There are several easy and effective ways to increase your metabolism, many of which involve making simple changes to your diet and lifestyle.

Metabolism is a term that describes all the chemical reactions in your body that keep your body alive and functioning.

Your metabolism is also responsible for converting nutrients from the foods you eat into fuel. This provides your body with the energy it needs to breathe, move, digest food, circulate blood, and repair damaged tissues and cells (1).

However, the word “metabolism” is often used to describe your basal metabolic rate, or the number of calories you burn at rest.

The higher your metabolic rate, the more calories you burn at rest. Many factors can affect your metabolism, including your age, diet, sex, body size, and health status (1).

There are several evidence-based strategies that can help increase your metabolism to support weight management and overall health.

Here are 9 easy ways to increase your metabolism.

Eating food can temporarily 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. Dietary protein requires 20 to 30 percent of its usable energy to be expended for metabolism, compared to 5 to 10 percent for carbs and 0 to 3 percent for fats (2).

Eating protein has also been shown to give you a greater sense of fullness and prevent you from overeating (3, 4, 5).

Eating more protein can also reduce the drop in metabolism often associated with losing fat. This is because protein helps prevent muscle loss, which is a common side effect of dieting (2, 5).

Summary

Eating more protein can boost your metabolism so that you burn more calories. It can also help provide you a greater sense of fullness and prevent overeating.

People who drink water instead of sugary drinks are often more successful at losing weight and keeping it off (6, 7, 8).

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 (8).

According to one 2013 review, a small study showed drinking 17 ounces (500 mL) of water increases resting metabolism by 30% for about an hour (9).

However, additional research is needed to support this. A 2015 study suggested that drinking water may not necessarily increase metabolism after drinking it (10).

Water can also help fill you up if you are looking to lose weight. Studies show that drinking water half an hour before you eat can help you eat less (11, 12).

Interestingly, one small study found that people who drank 17 ounces (500 mL) of water 30 minutes before meals for 12 weeks lost nearly 3 pounds (1.3 kg) more than those who didn’t (13).

Summary

Water can help you lose weight and keep it off. It temporarily increases your metabolism and helps fill you up before meals.

High intensity interval training (HIIT) involves quick and very intense bursts of activity.

If this type of exercise is safe for you, it can help you burn more fat by increasing your metabolic rate, even after you’ve finished your workout (14, 15, 16).

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 (17, 18).

To get started, choose a modality, such as biking or running, that you are already familiar with.

Summary

Mixing up your exercise routine and adding in a few high-intensity workouts can boost your metabolism and help you burn fat.

Muscle is more metabolically active than fat. Building muscle can help increase your metabolism to help you burn more calories each day, even at rest (19).

Lifting weights can also help you retain muscle and counter the drop in metabolism that can occur during weight loss (20, 21, 22).

Plus, according to one review of 58 studies, resistance training was significantly more effective at reducing body fat percentage, total body fat mass, and belly fat compared to a control group (23).

Summary

Lifting weights can help build and retain muscle while reducing body fat. Higher amounts of muscle will result in a higher metabolism.

Sitting too much can have negative effects on your health (24, 25).

This is partly because long periods of sitting burns fewer calories and can lead to weight gain (26).

One 2018 review found that standing or stepping at work was associated with lowered cardiometabolic risk (CMR) scores, weight, body fat, waist circumference, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and fasting triglycerides, total/HDL cholesterol, and insulin. However, stepping rather than standing resulted in greater improvements to lower systolic blood pressure and insulin resistance (27).

If you have a desk job, try standing up for short periods to break up the length of time you spend sitting down. You can also try going for walks during the day or invest in a standing desk.

Summary

Sitting for a long time burns few calories and may negatively affect your health. Try standing up or taking walks regularly or investing in a standing desk.

Green tea and oolong tea have been shown to increase metabolism and fat burning (27, 28).

These teas help convert some of the fat stored in your body into free fatty acids, which may increase fat burning when combined with exercise (29).

As they are low in calories, drinking these teas may be good for both weight loss and weight maintenance (30).

It’s thought their metabolism-boosting properties may help prevent a weight loss plateau in people who are losing weight that occurs due to a decrease in metabolism (30).

However, some older studies find that these teas do not affect metabolism. Therefore, their effect may be small or only apply to some people (31, 32).

Summary

Drinking green tea or oolong tea may increase your metabolism. These teas may also help you lose weight and keep it off, if that is your goal, but research is mixed.

Peppers contain capsaicin, a compound that can boost your metabolism (33, 34, 35).

However, many people can’t tolerate these spices at the doses required to have a significant effect.

For instance, one study discussed in a 2016 review evaluated the effects of capsaicin at acceptable doses. It predicted that eating peppers would burn around 10 additional calories per meal. Over 6.5 years, this could account for 1 pound (0.5 kg) of weight loss for an average-weight male (36).

Alone, the effects of adding spices to your food may be quite small. However, it may lead to a slight advantage when combined with other metabolism-boosting strategies.

Summary

Eating spicy food could be beneficial for boosting your metabolism and help you maintain a moderate weight. However, the metabolism-boosting effect of spicy foods is quite small.

Lack of sleep is linked to a major increase in the risk of obesity (37).

This may partly be caused by the negative effects of sleep deprivation on metabolism (38).

Lack of sleep has also been linked to increased blood sugar levels and insulin resistance, both of which are linked to a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes (38, 39, 40).

It’s also been shown to affect levels of ghrelin, the hunger hormone, and leptin, a hormone that controls fullness (satiety) (41, 42).

This could explain why many people who are sleep-deprived often feel hungry and may have difficulty losing weight when weight loss is their goal.

Summary

Lack of sleep can decrease the number of calories you burn, change the way you process sugar, and disrupt your appetite-regulating hormones.

Studies have shown that the caffeine in coffee can help temporarily boost metabolism. Like green tea, it may also promote fat burning (43, 44).

If your goal is weight loss, several studies have found that coffee’s effects on metabolism and fat burning may contribute to successful weight loss and maintenance (45, 46).

However, the effects of caffeine may vary based on several factors. For instance, one study found that caffeine was more effective at increasing fat burning during exercise in individuals with a less active (sedentary) lifestyle in comparison with trained athletes (44).

Summary

Drinking coffee can significantly increase your metabolism and may help you lose weight if that is your goal.

Does dieting affect metabolism?

Moderate weight loss can lower your metabolism and decrease the number of calories that you burn at rest (47).

Resistance training and eating an adequate amount of protein can help preserve lean body mass during weight loss, which may be beneficial for maintaining your metabolism (2, 21).

How long does it take to speed up metabolism?

The amount of time it takes to speed up your metabolism can vary based on many different factors, including your:

  • diet
  • activity level
  • health status

While some of the tips listed above may help increase your metabolism quickly, others may take longer. Additionally, these strategies should not be considered a quick fix, but rather, they should be incorporated into a plan with health-promoting benefits that includes eating a nutrient-dense diet combined with physical activity and optimum sleep to achieve long-lasting results.

How do you reset your metabolism?

While it’s not possible to “reset” your metabolism, there are plenty of ways you can increase your metabolic rate naturally, including making changes to your eating plan, workout routine, and sleeping routine.

What is the most natural way to increase metabolism?

Following a nutritious, well-rounded eating plan and getting plenty of physical activity is the best way to support a metabolism with health-promoting benefits. Other tips listed above may also be beneficial, such as staying well hydrated, enjoying coffee or tea in moderation, and getting plenty of sleep.

Making small lifestyle changes and incorporating these tips into your routine can help increase your metabolism.

Having a higher metabolism can help you lose weight and keep it off, if that is your goal, while also giving you more energy.

Just one thing

Try this today: In addition to trying the tips outlined above, you can also add more metabolism-boosting foods to your diet. Check out this article for a list of some nutritious foods that can support a health-promoting metabolism.