By Ann Lindemann, Senior Health Writer
It’s one of the most frustrating dilemmas of aging – a sluggish metabolism. Unfortunately, as we age, we burn fewer calories a day. But don’t despair; there are easy ways to stoke your fat-burning potential. Here are three simple tips for cranking up your internal flame.
- Be a Nibbler. For years, common wisdom told us to slash snacks to help shed pounds. But eating five to six mini meals, rather than three larger meals daily, keeps your metabolism charged throughout the day. Make sure each meal includes some lean protein for an extra metabolic boost and don’t forget to incorporate fruits and veggies. Importantly, this healthy snacking scenario works because it prevents you from getting so hungry that you overeat!
- Eat breakfast. Sure, you’ve heard it’s the most important meal of the day, but it’s especially important in terms of metabolism. Studies show breakfast eaters lose more weight than breakfast skippers. The reason? Metabolism slows during sleep and doesn’t reignite until you eat. So if you skip breakfast, your body won’t burn as many calories until lunchtime as it could. Aim for a solid 300-400 calorie meal to jumpstart your metabolism first thing.
- Get Spicy. Go ahead and sprinkle some hot red pepper flakes into your lunchtime soup or evening veggie stir-fry. Capsaicin, a compound found in jalapeno and cayenne peppers, can temporarily boost your metabolic rate and thus increase your ability to burn calories. What’s more, studies also show pepper-eaters have less of an appetite – perhaps because the spiciness of the food makes them feel full.