Adopt These 8 Habits To Boost A Healthy Metabolism
It feels like everyone is talking about ways to increase or improve your metabolism, as if doing so is as easy as turning on the coffee maker. When people talk about metabolism, they’re really talking about metabolic rate, which is simply the number of calories you burn each day. Think of those calories as money. “You could have a surplus, which means you store calories, mostly fat, or you could have a deficit, which means you’ve used up your stores, just like your bank account,” says Marc Hellerstein, M.D., professor of human nutrition at the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of California San Francisco, professor of endocrinology, metabolism and nutrition.
The truth, however, is that metabolism is a little more complicated than that. It’s definitely possible to increase your metabolism, but it’s not as easy as flipping a switch. Here’s what you need to know.
Metabolism comes from the Greek word “metabolism”, which means change. “It’s the sum of all the chemical reactions in your body, which ultimately refers to energy balance,” says Brian Fertig, an endocrinologist, founder and president of the Center for Diabetes and Osteoporosis and chief of the endocrinology department at Hackensack Meridian Health, in Edison, N.J. University Medical Center
Because this energy balance affects body weight, most people categorize their metabolism into one of two categories: slow or fast. “The common understanding of ‘slow metabolism’ equates to the tendency to gain weight without overeating, while ‘fast metabolism’ equates to the ability to overeat without gaining weight,” Dr. Fertig says.
But it’s not just about weight – metabolic health includes your entire body. Says Casey Means, MD, co-founder and chief medical officer of Levels Health in Portland, Oregon, “Your metabolism is a set of cellular mechanisms that generate energy from your food and environment to fuel every cell in your body.” When those energy-producing pathways are operating smoothly, you will experience optimal metabolic health, which is the foundation of overall health.
As a result, your body is able to efficiently use glucose or fat for energy while keeping your insulin and blood sugar levels stable, says Dr. Means. you have a good tolerance for a variety of foods.”
On the other hand, when your metabolism is unhealthy, your cells – the energy generators within your cells called mitochondria – don’t produce the energy they need to function properly, and dysfunction and disease set in. Studies show that 88% of Americans have an unhealthy metabolism due to the modern Western diet and lifestyle. Heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, fatty liver disease, depression, cancer, infertility and erectile dysfunction are all linked to metabolic problems.
You don’t even need a doctor to determine this, because there are many symptoms that indicate poor metabolic health, Dr. Means says. These include stubborn overweight that’s hard to lose, depression or anxiety, persistent cravings for carbohydrates or sugar, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, chronic pain, chronic fatigue, migraines and acne.
So how do you achieve a healthy metabolism or improve your body’s metabolism? “Anything you can do to improve the efficiency and number of your mitochondria will help you keep your metabolism healthy,” says Dr. Means. Yes, as crazy as it sounds, you need to keep your cells’ mitochondria front and center because they are at the heart of a healthy metabolism. Here are some healthy lifestyle habits that support a good metabolism.
How to boost your metabolism
1 Build lean muscle tissue
The Americans’ Guide to Physical Activity recommends not only aerobic exercise but also strength training, and for good reason. “The more lean muscle tissue you have, the more calories you burn, which is why stronger people just sit around and burn more calories,” explains Dr. Hellerstein. One of the best ways to build lean muscle is resistance training. for every 2 pounds of muscle your body gains, Dr. Fertig says, it burns an additional 90 calories a day, which increases your resting metabolic rate. dr. Hellerstein recommends strength training three times a week. Doing yoga can also increase muscle mass.
2 to get your heart rate up
According to Dr. Hellerstein, burning about 3,000 calories per week through voluntary exercise is a healthy goal for achieving a healthy metabolism. That’s the equivalent of walking about four miles a day. If that’s too daunting, follow the exercise guidelines and get 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity five times a week. And don’t forget to get plenty of exercise throughout the day by walking after meals or taking a two-minute walk every half hour, Dr. Means says.
3 Eat more fiber
Studies show that Americans consume only 15 grams of fiber per day, even though dietary guidelines recommend at least 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men. Plants are really the only source of fiber, so by eating more of them, you’ll naturally get more fiber. “Fiber slows digestion and may prevent some glucose from being absorbed through digestion,” says Dr. Means. “It also supports a healthy microbiome, which has a big impact on metabolic health and inflammation.” Some of the richest sources of fiber include chia seeds, basil seeds, flax seeds, beans, lentils, avocados and some fruits, especially raspberries.
4 Eat less sugar
If you want to boost your metabolic health, it’s time to control your sugar intake. In the short term, too much sugar can lead to midday energy crashes, cravings and anxiety. In the long run, it can lead to damage and inflammation, which can lead to heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s and dementia, among other problems. To solve this problem, eliminate foods with more than 2 to 3 grams of added sugar per serving, although zero is better, Dr. Means says. Then avoid overconsumption of foods containing refined white flour, which is converted to sugar in the body. Sadly, this includes pastries, cookies, cakes, tortillas, pasta and bread.
5 Sipping water
You’ve heard it a million times, but there’s a good reason to drink two liters (or eight eight-ounce glasses) of water a day to avoid dehydration. “This slows the metabolic rate by not allowing sugar and fat to reach the muscle where it would otherwise be metabolized,” says Dr. Fertig.
6 Get more sunlight
By getting direct sunlight first thing in the morning (and avoiding too much artificial light before bedtime), you’ll help your metabolism. “It signals to the brain what time of day it is, and allows your body to adapt to the genetic and hormonal signals that properly regulate your metabolism,” explains Dr. Means. Every morning, get out for a few minutes (even if it’s cloudy – although you may need to stay out a little longer to get the best results).
7 Get enough sleep
Your health – and your metabolism – depends on getting proper sleep. “Even a short night’s sleep, or just going to bed at a different time than normal, can reduce insulin sensitivity and lead to elevated stress hormones and glucose spikes the next day,” says Dr. Means. Health experts generally recommend that adults get seven to nine hours of sleep a night. If you’re having a really hard time falling asleep, consult your doctor to address the underlying issues that are affecting your rest.
8 Avoid Toxins When Possible
In today’s world, it’s nearly impossible to avoid toxins, but do your best. “Many toxins in your food, personal care products, water and air can harm your metabolic health,” says Dr. Means. To reduce metabolism-damaging chemicals, choose organic foods whenever possible, eliminate home or personal care products that contain fragrance (choose unscented ones), reduce the amount of plastic used to store food, water and other products in your home, and invest in high-quality air filters.