Boost Your Metabolism by Eating
Whether you are trying to lose weight or maintain your current weight, your metabolism is what determines how fast you lose weight or how easy it is to maintain it. Many factors can determine your metabolic rate, such as age, heredity, sex (males tend to burn more calories per hour than women), and the level of lean muscle compared to fat that your body contains. In some instances an imbalance in your thyroid gland can also cause your metabolism to slow down. The good news is no matter how slow your metabolism is there are ways to increase it so you can lose weight. One way is by eating foods that will help your body burn calories at a faster rate.
Jump-Start Your Metabolism
Most people believe that they need to starve themselves to lose weight but the truth is you have to eat to lose. When you drastically limit your caloric intake your body goes into starvation mode and holds onto the very fat cells you are trying to shrink. In turn, your metabolism actually slows down when you don't eat in order to reserve your energy. Eating actually revs up your metabolism and makes your body burn calories as it works to digest the food.
Eating several small, healthy meals each day is the key to keeping your metabolism rate up and your hunger down. Researchers have found that, like starvation, when you eat only three big meals per day your body goes into starvation mode between meals and slows down your metabolism. By eating five to seven small meals and healthy snacks per day you maintain a consistent metabolic rate that will help you burn calories at a higher rate.
Foods that Raise Your Metabolism
The way your body processes certain foods can affect the rate in which your metabolism works. While eating any food makes your body work to digest and absorb nutrients, some foods make the body work harder than others. Foods that contain protein or fiber make the body work harder to process them, therefore you burn more calories. But foods that contain high amounts of fat and sugar actually slow down the metabolism because they are easily digested. Eating a healthy mix of the right foods will help to boost your metabolism and help you lose weight.
Water – You need to stay hydrated in order to keep your metabolism in high gear. Not drinking enough water can cause your liver to work harder, doing work that the kidneys would be performing if you were better hydrated. This keeps the liver from being productive at other important work—namely coverting stored fat to energy and burning calories. Drink the recommended 6-8 eight ounce glasses a day to help keep your liver working efficiently so it can continually convert stored fat into energy.
Protein – Eating high-protein foods make your body work harder because your system uses more energy digesting and absorbing the nutrients from these foods. That means your body actually burns more calories while eating these foods. Good sources of protein are lean red meats, fish and shellfish, turkey and chicken, nuts such as peanuts or almonds and most legumes such as kidney or lima beans.
Fruits and vegetables – Foods that contain high quantities of fiber also make your body work harder to digest the food. Fiber is a non-digestible carbohydrate that your body works hard at trying to digest. The harder it works the more calories you burn. Great sources of fiber in fruits and vegetables are broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, tomatoes, avocados, grapefruit, blueberries, oranges, strawberries and raspberries.
Omega-3 fatty acids – Found in fish, oils, and some nuts, Omega-3 fatty acids help to regulate the levels of the hormone leptin in your system. Leptin is important to the metabolism in that it influences how the body burns and stores fat. Eating foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids will help to increase your ability to burn fat and raise your metabolism. Foods containing Omega-3 fatty acids are fatty fish such as salmon, trout, tuna, sardines and mackerel, oils such as flaxseed and canola, and walnuts.
Calcium – Eating calcium rich foods like low-fat dairy products will help to keep your metabolism on track. A diet low in calcium causes your body to go into starvation mode and hold onto fat cells for self-preservation. Adding calcium to your diet gives your body the okay to let go of those fat cells. Good sources of calcium are low-fat yogurt, low-fat milk, cheese and cottage cheese.
Adding these foods to your diet is easy since they are already considered a part of a healthy diet. By getting rid of the foods with no nutritional value and adding these great metabolism jump-starters you can help keep your metabolism working properly as you work on losing weight.
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