Metabolism is the process by which carbohydrates, fats and proteins in food are broken down by the body into energy. There are many factors that influence a person's metabolism:
- Age: After age 40, metabolism slows by 5 percent each decade.
- Sex: At rest, men burn more calories than women.
- Heredity: There is a connection.
- Thyroid abnormality: An under-active thyroid can slow metabolism.
- Body mass: Lean, muscular body types have a higher rate of metabolism.
There are several ways to speed up your metabolism:
Fasting or waiting too long between meals causes the metabolism to significantly slow down in order to compensate for the lack of fuel your body is receiving. Small, frequent meals keep the metabolism functioning at full speed. A well-functioning metabolism allows the body to burn more calories so you lose more weight.
What should you eat to speed up your metabolism? A high protein diet is important because protein takes 25 percent more energy to digest than carbohydrates. Food intake is processed by your body in this order: carbohydrates, fats and finally protein. Eating low calorie snacks and protein-rich meals is the best dietary choice. Foods that speed up metabolism include:
- Lean protein: skinless chicken, lean beef
- Fresh fruit: especially blueberries, melon, apples, citrus fruit and tomatoes
- Fresh vegetables: especially spinach, broccoli, asparagus
Aerobic workouts and weight training three times a week is the best form of exercise to speed up metabolism. Why? Aerobics burn more calories than other forms of exercise. Weight training builds muscle and muscle burns more calories than fat. The more muscle you have, the higher your metabolic rate is to sustain the muscle. One pound of fat burns two calories a day, while one pound of muscle burns 35 calories a day, at rest.
Increased stress is proven to inhibit the body's metabolism, so try some relaxation techniques and time for you in between planned workouts.