“I never had to watch what I ate until I hit 40 – that’s when everything changed…’
How often have you heard that? Maybe it’s the same for you – I know I had to be more conscientious about my choices after 40. Given the amount of changes our body goes through it’s no surprise.
Many of us notice changes in our bodies after 40, including a slowdown in our metabolism. This shift is a natural part of the aging process, but it doesn’t mean you are inevitably going to gain weight and feel sluggish from then on. There are many things you can do to give your metabolism a boost and manage weight and be healthy throughout your forties and onwards.
In this blog post, we’ll have a look at why this happens and explore a range of foods and lifestyle changes that can help give your metabolism a much-needed boost.
Metabolism refers to the complex chemical processes that occur within our bodies to maintain life. It’s a complex process that combines chemical reactions in the body’s cells that change food and drink into energy. This energy then fuels our bodies functions. This means our metabolism is working, day and night to provide energy for our basic functions, including breathing, blood circulation, digestion, growing and repairing cells, and managing hormone levels.
As we age, there are several factors which contribute to the slowing down of our metabolism. These are:
• Declining Muscle Mass – with age, we lose muscle mass. Since muscles require more energy to maintain than fat, a reduction in muscle mass leads to a decrease in our metabolic rate.
• Hormonal Shifts – hormones play a significant role in metabolism. Hormone levels, such as thyroid hormones and growth hormones, decline after 40, affecting the rate at which our body burns calories.
• Physical Activity – our activity levels often decrease as we age because of various commitments and lifestyle changes. A less active lifestyle can further contribute to a slower metabolism.
That’s the bad news. The good news is – there are things you can do to boost your metabolism.
10 ways you can easily boost your metabolism
While we can’t completely reverse the effects of aging, adopting a balanced diet rich in certain foods can help give our metabolism a boost.
1. Protein-Rich Foods
Protein has a higher thermic effect compared to fats and carbohydrates, meaning your body burns more calories during digestion. Include protein in every meal, choose lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, and plant-based sources like legumes and tofu. Protein also keeps us fuller for longer, which stops us snacking!
2. Fibre-Filled Choices
Foods high in fibre, like whole grains, vegetables, and fruits, require more energy for digestion and help regulate blood sugar levels. This helps prevent energy crashes that can accompany metabolic slowdown.
3. Spice Up with Spices
Certain spices like chili peppers contain capsaicin, which can temporarily boost metabolic rate and increase calorie burning.
4. Stay Hydrated
Drinking water is essential for efficient metabolism. Cold water, in particular, might have a minor thermogenic effect as your body works to warm it up. Aim to drink at least two litres every day.
5. Green Tea
Green tea contains compounds like catechins that have been linked to increased calorie burning. It also provides a mild caffeine boost without the jitters associated with other sources.
6. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Found in fatty fish, flaxseeds, and walnuts, omega-3 fatty acids support metabolic health and can help combat inflammation often associated with aging.
Ginger contains compounds called gingerols and shogaols, which are known for their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Some studies suggest that these compounds may contribute to boosting metabolism and supporting weight management.
Ginger may have a thermogenic effect, meaning it can slightly increase body temperature and thus lead to a temporary increase in calorie burning. It’s also thought to aid digestion by promoting gastric emptying and reducing feelings of bloating and discomfort, which indirectly might support a healthy metabolism. Add ginger to food, consume a slice of ginger in warm water or take as a supplement.
8. Eating at regular intervals
Well-spaced meals at the same time lets your body know to expect fuel at regular intervals and prevents it from conserving calories and adding to fat stores. In order to survive, our bodies are programmed to sense a lack of food as starvation. If we skip meals, our metabolism will slow down, in order to conserve calories. This can make it harder to lose weight.
9. Exercise and movement
Now is the time to increase your activity! You can maintain muscle mass with strength training. Increase flexibility with yoga or Pilates and get your heart pumping with aerobic exercise such as fast paced walking or running. Aim to incorporate at least one of each into your week – even 10 minutes a day is better than nothing at all!
Good quality sleep is essential for a healthy lifestyle. Aim for seven to eight hours of sleep each night to rejuvenate your body. Sleep also helps control your appetite, so a lack of sleep can translate into weight problems.
As we age, our metabolism naturally slows down due to various factors. However, adopting a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise and a diet rich in metabolism-boosting foods, can mitigate the effects of aging on metabolism.
Remember that individual needs vary, so consulting a healthcare professional can provide personalised guidance to help you maintain a vibrant and healthy metabolism beyond 40.
If you want some support to help you incorporate these healthy habits into your life then let’s talk. I help women over 40 increase their vitality and energy, maintain their weight goals and feel and look great!