Natural Ways to Boost and Take Charge of Your Metabolism

Metabolism is a process. It’s the way our cells change the food we eat into energy we need to breathe, move, think and do… everything. It keep us, as it keeps all living things, alive. 

Basically, metabolism is the process your body uses to convert calories into energy. Whether you know it or not, your body is always burning calories. Even when you’re sitting around watching Gossip Girl for the third time, your body is using energy to run the inner show that goes on behind the scenes – stuff like keeping your ticker running, blood circulating, repairing your cells, breathing, and the list goes on. We are all born with a metabolic rate that suits our body and disposition. Some people are naturally fast burners, and some are naturally slow burners, but that doesn’t mean we have zero control. We do have some authority over the rate at which we metabolize food and use it for fuel. Here we look at some key ways to access that power. 

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Stay well hydrated – Try to consume at least half your bodyweight (lbs) in ounces of water per day. Recently, a study done among overweight children found that consuming the recommended amount of water increased their metabolism by 25%. 

Stay rested – Clocking at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night keeps your metabolism running strong. When you’re chronically sleep deprived (consistently getting less than 7 hours of sleep per night), your body produces more of the stress hormone cortisol. This uptick in cortisol throws your hormonal balance out of whack, which can slow down your metabolism. Plus sleep deprivation increased your appetite for carbohydrate-rich foods, like sweets and snacks, making sleep loss a double whammy for weight gain. 

Eat an appropriate amount, and make sure you get protein – lets start by stating that eating five to six small meals throughout the day is not helpful for your metabolism. This was a fad that had it’s time in the spotlight, but it doesn’t give your body the break it needs to digest and utilize nutrients. Grazing throughout the day means your body is constantly releasing insulin, the fat-storing hormone. This also means that the body will become less dependant on carbs for fuel, which allows your blood sugar to stay steady. This results in less cravings, better energy, mental clarity, and a sense of control. Having a steady blood sugar also supports an efficient metabolism.

Don’t skip meals – When you skip meals, you actually allow the body to dip into its protein-aka, the muscles-for fuel. So, not eating lunch when your body is asking for fuel isn’t going to strategically pull from, that soft pocket of fat in your inner thighs like your hoping. In fact, it may make your body hold onto it for longer. When you trick your body into worrying that it might not get fuel for a while (or when it needs it), your metabolic rate slows down, so you hang onto your calories longer in case you need them for an emergency. In other words your fat stores will be the last to go. 

Build muscle – Thirty minutes of weight-bearing exercises 3 to 4 times a week can help you increase and maintain muscle mass, which keeps your metabolism running high. A pound of muscle burns about 6 calories a day whereas a pound of fat only burns 2 calories a day. So the more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism.

Reduce your stress level – Maintaining a healthy metabolism is also connected to our levels of stress and overwhelm. So if you want to lose the weight and keep it off, then stress reduction practices, like meditation, breath work, exercise, talk therapy and other self-care strategies, are important parts of your overall plan. 

Try cold exposure and heat therapy – Many studies suggest that cold water immersion has a consistent effect on raising the metabolic rate in humans. If immersing yourself in cold water seems daunting or maybe not accessible, a rinse in the shower will do. I am personally a huge fan of alternating hot and cold water in the shower. You can start with smaller spurts of cold water and work your way up, but it’s always a good idea to end on cold. On the other end, heat us another way to boost your metabolic rate. A hot, relaxing, salty bath or a sit in the sauna can purge your pores while boosting your metabolism. 

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Pomegranate

Pomegranates contain two plant compounds with powerful medicinal properties; punicalagins which are extremely potent antioxidants found in the juice and punicic acid which contains a main fatty acid that can help protect against several steps in the heart disease process. They have shown to reduce inflammatory activity in the digestive tract, and they can block enzymes that are known to damage joints in people with osteoarthritis. The anti-bacterial and anti-fungal effects may also be protective against infections and inflammation in your mouth including, gingivitis, periodontitis, and denture stomatitis.

Winter Squash

Apples

Beets

Winter Squash

Winter squash has been shown to help steady the release of sugar inside of our digestive tract after being eaten, and to lessen our overall glycemic response to meals. The vivid orange flesh of many winter squash varieties is due to their amazing concentration of carotenoids. Among these carotenoids are beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, and other carotenoids that can be converted into active forms of vitamin A and shown to have an abundant amount of antioxidant properties. Winter squash is also a great source of vitamin C, a healthy source of fibre and contain polysaccharides that help regulate and control blood sugar.

Apples

Beets

Carrots

Apples

Apples are a rich source of manganese, copper, vitamins A, E, B1, B2, and B6 along with polyphenols. To get the most out of your apple, leave the skin on – it contains half of the fiber and many of the polyphenols. They have been linked to a lower risk of heart disease because the contain soluble fiber – the kind that can help lower your blood cholesterol levels. Apples also contain pectin, a type of fiber that acts as a prebiotic, which means it feeds the good bacteria in your gut and helps the good bacteria turn into other helpful compounds that circulate back through the body.

Cauliflower

Cauliflower is high in fiber, which is important because it feeds the healthy bacteria in your gut that help reduce inflammation and promote digestive health. Consuming enough fiber may help prevent digestive conditions like constipation, diverticulitis and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It is a great source of antioxidants, particularly high in glucosinolates and isothiocyanates, two grounds of antioxidants that have been shown to slow the growth of cancer cells. Cauliflower is also high in choline, an essential nutrient that many people are deficient in and contains some of almost every vitamin and mineral that you need.

Beets

Beets are very low in cholesterol and saturated fat, they are a very good source of dietary fiber, folate, potassium and manganese, and they ae a good source of vitamin C, iron and magnesium. Beets are rich in nitrates (which is converted into nitric oxide by the body), which helps to relax and dilate the blood vessels, resulting in better circulation and a drop in blood pressure. The added oxygen flow in your blood doesn’t just go to your muscles, it goes to your brain too, which improves cognitive function. Beets contain fiber, with most of that being insoluble fiber which is a type of fiber that promotes the movement of material through your digestive system and increases stool bulk, so it can benefit those who struggle with constipation. Last but not least, beets can help reduce the intensity of chronic inflammation because they contain the amino acid betaine, which is an anti-inflammatory.

Carrots

Cauliflower

Pomegranate

Carrots

Carrots are good for your eyes. This is probably the best-known carrot superpower. They’re rich in beta-carotene, a compound your body changes into vitamin A, which helps keep your eyes healthy. And beta-carotene helps protect your eyes from the sun and lowers your chance of cataracts and other eye problems. They can lower your risk of cancer. Antioxidants have been proven to fight off harmful free radicals in your body, and that can make you less likely to have cancer. The two main types of antioxidants in carrots are carotenoids and anthocyanins. Lastly, all those antioxidants are great for your heart, the potassium can help keep your blood pressure in check and they have fiber, which can help you stay at a healthy weight.

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