Metabolism is one of those words that get bandied around whenever the subject of diet, energy, fitness, health or weight-loss come up. It seems to be a catch-all phrase or description for whatever it is the body is doing.
As an event, metabolism is a chemical process within cells of the human body or any living organism for that matter.
Specifically, metabolism is the process of converting the food we eat into energy that can be utilized by the cells of the body comma building proteins and some carbohydrates and the removal of unwanted waste material.
These metabolic processes or transformations enable our bodies to maintain their figure and at a cellular level allow our bodies to grow, heal and be strengthened. Metabolism can incorporate digestion and the transportation of substances and nutrients between the cells of the body.
Now, I would be singing to the choir if I told you that these processes tend to slow down with age. With that slowing down process come a number of obvious changes to the body’s overall health, vigor and ability to manage and maintain its weight.
These are all natural processes, and they are happening at various rates and in various degrees to every one of us.
By way of example, your typical female will gain around one and a half pounds a year as an adult. That means that by the time a woman hits her mid-fifties, she has added a little over 40 lbs to her body weight.
That’s a significant increase and a good reason for us to look for ways to maintain a good metabolism throughout life. Many people resigned themselves to the fact they’re going to gain weight, particularly in the middle years of life.
Some people will go to extremes in an effort to maintain a healthy body and inadvertently age themselves, even if only their appearance, more rapidly then they need to in order to maintain a healthy body.
There is a middle ground. Weight gain is not inevitable and can be managed when we find more organic and natural ways to maintain our metabolism.
Is your Metabolism Slow?
The first thing you are will need to determine is whether your metabolism is, in fact, slowing down.
The place to begin is with your own observation. Some of the signs that your metabolism is slowing down and is not working at an optimal level are:
- Skin which is cracking or dry
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Difficulty sleeping
- Unable to arouse yourself out of fatigue states
- More regular sickness
- Inability to lose weight and maintain a healthy body weight
- A sense of bloating after meals
- Generally lower motivation, particularly for physical exercise
For those looking for a more scientific look at present metabolic conditions, it is possible to arrange a Comprehensive Metabolic Panel for even deeper analysis.
A Comprehensive Metabolic Panel is a series of tests that will measure kidney and liver activity, the level of protein, blood sugar, electrolytes and calcium in the body.
There are 14 tests overall, and together they will give you or your medical practitioner a good idea of the chemical balance or imbalance of your body as well as the overall metabolism.
Once you have determined that there is a good reason to lift your metabolic rate, the question is how you should do it. Not all the methods available for raising your metabolism could be considered healthy options long term.
There are chemical and artificial ways to boost your metabolism, but I’m not going to recommend any of those here. Instead, what follows are ten natural ways that you can boost your metabolism in order to achieve a more healthy, vigorous, disease resistant body at any stage of life.
Start Eating Breakfast Again
What are the chances that you’ve ever given up on breakfast or you’re skipping it at least some days in the week? We live such busy lives and breakfast is often one of the casualties.
But what eating breakfast does is so important. Eating breakfast kick starts the metabolic process. It doesn’t matter whether you are drinking lemon water or eating six bagels, the moment your body is required to process anything of the water your metabolism has kicked in.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that women who miss breakfast are more than four times likely to suffer from obesity.
I’m not advocating you eat a lot, but I am suggesting that you kickstart your metabolism shortly after getting out of bed. Once it kicks in you are on your way.
Eat Food that Lifts the Metabolism
There are some foods that help us to utilize and use up energy more efficiently than other foods. This is often referred to as the thermic effect that certain foods have on the body.
Essentially, these thermic foods make the body work harder to metabolize food. It’s ability to increase body temperature and in turn affects the number of calories you will burn.
Protein is one such food. Spicy foods and caffeinated beverages like tea or coffee will also have this effect on your metabolism. Good sources of thermic foods that are high protein foods would be fish, beef, and dairy.
Eat Food with Higher Levels of Iron
Iron is necessary for bringing the oxygen into your bloodstream and to the muscle tissue. According to the coauthor of Fire Up Your Metabolism, Tammy Lakatos, RD, your muscles need this oxygen in order to burn fat and the only way they will get that oxygen is through the iron available in the bloodstream.
Spinach, lean meats, some seafood, and legumes can all improve your levels of iron and consequently assist your metabolism.
Drink More Milk
Low levels of calcium are common among people with a slow metabolism. I realize not everyone can tolerate dairy, but for those who can, milk is an excellent source of “usable calcium”.
I say, “usable calcium” because not all forms of calcium are the same. If the calcium in your mineral supplement is dolomite, then you’re basically eating a rock.
Bend and Stretch
It should be obvious to most of us that regular exercise and even high-intensity training can do wonders for your physical fitness and your metabolism. However, I’m going to assume that since you already know that you need to find less vigorous ways of improving a metabolism.
“NEAT” (non-exercise activity thermogenesis) is perhaps the easiest way to burn 350 calories without even trying.
These include small and simple movements such as standing, stretching, bending, raising your arms above your head, standing on tippy toes and walking up a flight of stairs.
If you can find a number of simple stretches that will exercise every muscle in the body, you will be setting yourself up for a safe and simple way to not only burn calories, but you raise your metabolic rate significantly over time.
Re-evaluate Your Weight Loss or Diet Program
In one sense, dieting is Inescapable. All of us are on a diet. That is to say; we are choosing to eat some foods and not others.
There are some simple signs that the diet we have opted for is having a negative effect on our metabolism. Those signs me include moodiness, fatigue and more frequent illness. All of these are signs that your metabolism may be performing poorly.
Quite often this is the result of not getting enough of the right nutrients. Many diets restrict so many of the essential nutrients we need that they become counterproductive.
We may lose the weight (temporarily), but we gain a host of aggravating health problems down the track.
Your body needs fuel. If your diet is not providing adequate nutrition or fuel, you need to change it now.
Sometimes it’s the simple things are the most effective. By simply increasing the amount of cold fresh water you drink each day, you not only help your body maintain a reasonable weight but you will improve your overall metabolism.
Some studies have shown that downing 500ml of cold water a day can boost your “resting metabolism” by up to 30% for about 60 minutes.
Cool water (though not too cold), is an essential element as the colder the water, the harder the body must work to deal with it and consequently the greater the lift in your metabolism during that time. Water also gives you a feeling of fullness and can mitigate some of our “less wholesome” eating habits and cravings.
Spice is Nice
Spicy foods such as capsicum, red peppers, cane pepper comma etc can also boost your metabolism. Of course, you need to use your common sense here as not everyone can tolerate these kinds of spices.
If you enjoy eating spices, my suggestion is that to take it slowly and gradually increase the level of spice to add to a diet.
While the net effect of adding additional spices to your meal may be small, when combined with other activities it can help rejuvenate a sagging metabolism. Eating a good amount of peppers they also have some significant health benefits when it comes to fighting degenerative diseases.
We have long known the link between a healthy metabolism and adequate rest. As human beings, we are strong and very capable. This strength can deceive us into thinking that we are not suffering from the strain of overwork, poor diet and lack of rest.
Burning the candle at both ends will lower your metabolism. Your body simply cannot keep up when it is not given rest.
7 to 9 hours of healthy sleep every night is what is required in order to keep hormone levels at equilibrium, mental functioning at an optimum and metabolism at the right level of activity.
One of the hormones that may have the greatest impact on metabolism and our ability, for example, to burn fat is cortisol.
Increased levels of cortisol cause the body to store more fat and are tied to a deterioration in mental acuity and an increase in overall weight. You may also interfere with blood sugar levels and insulin.
The caffeine in coffee is capable of boosting your metabolism by up to 11%. It’s also capable of burning fat.
Yes, fat burning may vary from person to person and maybe, at least in part, related to the amount of fat already on the body as well as whether you are male or female.
Nevertheless, there are many good health benefits to drinking coffee on a regular basis, and one of them will be an improved metabolism.
Beyond metabolism, there are also studies that have been published recently that suggest drinking coffee on a regular basis may fight off all manner of disease and opportunist sickness.
Every process of the human body is in some way impacted by our metabolism. That is, by our ability to convert, produce and utilize energy.
A healthy metabolism is beneficial to good heart function, limiting the effects of degenerative diseases, fertility, immune activity and mental stability.
If you are over 40, then your metabolism is going to slow down as a matter of nature. However, if you are proactive and diligent in maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle, you can maintain your metabolism in an organic and natural way.
Not only will you feel good but you are going to increase the potential for physical activity, mental awareness, and strength of people who are much younger than yourself.