1. Stay Hydrated

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. In this chapter, we’ll discuss the best beverages to boost your metabolism. However, 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, it’s been found that after you drink a pint of water, your metabolism revs up and burns 25 calories. So, as we go through this chapter, keep in mind that while you may want to try out some of the suggestions here, water should be an integral part of each day’s diet.

2. 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 lose 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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 joe 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.

6. Limit Caffeine

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 417 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. Here is a guideline for approximate amounts of caffeine in commonly used foods and beverages:

Amount of
Caffeine (mg)
Coffee, brewed from ground beans 6 oz. 100
Coffee, instant 6 oz. 65
Tea, brewed from whole leaves 6 oz. 10–50
Cola, can or bottle 12 oz. 50
Cocoa, breakfast type 6 oz. 13
Cocoa, as milk chocolate bar 1 oz. 6
Guarana, tablet or capsule 800 mg 30
Maté, brewed as tea 6 oz. 25–50
Semisweet chocolate chips 1 cup 92
Bittersweet chocolate chips 1 cup 18–30
Caffeine tablet, proprietary product 1 tablet 100–200

7. 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 have high-fructose corn syrup, as they are loaded with sugar and not good for your metabolism.

8. 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 two forms—fla-vonoids and nonflavonoids. One of these nonflavonoids is resveratrol, which you can learn more about in entry 347.

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