Often associated with weight loss and bulking, people often seek to boost their slow metabolism to facilitate the former. Simply put, with a higher metabolism, you’ll be able to enjoy more without having to worry about extra pounds. But is this really the case? Nutritionist Rashi Chowdhary teaches us what exactly metabolic rate is, whether it really deserves the attention we give it, and ways you can speed up your metabolism for a healthier lifestyle.
Metabolism is essentially the conversion of food into energy to facilitate basic functions such as breathing and strenuous activity, Chowdhary explains. Looking at it from a scientific point of view, it involves chemical reactions in the body, mainly two anabolism and catabolism. Anabolic hormones act as builders and promote the synthesis of proteins, lipids, glycogens and the growth of skeletal muscles. On the other hand, catabolic hormones break down glycogen stores and muscle mass and facilitate increased respiration by extracting energy from nutrients through cellular activity.
This is where misunderstandings creep in. People often associate a slow metabolism solely with difficulty losing weight, but Chowdhary thinks otherwise. He debunks this myth: Think of your metabolism as a delicate orchestra and weight loss is just one instrument. One factor that rings the wrong tone is when people try to follow long low-calorie diets. During this time, they often involuntarily fall below their basal metabolic rate, causing disturbances in metabolic harmony.
According to him, lack of sleep is one of the root causes of slowing metabolism, as it affects glucose metabolism and appetite hormones. Other factors such as smoking, alcohol consumption, water intake, carbohydrate removal, stress, age, genetics and medications all play a role in how your metabolism works.
Real and holistic ways to boost your metabolism
- First start your day with fat, coconut oil, ghee, olives or soaked nuts. These high-quality fats are dense sources of energy for the cellular process that takes place in your mitochondria.
- Stay hydrated. Water is essential for metabolic processes at the cellular level, transporting nutrients and regulating body temperature. Aim to drink at least 2-3 liters of water every day.
- Eat enough calories because when you don’t eat enough calories or fall below your BMR, your body starts conserving energy, which means your metabolism goes down.
- Eat your fiber. Because they are difficult to digest, your body has to work harder to process them, using more energy.
- Protein is essential for metabolism because it increases the thermic effect of food and promotes lean muscle mass and development. Meals should have 20-25g.
- Important minerals to look for include iron, magnesium, iodine, selenium, boron, chromium, phosphorus, etc., as all of these are important in enzyme production, which is critical to energy production and overall metabolism. Apart from trace elements, he also recommends adding B vitamins or B12 supplements, CoQ10, Omega 3 and Vitamin C along with a healthy lifestyle.
- Stress and sleep are known to be common culprits when someone’s metabolism is slow. Aim for 7-8 hours of deep sleep followed by a circadian rhythm that sleeps and wakes up at the same time.
- It doesn’t matter what kind of exercise you do, from HIIT and strength training to pilates or swimming, movement is important.
- Taking 15 minutes of deep breathing, listening to guided meditation podcasts, grounding, journaling, and quality time with your partner, family, or friends can also help greatly.
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