Metabolism refers to all the chemical processes going on continuously inside our bodies that maintain normal body functioning, including building and repairing our body tissues. The amount of energy, measured in Calories (Cals) or kilojoules (kJ) that our body burns at any given time is affected by our metabolism. If we eat and drink more Cals/kJ than we can burn via our metabolism or through physical activity we store the extra mainly as body fat. The rate at which our body burns energy is called our metabolic rate. Your metabolism can be influenced by multiple factors working in combination, including the amount of lean muscle tissue, body fat, crash dieting, your age, hormonal imbalance, illnesses, physical activity and dietary deficiencies.
Here are 6 ways to naturally boost your metabolism
Avoid Meal Skipping – skipping meals convinces our bodies that we are in starvation mode. The result is a slowing of our metabolic rate. Try to eat a small meal or snack every 3–4 hours. This means you will be eating around 5–6 meals per day.
Avoid Dieting – similarly, dieting to the extreme whereby we reduce our Calorie intake to very low levels, usually lower than 1200 Calories for women and 1400 Calories for men, will cause our metabolism to slow down. Dieting to this extreme can also cause our lean muscle mass to waste away, which further reduces our metabolism.
Be Active – exercise stimulates thyroid hormone secretion and raises our metabolic rate. It is recommended that you do at least 30 minutes per day of some form of exercise to boost your metabolic rate for one to two hours after you have finished exercising.
Increase Lean Muscle – for every one kilogram of muscle that you have, you burn an extra 100 Calories at rest. This means that if you have plenty of lean muscle you will be able to burn a lot more of the food you eat without storing it as body fat. Resistance training in the form of either body weight exercises or fixed/dumbbell style exercises build muscle. Try incorporating some of these types of exercises into your weekly routine to maintain your muscle mass.
Sleep and Rest – it is important that we get enough sleep and rest to maintain our metabolism. Those of us who are highly stressed, not sleeping well, or not taking time
to wind down will find that our metabolisms will eventually slow as a result.
Eat a Nutrient-Rich Diet – a diet rich in vitamin C, selenium, B vitamins, zinc, vitamin E, iodine and L-tyrosine can help to boost your metabolism. Make sure you are eating plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, fish and lean meat in order to get enough of these essential nutrients from your diet.
Incorporating these simple activities into our daily schedules helps to boost our metabolic rate. However there are two situations that will affect our metabolisms independently of our actions and that is due to normal ageing or to thyroid disease.