A faster metabolism burns calories at a quicker rate.
Unfortunately, as we get older, our metabolism starts to slow down. And with a declining metabolism can come unwanted weight gain, says Lisa DeFazio, MS, RD.
If you're anything like us, you're looking for a few ways to kick your metabolism into high gear.
We asked several nutritionists to share their tips for keeping that rate high.
Here's what they said:
Make Time for Breakfast
“Eating breakfast helps to rev up your metabolism and also prevents you from being ravenous by lunch," says nutritionist Samantha Linden.
"Studies have shown that people who eat breakfast regularly tend to eat less calories throughout the day. Look for breakfast options that are not fussy so they are easy to prepare and fit into your busy schedule. Fiber rich cereals (3-5 grams per serving), oatmeal with low-fat milk, or peanut butter on half a whole-grain bagel are all good options.”
“They are full of healthy fats, protein and fiber and they keep you full and satisfied between meals," says Abby Greenspun MS, RD and CDN.
Find Foods with Fiber
Eating a diet rich in high-fiber foods boosts metabolism because fiber is indigestible, says Tanya Zuckerbrot, MS, RD & creator of the popular F-Factor Diet. “The body cannot digest fiber, but it tries to. In attempt in to trying to digest and eliminate fiber, the body actually expends more calories than it would with other foods. Therefore you expend more calories digesting high fiber foods than you do refined carbohydrates.”
Capsaicin — found in chili peppers — has long been regarded for its fat-burning ability, says Zuckerbrot. “This hot spice has thermogenic properties that increase heart rate, body temperature and thus, calorie burning,” she explains.
Reach for Green Tea
“Green tea contains caffeine and in addition to the metabolism and weight loss benefits, it also has antioxidant properties that protect you from some conditions and illnesses," says DeFazio. "If you take a look at the ingredients found in many weight loss products, many contain green tea as an active ingredient.”
Bring On the Broccoli
"A single serving of broccoli provides you with antioxidants along with folate and fiber to get your metabolism moving," says DeFazio. "Broccoli is a low-calorie food, allowing you to eat until you feel full,” she adds.
Drink (Some) Coffee
“Taken in moderation, one of coffee's benefits may be a short-term increase in your metabolic rate,” DeFazio says.
The body burns many more calories digesting protein as it uses to burn fat or carbohydrates, says DeFazio. “Replacing some carbs with lean, protein-rich foods can boost the metabolism at mealtime. Healthy sources of protein include lean beef, turkey, fish, white meat chicken, tofu, nuts, beans, eggs, and low-fat dairy products."
Our muscles burn calories, even when we’re doing nothing, says DeFazio. “This resting metabolic rate is higher in people with more muscle. Every pound of muscle uses about six calories a day just to sustain itself, while each pound of fat burns only two calories daily. That small difference can add up over time. In addition, after a workout of lifting weights, muscles are activated all over your body, increasing your average daily metabolic rate.”
Eat More Often
When you eat large meals with many hours in between, your metabolism slows down between meals. DeFazio suggests having a small meal or snack every three to four hours keeps your metabolism going so you burn more calories over the course of a day. “Several studies have also shown that people who snack regularly eat less at meal time,” she adds.