In today’s blog, we are going to explore metabolism. The definition of metabolism is, “the chemical processes that occur within a living organism in order to maintain life.” When we think about metabolism we think of burning calories but your metabolism is responsible for so much more. People with healthy metabolisms are able to take the food they eat and convert it into hormones, neurotransmitters, bone, skin, nails, and flesh.
Where do hormones that fight off depression come from? The foods we eat! How is our immune system created? The foods we eat! However, your body has to be able to efficiently convert food to fuel for all of these processes to take place. Having a good understanding of your metabolism is important to your overall health journey.
A slow metabolism can cause things like weight gain, a weakened immune system, hair loss, cracked skin, exhaustion, frequent headaches, memory loss, depression, and more.
A great way to gain knowledge about your metabolism is to determine your resting metabolic rate. Your resting metabolic rate (also called RMR) is the rate at which your body burns energy when it is at complete rest. You can calculate your resting metabolic rate to see how many calories your body needs to perform basic functions like breathing and circulation. Your RMR or resting metabolic rate is part of your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) or the total number of calories you burn each day. From there, you can add calories depending on your physical activity.
We will be offering metabolic testing later this month to all of our NCS members and we highly recommend signing up. This will give you a good baseline of where your caloric intake needs to be. It will also give you insight into whether or not you’re burning carbs and fats equally. If your metabolism is “off” or slow there are ways to get it back on track.
Here are 10 tips to help you boost your metabolism …
- HIIT Training – High-intensity interval training is a great way to kick your metabolism into gear. HIIT allows you to consume more oxygen and supercharge your cells, which will make your body work harder to burn energy.
- Consume Omega-3’s – Omega-3s balance blood sugar and reduce inflammation, helping to regulate metabolism. They may also reduce resistance to the hormone leptin, which researchers have linked to how fast fat is burned.
- Build Muscle – Not only does muscle weigh more than fat, but it uses more energy, too.
- Drink Green Tea – Green tea has long been heralded for its antioxidant polyphenols. But new evidence shows the active ingredient, catechin, may crank up metabolism.
- Don’t Cut Calories – It’s one of the most frustrating realities of dieting—if you cut out too many calories, your metabolism thinks times are lean and puts the breaks on fat-burning to conserve energy. Here’s the trick to keeping your metabolism revved up while dieting: Eat enough calories to at least match your resting metabolic rate.
- Don’t Skip Breakfast – Eating a nutrient-rich morning meal (like oatmeal with almonds and berries, or a spinach-and-feta omelet with a slice of whole-grain toast) shortly after getting out of bed literally wakes up your metabolism. Eating breakfast gets the engine going and keeps it goin!
- Healthy Grazing is OK – Noshing throughout the day is a proven strategy to help you curb hunger and eat fewer calories overall. Now, experts are promoting nibbling versus gorging as a way to keep metabolism running by holding blood sugar levels steady and preventing weight-gain-promoting insulin spikes. Enjoying six small meals a day should do the trick; keep them around 300 calories each, or divide your usual day’s calories by six.
- Trim Trans Fat – You’ve heard they’re bad for you. But trans fats also slow down your body’s ability to burn fat. “They have an altered shape and make your biochemistry run funny. Trans fat binds to fat and liver cells and slows metabolism. Eating trans fat can also lead to insulin resistance and inflammation, both of which cripple metabolism and can cause weight gain.
- Go Organic – If you’re on the fence about whether to buy organic, this news may sway you: Fruits, vegetables, and grains grown without pesticides keep your fat-burning system running at full-tilt because they don’t expose your thyroid to toxins. Nonorganic produce, on the other hand, “blocks your metabolism mainly by interfering with your thyroid, which is your body’s thermostat and determines how fast it runs.
- Reach for Protein – Your body digests protein more slowly than fat or carbs, so you feel full longer (this is especially true when you have it for breakfast). Plus, it may also give your metabolism a bump. Because it takes longer to burn protein than carbs or fat, your body expends more energy absorbing the nutrients in a high-protein diet.
Learning about your individual metabolism will greatly support you in your health journey. We will be announcing when metabolic testing will be available shortly but you can also seek out a health practitioner as well. If you need recommendations, reach out to the NCS staff and we’d be happy to share our resources with you.