Envy is not a sin when it comes to your ‘slim’ friend devouring a big mac and cheesy fries while you end up eating a garden salad…! Add to your misery, your friend rants on about having fast metabolism and how she cannot gain weight easily.
Blessed are the families where high metabolism runs in the genes!
Just when you think you have made peace with being on the other side of 40, sluggish metabolism is a constant reminder that 40s are not easy!
Ever wondered, how to increase metabolism after 40?
There is a lot you can do, from balanced diet to exercises to natural supplements, there are many ways to boost your metabolism.
What is metabolism?
Metabolism is a process where millions of chemical reactions happen in the cells of your body, to convert food into energy. These calories are required to perform our day-to-day activities.
How do we burn these calories?
- Basic life-sustaining activities like breathing, blood circulation, heartbeat and sending signals to brain need energy. The calories you need to perform such basic functions is called basal metabolic rate (BMR). Calculate your BMR here.
- Everyday work like doing laundry, mowing the lawn, digesting the food, vacuuming the house, cooking and cleaning makes you burn the calories.
- Regular intense exercises make you burn the highest number of calories.
What factors affect metabolism?
- Genetics – If you have fast metabolic rate, thank your parents and grandparents. Some people are naturally gifted with good BMR. There is very little you can do when it comes to the genes! Do not fret, there are various other options that can significantly boost your metabolism.
- Body size – Well-built, large people have higher BMR compared to the lean ones. They burn more calories. That is not really an advantage, is it?
- Body composition (Muscle mass) – People who have higher muscle mass have faster BMR. After all, muscles require more energy to function than the fat in your body.
- Gender – Women generally have lower metabolic rates compared to men.
- Age – Metabolism decreases naturally as you grow older.
- Physical activity – People who are physically active tend to have higher levels of BMR.
- Hormone imbalance – Women usually suffer from slow metabolism due to hormonal imbalance. Learn more about hormone imbalance in women.
- Diet – The food you consume, portions you eat plays a vital role in metabolism.
- Stress – Metabolism is affected by your stress and anxiety levels. Stress may lead you to indulge in emotional binge eating or skipping meals, thus affecting your metabolism rate. Learn to manage your stress by inducing happy hormones.
How to increase metabolism after 40?
Your metabolism rate drops once you hit 40. Eating right and regular exercise helps you put it back in track. Here is what you can do to boost metabolism naturally –
1. Strength or resistance training
- Strength training involves physical exercises which increases your strength and endurance.
- It helps you build muscle mass which revs up your metabolism rate.
- Few basic strength training exercises you can do at home are bodyweight squats, push-ups, lunges, planks, dumbbell rows, bicycle squats, leg raises and jumping jacks.
- Strength training may be a little intimidating at the beginning, try to include a few sessions a week along with your daily fitness routine.
- Along with faster metabolism, strength training also improves your bone health, reduces the risk of injury.
- To learn the techniques, working with an experienced instructor is a good idea especially for the beginners.
2. Foods which increase metabolism
Consuming right kind of foods is vital to increase your metabolic rates. Small meals throughout the day, controlling portion size and chewing your food properly aids metabolism.
Protein rich diet
- A diet rich in protein requires more energy to digest thus boosting metabolism.
- Eggs, almonds, cheese, low fat yoghurt and tofu are great sources of protein.
- Include lean meat like chicken, turkey in your diet.
- Beans and lentils are a great source of protein for vegetarians. Eat a cup of beans or legumes with your lunch.
- Protein rich diet makes you feel full for longer time thus curbing your appetite.
What vitamins are good for metabolism?
- Vitamin B6, B12, D and minerals like calcium, iron, and magnesium boost metabolism.
- Include dairy products in your diet.
- Seeds and nuts are good sources of vitamin B.
- Fish like mackerel, sardines and salmon are good sources of vitamin D.
- Eat leafy vegetables, fortified cereals, brown rice for natural iron supply to the body.
- Bananas, potatoes, spinach, and legumes are good sources of magnesium.
Other foods that stimulate metabolism
- According to research, fiber rich food improves metabolism.
- Whole grains like whole wheat, millet, barley, brown rice, and oat meals are good sources of fiber. Our body needs more energy and must burn more calories to digest the fiber rich foods that stimulate metabolism.
- Eating spicy food improves your metabolism.
- Caffeine in coffee boosts the metabolism.
- Green tea, oolong tea and herbal tea are other natural supplements to increase your metabolism after 40.
- Curb your sweet cravings! Excess sugar intake impacts metabolism adversely.
- Do not skip meals, especially breakfast.
Stay well hydrated
- Drinking plenty of water is essential to maintain faster metabolic rates.
- Studies have shown drinking half a liter of water increases your resting metabolism by 10-30% for almost an hour.
- Staying hydrated helps your digestive organs function properly and reduces bloating.
Getting enough sleep
- Studies have shown that sleep deprivation has significant impact your metabolism.
- Catch 7-8 hours of shut eye for the smooth functioning of all the organs.
Yoga to boost metabolism
- Yoga has proved to be effective in boosting metabolism and burning calories.
- Yoga aids in good blood circulation.
- Practicing yoga regularly helps you build muscle mass.
- Doing various yoga postures like Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation), Anjaneyasana (Crescent pose), Shalabasana (Locust pose), Naukasana (boat pose), Dhanurasana (bow pose) and Salamba Sarvangasana (shoulder stand) are beneficial to boost your metabolism, strength, and flexibility.
- Include yoga along with meditation and prananyama in your daily fitness routine to burn calories. It also helps you destress and rejuvenates your mind.
- Learn more about various yogasanas and their benefits here.
Natural Ayurvedic medicine/remedies to increase metabolism
Ayurveda is a natural, alternative medicine system originated in the Indian subcontinent more than 5,000 years ago.
It promotes good health through diet and lifestyle changes.
Ayurveda recommends several herbs and spices to boost up your metabolism.
Ashwagandha (Indian ginseng)
- Ashwagandha boosts muscle strength and mass essential for speeding up the metabolism.
- It helps you deal with sleep disorder, anxiety, and depression.
- While Ashwagandha capsules are available, most effective way is to consume the powder made from dried ashwagandha leaves.
- Turmeric is widely popular for antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Curcumin present in turmeric helps boosting metabolism.
- Include black peppercorns in your food to strengthen metabolism.
- The active compound piperine present in black pepper promotes gut health.
- Known as one of the healthiest spices, cinnamon helps to boost metabolism.
- It also helps to fight belly fat.
- Next time do not forget to add cinnamon to your tea!
- Cumin is extremely useful in aiding faster metabolism and weight loss.
- A teaspoon of cumin boiled in a glass water and consumed first thing in the morning helps you burn calories.
- It provides relief form bloating and promotes digestion.
- Due to its high-fiber content, fenugreek helps in digestion.
- Fenugreek seeds have a water-soluble fiber component called galactomannan which helps speeding up the metabolism.
- Make a fine powder of dry roasted fenugreek seeds, add a teaspoon of this powder to warm water or milk and consume it first thing in the morning for optimal results.
Ginger/Dry ginger powder
- Thermogenic agents present in ginger help in boosting the metabolism by fighting off the excess fat.
- Ginger stimulates food digestion and provides relief from excess gas.
Indian gooseberry (Amla)
- Amla is known for its high nutritional value, it has good amount of vitamin C.
- Alkaline in nature, it promotes digestive health by burning the excess calories.
- Aloe vera cleanses your digestive system and speeds up metabolism.
- Aloe vera juice consumed in small quantities helps burn the fat.
Carom seeds (Ajwain)
- Carom seeds have an essential oil called thymol which has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.
- This essential oil improves the functioning of digestive system and boosts metabolism.
- Carom seeds also provide relief from flatulence and excess gas in the abdomen.
While most of these herbs and spices are natural and safe to consume, use them with caution, excess amount may have some side effects. Consult an ayurveda health care professional for more information.
Sensible diet coupled with regular exercise and lifestyle changes has a significant impact on your metabolism.
Do not follow any crazy diet, it mostly has a negative impact on your metabolism. Try to boost your metabolism naturally before opting for the supplements.
‘Eat less, move more’ – must be your mantra for a faster metabolism!