BASICSKENTUCKY (2/17/14) — Men and women looking to shed a few pounds and keep those pounds off often look for ways to boost their metabolisms. Some may not know just what metabolism means, and though it is a complicated combination of processes, metabolism is perhaps best explained as the sum of those processes, each of which is instituted to convert food into energy. So it's no surprise that so many people, especially men and women whose metabolisms have begun to slow down, want to boost their metabolism and turn that food into energy more quickly.

Though metabolism is a collection of complicated processes, boosting metabolism can be rather easy. The following are a handful of ways to do so, which can help men and women reach their fitness goals.

  •  Eat the right foods and eat more often. Many adults have been turned on to the concept of grazing, an approach to diet wherein adherents eat small portions of food every two to three hours instead of the more traditional three square meals per day. But grazing is only effective when men and women eat the right foods. Each small meal should still have nutritional value just as if it were a large meal. When eating smaller meals, include healthy sources of protein and fiber. Vegetables tend to be especially beneficial because they are high in fiber, a nondigestible carbohydrate that is hard for the body to break down. As the body works hard to break down fiber, it's burning energy and boosting its metabolism along the way. Fish is another potentially beneficial food for those looking to boost their metabolisms, as studies have shown that the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oils increase the levels of fat-burning enzymes in the body while decreasing the body's level offat-storage enzymes.

    Eating more often benefits the body because doing so stimulates metabolism, reassuring the body that food will be coming on a regular basis. When meals are skipped or there are long intervals between meals, the body reacts as if it might run out of food and begins to store fat.

  •  Add some lean muscle. Lean muscle can boost metabolism, so a workout dominated by cardiovascular exercise won't have as positive an impact on metabolism as one that includes a combination of weight training and aerobic exercise. When muscles are worked hard, the body needs to work hard to recover and rebuild those muscles, burning more calories and boosting metabolism as a result.

  •  Don't believe everything you read or hear. Suggestions abound as to ways to significantly improve metabolism. Unfortunately, many of these suggestions boost metabolism but not enough to help people lose weight, which is the ultimate goal of many people looking to boost their metabolisms. For example, green tea has its proponents who feel it can have a significant impact on metabolism thanks to EGCG, a compound found in the tea that has been proven to elevate metabolism. However, the impact of EGCG on boosting metabolism is negligible, and therefore won't make much of an impact on a person's weight. The same can be said about capsaicin, an active component found in chili peppers that some feel boosts metabolism enough to promote weight loss. Though capsaicin can boost metabolism slightly, studies have shown that influence is not significant enough to affect a person's weight.

  •  Don't get too comfortable. Modern technology may be a reason why waist sizes are getting bigger. Heating and cooling systems may be must-have items, but when the body is too comfortable, it burns less energy to stay warm in the winter or comfortably cool in the summer. A study from the National Institute of Health Clinical Center found that people who slept in a room kept at 66 F burned 7 percent more calories than those who slept in a room at 75 F. Sleeping in a cooler room may just be the easiest way for men and women to boost their metabolism.

Boosting metabolism and shedding extra pounds is a goal for many men and women. But while metabolism is a complex set of processes, the various ways to effectively boost that metabolism can be quite simple.

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