A healthy metabolic rate is a sign of wellness, promoting everything from normal digestive function and body temperature control to positive moods and sleep quality. According to the American Council on Exercise, an increased metabolism can help you lose excess pounds and maintain a healthier body fat to lean mass ratio. The trick to keeping your metabolism from slowing down is to stay consistent and eat smaller, healthier meals more frequently throughout your day. This can help prevent overeating and provide your body with a steady flow of energy. Before beginning any dietary program, always consult your physician.
To increase the efficiency of your metabolism, eat frequently. When you eat one or two meals per day, the time in between meals causes your body to run low on energy, which can slow your metabolism down. When you eat every two to three hours, your digestive system is constantly working to break down foods, which keeps your metabolism higher.
Eating frequently means that you also have to eat smaller portions. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, when you eat too much at one time, your body can’t process the excess calories and, as a result, lets loose a surge of insulin in an attempt to rid your bloodstream of excess sugar. This can lead to fat accumulation and a slowdown in metabolism. Eating smaller portions can prevent you from overeating and helps keep your metabolism from crashing after an insulin spike. Your regimen should include protein and complex carbohydrates at every meal.
Types of Foods
Your meal plan needs to include nutrient-dense foods. Protein is essential because it helps build and maintain lean muscle mass, which requires more energy from your body to maintain and can help increase metabolism. when paired with strength-training exercise. Good sources of protein include eggs, lean turkey meat, legumes, fish and chicken. Complex carbohydrate sources -- such as fruit, vegetables and whole grains -- provide fiber, which helps keep your blood sugar and appetite control steady and your digestive system working. Healthy fats are important for production and maintenance of hormones such as testosterone. Hormones help sustain muscle mass. Good sources of healthy fats include olive oils, flax seed oil, avocados and peanut butter.
To make your meal plan easier to follow, try visualizing your portion sizes based on the type of nutrient you eat. For example, each serving of complex carbohydrates and protein should be roughly the size of a deck of cards. Your healthy fats can resemble three caps of bottled water. Visualizing serving sizes makes it easier to keep track of your portions and make it so you don’t have to count calories. You can get creative with your meals as long as you stick to the foods mentioned and other healthy alternatives. Avoid adding salt or sugar to meals and stay away from heavily processed foods such as cereals and frozen dinners. Following these simple guidelines can dramatically improve your metabolic efficiency.
- "American Council on Exercise Personal Trainers Manual"; Cedric X. Bryant; 2003
- "ACSM’s Resources for the Personal Trainer”; American College of Sports Medicine; 2010