Maximize Your Metabolic Rate with the Mediterranean Diet

Your metabolic rate is how many calories you burn at rest. The Mediterranean lifestyle can help you kick your metabolic rate into full gear, even if you don’t have control over some of the factors that influence this rate.

Some people have moved away from these strategies in the United States and Canada as life has gotten more fast-paced and more convenient. You can model the Mediterranean lifestyle and incorporate some of these strategies in your daily living; try to include at least two to three of these strategies regularly:

  • Build lean muscle mass. Muscle burns 90 percent more calories than fat does, so the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn each day. You can build more muscle by lifting weights, using resistance bands, walking, and performing other forms of strength-training exercises.

  • Increase your heart rate. Regular aerobic exercise not only gets your heart rate up but also raises your metabolism during the activity and for several hours afterwards. Aerobic exercise includes any activity that gets your heart rate up, such as walking, biking, dancing, jogging, swimming, or aerobics classes.

  • Take the extra stairs. Any time you increase your heart rate, even for two minutes, you give your metabolic rate a small boost.

    So doing little things all day like taking the stairs, dancing to your favorite song, or walking farther in the parking lot provides little rises in your metabolic rate over the course of a day. Those little individual rises add up to help you with weight loss and wellness. As you move through your day, think of ways you can increase these little bursts of energy.

  • Enjoy some resistant starches. Research shows a connection between metabolism and certain starch-resistant foods that can increase the body’s efficiency at burning stored fat. Resistant starch refers to a type of fiber that opposes digestion. Unlike other types of fiber, resistant starch ferments in the large intestine, which creates beneficial fatty acids, including one called butyrate.

    This particular fatty acid has been shown to help the body burn more stored fat. You can find resistant starches in bananas, yams, pearl barley, and corn — all pieces of a Mediterranean-style diet. The only trick is to eat these foods cold or at room temperature for their best effect, and remember that they’re not a miracle cure.

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