Life begins at 40.
That’s what most people say, but the truth is that a lot of things in our body change when we reach 40 – especially our metabolism.
Have you ever wondered why it is usually a lot more difficult to lose weight and a lot easier to gain weight as we age?
It is because our metabolism is not the same anymore.
Here’s how to boost metabolism for women over 40.
Tip 1: Keep tabs on protein
You already know to keep calories and fat in check, but you’ll fan the flames of your metabolism by putting another nutrient on your radar: protein, the building block of lean muscle mass. Each time you eat a protein-rich food—say, a piece of fish or cheese—your body goes to work, breaking it down into smaller particles called amino acids. “The amino acids enter your bloodstream and are then absorbed by your muscle tissues and other cells,” says Douglas Paddon-Jones, PhD, director of exercise studies at the University of Texas Medical Branch. “Once the amino acids end up in your muscles, your body starts putting them back together—sort of like Legos—into your muscle tissue.” This is called muscle-protein synthesis, and it’s the process your body uses to build and maintain muscle mass.
However, just like those rehab-loving design gurus on HGTV, your body breaks down muscle as regularly as it builds it. “All of the cells in your body need protein to function. When there aren’t enough amino acids from food available in the bloodstream, the body will start to break down and harvest amino acids from your muscle in order to keep more vital cells—like the ones in your brain and other organs—functioning,” says Dr. Paddon-Jones. “This is a natural, continuing cycle. Muscle-protein synthesis goes up after you eat a meal with protein, and your body switches back to muscle-breakdown mode a few hours after you’ve eaten. Normally, the ups and downs equal out and your muscle mass stays the same.” However, eat too little protein for too long and your muscles start to shrink, eventually causing your metabolism to take a nosedive.