Right this moment, your body is expending energy. But where does this energy come from, and how is it created? It comes from the food we eat, and our metabolism is what creates it. Our magical metabolism turns calories into energy. It’s a reflection of how quickly (or slowly) we’re able to convert food into energy. People often refer to their metabolism as low, high, slow, or fast—without knowing exactly what this means. In today’s article, we’re diving into all-things metabolism, including easy tips to master your metabolism. Luckily, a slow metabolism isn’t permanent. With the right tweaks, you can improve your metabolism (and no, it doesn’t require hours at the gym!).
metabolism is a window into your overall health
Ever wondered why your friend, sibling, or coworker can eat like a growing teenager and retain the same body composition? Chalk that up to a variety of factors—age, activity level, food choices, individual differences in muscle mass, and metabolism. Some of us are naturally born as “fast burners,” while others experience a slower metabolism. Either way, metabolism is a spyglass into our overall health. Good news is, you can boost your metabolism, and it doesn’t require anything extreme. Easy tips to master your metabolism include simply eating more fruits and vegetables.
What is metabolism?
Metabolism is a series of chemical reactions. Around the clock, these reactions keep you alive. More specifically, metabolism is food being converted into energy. This energy grows your hair, pumps bile out of your liver, and gives you the strength to walk around the block. While most assume a majority of calories are burned at the gym, that’s actually not the case. You’re burning most of your calories by simply being alive.
Fast Burner vs. Slow Burner
Although these are generalizations, they can give you a clue into the type of burner you are.
Fast burners typically feel hyper, anxious, and irritable without sufficient fat and protein. A fast burner’s appetite is generally strong and consistent, with a preference for animal protein. And while a slow burner tends toward poor circulation and dry skin, the fast burner is usually warm and perspires easily.
A slow burner, on the other hand, doesn’t process food as quickly (this can be due to an under-active thyroid). The slow burner gravitates toward simple carbohydrates, sugar foods, etc. Generally, their appetite is less voracious. Slow burners particularly benefit from supporting their metabolism.
Factors that influence your metabolism
As mentioned, our metabolism is in constant motion. It’s operating around the clock. But did you know that certain habits impact how quickly (or slowly) it’s operating? Even though we can’t typically increase the speed of our resting metabolic rate, our habits do affect other aspects of our metabolism. Consider these four factors to improve your metabolism.
Some people may be genetically predisposed to faster or slower metabolism. Muscle requires more oxygen than fat tissue does. But what does that mean? In essence, your body has to spend more energy to maintain muscle. That’s why the more lean muscle (and thus, less body fat) you have, the higher your metabolism will be.
When you load up on fruits and vegetables that boost metabolism, your body can more readily use that energy. When you load up on foods that cause inflammation, those energy sources are more likely to be stored as fat.
Maintaining balanced blood sugar is key. When there is glucose remaining in the blood, insulin turns this glucose into saturated body fat. This, in turn, can impact your metabolism. To boost metabolism, create a balance plate by pairing carbs with protein and fat. Furthermore, I’m an advocate of listening to your body. Restricting or depriving yourself sends mixed messages to your metabolism by telling it to store calories as if there’s a shortage of food. Instead, aim to eat every 3-4 hours.
When it comes to exercise and its impact on metabolism, consistency is more important than intensity. Walking for 25-30 minutes per day is more beneficial than an hour at the gym, two times per week. Any type of resistance training is very beneficial. After all, muscle tissue uses more energy than fat tissue does, even when you’re at rest.
We all know that quality sleep is fundamental to our wellbeing. Aim to get 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Sleep deprivation can cause your body to produce too much insulin, which can lead to increased fat storage.
foods that boost metabolism
When it comes to easy tips to master your metabolism, look no further than what’s on your plate. Our bodies are primed to be fat-burning machines. Along with daily movement, restful sleep, and decreasing stress, what you eat can make a significant difference. On a daily basis, prioritize protein. Consuming enough protein is key. Your body needs adequate protein in order to build lean muscle mass (for most, that looks like 20-30 grams of protein per meal!). And muscle mass is necessary to burn fat. Options include both animal and plant-based sources of protein. Furthermore, incorporate mineral-rich foods, like nuts and seeds, legumes, broccoli, cauliflower, and avocado. Seaweed is another metabolism-booster. Seaweed is rich in iodine, a mineral required for functioning thyroid. Thyroid hormones have various functions, one of which is to regulate your metabolic rate. Last but not least, try green tea. Studies show that green tea contains a compound that may increase your calorie (and fat) burn.
5 Ways to support your metabolism
Without further ado, below are five easy tips to master your metabolism.
Stop restricting calories. If you eat significantly fewer calories than your body needs, it can send your body into survival mode. When this happens, calories are conserved rather than burned. In turn, this lowers your metabolism. Make sure you are eating enough.
When possible, go organic. Research shows that added pollutants are stored in fat cells. These can possibly interfere with the energy-burning process. Plus, there are many other benefits to choosing organic (and doing it on a budget!).
Eat consistently. This is less about eating constantly and more about eating consistently. Aim to eat every 3-4 hours to keep your metabolism humming along. This will support your blood sugar, too.
Clock your zZz’s. Without sounding like a broken record, sleep hygiene is so important. Particularly when it comes to keeping your metabolism primed. Sleep deprivation is shown to cause profound metabolic and cardiovascular implications.
Move your body. Luckily, this doesn’t mean you need to start a vigorous exercise routine. In fact, just as little as 20 minutes of brisk walking, every day, can make a difference. Resistance training is gold, though. Research shows it’s extremely effective in terms of building muscle and burning fat.
This article is for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and we recommend that you always consult with your healthcare provider.