In an ideal world we’d all be in perfect shape, our stomachs flat, our muscles defined and sporting the regulation number of chins. Sadly, this is not the case, and many of us have to work extra hard to stay in shape whilst others consume the calories without apparent detriment to their physique.
The difference is all down to metabolism – a term that describes the various chemical process necessary for life that occur inside your cells. A major part of metabolism is the conversion of food into energy, known as catabolism. People with a ‘good’ or high metabolism tend to convert calories into energy more efficiently and lose weight easily, while people with low metabolisms can find it difficult to shift the pounds regardless of how much they exercise.
We’ve scoured the globe for the most effective natural ways to increase your metabolism and give you the best chance of shifting those stubborn pounds – let us know which one works best for you.
Once again, hydration is the key to an efficient metabolism. Near enough every biological process that occurs in your body requires water to function properly; if you are dehydrated, these slow down and work less efficiently. Metabolism is one of the main processes affected, so make sure you drink plenty of water each day – about two to three litres is ideal, more if you’re exercising. There’s evidence to suggest that drinking even a small amount of water can encourage the body to begin thermogenesis – the burning of calories – so there’s really no excuse not to fetch yourself a glass of water RIGHT NOW. Why not try one of our detox water recipes if you have the time?
Running, jogging, lifting weights and other physical activities have the effect of increasing your metabolism. As your muscles drained of glucose, your body burns more calories to get the energy required to keep using those muscles – so engage in any high-intensity exercise or strength training for a quick metabolic boost.
Every herb and spice from arnica to za’atar has been lauded for its metabolism-boosting properties. They can’t all do the job, so we’ve selected only the most effective for getting you on the road to an increased metabolism and potential weight loss.
- Ginseng – Best consumed before high-intensity workouts, ginseng provides the body with an uplifting energy boost whilst simultaneously kicking your metabolism into gear. You’ll notice an improvement in endurance and a slight increase in body temperature, both of which are beneficial for an efficient, active metabolism. Consume it in powder form (mix one tablespoons of Baldwins Siberian Ginseng Root Powder with water or milk), or as a supplement. We like Pukka Herbs Wholistic Red Ginseng Capsules or Dr Stuarts Triple Ginseng Tea.
- Cayenne Pepper – a cultivar of the ubiquitous Capsicum annum, cayenne pepper is a fiery and popular spice that’s used extensively in South American and Sichuan cuisine. It’s also a powerful metabolism-enhancer and weight-loss tool as capsaicin – the chemical responsible for a chili’s ‘heat’ - raises your body’s internal temperature, improves blood flow and nutrient delivery and supresses appetite. Get your hands on some Baldwins Cayenne Powder and use liberally in your cooking, or, if you can handle the heat, drink a tablespoon dissolved in water. Baldwins Cayenne Herbal Tincture also does the trick nicely too.
- Conjugated linoleic acids – conjugated linoleic acids (mercifully known as CLAs) are present in certain meats and dairy products, particularly those produced by animals fed on grass like sheep and cattle. Studies suggest they can play an important role in weight loss, helping you burn calories and fat faster – all of which suggest a significant increase in metabolism. Vegetarians and vegans rejoice: CLAs are available in naturally-sourced supplement form. Quest Conjugated Linoleic Acid Oil is derived from safflower oil and a great way to get CLAs into your diet.
At the end of the day, no amount of metabolism-boosting herbs or supplements can help meaningful weight-loss unless paired with a sensible diet and exercise regime. Pair them with high-intensity exercise, however, and you should notice a considerable difference in both your endurance and the rate at which you burn calories. Remember, these things don’t happen overnight so don’t push yourself too hard – patience is key!