By Lynn Harris
Revving Your Engine
Metabolism is a process that breaks down carbohydrates, fats and proteins in the food you eat to make the energy your body needs to build and maintain itself. Proper nutrition keeps your body functioning well, but the right foods can also speed up your metabolism. The amount of calories you eat, your genes and the amount of calories that you burn while eating and exercising determine your metabolism. The body breaks down carbohydrates, then fats and finally proteins. The food that you eat makes up 5 to 10 percent of your metabolic rate.
Stocking Your Cupboard
Foods that speed up your metabolism are vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, fish, healthy fats and whole grains. Look for these vegetables when shopping: spinach, broccoli, carrots, asparagus, cabbage, beet roots, assorted beans and dark, leafy vegetables. Any type of fresh fruit is good for you, but try eating blueberries, melons, apples, citrus fruits and tomatoes. Skinless poultry and eggs are excellent sources of protein. The omega 3 fatty acids in fish boost your metabolism by burning up to 400 calories a day. The enzymes in your body that burn fat increase while those that store fat decrease. If you are not a fish eater, take omega 3 capsules that contain a minimum of 300 milligrams total of EPA and DHA. Eat healthy fats like nuts and peanut butter. Whole grains found in brown rice, cereal, barley and oats speed up your metabolism as well. Consume foods with B vitamins, magnesium and fiber to increase your metabolism.
Too Much of a Good Thing
Portion control is still important. Just because these foods are good for you doesn't mean that you can go overboard. Eat several small meals and healthy snacks throughout the day. A good habit to start is reading the Nutrition Facts Labels on food containers. These labels tell what a single serving size is and the nutrients found in that serving.
Losing While You Eat
Know the caloric content of the foods that you eat. Nutrition Facts Labels tell the number of calories in a serving also. There are negative calorie foods that burn more calories during digestion than the foods contain themselves. For most people, a healthy number of calories per day is between 2,200 and 2,800 depending on their sex and size.
Balance It Out
Eating the right foods to speed up your metabolism and supplement your diet by incorporating other good habits. Drink plenty of water during the day. Six to eight glasses is a good goal. Exercise at least three times a week. Use free weights to help stimulate your metabolism by building muscle tone.
About this Author
Lynn Harris is a freelance writer who has worked in health insurance and benefits for two and a half years. She writes on topics such as health issues concerning expectant mothers and young children, in addition to fitness and exercise. Lynn keeps herself fit by incorporating healthy eating, various forms of cardio and strength training into her daily life.
Find out more about this topic, and all things health and fitness at Livestrong.com.