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What is Metabolism and How Does it Affect Your Weight?

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When you’re trying your best to get into better shape, it can be very frustrating to keep returning to the scale only to see how little progress you’ve made. When you’ve tried every new diet, and bought every book, things can seem impossible, but could it be something other than diet that’s keeping that extra weight on? If any of that sounds like your situation, then it could be your metabolism. The following article will be exploring your metabolism’s role in keeping you healthy.

What Is Metabolism?

What is metabolism and why do is it important to boost it? Metabolism refers to the amount of energy or calories that our bodies need to be able to burn to maintain vital function. Whether we sleep, relax, exercise or work, our bodies are constantly burning calories. Metabolism happens to be a very complex process, so it is easiest to think of it as how easily our bodies can lose or gain weight. The faster our metabolism, the more efficiently our bodies burn calories from the foods we eat. The slower our metabolism, the fewer calories our bodies are able to burn and the more calories we store as fat.

Even if you are lying very still, the body requires and energy source to keep all its involuntary functions going. Every process in the body, including thinking will burn calories. This is particularly true during sleep, when the body is making all of the repairs and replacing cells that have become too damaged or weak to go on. During these rest periods, the food or fat your body has collected is converted into their most basic parts to be used to nourish the body and build new cells. In general, the number of calories that it takes to make this happen, is called the metabolic rate.

Metabolic Rate

There are several factors that play a major role in dictating how many calories it will take to keep body functions moving and make it possible for you to repair cells. Age is a major factor to consider in metabolism. As we get older, the metabolism tends to slow down quite a bit! That is why as we age, we tend to gain weight much more quickly if we aren’t as active as when we were in our youth.

A slower metabolism means that you won’t burn calories or metabolize the fat stores in your body as quickly, so you are likely to end up gaining a quite few inches over time. Your size also plays a fairly large role in determining how many calories you burn. Big people burn more calories than smaller people because it takes more energy to run a larger body. Gender is also a factor in that women have smaller muscle mass, so they burn less calories in general than men.

What Might Cause Your Metabolism to Slow Down

Weight management and your metabolism are fiercely intertwined. Metabolism regulates your absorption of nutrients and how they are stored in the body. When you want to achieve health goals and reach a lower weight, changes in your metabolism could be a real obstacle, but the question is how does this happen? I briefly explore factors that might cause metabolism to slow down.

Your Age

As we get older, the body loses some of its ability to regenerate and repair cells that are damaged or have been overworked and need to be replaced. This is because as we age our metabolism will naturally slow down, causing our bodies to store fat that we were at one time able to burn by simply being active. As we progress in years, the body’s metabolism slows down and becomes less efficient.

Sedentary Lifestyle

When was the last time you got to do something physical? A physically demanding lifestyle can help you keep healthy and ensure that your metabolism keeps working efficiently. Working out or having some kind of activity schedule can help to counter the effects of a declining metabolism. People with a sedentary lifestyle will experience sluggish metabolism, because if the body records that it doesn’t need a lot of calories on a daily basis, then it will optimize the metabolism to burn only what it needs. That means that if you eat more calories than you use, that food eaten will become fat in the body.

Skipping Meals

Skipping meals in a manner that your body has not been trained for could be unhelpful for your metabolism depending on your activity levels. This is because the body may think it is starving and proceed to convert the foods you eat into fat to ensure there is always energy available. This creates a yo-yo effect and tends to induce sleep and frequent lethargy thus creating a vicious cycle of lethargy often leading to weight gain. However, there is a way to do intermittent fasting by skipping meals in a way that does boost metabolism. I will do a separate write up on intermittent fasting later but for now know that frequently skipping meals can have a drastic impact on your metabolism and the ability to lose weight.

Morning Rituals That Give Metabolism a Boost

The path to health is filled with all sorts of detours. This is particularly true when weight and energy are concerned. A lot of people want to do things like be able to play tennis, go for a hike, and so forth, but many don’t have the energy to do so. Much of this is due to having a poorly functioning or inefficient metabolism, but what can a person do about their metabolism?

Eat Some Breakfast

There used to be a saying that breakfast was the most important meal of the day. It turns out that this is partially true because eating in the morning kickstarts your metabolism. Studies have shown that just eating a bit of breakfast can help to improve your metabolic function by about 10%. This of course also means that it should be something healthy. When you do this, your body knows it’s time to start the day and it begins the process of preparing to remove waste from the previous day. Something simple with carbs and protein can wake up your mind and make you ready to face the day’s challenges.

Morning Exercise

One of the best things that a person can do for themselves is to take on some kind of exercise routine in the morning. This doesn’t mean that it has to be an intense, pulse pounding exercise, just that you do a small amount of movement enough to get your heart rate up. Morning stretches can be a great example of that. If you stretch your limbs and engage the muscles in your core each morning, you’re far less likely to sustain injury from minor twists, turns, and reaches that you do during your work day.

B Vitamins

When your body has the right nutrients, it will function more efficiently. B vitamins can help to stimulate your metabolism. They do this by giving your body the ability to metabolize carbohydrates, proteins, and fats into energy that you will need throughout the day. This is why it’s great to have proteins in the morning. Taking just a little bit extra can help you to convert that food into energy so you can be productive and burn calories all from morning until night.

Give these simple rituals a try to see if it makes a difference with your metabolism and weight loss efforts.

Herbs That Help With Metabolism

This is not an exhaustive list by any means but here are some natural herbs and remedies that can help with boosting metabolism.

Organic Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar has many amazing uses that cannot be fully delved into here, However, some of the benefits of taking regular organic apple cider vinegar are that it helps to increase metabolic rate, it is an appetite suppressant, it supports body alkalinity and also actually aids fat metabolism. It is helpful to take one to two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar before each meal.

Ginseng

This famous herb has been associated with energy and metabolism for 2000 years. Its presence in tea has made ginseng tea a favorite among people looking to promote a more energetic lifestyle, and studies have shown that ginseng can greatly help with weight loss if consumed every day for a sustained period. Ginseng was also found to have a favorable effect on insulin sensitivity, making it a good choice for people who deal with diabetes.

Cayenne Pepper

In the last few hundred years, there have been a number of tonics that have employed the use of capsaicin which is the active or hot ingredient in cayenne pepper to help treat various ailments. Today, science has uncovered more of the specifics in the way that we can use this powerful agent to arrest caloric intake, shrink fat tissues, and clean the vascular system. Research has discovered that it can stimulate thermogenesis which is the process of metabolizing fats to generate heat. This means that your metabolism is being boosted to create this effect and more energy which is stored in fat must be used for it to take place.

Cinnamon

Aside from appreciating cinnamon for its culinary and baking uses, this powerful spice has many other advantages. Research has shown that cinnamon can lower blood sugar levels substantially, in addition to increasing glucose metabolization by more than 18 times the regular amount. This means that it helps to make your metabolism more efficient, which also makes it very useful for people who have diabetes or might be close to becoming diabetic.

Mustard

Mostly, people think of mustard as simply a condiment but it’s been shown that less than a teaspoon of mustard seeds can boost your metabolic rate by 25% which could result in an extra 40 – 50 calories being burned per hour.

Green Tea

Green tea has long been hailed for possessing antioxidant properties. It also helps to boost the metabolic rate due to the presence of its active ingredient known as catechin. Green tea is therefore considered to be good for weight loss and fat oxidation. For even more serious weight loss, you may wish to also consider other Chinese herbal teas like Oolong tea or Puerrh tea. Drinking three to four cups of green tea daily should help with increasing metabolism and weight loss, combined with regular moderate exercise depending on your weight loss goals.

Foods That Can Boost Your Metabolism Naturally

When your metabolism isn’t working at its most optimal level, you’re very likely to feel sluggish, and tired even right after you’ve just woken up. This leads to a terrible cycle of restlessness and difficulty sleeping, loss of energy, and listlessness; not to mention how much more difficult it is to lose weight when you have low metabolism. If there was a way to combat this naturally, would you be interested in finding out how?

As it turns out, there are foods that can help you to correct your metabolism, so this article will be exploring the foods that can boost your metabolism naturally. Of course, I do have to stress that boosting metabolism is best achieved in combination with taking on some form of regular high impact exercise. Always seek advice from a qualified medical practitioner before embarking on any exercise or health regime.

Broccoli

This close relative of cabbage can have a positive effect on the metabolism. It is super high in antioxidants and carries a high amount of calcium which is known for its ability to help the body to metabolize fats. Broccoli is also very high in dietary fiber, which helps to clean out the intestinal tract. A clearer intestinal tract, particularly of the lower intestine, means that broken down foods can be more easily absorbed through the intestinal walls. When plaque builds up in the intestines, the body has a harder time getting the nutrients that it needs.

Jalapeno and Cayenne

These hot peppers are a popular flavor additive when people want to heat up their favorite dishes. The active ingredient in them is called capsaicin, and it’s had a long history of being included in remedies to help with vascular health. Research has shown a particular effect that capsaicin has on the metabolism, in that it can stimulate blood flow and increase metabolic activity for over 2.5 hours. That means that with the capsaicin in your body, you are more likely to burn calories that you’ve stored or to burn the calories of the foods you’ve just eaten.

Apples

Apples are well known for promoting a healthy digestive tract. They are full of useful vitamins and are very high in fiber that the body needs to sweep the digestive tract. Modern science has discovered that this is largely due to the agent found in apples called pectin. It has the ability to bond to cholesterol and many toxins found in the body to make them easier to eliminate. Apples aren’t the only fruits that contain pectin. Plums, pears, and some berries also contain this amazing agent, and it’s the thing in food responsible for the consistency of jellies and jams. Since apples are low in fat and calories, they are also ideal for weight loss.

So, I hope this article provides a brief insight into metabolism and its uses in the body. This is just a summary of its much wider impacts or benefits. Feel free to do your own research to explore ways of avoiding developing a sluggish metabolism.

Always passionate about your health and mine!
Kobi Emmanuella-King

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