20 Ways to Speed Up Your Metabolism

By Heather Bauer, RD,CDN, REDBOOK

Whether you're trying to shed some lbs or just stay fit, these tricks to increase your metabolism from nutritionist Heather Bauer, RD,CDN, will help you reach the finish line even faster.

1. Keep Hydrated I'm sure the general population thinks dieticians sound like a broken record when it comes to the whole water thing, but it really is important. Drinking the recommended eight cups of water a day will help your body function at peak performance levels.

2. Keep Calcium Levels Up Current obesity research shows that a dip in calcium levels can trigger the same hormone that causes the body to hold onto fat to be released. Choose low-fat dairy, cheese, yogurt, salmon, tofu, and oatmeal.

3. Ditch the Drinks
Happy hours and late night cocktails can do a number on your metabolism the next day. Research shows that the day after a night of drinking, there is a significant dip in your metabolic rate. Combine this with hangover cravings, and you've got a double disaster.

4. Eat Constantly Snacking does not have to be a bad thing. If your stomach is growling, it means that you need more fuel. Not providing your body with food is a surefire way to slow down its basic functions. Choose high-fiber, high-protein snacks like low-fat cheese, fiber crackers, fruits, veggies, or Greek yogurt. Starving your body will sabotage all of your dieting efforts.

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5. Destress Yourself Stress raises the amount of cortisol in your body. Cortisol is a hormone that tells the body to hold onto fat in case of a stressful situation (think more natural disaster-level stress, not a bad day at work-level). Experiment with yoga or meditation as ways to lower stress levels and clear your mind.

6. Decrease Diet Soda Although it's low in calories and seems like an easy swap for high calorie beverages, diet soda may actually have adverse effects on your metabolism. Water and seltzer are better options, but if you must drink diet soda, limit your consumption to two cans (not Big Gulps!) per week.

7. Don't Forget Your ZZZ's Getting a least seven to eight hours of sleep every night is crucial to a healthy metabolism. Anything less can adversely affect your body's ability to burn calories. Surprisingly, excess sleep may do the same thing. It's best to keep a consistent bedtime and wake up close to the same time every morning

8. Soak Up the Sun Research shows that when a person spends long periods of time in a darkened, dull environment, it stimulates the same physiological functions in the body as gaining weight and sleep. The best daylight hours are between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., so make it a point to get up from your desk and take a brisk walk outside. Aside from soaking up rays, you'll rev up your heart rate and benefit from the fresh air.

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9. Work Out in the Cold Doing any type of cardio exercise in the cold can increase the ability of brown fat in the body to work at maximum capacity. Newly published research indicates that brown fat helps efficiently burn the white fat in your body, which is the considered that "bad fat."

10. Drink Kombucha Tea This tea, which is made from the Kombucha black mushroom, has racked up accolades in almost every health area-claims range from easing arthritis to detoxifying the liver. The detoxifying nature of this beverage may help your body function at an optimal level, which means a healthy metabolism.

11. Increase Weight-Bearing Exercises One pound of muscle burns 35 to 50 calories, while one pound of fat burns a measly 5 to 10 calories. Increasing your muscle mass can increase your body's basal metabolic rate (BMR) by up to 40%. There's no need to hit the weights hard, either, simply using light weights at high repetition has been proven to tone muscle and burn fat.

12. Up Your Vitamin C Vitamin C and calcium are partners in crime when it comes to your metabolic rate. Calcium speeds up metabolism, while vitamin C helps the body absorb this mineral, creating an overall win-win situation.

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13. Vitamin B is Key Getting in all over your vitamin B, which you can do by incorporating small amounts of nuts, seeds, lean chicken, beef, and fish into your diet, helps maintain a healthy metabolism. Legumes are also a great source of B vitamins; plus they're chock-full of fiber.

14. Drink Green Tea The polyphenols, specifically EGCG, in green tea have properties that rev up your metabolic rate. However, green tea takes dedication. You have to drink about 4 to 5 cups a day to see results.

15. Avoid High Fructose Corn Syrup It's one of the most controversial issues in nutrition: Studies show that HFCS can make the body insulin-resistant. Also, when given the choice, the body stores fructose as fat before it does glucose.

16. Try Interval Training Aside from curing workout boredom, interval training allows you to burn more calories in less time. This is a great way for busy people with less time to get in a maximum workout.

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17. Drink Oolong Tea Swap your second latte of the day with a fresh cup of oolong tea. Chinese medicine and celebrities alike tout the calorie boosting properties of this electrifying elixir.

18. Spicy Peppers Take your pick: Jalapenos, chili, cayenne, habanero, etc.. These fiery little guys contain capsaicin, which is why you get a burning sensation in your mouth when you eat them. This same effect is created internally, causing a calorie burn for about 30 minutes afterward.

19. Go Ginger The latest craze is to add ginger shots to juice, but if you're not into juicing, it also pairs nicely with veggies in a stir-fry. In addition to aiding digestion, it can speed up the body's digestion process by as much as twenty percent.

20. Eat Oily Fish Fish such as tuna and salmon contain oil that increases leptin, which is a hormone responsible for controlling appetite.

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