Article written by Kristen Bell, Registered Dietitian, Los Angeles, CA
Do you feel like your metabolism gets slower with age? If you feel like everything you eat is just being stored away in unwanted areas, it is time to start boosting your metabolism by making a few changes in your diet to best utilize the foods in your diet.
Use these food tips to start increasing the amount of calories you burn, maximizing your energy, and start seeing those unwanted bulges melt away before summer is over!
Water, water, water! Hydrating yourself with water encourages optimal bodily function and speeds up the metabolism. If you don’t like drinking plain water, try adding lemon, lime, or orange zest. Drink at least 2 L of water day not including the water you drink during workouts.
Eat a small amount of protein along with complex carbs every 3-4 hours. This would be about 5 small meals a day. Eating frequently will make your body feel fully satisfied and will not go into starvation mode. Combining protein and carbs will cause a substantial decrease in cravings and prevent spikes in your blood sugar giving you increased energy throughout the day to burn more calories!
Fill up on fiber. This can be found in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and beans! Be sure to drink plenty of water whenever you are consuming high fiber foods to have normal bowel movements. Fiber will help keep you full for a longer period of time. It is recommended to consume 25-40 g of fiber a day.
Don’t go past the point of hunger. Skipping a meal triggers a starvation response in the metabolism, which makes it slow down, reserving any energy from food it may receive. Eating more frequently will cause your body to consistently burn the food up and will not store food as fat.
Sugar is the white poison. Sugar will send metabolism into a slow downward spiral. All simple sugars and refined sugars must be avoided to keep the metabolism burning quickly. A few examples include white breads, white rice, candy, regular sodas, and syrups.
Complex carbohydrates from vegetables and fruits satisfy the needs of an active body. Each meal should include generous servings of both!
Essential fats. It may sound funny, but heart healthy fats in your diet are very important in moderation to burn fat. Consume heart healthy fats such as fish, flax seeds/oil, nuts, seeds, avocado, olives, and nut butters. Be careful, it may be difficult to control portion sizes of these tasty foods. A serving size of nuts and seeds is a small handful, and 1 tablespoon of nut butter is 8 g of fat and considered 1 serving. Omega 3’s are a fantastic heart healthy fat that also help preserve lean body mass among many other health benefits. Flax oil, Krill oil, Cod Liver oil, or fish oil pills. All are a wonderful source of Omega 3 fats.