Whether you exercise regularly and eat a perfectly balanced diet or not, everyone strives for an active metabolism. The metabolism keeps the body energized and helps avoid excess fat storage. Your resting metabolic rate is how quickly your metabolism works without having to do any physical activity. Obviously, the higher the rate, the less you have to do to maintain a healthy weight. Unfortunately, many dietary and lifestyle habits inhibit the metabolic process and could be unintentionally slowing your metabolism.
As women age, their metabolism slows, which on average leads to a yearly weight gain of around 1.5 pounds after age 40. Luckily, you can curb some of the causes of unintentionally slowing your metabolism. Keep these tips in mind to keep your metabolism working for you all day and night:
What to Eat
Enough Food: The metabolism is like a fire, burning energy inside your body that requires fuel to keep going. Without enough food, your metabolism will slow significantly. Meals should be approximately 400 calories each, which is enough to keep the body evenly satiated for three to four hours. Morning and afternoon snacks are important to keep the metabolism fueled as well. And like your mother said, breakfast is essential. Otherwise your body stores energy and slows down until it gets a new source of nutrients.
Complex Foods: Nutrient-dense foods that also contain fiber take more effort for your body to break down and distribute throughout the body. This extra work keeps your metabolism speedy and agile. Fruits, vegetables and whole grains like whole wheat breads and pastas are particularly fibrous. Sugars and simple carbs such as white bread and rice spike blood sugar and absorb quickly into the system, which is counterproductive for metabolic rate.
Lean Protein: This is a crucial part of every meal and snack that can keep burning calories long after a meal is complete. By adding grilled chicken to a salad, nuts to your oatmeal, or yogurt to your fruit, you can enjoy this fabulous benefit. Avoid fatty meats and other high fat foods, such as fried foods, because they overwhelm the body. The metabolism essentially rests when it receives too much fat while it waits for it to be stored.
Avoid Pesticides: Toxins found in pesticides are proven to slow the metabolism and prohibit weight loss. Buy organic fruits and veggies when possible, or peel them if organic is cost-prohibitive.
Iron: Strong blood requires iron to improve circulation and deliver nutrients and oxygen throughout the body. Muscles require oxygen to burn fat and speed the metabolism. Women lose iron through menstruation so it’s important to consume plenty of iron in your diet with foods like spinach, cereals, beans and most plant-based superfoods.
Calcium: The nutrients in your food only work for you if it is absorbed into the bloodstream. Calcium is one of the best elements to increase absorption of a variety of nutrients, allowing them to benefit the body, including the metabolism. So drink your milk and eat your yogurt and cheese, ladies.
What to Drink
Natural Caffeine: Coffee and tea are bursting with antioxidants that stimulate the metabolism. Depending on your favorite variety, they can increase the metabolism by 5 to 12%.
Cold Water: Drinking cold water requires the body to work harder to digest. Water and other cold foods must be warmed to body temperature before it can be used. This simple way to speed your metabolism could buy you 50 more calories a day.
Limited Alcohol: Alcohol severely inhibits the metabolism and causes you to burn less fat because alcohol cannot fuel the metabolism at all. One glass of wine or one cocktail is fine, but more than that can ruin the metabolic headway you’ve made throughout your day.
What to Do
Sleep More: The more you sleep, the more energy you’ll have throughout the day. This encourages and motivates lots of physical activity or just more energized intention to whatever your day brings. Moreover, when you are sleep deprived, your body uses less energy when it actually gets to sleep, lowering that resting metabolic rate.
Move Around: Sitting for just 20 minutes at a time can lower your metabolism. If you have a sedentary job, try to get up periodically to stretch and walk around to keep blood flowing and the metabolism churning.
Keep a Schedule: Upsetting your circadian rhythm from jet lag or all-nighters really disrupts your cellular function and metabolic rate. Try to eat meals and sleep at around the same times daily for a more well-balanced system.