Drinking It UP
The liquids you consume have a powerful impact on your metabolism. Some will help it, while others will make it sluggish and may even lead to unhealthy weight gain. The best drink for your body – even if you drink nothing else – is water. Water, which makes up 55-75 percent of our bodies, regulates body temperature, transports nutrients, carries waste away from cells, protects the organs from damage, and keeps you hydrated. Water is also necessary to keep the metabolic processes functioning and helps you expel waste by adding fluid to the stool so you don’t become constipated. And, in some studies, its’ bee found that after you drink a pint of water, your metabolism revs up and burns 25 calories.
Know How Much Water You Need
The body has no provision to store water. Therefore, the amount of water lost each day must be continually replaced to maintain good health and proper body function. On average, we lost about 10 cups of water each day just through perspiration, breathing, urination, and bowel movements. This does not include hot days or days when you exercise and perspire even more. To avoid dehydration, the body needs an ongoing supply of water throughout the day; the average adult needs 8 to 12 cups of water each day. By the time you feel thirsty, you can already be on your way to becoming dehydrated. To be sure you are properly hydrated, check your urine to make sure it is diluted or clear rather than a darker yellow.
Drink Everything on the Rocks
Whenever feasible, add ice cubes to your drinks. When you drink ice-cold beverages, your body fires up its furnace to warm the water for maximum absorption. Five or six glasses of water, with ice cubes, may burn up an extra 10 calories a day, which could add up to a pound per year.
Have a Few Cups of Java
Caffeine stimulates your central nervous system, digestive tract, and your metabolism. Researchers studied a 145-pound woman who consumed 2 cups of coffee a day. They found that in the four hours after drinking the coffee, she burned an extra 50 calories. That said, adding cream and sugar will add calories and fat that will diffuse coffee’s metabolic benefits, and drinking too much coffee can be detrimental to your overall health. Drinking 1 to 2 small cups of coffee in the morning, with breakfast, is just enough to get your metabolic furnace burning.
Drink Iced Coffee
Why not kill two birds with one stone and drink your coffee with ice? This way, you get all the metabolic benefits of a normal cup of ice with an icy added boost! To make sure your ice-cold coffee is really boosting your metabolism, drink it black or with skim milk, and avoid adding sugar.
It is important to remember that caffeine is a drug, one that is absorbed quickly in the body and can raise blood pressure, heart rate, and brain serotonin levels (low levels of serotonin cause drowsiness). Withdrawal from caffeine can cause headaches and drowsiness. The pharmacologically active dose of caffeine is defined as 200 milligrams, and the daily recommended, not-to-exceed intake level is the equivalent of 1 to 3 cups of coffee per day (139 to 147 milligrams). Too much caffeine also tricks you into thinking you don’t need more sleep. Lack of sleep can prevent your metabolism from working normally and increase the level of cortisol released, which increases hunger.
Drink Green or Oolong Tea
Green tea and oolong tea contain caffeine and catechins, which have been shown to boost metabolism for approximately two hours. Researchers say drinking 2 to 4 cups of green or oolong tea throughout the day may help you burn an extra 50 calories, which can lead to a 5-pound loss over a year – without any other change in your diet. Obviously, adding sugar or cream would counteract the positive effects. Also, avoid green tea beverages that are high-fructose corn syrup, as they are loaded with sugar and not good for your metabolism.
Swap Out White Wine for Red
Red wine, in moderation, can have quite the positive impact on your health. Studies have shown that red wine may inhibit the formation of fat cells and help prevent obesity by affecting the gene SIRT1. Red wine is rich in antioxidants that can help raise HDL (“good”) cholesterol and protect against heart disease. Its antioxidants come in tow forms – flavonoids and nonflavonoids.
Limit the Amount of Alcohol You Drink
Alcohol, just like soda, is full of empty calories because it contains no nutrients that can be stored for fuel. Plus, while the body is processing alcohol through the stomach and liver, it is unable to convert elements – glucose, fatty acids, amino acids – into energy, which means more food ends up stored as fat.
Try Concord Grape Juice
If you’re looking for an alternative to red wine, with similar health benefits, try Concord grape juice. It is high in polyphenols, which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that help to increase your metabolic rate. A study found that Concord grape juice helps increase memory and improve cognitive and motor function as we age. Other studies have shown that the juice helps maintain immune function, and lowers total cholesterol and blood pressure. Remember to keep portions reasonable (4 ounces) to avoid going overboard on calories.
The normal bloodstream contains a total of 4 teaspoons of blood sugar. When you drink a can of soda, roughly 10 teaspoons of table sugar are absorbed into your bloodstream, causing your blood-sugar level to rocket to an excessive level, setting off alarms in the pancreas, and causing a large amount of insulin to come out to deal with the excess blood sugar. Some sugar is quickly ushered into the cells, including brain cells, and the rest is stored in your fat cells. When all this is done, maybe in about an hour, your blood sugar may fall dramatically and low blood sugar occurs. A drop in blood sugar causes your body to crave sweets, which are definite metabolism busters. Just say no to soda to avoid rapid swings in blood sugar and consumption of excess empty calories.
Have a Cup of Coffee or Tea Before Workouts
Even though energy drink companies tout the benefits of energy drinks before, during, or after exercise, many contain sugar, and you don’t need sugar or electrolytes to boost energy for a workout of an hour or less. Many athletes have found that drinking a cup of coffee or tea, with additional water, stimulates their metabolic rate. Try enjoying a cup of coffee or tea (about 220 mg of caffeine) prior to your exercise, and avoid high-potency caffeinated “turbo” drinks or pills. Check with your doctor if you are sensitive to caffeine. By the way, this does not mean drinking a latte or mocha containing milk and sugar. We’re talking about black coffee and tea here. And embrace water as your beverage of choice before, during, and after workouts.
Since the Chinese Tsin Dynasty in 221 B.C., kombucha tea has been used as a health elixir. Fans claim that it is packed with organic acids that build healthy tissues and normalize blood alkalinity, probiotics that benefit your digestive system, and live enzymes that help fuel the body’s cells. It combats free radicals and has been used as a remedy for arthritis, constipation, obesity, arteriosclerosis, impotence, kidney stones, rheumatism, gout, and cancer. You can find kombucha at most health food stores.