7 Dynamic Ways To Increase Your Metabolism!
This word “metabolism” is thrown around a lot these days.
Basically your metabolism is like the engine of a car. Some cars go from 0 to 60 within seconds and the engine sounds smooth as it travels along at a fast speed. Other cars struggle. You put your foot on the gas but the car hesitates and as much as you put your foot down you feel the engine struggling.
This is exactly what your metabolism is like. Some people have fast metabolisms and others are quite slow.
You know that if yours is too slow you might gain weight, feel tired a lot, and maybe experience cold hands and feet. But what exactly does this all mean?
Well technically “metabolism” is the word to describe all of the biochemical reactions in your body. It's how you take in nutrients and oxygen and use them to fuel everything you do....just like the engine in the car.
Your body has an incredible ability to grow, heal, and generally stay alive. And without this amazing biochemistry you would not be possible.
Metabolism includes how the cells in your body:
● Allow activities you can control (e.g. physical activity etc.).
● Allow activities you can't control (e.g. heart beat, wound healing, processing of nutrients & toxins, etc.).
● Allow storage of excess energy for later.
So when you put all of these processes together into your metabolism you can imagine that these processes can work too quickly, too slowly, or just right.
The major parts that affect your metabolism are:
1. Your thyroid. Your thyroid is your master gland that controls a large part of your metabolism.
2. Your adrenals. Your adrenals and thyroid are interconnected which is why sometimes when you are under a lot of stress you can affect your metabolism.
3. Cellular health. Your cells have mitochondria which keep your energy up. If your mitochondria don’t function well, your energy slows down.
Here are some things you can you do to keep your metabolism up:
1. Make sure you are getting the nutrients you need to keep your thyroid gland going. You thyroid produces T4 which needs to be converted to the active form of T3. To do this zinc, selenium and iodine are really important. You can get these from nuts and seeds. Pumpkin seeds are high in zinc. Seafoods and especially seaweed are high in iodine. Enjoy foods like miso and seaweed.
2. Keep your stress levels down. There is a mind body connection that affects your metabolism. For example, stress causes your body to produce reverse T3 instead of T3. Your body can’t use reverse T3 and so it is as if your thyroid levels are low.
Try meditation techniques, mindfulness, being present in the moment. Take up an exercise or movement your enjoy like qi gong, tai chi.
3. Increase your omega 3’s with foods such as hemp hearts, chia seeds, avocados, nuts and seeds, olives and olive oil and plant based fats in general.
4. Nutrients such a co-enzyme Q10 and alpha lipoic acid help to support your mitochondria.
5. Get enough sleep. Typically you need about 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Sleep and especially REM sleep allows your body to repair and regenerate.
6. Eat an anti-inflammatory diet with good quality protein (not processed), whole grains, nuts and seeds, good quality oils and unrefined carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables. Increasing your quality of protein can increase your metabolic rate.
7. Exercise is especially important for your metabolism. As you can imagine muscles that actively move and do work need more energy than fat does. So the more lean muscle mass you have the more energy your body will burn and the higher your metabolic rate will be. Even when you're not working out.
This is exactly why weight training is often recommended as a part of a weight loss program. Because you want muscles to be burning those calories for you. The thing is, when people lose weight their metabolic rate often slows down which you don't want to happen. So you definitely want to offset that with more muscle mass.
Aerobic exercise temporarily increases your metabolic rate. Your muscles are burning fuel to move so they're doing “work”. But lean muscle mass keeps working even when you aren’t moving
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to metabolism and how so many different things can work to increase (or decrease) your metabolic rate.
Recipe (Lean Protein): Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken Breasts
2 lemons, sliced
1 tablespoon rosemary
1 tablespoon thyme
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
4 chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)
dash salt & pepper
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive old
Preheat oven to 425F. Layer ½ of the lemon slices on the bottom of a baking dish. Sprinkle with ½ of the herbs and ½ of the sliced garlic.
Place the chicken breasts on top and sprinkle salt & pepper. Place remaining lemon, herbs and garlic on top of the chicken. Drizzle with olive oil. Cover with a lid or foil.
Bake for 45 minutes until chicken is cooked through. If you want the chicken to be a bit more “roasty” then remove the lid/foil and broil for another few minutes (watching carefully not to burn it).
Serve & enjoy!
Tip: You can add a leftover sliced chicken breast to your salad for lunch the next day!
Naturopathic Doctor & Founder of Perfect Heath Blueprint