5 Tips to Kick-Start Your Metabolism

STACK Expert Mitch Calvert offers 5 natural strategies for improving thyroid function and raising metabolism.

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How often have you heard someone say they can't lose weight because they were born with a slow metabolism? I'd be willing to bet that if you haven't said it yourself, someone in your immediate circle has. But instead of accepting this as fact, figure out how to get the most out of your metabolism through diet and exercise. Here are some suggestions on how to do just that.

Disclaimer: If you truly believe you have an underactive thyroid, get to your doctor and request a blood test. If the results come back normal, here are some natural ways to go about reviving your metabolism.

Don't Starve Yourself

If your calories drop too low for an extended length of time, your body's thyroid output slows to a crawl to compensate. When your body send signals of starvation, it naturally kicks in its survival mechanisms to keep you alive. Some studies suggest that in these circumstances, the body actually uses lean body mass for energy, since it's a readily available energy source. Not good. So if you skip breakfast and lunch and gorge at night, try to balance out your calories. Eat frequent, small meals throughout the day. Don't crash diet.

Sweat Daily

For optimal thyroid function, you must exercise a minimum of three days a week. I strongly suggest working out daily so your thyroid gets a frequent boost. That doesn't necessarily mean lifting weights every time. There are plenty of alternatives. Include any form of cardio like biking, swimming, jogging or even walking (if you're doing it briskly). I recommend three to four gym sessions a week with the same amount of cardio activities on off days. Get more out of your workouts with EPOC.

Eat Seafood

Canned sardines, canned tuna, clams, cod, haddock, halibut, herring, lobster, oysters, perch, salmon, sea bass and shrimp! These foods are good sources of dietary iodine, which stimulates production of thyroid hormone. 
But avoid pairing foods called goitrogens with meals containing seafood. They'll negate the absorption and lower your thyroid function. Some examples of goitrogens include cauliflower, pears, almonds, corn, Brussels sprouts, mustard, cabbage, kale, broccoli, peaches, canola oil, peanuts and spinach.

Take Your Vitamins

Iodine supplementation is available OTC as "kelp" or seaweed Combining kelp with a tyrosine supplement is a synergistic approach to boosting thyroid function. Iodine and tyrosine are responsible for synthesizing T3 and T4. According to the Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy, less than 20 mcg per day of iodine results in iodine deficiency. At the other end of the spectrum, iodine intake 20 times greater than the daily requirement (2 mg) results in chronic iodine toxicity. Like anything else, take it in moderation. More isn't necessarily better, though kelp supplements usually come in small increments of 150 mcg per tablet, so overdosing would require a steady diet of pills daily. Two to three tablets a day should be enough to get things started in the right direction. Consult your doctor before adding these to your supplement protocol.

Avoid Processed Foods

A diet rich in refined carbs and processed foods has repeatedly been viewed as a factor in people with sub-clinical or full blown hypothyroidism. Refined carbs spike insulin and increase inflammation in the body. The thyroid is just one bodily function that's impacted by a steady diet of junk.

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