Eating to boost metabolism
Rev up your body’s “engine” naturally
Simply defined, metabolism is the rate at which we convert calories (and oxygen) into energy. It is not only how we convert food into fuel, but also how efficiently and effectively we burn that fuel.
Natural Metabolism-boosting 101
Metabolism translates to much more than our ability to gain and lose weight. It defines our hormonal balance, or lack thereof, as well as our energy level, mental acuity and our temperature.
Your metabolism is influenced by your age (it naturally slows about 5 percent per decade after age 40); your sex (men burn more calories at rest than women); and the proportion of lean body mass (the more muscle you have, the higher your metabolic rate tends to be).
Our bodies can burn calories from fat, protein or carbohydrates. Most of us would rather our body burn fat. However, the body only wants to burn fat when it needs energy, to avoid being wasteful. So how do we boost our metabolism naturally? There are several ways.
If boosting metabolism is your goal, weight training appropriate for your age and fitness level can be very helpful. Simply having more muscle will boost your body’s energy needs. Each extra pound of muscle you carry around can burn up to 50 additional calories per day, simply to maintain itself. This is without effort on your part (except to lift those weights, of course).
Eat foods that require extra energy to digest
Protein is a great example. The body burns twice as many calories digesting high-protein foods as it does high carbohydrate foods. This is why we should consume about 4 ounces of pasture-raised, organic animal meat at least one to two times daily. If you are looking to find economical pasture-raised meats, I love US Wellness Meats and they ship nationwide.
Always eat breakfast
My grandma always used to say, “The body is like a car. If you don’t give it gas, it won’t go.” Grandma was right about breakfast being the most important meal of the day because it starts up the metabolism. While sleeping, metabolism shuts down, breathing slows and heart rate decreases. It is important to eat soon after waking to let your body know it’s time to rev the engine. Otherwise, your metabolic rate will not reach its optimal level until food is consumed.
Eat small meals frequently
Aim for 5 or 6 small meals a day spaced apart by three hours. After three hours without food, your metabolism begins to slow down in order to keep you safe. Eating meals and snacks frequently throughout the day keeps the metabolism active. It basically retrains the body and also triggers the parasympathetic nervous versus the sympathetic (fight or flight) nervous system, which will help keep our moods happy and stress levels low because the body “feels safe” from starvation. Note: eating less than 1.200 calories per day will slow metabolism, forcing the body to conserve energy.
Pass the hot pepper
Spicy foods like red pepper chili flakes, cayenne pepper or others that turn up the heat have metabolism-enhancing effects. They have been shown to increase metabolic rate by 20 percent for approximately 30 minutes after consumption.
Water is needed (oxygen) for metabolism. If you are dehydrated then your metabolism cannot maintain a normal rate. Drink about 1 liter or 34 ounces of water per every 50 pounds of body weight to avoid that problem.
Start your day off right with The Whole Journey's Energy Boosting Breakfast Wrap and keep your metabolism revved up with our Spicy Turkey Chili (only takes 15 minutes to make!). For other great metabolism boosting recipes click HERE.