It’s no secret that our body’s metabolism slows down with age. The reason for this being that, as we get older, we begin to lose muscle mass and instead gain more body fat. The result is that we experience a decline in our basal metabolic rate (BMR). Our basal metabolic rate is an estimate of how many calories our bodies burn throughout the day while at rest. This does not include energy expended from daily activities, but rather the minimum amount of energy required to keep vital organs functioning.
For men it’s a gradual decline, as for women, many begin to see changes in their metabolism in as early as their 30’s. In times of life events such as pregnancy and menopause, women may experience drastic changes, resulting in a spike or decline in their metabolism. While there is no stopping the inevitable change, there are ways to slow down the process by improving on a few simple life style habits.
Start the day Right
Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day; so be sure to always fuel up in the mornings! A nutritious breakfast is sure to fire up your metabolism and provide you with energy to get you going. Foods like oatmeal and spinach omelets are great options as they provide a good balance of carbs and proteins. Try adding berries, cinnamon or almonds to your bowl of oatmeal for a little added flavor.
Don’t skip Meals
The idea that if you consume fewer calories, you’ll lose more weight is a misconception. In fact, consuming fewer calories throughout the day brings your metabolism to a halt resulting in more weight gain. Lynne Smiley, PhD at the University of Arizona found that when the body is deprived of calories, it conserves the calories needed to properly function and in doing so, stores fat to survive malnutrition. Extremely low-calorie diets backfire in that not only is it unhealthy and damaging to the mind and body, but also once you resume to consuming the average number of daily calories, weight gain is sure to follow. Try eating smaller portions, more frequently throughout the day.
Go Green (Tea)
Green tea is known to be the healthiest tea in the world. Loaded with antioxidants, this ancient Japanese tea has a lengthy list of health benefits in addition to boosting metabolism. Studies show that drinking 5-6 cups of green tea daily can in fact increase the body’s metabolic rate and rev up thermogenesis and fat oxidation. The primary phytochemical compound, catechin, is responsible for these physiological results. It’s also been found that the daily consumption of green tea can burn an additional 70-100 calories daily.
Conventional foods are riddled with pesticides, fertilizers and herbicides, and recent studies have found a correlation between these toxic pollutants and weight gain. It is believed that the organochlorine compound found in pesticides interferes with the body’s ability to burn energy, and in turn our metabolic rate slows down. Many people choose to not eat organic because it’s costly, however, next time you think you are better off saving a few dollars, consider the fact that when you buy organic, you are not only making a conscious decision to improve your health, but you’re also decreasing agricultural pollution.
Less Carbs, More Protein
High protein diets increase dietary thermogenesis, which makes up approximately 10% of the total energy expended throughout the day. It takes longer to digest protein than it does to digest carbs or fat, and so our bodies utilize more energy consuming nutrients in protein packed foods. Research shows that protein burns up to 35% of ingested calories. Hence, the process of protein digestion revs up metabolism. Also, the body needs protein to preserve lean muscle. Muscle mass is the best natural fat-burner, therefore increasing muscle mass will help you shed extra calories and keep your metabolism going.