1. LAUGH OUT LOUD
Laughter exercises our facial muscles, ribcage, abs and diaphragm. Charles Au, co-founder and director of Verita Advanced Wellness, an integrated wellness centre in Singapore, says: “An American study in 2005 discovered that you can burn 50 calories just by laughing for 10 to 15 minutes.” Your pulse speeds up, so you take in more oxygen by breathing faster and these powerful muscle contractions increase your metabolism.
2. EAT BREAKFAST
Charles says that when we sleep, our bodies hardly burn any energy. Eating a morning meal kick-starts your metabolism, and keeps away strong cravings for food before lunch. “Eat a high-protein breakfast with ﬁbre – eggs with beans, for example,” he recommends. “This helps modulate blood sugar, reduce cravings for sweet foods, and maintain stable mood and energy levels.”
3. FIDGET MORE
Move around, tap your ﬁngers and shake your legs. Studies show that ﬁdgeting can increase your metabolic rate by 50 per cent, says Dr Daniel Wai, a consultant endocrinologist at Daniel Wai Diabetes, Thyroid And Hormone Clinic in Singapore. Even something as simple as standing up while answering a phone call or reading e-mail will interrupt continuous sitting, a state in which you burn minimal calories, says Dr Wai.
4. SLEEP AWAY THE POUNDS
Lack of sleep can slow down your metabolism – and make you eat more, too. Research shows that people who sleep ﬁve hours instead of eight tend to eat more the next day. Charles says a good night’s sleep ideally ranges from 8.5 to nine hours.
Dr Wai explains that not sleeping enough affects multiple hormones related to metabolism, like the stress hormones. “Higher levels of these in our bodies can lead to weight gain – sleep helps to lower our stress hormone levels.”
5. GRAB A COLD SHOWER
“A cold shower encourages our bodies to produce ‘brown fat’, a type of fat that uses glucose to generate heat and maintain our core body temperature, which in turn, helps increase metabolic rate,” says Charles.
Drinking cold water helps too, as the body uses energy to bring the cold water up to body temperature. Dr Wai says that drinking ﬁve glasses of ice-cold water a day can burn up to 70 additional calories – that’s about the number of calories in a sugary drink.
6. EAT RAW NUTS, SPICES & LEAN PROTEIN
“Snack on raw nuts and seeds,” says Susie Rucker, a nutritionist from Rucker Nutrition at Body with Soul Healthcare Network, a holistic health-care centre in Singapore. “They keep your blood sugar stable and take the stress off the adrenal glands. Putting stress on the adrenal glands causes the thyroid to slow down your metabolic rate.”
Susie says that spices like chillies, cinnamon and ginger; lean protein like egg whites, chicken, soya products and ﬁsh; and green tea, have also been shown to speed up metabolism.
This article was originally published in Simply Her March 2013.