Metabolism is a term that describes all the chemical reactions in your body.
These chemical reactions keep your body alive and functioning.
However, the word metabolism is often used interchangeably with metabolic rate, or the number of calories you burn.
The higher it is, the more calories you burn and the easier it is to lose weight and keep it off.
Having a high metabolism can also give you energy and make you feel better.
Here are 10 easy ways to increase your metabolism.
1. Eat Plenty of Protein at Every Meal
Eating food can increase your metabolism for a few hours.
This is called the thermic effect of food (TEF). It’s caused by the extra calories required to digest, absorb and process the nutrients in your meal.
Protein causes the largest rise in TEF. It increases your metabolic rate by 15–30%, compared to 5–10% for carbs and 0–3% for fats (1Trusted Source).
Eating protein has also been shown to help you feel more full and prevent you from overeating (2Trusted Source, 3Trusted Source, 4Trusted Source, 5Trusted Source, 6Trusted Source, 7Trusted Source, 8Trusted Source).
One small study found that people were likely to eat around 441 fewer calories per day when protein made up 30% of their diet (9Trusted Source).
Eating more protein can also reduce the drop in metabolism often associated with losing fat. This is because it reduces muscle loss, which is a common side effect of dieting (10Trusted Source, 11Trusted Source, 12Trusted Source, 13Trusted Source, 14Trusted Source, 15Trusted Source).
2. Drink More Cold Water
People who drink water instead of sugary drinks are more successful at losing weight and keeping it off (16Trusted Source, 17Trusted Source, 18Trusted Source, 19Trusted Source, 20Trusted Source).
This is because sugary drinks contain calories, so replacing them with water automatically reduces your calorie intake.
However, drinking water may also temporarily speed up your metabolism (18Trusted Source, 21Trusted Source).
Studies have shown that drinking 17 ounces (0.5 liters) of water increases resting metabolism by 10–30% for about an hour (22Trusted Source, 23Trusted Source).
This calorie-burning effect may be even greater if you drink cold water, as your body uses energy to heat it up to body temperature (21Trusted Source, 24Trusted Source).
Water can also help fill you up. Studies show that drinking water a half an hour before you eat can help you eat less (25Trusted Source, 26Trusted Source, 27Trusted Source).
One study of overweight adults found that those who drank half a liter of water before their meals lost 44% more weight than those who didn’t (19Trusted Source).
3. Do a High-Intensity Workout
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) involves quick and very intense bursts of activity.
It can help you burn more fat by increasing your metabolic rate, even after your workout has finished (28Trusted Source, 29Trusted Source, 30Trusted Source, 31Trusted Source).
This effect is believed to be greater for HIIT than for other types of exercise. What’s more, HIIT has also been shown to help you burn fat (32Trusted Source, 33Trusted Source, 34Trusted Source).
One study in overweight young men found that 12 weeks of high-intensity exercise reduced fat mass by 4.4 pounds (2 kg) and belly fat by 17% (35Trusted Source).
4. Lift Heavy Things
Muscle is more metabolically active than fat, and building muscle can help increase your metabolism (36Trusted Source, 37Trusted Source, 38Trusted Source, 39Trusted Source).
This means you will burn more calories each day, even at rest (40Trusted Source).
Lifting weights will also help you retain muscle and combat the drop in metabolism that can occur during weight loss (41Trusted Source, 42Trusted Source, 43Trusted Source, 44Trusted Source).
In one study, 48 overweight women were placed on a diet of 800 calories per day, along with either no exercise, aerobic exercise or resistance training (45Trusted Source).
After the diet, the women who did the resistance training maintained their muscle mass, metabolism and strength. The others lost weight, but also lost muscle mass and experienced a decrease in metabolism (45Trusted Source).
You can find weights to incorporate into your workout online.