Although 30 per cent of your metabolism is devoted to essential functions such as digesting food and repairing cells, the good news is that the rest is under your control. As research continues into our weight and diet we can finally start to understand what is needed to improve a sluggish metabolism.
Here are the top five ways to speed it up:
1. Sprinkle on the spice. It’s one of the easiest ways to ramp up metabolism. As well as making meals more exciting ginger, chili, pepper (pictured) and turmeric have all been found to have a beneficial effect on metabolism as well as upping your levels of phytonutrients.
2. Measure your meal plan. While some experts claim that small and frequent meals help to speed up metabolism, there is also positive research for eating just three, normal-sized meals too. Because the lines are blurred, you need to find out what works best for you. Six small meals will only work as long as you don’t go overboard with portions, for example. Three meals will only work if you don’t snack heavily in between. There is no one-size-fits-all so experiment for a week with each meal plan.
3. Grow your muscles. We start lose about five per cent of our muscle mass per decade from the age of 30. Keeping muscles in shape and continuing to build them helps to boost metabolism. Try a weight-training programme of four 20-minute sessions a week to keep your muscles toned. You will soon notice a change to the shape of your body and feel better for it too.
4. Do the maths. Get to know your calorie intake and how much you need on a daily basis. Sometimes cutting back isn't enough, so work out how many calories you need to maintain your ideal weight. If you’re trying to lose pounds then you can minus from that maintenance number. Just don't be tempted to subtract too many calories as this can have the reverse effect and actually slow your metabolism by 15 per cent.
5. High-five for HIIT. High-intensity interval training is easy to commit to and various studies have shown it is super-effective. Adding just five 30-second intervals into your workout can torch as many as 200 additional calories. You can also up your level of intensity and go fast for one minute and then slower for the next. The benefit of this approach is that the slow minute feels like a rest so it’s easier to maintain.