Metabolism generally drops off as you age, especially after 30—which is no bueno if you’re trying to look trim and more importantly feel better with more energy. If you could speed up your metabolism doing three simple things each day, without resorting to time-intensive workouts at the gym, would you do it? Where are my thumbs up emoji?!
Check out these three ways to rev up your lethargic metabolism!
1. Try Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)
Pretty much just eat more fat. But the good-for-you kind. It may sound counterintuitive—that you should eat fat and your metabolism will speed up—but it’s true. There is a catch, however. It’s got to be the right type of fat.
Polyunsaturated fatty acids taken in supplement form contribute to weight loss by increasing fat metabolism in the liver. Two forms of polyunsaturated fatty acids include fish oil and conjugated linoleic acid (called CLA for short). CLA is found in animal products—but only when the animals are grass fed, eating their natural diet. Eggs also contain a good amount of CLA. However, CLA is not an omega-3 fat that comes mainly from fish.
Scientists at the University of New Mexico found that both omega-3 fat—found in fish oil—and CLA both significantly increased mitochondrial numbers in muscle cells. What does this mean? It means the speeding up of your metabolism and metabolic rate! When you have more mitochondria, it’s like having extra battery power in your cells, providing your body with increased energy during the day.
Omega-3 fatty acids enhance the glycolysis metabolic pathway. Glycolysis is the biochemical pathway that breaks down glucose to give you energy. Omega-3 fatty acids also increase oxygen consumption, which speeds up metabolism. So omega-3 fats actually speed up metabolism in three different ways.
2. Food Aromas Trigger Increases in Metabolism
Maybe you’ve noticed how great food aromas in the kitchen will lure family members almost out of hiding to come to the dinner table? It’s true! Swedish scientists at the Stockholm University found that certain smells can boost metabolism!
Certain food smells, such as the odor of vinegar, trigger a rapid and temporary increase in glucose levels. After the first few wafts of aroma, your body sends signals to the hormone receptors that regulate insulin and tells your brain to shut off food intake. Believe it or not, this is followed by a slight (though short) increased bump up in your metabolic rate. The takeaway is to season your food with pleasant-smelling herbs that can affect food intake, raise metabolism, and increase the hormone signaling in your body. Cook with these herbs and spices that also help to shrink fat tissue and suppress your appetite: ginseng, cayenne pepper, black pepper, cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, cardamom, dandelion, cumin, and mustard.
3. Probiotics (Supplements and Fermented Foods) Can Help Regulate Fat Metabolism
More and more research is finding that the gut microflora plays an important role in energy regulation and fat accumulation in the body. Soil-based probiotics interact with the bacteria living in your gut almost immediately by tipping the good-for-you bacteria in your favor. In doing this, the right kind of probiotic may also affect the metabolic pathways, speeding up metabolism. Soil-based probiotics, for example, are heartier than traditional probiotics that die off in the stomach before they even get to the intestinal tract where they can begin working. When probiotics reach their destination all intact, they can boost the body’s immune system and better ensure it is working well. A well-oiled engine is more efficient at burning energy and fat and keeping metabolic functions in tip top shape.
If you are already taking a soil-based probiotic and want to do just a little more for your metabolism and gut health, increase the number of fermented and cultured foods you eat in your diet. Do a mini experiment to see how adding one half cup of sauerkraut, homemade kombucha, a bowl of miso soup, a serving of kimchee, or another fermented food a few times each week alters your weight. These three simple steps are sure to create big changes to your energy levels and your metabolism. What are you waiting for? Go out and get yourself some good fats, use good aromatic herbs in your cooking, and eat your food with a soil-based probiotic!
Vaughan, R.A., et al. Conjugated linoleic acid or omega 3 fatty acids increase mitochondrial biosynthesis and metabolism in skeletal muscle cells. Lipids Health Dis 2012 Oct 30; 11:142. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23107305
Lushchak, O.V., Carlsson, M.A., and Nassel, D.R. Food odors trigger an endocrine response that affects food ingestion and metabolism. Cell Mol Life Sci 2015 Aug 72(16):3143-55. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25782410
Arora, T., Singh, S. and Sharma, R.K. Probiotics: Interaction with gut microbiome and antiobesity potential. Nutrition 2013 Apr;29(4):591-6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23287068