Are you familiar with how your metabolism works? “Metabolism” often gets thrown around when people are talking about losing weight. Many people know that a fast metabolism is a good thing, but aren’t quite sure what it is.

Your metabolism dictates the rate at which your body burns energy. There are two components – the absorption of nutrients to build tissue and store energy, and the breakdown of products the body doesn’t need. The faster this process is carried out, the faster calories are burned. This speed is influenced by a number of factors such as age, sex, and total body mass. In turn, your metabolism is a prime factor that helps dictate your body weight.

You want your body to be able to burn energy quickly and easily for optimum health; unused energy is stored as fat and can cause weight gain. You can take control of your metabolism by maintaining a proper eating habits and exercise. Eating habits include when you eat – when you eat, not what, is more crucial to speeding up your metabolism. While studies are inconclusive whether particular foods can increase metabolism for the long term, foods such as cayenne pepper and green tea can speed metabolism for 20-30 minutes.

Here’s the best thing you can do for your metabolism: Never, ever skip breakfast. Breakfast is a term for “breaking the fast” – your body goes into starvation mode while you sleep. When you delay or skip breakfast, your body holds on to most of the calories it takes in thereafter. However, your metabolism jumpstarts when you eat breakfast. Don’t let yourself get too hungry throughout the day – a healthy snack will not only keep your metabolism high, but will also nourish and energize you.