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Six ways to boost your metabolism

A faster metabolism means you automatically burn more calories every minute of the day (and night). Here are six proven ways to boost your metabolic rate:

1. Move more – You burn around 1 Cal per minute at rest, 4 Cal per minute walking briskly and over 8 Cal per minute running fast. You can dramatically increase your metabolic rate by moving more often and with more effort.

2. Build muscle – Every kilogram of muscle burns 10 Cal (42 kJ) at rest every day. Over a year, the math is simple – add 1kg of muscle to automatically (even when you’re asleep) burn off 1kg of body fat.

3. Eat more protein – Protein in food costs more energy to digest and absorb than carbohydrate or fat. Eating protein-rich foods like fish, chicken and lean meats makes your body work harder and burn more calories to process what you eat.

4. Eat enough calories – Drastically cutting calories can drop your metabolic rate by around 5% after just one day and by 10% after a week of semi-starvation. Eat at least 5000 kJ / 1200 Cal per day. Eat more if your body size and activity requires it.

5. Consume chilled water – Swallowing around 500mL of cold water could boost your metabolic rate by around 30% above rest for an hour after drinking. This is only 100 kJ / 25 Cal, but it becomes significant when you drink more chilled water over a day - 2 litres could burn you 400 kJ / 100 Cal a day, which adds up over a year. Your body works to increase the water temperature and burns extra energy.

6. Drink green tea – Unlike many so-called ‘thermogenic’ supplements, which are either dangerous or useless, drinking enough green tea can give your metabolic rate a nudge of around 300 kJ / 70 Cal a day. You’ll need to consume 4-5 cups a day of green tea to get the benefits.

What about eating every 3 hours? You may have heard that eating every 3 hours speeds your metabolism. However, your 24-hour metabolic rate will actually be no different, whether you eat the same foods in 6 smaller meals versus 3 larger meals. It costs your body the same energy to digest and process. So, don’t freak out if you’ve missed a snack and can catch up later!

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