4 Eating Habits That Boost Your Metabolism

What is metabolism? Scientifically, metabolism is the sum of all the chemical reactions that go on in the living cells that make up your body. Energy metabolism includes all the reactions by which the body obtains and spends the energy from food. In other words, the process your body uses to convert the calories from food into energy. And basal metabolism is the energy needed to maintain life when a body is at complete rest.  

Believe it or not, the majority of energy one burns in a day is for basal metabolism.  Basal metabolic rates vary among individuals. For instance, you may know someone who can eat anything and lots of it and yet never seems to gain a pound. On the other hand, you probably also know someone who has a very slow metabolism and eats less than other people and yet struggles greatly to maintain or lose weight. The difference may be in their basal metabolic rates. But, a person's metabolism is not the only factor that determines one's weight. How much you eat, when you eat, what you eat and how much you exercise all play important roles in determining your weight. 

Here are some tips to help you "boost" your metabolism:

  • Eat breakfast. Eating breakfast enables you to break your nighttime fast, which helps to jump-start your metabolism for the day. Also, breakfast eaters tend to be less hungry all day long and less impulsive about unhealthy snacking. Studies show that people who eat within one to two hours after waking are better able to control weight.
  • Eat regularly. Skipping meals slows metabolism, causing you to burn less calories and store more calories as fat. Also, you tend to eat more later, especially less healthy choices. Eating every four to five hours is recommended.
  • Eat protein with meals. Protein foods burn more calories to metabolize than carbohydrates and fats and also help you feel fuller for longer. Healthy protein sources include fish, chicken and turkey without the skin, lean meat, skim or 1% milk, eggs and egg substitutes, soy milk or tofu, low-fat, low-sugar yogurt, and beans (legumes).
  • Eat adequate calories. Eating a very low calorie diet or skipping meals and taking in less than 1,000 calories a day causes your body to slow down in order to conserve energy.

Because metabolism slows down as you get older, it's even more important to follow the guidelines listed above to help you maintain a healthy weight as you age.