How to Increase Metabolism With a Vegetarian Diet

How to Increase Metabolism With a Vegetarian Diet

Metabolism is the key to weight control. And exercise and diet are essential to maintaining and increasing your metabolism. If you gain weight even though you consume less calories than your co-worker, it's most likely because you have a low Basal Metabolism, which is the rate your body burns calories to maintain normal bodily function. Metabolism rates depend on genetics, physical make-up and diet. To improve your metabolism to burn more calories, you must find the right balance of diet and exercise. An appropriate vegetarian diet consists of proteins, fruits, vegetables and some whole grains, eaten in smaller portions. Exercise should consist of muscle-building work-outs.


1. Eat more, smaller portioned, well balanced meals. Don't eat 3 large meals in one day; rather eat at least 5 or 6 times. Eating the right foods regularly keeps your body working, continually breaking down food, digesting and metabolizing. Though eating often appears to be the cause of weight gain, this actually works when paired with the right diet. Eating less actually slows your metabolism.

2. Consume foods that require more work to digest in order to boost metabolism. This is known as the high thermic effect. Proteins typically have a higher thermic effect than other foods. But you're trying to do this without meat, which is the most protein-rich food group. Fats have about a 3% thermic effect. Proteins have 30% thermic effect. Fibrous vegetables have a 20% thermic effect. So vegetables are not that far off from meats. Plus many vegetables are high in protein (see Resources below for a chart of high-protein vegetables).

3. Experiment with soy products for protein, such as tofu, a great alternative to meat. Tofu comes in many textures and flavors. Other protein-rich foods include legumes--beans, lentils, chickpeas, bean sprouts, and peas--as well as whole grains. Nuts are also rich in protein, but are full of fats as well.

4. Exercise. You increase your basal metabolism by increasing muscle, which burns more calories than fat. The key to losing weight is burning more calories than you consume. But the key to increasing your metabolism is increasing your muscle. Along with your regular exercises, aerobics, yoga or jogging, add muscle-building workouts such as push-ups or weightlifting. Building up body muscle will help increase basal metabolism, which means you will burn more calories a day just by being awake.