Your metabolism works around-the-clock -- even when you sleep -- but sometimes it needs a boost to burn off excess fat. No matter your age, weight or fitness levels you can influence your metabolic rate. A slow metabolic rate is rarely the cause of weight gain; rather, your level of physical activity and dietary habits determine how many calories you burn, according to MayoCliniic.com. You can burn fat and boost your metabolism with a few healthy lifestyle changes.
Eat breakfast every morning. This will increase your metabolism and keep your energy levels up throughout the day, according to Columbia Health. Aim for 350 to 500 calories of a healthy breakfast, which should include a complex carb such as brown bread, protein such as low-fat milk and a fruit or vegetable such as orange juice or tomato juice.
Make some of your meals spicy. Add a small hot chili pepper to your meal with the seeds removed or add a teaspoon of cayenne pepper seasoning. Chili peppers contain the heat-inducing chemical capsaicin, which can temporarily increase your metabolism by 8 percent, according to “The New York Times.” Alternatively, use black peppers or ginger, which have a similar effect.
Eat several smaller meals, rather than three large meals. Have between four to six small meals a day, eating every 2 to 3 hours. Add lean protein like fish, turkey and chicken to your meals with a portion of fruit or vegetables. Smaller portions on a regular basis keep your metabolism active. Eat small meals with lean protein and fiber because they help sustain satiety, which prevents overeating.
Drink water and green tea throughout the day. Have between 9 and 13 cups of fluids per day. According to the “The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism,” drinking 500 milliliters of water increases your metabolism by up to 24 percent for an hour. Green tea naturally contains caffeine, a stimulant that temporarily speeds up your metabolic rate after ingestion. Also found in green tea is the compound epigallocatechin gallate, or ECGC, which promotes weight loss by boosting your metabolic rate and improving heart health.
Exercise at least three times a week. Combine cardiovascular and strengthening exercise sessions. A 10-minute walk or jog will increase fat burning during and after the exercise. Strength training -- such as weightlifting -- increases muscle mass. Muscles require more energy to maintain than fat, thus improving your resting metabolic rate.
- MayoClinic.com: Metabolism And Weight Loss: How You Burn Calories
- Columbia Health: Breakfast: The First Chance To Fill Your Tank
- The New York Times: The Claim: Spicy Foods Increase Metabolism
- The University of Maine: Breakfast Foods and Satiety
- The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism: Water Drinking Induces Thermogenesis Through Osmosensitive Mechanisms
- Journal of the American College of Nutrition: Effects Of Green Tea And EGCG On Cardiovascular And Metabolic Health.
- Cleveland Clinic: Exercise: How Much Is Enough?
Jason Eaton has been a writer since 2010, and has contributed to several magazines and clinical journals. He has worked as a pediatric dietitian and clinical researcher in the United Kingdom. Eaton holds a Bachelor of Science in nutrition and dietetics, as well as a Master of Science in human nutrition.