Friday, July 4, 2008

10 WAYS TO KICK UP YOUR METABOLISM

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Here’s welcome news: You may have inherited your mom’s slow-mo metabolism, but you’re not stuck with it. New research shows you can trick your body into burning calories more efficiently, especially if you hit the gym. By strength-training just a couple of times a week, for example, you’ll reverse 50 percent of the seemingly inevitable metabolism slow-down that comes with age. So take control of your metabolism by making these boosters part of your routine.

1. Kick it up a notch
The next time you run, swim, or even walk, ramp up the intensity for 30-second intervals, returning to your normal speed afterward. Using this strategy will help you consume more oxygen and make your cell powerhouses, the mitochondria, work harder to burn energy.

2. Get your omega-3s
Why does eating lots of fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids (salmon, herring, and tuna) help amp up metabolism? Omega-3s balance blood sugar and reduce inflammation, helping to regulate metabolism. They may also reduce resistance to the hormone leptin, which researchers have linked to how fast fat is burned. You can take omega-3 fatty acid supplements.

3. Make some muscle
Not only does muscle weigh more than fat, but it uses more energy, too. The average woman in her 30s who strength-trains 30 to 40 minutes twice a week for four months will increase her resting metabolism by 100 calories a day.

4.Turn to (green) tea
Green tea has long been heralded for its antioxidant polyphenols. But new evidence shows the active ingredient, catechin, may crank up metabolism. Researchers conducted a series of studies in dieters and found that those who went green lost more weight than those who didn’t, suggesting that catechins may improve fat oxidation and thermogenesis, your body’s production of energy, or heat, from digestion. Drink five eight-ounce cups of green tea a day and you can increase your energy expenditure by 90 calories a day. Sounds like a lot of tea, but it’s not hard to do if you also drink it iced.

5.Don’t slash those calories
It’s one of the most frustrating realities of dieting—if you cut out too many calories, your metabolism thinks times are lean and puts the breaks on fat-burning to conserve energy. Here’s the trick to keeping your metabolism revved up while dieting: Eat enough calories to at least match your resting metabolic rate (what you’d burn if you stayed in bed all day; calculate yours here) That’s about 1,330 calories for a 5-feet-4-inch, 150-pound, 40-year-old woman.

6. Enjoy the afterburn
Exercise is a gift to yourself that keeps on giving. In a phenomenon known as excess postexercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), your body can take hours to recover from a robust workout (one intense enough that you can’t hold a conversation) and return to its previous resting metabolic rate. The windfall: Your body is actually burning more calories than it normally would—even after you’ve finished exercising.

7. Get started in the a.m.
Make sure you eat breakfast. Eating a nutrient-rich morning meal (like oatmeal with almonds and berries, or a spinach-and-feta omelet with a slice of whole-grain toast) shortly after getting out of bed literally wakes up your metabolism. Eating breakfast gets teh energy going and keeps it going.

8. Go ahead and graze
Noshing throughout the day is a proven strategy to help you curb hunger and eat fewer calories overall. Now, experts are promoting nibbling versus gorging as a way to keep metabolism running by holding blood sugar levels steady and preventing weight-gain-promoting insulin spikes. Enjoying six small meals a day should do the trick; keep them around 300 calories each, or divide your usual day’s calories by six.

9. Trim the trans fat
You’ve heard they’re bad for you. But trans fats also slow down your body’s ability to burn fat. “They have an altered shape and make your biochemistry run funny,” Hyman says, explaining that trans fat binds to fat and liver cells and slows metabolism. Eating trans fat can also lead to insulin resistance and inflammation, both of which cripple metabolism and can cause weight gain.

10. Think protein
Your body digests protein more slowly than fat or carbs, so you feel full longer (this is especially true when you have it for breakfast). Plus, it may also give your metabolism a bump. Take a protien supplement if you can't get it through natural foods.

Taken from Health.com
By Sarah Elizabeth Richards

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