As you get older, your metabolism naturally slows down. Your metabolism is determined by a massive genetic equation, which takes into account your age and your current health. This equation looks like this:
Rate of Metabolism =
Your hormones [growth hormones, estrogen, testosterone]
Your bone strength, muscle strength, and active neurons [working brain chemistry]
The number of diseases you currently have
As you age, your hormones drop, muscle is lost, bone density is lost, and your brain cells fizzle. At the same time you accumulate illnesses. All of these factor into your metabolic rate. However, by reversing these individual health issues, you can increase your metabolism, feel younger, and lose weight.When you were young, the food you ate supported your growing brain and body. Yet once you reached your final adult height, you may have experienced weight gain even when you were eating the exact same foods in the same quantities. The problem: Your metabolism weakened over time. To compensate, you need more voltage, or Dopamine, to jump-start your fat-burning furnace. Without it, you’ll just continue to accumulate body fat.
The good news is that you can jump-start your fat-burning furnace by concentrating on foods and nutrients that naturally increase your metabolism and boost your dopamine. Your metabolism works as an automatic system that is set by the fuel you throw at it. If you’ve been eating junk, your metabolism is working like a low-burning fire. However, when you provide it with lots of dopamine, this brain chemical acts like a pile of coal, and ignites your metabolism to burn off your calories.Remove Foods That Deplete Dopamine
Many common foods actually can deplete your levels of dopamine. For example, sugar and its many hidden forms (high fructose corn syrup, fructose, dextrose, sucralose, molasses, syrup, and others) should be avoided. Better alternatives would be pure honey, or maple syrup because they contain additional vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that may benefit your health. Stevia is another natural sugar substitute. It’s 200 to 300 times sweeter than sugar, so just a tiny amount will do the trick, and it contains 0 calories.
Also avoid simple carbohydrates and high glycemic foods whichare foods you crave if you are dealing with a dopamine deficiency, because they give you the feeling of increased energy in the short term. These are generally the “white” foods such as cakes, crackers, chips, potatoes, white breads and rice, processed foods, etc.
Which Foods Should You Eat?Instead of sugar-laden and “white” foods, choose more colorful versions that have more nutrients. Whole grain, colorful carbs (such as sweet potatoes, and brown rice) provide lots of energy without being instantly converted into body fat. Although they don’t create more dopamine, they won’t feed into the food addiction cycle.Dopamine enhancing foods are by nature calorie dense, so eating in moderation will be key in not consuming more calories than your body needs. Foods high in the amino acid, phenylalanine, will boost your metabolism. These include such proteins as lean beef, chicken, cottage cheese, eggs, oat flakes, yogurt, turkey, etc.
The amino acid, tyrosine, is another precursor to dopamine. Tyrosine-rich foods include: beef, chicken, cottage cheese, duck, granola, pork, wheat germ, wild game, yogurt, etc.
By increasing your consumption of phenylalanine and tyrosine, you can reverse your dopamine deficiency. Be sure to add spices to your meals – they are nutrient-dense and provide between 20 to 80 different nutrients. Try to include hot or cold tea to your day – they are metabolic enhancers that can help you burn calories and body fat. Colorful vegetables and salads should be included in your meals as a low-calorie, antioxidant-rich, and nutrient-dense benefit.
Written by Dr. Eric Braverman M.D.
Dr. Braverman is a Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Brandeis University and NYU Medical School, did brain research at Harvard Medical School, and trained at an affiliate of Yale Medical School. He is acknowledged worldwide as an expert in brain-based diagnosis and treatment, and he lectures to and trains doctors in anti-aging medicine.