35 / 22
      37 / 23
      34 / 28

      Foods to fuel your metabolism

      Your metabolism is an important bodily process having an enormous effect on, not only our aesthetics, but our body's weight loss capabilities.

      Metabolism is the rate our bodies break down food, fat and proteins. According to YMCA Registered Dietician Monica Nelson, physical activity, sleep and frequent meals are all needed for a healthy metabolic rate.

      "Foods that protect the system, foods that challenge the system or food that increase heart rate or temperature," explained Nelson, as options that keep your metabolism fast.

      Nelson said foods that increase temperature include anything spicy. The spicier it is, the more you sweat and burn calories during the meal. Other options are raw fiber foods including pears, apples, and vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, and cabbage.

      According to Nelson, raw fibers "cause the body to work harder."

      "Again it yields a higher calorie burn," Nelson added.

      Health experts add high antioxidant foods, like colorful fruits and vegetables, and omega-3 fatty acid foods, like fish, flaxseed or almonds, should also be factored in your diet. Lastly, an easy rule of thumb to help your metabolism is pair carbohydrates with protein.

      "Rather than having a bowl of frosted flakes with a banana, have it with a hardboiled egg," Nelson said. "Protein really helps to slow how quickly that carbohydrate comes in the system."

      Other things to remember:

      * Always eat breakfast; your metabolism slows down when you sleep, so eating early gives it a kickstart* Never starve; you need 1200 calories to maintain a normal metabolic rate* Eat frequent (at least every three hours)* And get regular exercise