Metabolism, or your metabolic rate, refers to the set of chemical reactions responsible for the breaking down and creation of energy that sustains life. It is the rate that the body burns calories, and therefore, plays a major role in weight management or weight loss.
As we age, we tend to gain more fat and lose muscles in our bodies. This is mostly because we do less of the activities that burn energy, we are simply less active than we used to be. Muscle cells require more energy than fat cells because muscle cells are ‘active’ cells to a degree even when idle.
Fat cells however are mostly inert and are simply for storage. People with more muscle in their bodies, therefore, have a faster metabolism, and with more fat cells, the slower the metabolism gets.
To lose weight, having a faster metabolism will be more advantageous for most people. However, metabolism is complex, and it can be partly attributed to genetic makeup. In other words, it’s not always totally up to the actions of the individual, and some people can be lucky in naturally having a faster metabolism.
Fortunately, that’s not the only way the body burns calories. A healthy lifestyle and regular exercise can also help boost metabolism. There are also alternative and natural ways to boost it aside from exercise.
Eat Only Nutrition-Rich Calories
Although it might seem counterintuitive, eating less in a day than you’re used to does not necessarily result in weight loss.
What matters greatly is the type of food you consume, and even when you eat it. Being more mindful of what you eat can significantly contribute to a faster metabolism. More proteins and healthy fats will help speed up your metabolism. Eating turkey, fish, eggs, nuts, white meat, and lean beef could boost your metabolism and aid in weight loss.
Ensuring an adequate fasting period every day, at least between the evening meal and breakfast, will allow the body to move excess glucose from the blood. This is essential for weight management and preventing obesity and conditions such as type 2 diabetes.
Get Enough Sleep
Getting at least 7-8 hours of daily sleep every night is very important as a consistent lack of sleep impacts hormone balance, metabolism, energy levels and much more. If you do not have enough sleep and feel fatigued, the brain interprets this as needing more food energy, and the body will release ghrelin hormones and cause hunger pangs.
Notice that when you’re sleepy, you tend to snack unhealthily and be less mindful of what you eat? It’s to compensate for the tiredness or grogginess you are feeling, but unfortunately the types of food you crave usually make the problem worse.
Our stress levels also affect our hormones and in turn, our metabolism. When we are stressed, hormones are released including cortisol. This triggers insulin release, contributing to more hunger and causing a disordered way of eating. Try to lessen your stress levels to help your body achieve balance and a higher metabolic rate.
Exercise is without a doubt very effective in terms of naturally boosting metabolism. As muscle cells contribute to the hastening of our metabolism, building muscles through exercise, especially strength training, can help the body maintain a faster metabolism even in late adulthood.
A regular exercise routine, especially resistance training, help to counteract the effects of later adulthood (that of losing muscle mass) and maintain if not build stronger muscles that contribute to a healthy and fast metabolism.
Drink Enough Water
For the body to burn enough calories, proper hydration is a must. Metabolism slows down even at the slightest sign of dehydration, as a protective device. The recommended number of glasses in a day is eight, and drinking much less than that can slow down the metabolism unnecessarily.