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How to Reset the Metabolism With a Diet

As many people age, their metabolism slows down and they might find themselves putting on pounds or having a hard time losing weight. People who eat infrequently but poorly, those who lead sedentary lifestyles and people who are overweight or obese might also find they have a slow metabolism. When you boost your metabolism, you burn calories more quickly and typically have more energy. You can fire up your metabolism by making key changes to what and how often you eat.

Start your mornings with a hearty breakfast. The body’s metabolism rises when it digests food, and the caloric burn of digesting breakfast can increase your metabolism after your overnight fast, helping you to burn more calories throughout the day. Eat a daily, well-balanced breakfast that includes plenty of fresh fruit, grains, protein and dairy.

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Consume a grapefruit every day. With only 80 calories per fruit, grapefruit can reduce insulin levels in the body, which affects glucose metabolism and can encourage weight loss, according to Cynthia Phillips, Shana Priwer and Pierre Manfroy, authors of “100 Ways to Supercharge Your Metabolism.”

Eat six or more small meals a day. When you “graze” throughout the day, you’ll kick-start your body into digestion mode, which burns calories. These small meals don’t need to be elaborate. Keep fresh fruit, turkey slices, raisins, hard-boiled eggs, yogurt and salad ingredients handy for quick, healthy snacks that can help boost your metabolism.

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Burn more calories than you eat by consuming negative-calorie foods. The chewing and digestion of certain foods actually uses more calories than you take in eating them. These include broccoli, asparagus, zucchini, apples, melons and pineapple, according to Phillips, Priwer and Manfroy. “Negative-calorie foods are not the same as ‘empty-calorie’ foods such as candy, cookies and doughnuts, which provide virtually no nutritional value and contain high levels of fat and sugar,” the authors add.

Resist the urge to eat large meals in the afternoon and at night, as metabolism typically slows down as the day progresses. Especially avoid eating large amounts of food before bedtime. “Late-night eating is a recipe for weight gain because the body stores more food during sleep,” says Gillian McKeith, author of “You Are What You Eat.” Eat a sensible lunch and dinner, and eat only until you feel full.

Drink at least eight glasses of water a day. A 2003 study at Berlin’s Franz-Volhard Clinical Research Center reported that after subjects drank half a liter of water, they experienced an almost immediate 30 percent increase in their metabolic rates. Make sure your water is very cold, too; when you drink cold water, your body works harder to maintain its temperature, which boosts metabolism, according to Phillips, Priwer and Manfroy.