This, Not That! says 46 grams a day is the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for women while men should eat 56 grams. A 2015 study in the American Journal of Physiology Endocrinology and Metabolism found that people who doubled their RDA had an easier time building and maintaining muscle and, consequently, had higher metabolism.

You can get protein at the start of your day with a breakfast of eggs and oatmeal. Two eggs pack 12 grams of protein, and one cup of oatmeal has 6 grams. Toss a few tablespoons (8 grams) of spirulina and the same amount of ground flaxseed (2.5 grams) into your green smoothie or orange juice and you've taken in 28.5 grams of protein before heading out the door!

Good sources of plant-based protein that make a healthy lunch or dinner option are chickpea pasta and tempeh, which has 17 grams per half-cup. When you're short on time or want a quick snack, vegan protein powders contain from 15 to 20 grams of protein per scoop. If you're a meat-eater, chicken is a great option, but trade the chicken breast for turkey breast and you'll get a whopping 26 grams of protein in every 3 ounces!

Swap the salt for sodium-free spices

Salt may be the spice of life, as they say, but it also leads to high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Replacing salt with flavorful spices can stimulate your metabolism while pleasing your palette.

MindBodyGreen ranks cayenne pepper as the top spice for boosting metabolism. It's full of capsaicin, which makes your body produce more heat from burning calories. Just a fourth of a teaspoon is a sufficient serving size. Cayenne pepper is a yummy addition to baked chicken, dirty rice, and even mango smoothies.

Boosted by curcumin, turmeric is another spice that's great for your metabolism. A 2019 study in Frontiers in Pharmacology found that people who consumed curcumin every day experienced a significant decrease in their BMI, weight, and waist circumference. Consuming 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of turmeric per day is plenty. Don't forget to mix in black pepper. A clinical trial published in Planta Medica showed that doing so improves absorption rates. Drinking turmeric (also known as golden milk) or adding it to scrambled eggs is delicious.

Ginger is an ideal spice for dropping bodyweight and minimizing waist-to-hip ratio, according to a 2018 study in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. Since ginger can interact with some medications, talk to your healthcare provider to make sure you won't have any reactions. Try adding this spice to hot tea, smoothies, or soup.