Your metabolism refers to all the chemical processes that occur in your body. Metabolic rate is the speed at which these metabolic reactions occur. The faster your metabolism, the more calories your body needs to maintain itself. Metabolism is also important in the maintenance of your overall health and energy. Too low of a metabolism has shown to lead to premature aging, and lowered immune system. Our metabolism naturally slows down in the winter time. Therefore, it is important to learn to maintain it.
There are many factors that affect metabolic rate:
- Age – the older you get, the lower your metabolic rate becomes. It usually declines steadily after the age of 40
- Muscle mass – The more muscle mass you have, the higher the metabolic rate
- Body size – The larger you are, the faster your metabolism
- Environmental temperature – The colder it is, the more calories your body needs to burn to prevent the body temperature from falling
- Physical activity – the more physically active, the faster your body has to keep up with providing you with enough calories
- Hormones – each hormone has different effects on our bodily processes
Knowing these factors, here are some healthy habits to boost your metabolism:
Eat the calories you need to keep your blood sugar levels constant. If you restrict too many calories, your body will go into a state of starvation in order to conserve calories. This will result in an overall lowered metabolism
Get plenty of rest
This will help regulate hormones to keep up your rate of metabolism. For example, cortisol is a ‘stress hormone’ that leads to your body to store energy in the form of fat. It is also linked to declining in mental functioning, weight gain, and insulin resistance (the first step towards diabetes and obesity). Getting enough sleep is crucial to regulating this hormone.
Consume foods that will give your metabolism a boost
body-warming foods such as chilli, cinnamon, ginger and garlic increase the body’s heat production and fat-burning. Green tea is a natural metabolism booster with antioxidants and small amounts of caffeine. Consuming more protein is another good way to increase your metabolism because it doesn’t promote as much fat storage as other macronutrients. It is actively digested by the body, consuming more energy in the process.
Muscle is much more metabolically active than fat, so building muscle can help increase your metabolism.