It’s no secret that as you age, your metabolism decides to take longer and longer vacations, resulting in the inevitable weight gain. But age isn’t the only reason your calorie-burning ability slows down. Several surprising factors can hurt (or help) your metabolism do the job. Here are hidden metabolism “haters” and “helpers,” and changes you can make to keep yours clicking along.
Fruits and vegetables aren’t what they used to be: same vitamins, extra dose of pesticides. “Your liver is vital in the hormonal pathways of your metabolism, so having sludge [like pesticides] in there will slow down its function because it’s working harder to get them out,” says Alyssa Cellini, nutritionist at Complete Nutrition and Wellness in Hoboken, NJ. So, try to eat organic instead.
Love your afternoon diet soda break? Time to switch it up with unsweetened iced tea. “Diet colas has aspartame in it which triggers a sweet tooth, slows down liver function and causes fluctuations in mood and low serotonin, which has been linked to binge eating,” says Cellini.
“Counting calories can keep you fat because your body thinks it’s starving, which affects your thyroid and makes your metabolism slow down,” says Dr. Robert Rey, of Dr. 90210 on E! and author of Body by Rey. “Instead, focus on building muscle with resistance training; each pound of muscle burns 50 calories a day.”
“Caffeine serves, in a complex way, to increase adrenaline, which is a neurotransmitter that speeds up metabolic processes,” says Dr. Peter Vash, medical director of Lindora Medical Clinics and assistant clinical professor of medicine at the Center for Health Sciences at UCLA. Keep your consumption to two to three cups a day (not 10) or you risk sleep disruption and other health problems.
Dive into that chilly ocean, lake or pool near you. “Not only is it exercise, but swimming in cold water stimulates fat reserves by causing a shivering response. This in effect burns calories to try to raise your internal core temperature by liberating heat,” says Vash.
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