ILana Muhlstein, MS, RDN
Metabolism is essentially the rate in which we burn food for energy. Therefore, a slow metabolism doesn’t burn the calories from food as quickly and the excess of calories consumed will be quicker to store as fat. On the upside, someone with a slow metabolism will likely feel more full and energized from less calories and should therefor focus on filling and satisfying low calorie foods.
Cruciferous veggies like Brussels sprouts, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, bok choy, and cabbage are a great example. They are very high in fiber, which can help absorb excess fat and calories and promote elimination. These vegetables also contain iron and calcium, which and both minerals are essential for a healthy working metabolism.
Whey protein, found in protein shake powders like shakeology, are also great for boosting metabolism. Protein requires extra energy to breakdown, causing your body to burn excess calories and jolt your fat burning potential. The lean protein can also stimulate our satiety hormones and contribute to feeling full and satisfied which can prevent overeating. Whey protein also contains leucine, an amino acid, that can help build muscle, which can improve our metabolic rate, aka speed in which we burn calories.
Beans and legumes, like lentils, are amazing for boosting metabolism. They are very rich in plant based protein and iron, both essential for maintaining a healthy metabolism. Additionally, beans and legumes are rich sources of resistant starch. This starch is harder for the body to break down, meaning that it helps keep us fuller longer, can lower our blood sugar response, and encourage our body to burn more calories to break it down. The high fiber content can also help reduce fat storage in the body and improve elimination, which is very helpful for enhancing a positive metabolic system.
It has been studied and shown that your metabolism works about 2x stronger in the first half of the day, compared to the second half. You are eating food at the same time that you are engaged in your daily activities which is ideal for burning more calories. Even walking to and from the bathroom, or getting in and out of the car is more calorie-burning than sitting on a couch. In fact, using your brain and reading emails has been shown to burn more calories than watching TV. Therefore, the more you eat in the first half of the day, and the less you eat later at night, the better your metabolism will work.