There is a microscopic chemistry laboratory in each of your cells that works day and night to make fuel from your food. Here's how this process affects your energy, weight and even mood – plus tips on how to make your metabolism as fast and efficient as possible.

So what is metabolism?

Think of it as the engine in your cells that keeps you moving. A car runs on gas; you run on calories that are energy units. Most of these calories are burned by your body, simply because it does its job: nourish your cells and let your heart beat, your blood circulates, your lungs breath, your digestive system works and your brain neurons call (actually your brain alone has 420). calories per day just to keep functioning). You always burn calories, even while sleeping. This is how it works:1. You eat food.2. Your body divides it into the simplest forms of carbohydrates, proteins and fat.3. The calories in these components are converted into energy, which is used by your cells and tissues to grow and to regenerate itself. We know what you really want to know: Is there a way to burn more – that is, to get a faster metabolism? The answer is yes. It starts with what you eat and how you move – more about these two are coming. Other factors: Genetics: You may have a naturally faster or slower metabolism, although lifestyle still has a big impact.Tension: Long-term stress releases hormones that screw with your digestive system so that your food is not used as efficiently.Sleep: This is crucial. When your body has changed to zzz & # 39; s, it is pushed into preservation mode, so you burn fewer calories.

What influences your metabolism?

It's lunchtime! As your body breaks down your meal, your brain receives feedback signals – of the nutrients, your hormones and how much you move – and "decides" whether you want to use or store the calories at that time. This is what influences that decision:

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How much do you eat: Consume more calories than is necessary, and much of what is not used is stored as fat.If you eat: Flocculation every three to four hours keeps your metabolism on. There may also be an advantage in pre-loading calories: people who skip breakfast tend to increase the hunger-boosting hormone ghrelin in the hour, so they long for bedtime. This can disturb sleep, which is a mess for your metabolism.What you eat: Simply skip few carbohydrates without nutrients. They are digested so quickly that they cause an acceleration of metabolic reactions that will soon make you hungry again. You eat more generally – hello, extra kilos & # 39; s! A combination of fibrous complex carbohydrates and proteins, making you stay full so you eat less.

Can foods burn fat? Not really.

If you believe what you see elsewhere on the internet, you probably think that there are many miracles that eradicate pudge. If it only were! Here is the truth …

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Water with lemon: Sipping a very hot or very cold drink can help increase the metabolism – but the impact only lasts about 30 to 40 minutes after drinking. That said, being well hydrated is crucial for maintaining a healthy weight; if adding some lemon helps you, go for it.Turmeric and spicy food: Compounds in turmeric have been associated with a reduced risk of chronic inflammation associated with obesity. But (sorry) more turmeric does not mean your metabolism. As far as spicy food is concerned, some research has linked the capsaicin in hot peppers to an increased metabolic rate; it can also help mobilize fat cells to be used for energy. But you should eat a ton: in one study, people who took a daily supplement with capsaicin for 12 weeks lost less than a pound.Tea and coffee: A few small studies have linked a faster metabolism to certain teas (mainly green and black) and caffeinated coffee. The effect apparently comes from the combination of caffeine and flavonoids (antioxidant-like compounds); the modest benefit seems to kick if you have had at least four cups a day. However, because sleeping is also the key to a faster metabolism, you want to find a balance."Negative calorie" foods: This is not a thing, although we wished. There is no scientific basis for the long-standing perception that some foods – such as celery and sugar-free chewing gum – stimulate metabolism because they contain few calories and require so much gum that you actually burn more cals than you eat.

What types of exercises activate your metabolism?

There are so many reasons to practice – it is super important for your heart, brain, bones and immune system. And the more you move, the more calories you will burn. But physical exercise does not provide a low-calorie diet of poor quality – you just do not burn enough. What physical activity can do: make your metabolism faster by increasing your levels of testosterone and growth hormone. So kick it with a three-pronged approach:

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cardio: Intervals can be particularly effective in increasing your metabolism and burning fat. It can also cause an afterburning, which means that after training you will continue to zap. To do an interval training, you alternate a stable movement (for example a brisk walk) with a faster movement (a moderate movement). Aim for at least 20 to 30 minutes at least three times a week.Strength training: Building muscle increases your metabolism. The why: even at rest, muscles burn four times as many calories as fat, so the more muscle you have, the more you will burn. (That is why men have a faster metabolism – more muscles!) Do at least two weight training sessions per week.
"NEAT" movement: That is "inactive thermogenesis of the activity": the calories that are consumed by fiddling during a meeting or running to the water fountain. In one study, those who did a lot of NEAT movement burned no less than 2,000 cals a day! So walk when you're calling; hit a museum instead of a movie; go to the store instead of ordering online.

How can you outwit your weight?

First of all, the bummer news: for complex biological reasons, imposing large pounds can lead to slow metabolism, which can lead to more weight gain. Overweight can lead to health problems (such as diabetes) that can slow down your metabolism further, leading to … you guessed it: even more weight gain. The good news: you can turn that cycle upside down. Start practicing. This helps you to sleep and increases certain appetite-suppressing hormones; eating lean proteins and less sugar and junky carbohydrates also helps.The hormone flood makes your metabolism crank, so that you lose kilograms and become healthier. More serotonin is then produced because you eat and sleep better, which can alleviate the symptoms of depression. You will be happier to be more active, leading to even faster metabolism. Good job.Elaine Chin, M.D., is the founder and chief medical officer of the Executive Health Center in Toronto, Canada. William Howatt, Ph.D. is a behavioral scientist and expert in mental health and coping skills. Jaclyn London, M.S., R.D., C.D.N., is the Food Director of Good Housekeeping Institute.This article appeared in the May 2018 issue Good housekeeping.