Metabolism is a set of chemical processes solely responsible for converting your foods and drinks into energy which fuels your mind and body to function. Without metabolism, you can’t digest your food. Therefore, to boost metabolism is crucial for your gut and overall health (1).
But do you know a person’s metabolism naturally starts to decline after crossing the age of 40 (2)? Metabolism is only one factor that contributes to weight gain after 40 and beyond.
And if you are a woman and have celebrated your 40th birthday, you are going to experience hormonal changes owing to pre-menopause and menopause. These changes can end up making you eat more and burning fewer calories which would make your metabolism worse. You are likely to gain more fat, especially around your belly.
On top of that, if you are eating and living as you did in 25, you will eventually fall victim to obesity which increases the risk of several diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart problems, and cholesterol.
The good news is you can do something to boost metabolism. Here are 14 ways to help you speed up your metabolism after 40:
1. Change your eating habits to Boost Metabolism in 40s
Okay, it’s understandable that you carry so many responsibilities which makes it almost impossible for you to follow a strict fitness routine and be punctual for your meals.
But you have to understand your body is not ready now to tolerate your 20s or 30s habits. You will end up slowing your metabolism more if you continue to ignore your bad eating habits. A little care may help here though.
a) Eat at the same time
Eating balanced meals at the same time allows your body to know to expect fuel at regular intervals. This practice prevents your food from conserving calories and adding to fat spaces.
b) Eat less at night
Though the most important thing is still what you eat, not when, getting most of your calories before 7.p.m. is still a good idea. Both science and Ayurveda believe having a big meal at night causes bloating, constipation, poor sleep and thus disrupts your metabolism (3).
Note: Consult a nutritionist or check out some good books on nutrition, if you are willing to learn more about eating well.
2. Change your cooking habits
a) Cooking Method
We all know how a method of cooking food affects our health and metabolism. Food prepared by grilling, baking or boiling is much healthier and easy to digest than the food cooked by frying or cooking with butter or other oils.
You consume a lot of extra fat and calories from even a little amount of fried and processed foods. So, change the method of your cooking and make your gut health stronger. Eat more and enjoy more!
b) Cooking fats
Replace your cooking fats with other healthy alternatives. For example:
- Instead of adding butter or ghee for adding flavor to your food, consider doubling your spices.
- Substitute boiled and spicy chickpeas for roasted chickpeas for your lunch.
- Replace dairy milk with low fat or non-fat dairy kinds of milk.
You can prepare your list.
3. Eat metabolism-boosting foods
Familiarize yourself with metabolism-boosting foods. These foods include:
a) Calcium-rich foods
Studies say that a diet lacking in calcium is linked to higher body fat and including calcium-rich foods in your diet can prompt your body to burn fat (4).
According to experts, calcium promotes to preserve thermogenesis, the body’s core temperature, thereby revving up the metabolism and accelerating weight loss (5). Calcium is also good for bone health after menopause (6).
Some fat burner calcium-rich foods are almonds, broccoli, spinach, watercress, sesame seeds.
b) Fiber packed foods
Include high-fiber foods, such as fruits and vegetables, to your diet. They’re low in calories and don’t let the fat store in your body, and keeps your digestive system moving smoothly (7).
c) Slower burning carbs
Leaving carbs altogether will lead to draining your energy. Therefore switch to slower-burning alternatives like berries, lentils, pulses, whole-grain bread, whole-grain pasta, beans, sweet potatoes.
Incorporating good carbs in your diet would help to keep insulin levels in control which results in boosting your metabolism and keeping you healthy and fit through your 40s and beyond (8).
d) Spices & herbs
Spices and herbs have been shown to boost metabolism and promote weight loss (9). So, Spice up your meals with cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, cayenne, rosemary, cumin, and turmeric.
Please don’t confuse spicy meals with fats and processed high-calorie meal.
e) Other metabolism-boosting foods are green tea, citrus, garlic, caffeine, chili peppers, coffee, protein sources, fruits & vegetables.
4. Determine your macros to boost metabolism
Metabolism is all about how fast and how many calories your body burn digesting the food. When you eat protein-rich foods, your body burns many more calories digesting the protein than it does eating fat or carbohydrates (10).
As you age, your metabolism gets slow. In this condition, a high protein diet can help control your calories and digest your food more easily. Therefore, shift your macronutrients towards more protein and fiber and fewer carbohydrates and fat.
Replacing some carbs with lean, protein-rich foods is a good idea. Protein-rich foods include eggs, almonds, oats, cottage cheese, greek yogurt, milk, broccoli, chicken breast, sprouts, peanuts, pulses, and fish.
5. Take the right Probiotics gives a right boost to your Metabolism
Probiotics are helpful bacteria that keep your gut healthy and are helpful to your digestive system (11). After turning 40 when your digestion becomes slow due to slow metabolism, taking the right kind of probiotics may help.
Doctors usually suggest them to treat your digestion problems. Probiotic food sources are yogurt, cottage cheese, traditional buttermilk, pickles, dosa, idlis, dhokla, green peas.
6. Reset your gut
Studies have already stated that abstinence from foods or detox at weekends or regular intervals can help boost metabolism. After the age of 40, one of the main reasons for the slow metabolic rate is also the toxins in your digestive tract which obstruct the system and prevent your digestive organs function properly. (12).
So, power up your diet with fiber and refrain from refined sugar and junk foods. It will clear out the clogged pipelines in the digestive system which are responsible for speeding down your metabolism.
7. Stand up more often
Therefore stand up more often. You can also invest in a standing desk. But there is a problem if you suffer from joint or vascular issues. Prolonged standing is going to hurt your joints.
One solution is when you have to sit for extended periods, get up from the sitting positions to walk around at regular intervals. When you take short walks, you save your digestive system from getting sluggish and make your organs perform well.
8. Boost Metabolism by Moving your body
You already know how exercise is important to your body and mind especially after you have hit the age of 40. Your reduced metabolism makes you gain weight. Hence, you need exercise to prevent weight loss and boost metabolism.
If you are already in your 40s and not exercising, your inactive lifestyle is going to cost you much more than making you fat. Blood pressure, cholesterol, heart diseases, osteoporosis are some of the health conditions that can clasp your body.
Start with doing little things like walking, taking stairs, lifting heavy things or a couple of sets of push up throughout the day. These activities will result in a high-calorie burn.15 to 25 minutes of interval training 3 or 4 days per week can also help.
9. Build your muscles
If a person has lean muscle mass, she/he burns more calories than fat even in the sate of remaining physically inactive. But as people age, they naturally tend to lose muscle mass especially women after menopause.
Having less muscle means you burn fewer calories which leads to a slowing down your metabolism (15).
Physical activity and strength-training exercises like lifting weights or doing body-weight exercises, at least twice a week can help to counteract this process and preserve muscles.
10.Track your numbers
Take online help. Invest in fitness equipment like smartwatches or fitness bands and track your BMI, calories and other activities. This way, you will keep a close watch on your metabolism and stay motivated to put in more effort.
11. Follow what you already know
These tips somehow contribute to amp up your metabolism.
- Drink cold water more instead of sugary drinks
- Start your day with hot lemon water
- Find activities to reduce stress as stress is also a culprit causing weight gain.
- Sleep well
- Walk daily
- Have a handy journal of your activities
- Skip high processed foods
- Do yoga
In the end, I would like to recommend talking to your doctor if you don’t understand anything. You should visit your doctor in the following conditions:
- After 40, most women gain belly fat. One of the reasons is a slow metabolism. Belly fat has been associated with diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, dementia, and certain cancers. If you have any of these conditions in your 40s, follow your doctor’s advice for nutrition.
- At age 40, it gets difficult to stay in shape. So to prevent weight gain women rely on Crash diets (eating a very low amount of calories to lose weight fast in a short amount of time) which causes muscle loss. Ask your doctor if you need to build muscle?
- Get your hormones & thyroid tested. You may get shocked when you realize that you are not losing weight even after eating healthy and exercise regularly. Sometimes metabolism is not the culprit, your thyroid might not be working as it should. This happens in about 5% of people, and it becomes common in women and people over 40 and 50.
Remember, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and enjoying your life as you did in your 30s and 40s is not impossible. All that you need is a little care of yourself and slight changes in the way of your living.
Stay healthy, stay happy!
Living a healthier lifestyle in this fast-paced world is quite an effort on your part. Srishti Gupta inspires you to change your life for the better by her articles on fitness and wellness (supported by science). At her blog TrendToFit, she also gives reviews & buying guides to fitness equipment that help you invest only in the best quality products and make the best choice for you and your family.
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