Friday, June 24, 2016

8 things you need to know about your metabolism

The whole idea of keeping our metabolism going “full speed ahead” as we age is one of those secrets that everyone would like to discover!

As Shawn Talbott, Ph.D., a nutritional biochemist states: “’Metabolism’ is really a catch-all word for the different processes going on in the body, but, when it comes to weight loss, most people are talking about energy metabolism, or how your body burns calories”.

Where ever you are in the weight loss spectrum though – whether you want to lose weight or just stay at the weight you currently have – it is important to understand the triggers of optimizing our metabolism for better health.  Here are 8 things to know…
  1. First, take your basal metabolic rate. This rate accounts for the amount of calories you burn in a 24-hr period. Once you have that number, then you can better determine how to “change up” your exercise and food intake. There are formulas for taking your basal metabolic rate here. An important note to be aware of when calculating your calories to lose weight is that you should not eat below the appropriate calculated number as it only slows your metabolism way down!
  2. Strength training is a really good thing as muscle really makes your metabolism work at full strength! After all, because muscle is more metabolically active -- meaning that more calories are expended with such activities as strength training – it really keeps metabolism revved up!
  3. Eating the right kinds of food is super critical to staying healthy and strong. It is good to be familiar with glycemic index foods, which focus on the effect of food on blood glucose levels. Instead of avoiding carbs all together, (which the body needs) focus on eating complex carbs rather than simple carbs. Complex carbs take longer for the body to process and digest and they keep blood sugar levels at a steady level.
  4. Sleep is so important! Your body just won’t function well if a lack of sleep is the reason. The body produces hormones like cortisol (stress hormone), which interferes with proper blood sugar control if sleep is deficient. Other hormones that play vital roles in sleep include the hunger promoter ghrelin and leptin, which does the opposite of ghrelin, by reducing hunger. So, bottom-line is that shut-eye is a good thing!
  5. Drinking water is vital! Aside from the fact that we need water to survive in general, drinking water throughout the day helps keep your body at optimum vitality. A couple of other important facts about water is that it keeps your organs functioning as they should and drinking enough water also promotes weight loss by keeping you fuller for longer.
  6. The cold hard truth is that metabolism does slow as we get older. Hence, it is important to be aware of calories needed for your particular age and activity level. This is another good reason to refer back to number 1 on this list and become familiar with your basal metabolic number.
  7. If you are already tracking your steps to better metabolism control and you are still gaining weight, a metabolism check might be helpful. You can ask your doctor about that for more information.
  8. Lastly, there really is no “miracle food” to keep your metabolism chugging along full speed ahead. But, it is important to be mindful of the ways you do typically eat, exercise, sleep and carry on throughout the day. Sure, it does help to have some green tea, chilies or even some dark chocolate added to your diet, but don’t rely on that all together. It is amazing how well our body can function if we simply try to live as wholesomely as possible.

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