Everyone knows that starting off your morning right is key to a healthy lifestyle, but studies show that some morning activities can really boost our metabolism. Forget fad diets or hard-to-swallow detox potions. You can increase your metabolic rate with some kitchen items you probably have in your pantry or by just getting your body moving. Whether you’re a morning workout person or like to end your evening with a class, you can still get your system geared up to burn maximum calories throughout the day.
Wellness expert Sophia Gushee, celebrity trainer David Kirsch and Dr. David Perlmutter weigh in with some ideas on how you can rev up your engine first thing in the morning. It’s shockingly easy to get your system started on the right foot with these eight tips.
Start with water
Keeping a glass of water by the bed is great if you tend to get thirsty in the middle of the night, but drinking that glass in the morning can have positive effects on the metabolism. Studies show that drinking just two cups of water in the morning can increase your metabolic rate by up to 30 percent.
Drink green tea
Instead of reaching for that morning latte, consider having green tea instead. Studies have shown that drinking green tea can increase fat oxidation in the body by 10-16 percent. Whether you’re into matcha, iced green tea or doing it the old-fashioned way with some hot water and a tea bag, you’ll reap the benefits no matter how you drink it. Just make sure to avoid added artificial sweeteners that can counteract all those healthy antioxidants you just consumed.
Eat fermented foods
Gushee recommends adding fermented foods into your breakfast, like miso soup or kimchi with your eggs, to help strengthen your gut flora. “Studies suggest that a healthy gut flora may also improve your metabolism and can help you be more lean” she says. There are even delicious probiotic powders on the market now that you can mix into water or almond milk to maintain that healthy flora. “Look for products with a wide array of probiotic strains,” Dr. Perlmutter says. He recommends looking for probiotics with 12-15 strains, are shelf-stable and contain at least 30 billion organisms per dose.
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Probiotics may or may not be something you’ve heard a lot about, but their less sexy cousin, prebiotics, certainly don’t get a lot of attention. Dr. Perlmutter stresses the importance of consuming enough prebiotic fiber to keep the gut healthy and the metabolism revved up. “Prebiotic fiber is the unique type of fiber that nurtures the gut bacteria and, like exercise, helps increase diversity,” he says. He recommends getting your prebiotics from sources like dandelion greens, chicory root, garlic, onions, leeks and jicama. He also recommends prebiotic supplements because you may still not get enough from food. “Look for prebiotics made from acacia or acacia gum,” Dr. Perlmutter suggests. “This is one of the richest sources of prebiotic fiber.”
Add a spicy kick
Got hot sauce in your bag? There may be additional benefits to keeping the spicy stuff close beyond just making food taste delicious. “For an extra metabolic boost,” Gushee says, “eat something spicy. Spicy foods have been found to slightly elevate metabolism.” There’s never been a more perfect excuse to add hot sauce to your eggs.
Noshing on healthy snacks throughout the day, especially protein-rich foods like almonds, will help keep that metabolism revved up. “Starting off with a protein smoothie filled with chia, cacao and hemp seed is another good way to rev up your metabolism,” Kirsch says. Low-sugar protein bars, nuts, and fresh fruits or veggies are also great snack items to munch on throughout the day.
Any exercise will do
Don’t have time to get to a morning workout class before heading to the office? Don’t fret. “A 10-minute express workout before you leave for work will give your metabolism a boost,” Kirsch says. Even if you have a class planned after work, try doing some yoga stretches in the morning, take a quick jog or even try jumping jacks in your apartment.
Keeping active and walking around the office will help keep your metabolism running at full speed, Kirsch says. Make sure you are getting up from your chair frequently and walking to the printer or your boss’s office. He also recommends keeping items like resistance bands or light hand weights at your desk to remain active throughout the day. Try a fitness tracker if you need reminders to stand up throughout the day.