5 ways to boost your metabolism

Many factors, including body size, age, hormones, as well as climate play a role in metabolism. By creating the right exercise plan, increasing healthy fats in our diet, improving hormonal health, and improving poor detoxification can help improve our metabolism.

Are you never losing weight despite doing everything perfectly? This might have to do with your metabolism. Energy is expended by the body, but numerous factors cause variations in metabolism in different individuals. Some of these variables include body size, composition, age, sex, movement, and hormonal status.

Each one of us is unique and our biochemical makeup might be different. Body size plays a role in metabolism, as two people weighing equally can have different metabolic rates. Usually, someone who is taller with a larger body surface area will have a higher metabolic rate. Age plays a role as well. Children have a rapid metabolic rate alongside growth, and as we age, we need to compensate for the drop in our metabolic rate with appropriate measures.

Hormones play a huge role in metabolism, especially when there are any endocrine disorders such as hypothyroidism. Metabolic rates of women fluctuate dramatically with the menstrual cycle. We have a low point before ovulation and a much higher energy expenditure before a period. This requires us to eat more calories before our period to avoid any impact on metabolism. Climate also impacts metabolism. Living in tropical regions versus colder regions results in a drop as the temperature lowers.

Women have a lower metabolic rate compared to men as well! Mitochondrial health, which is the health of our cells and energy centers, play a role as well. Insulin resistance impacts metabolism too.

Most of these factors can be improved by the food you eat and the level of activity. What can we do to improve our metabolism?

1.   Increase healthy fats

A common thing that I find is people have low levels of cholesterol, which is suboptimal. When you are eating more grains and sugars, you tend to burden the energy production within your body. In that conversion of sugar to energy within your cells, you tend to increase insulin resistance, reduce mitochondrial function, and lower metabolism with time.

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Healthy fats have much more calories per gram.

You will help your body have stable energy when you eat plenty of these fats from seeds, coconut, coconut milk, avocados, olive oil, ghee, nuts, coconut oil, and fatty fish. Your energy will be more stable, which will improve metabolism dramatically.

You might already be eating these foods, but the difference lies within the proportions of your meals.

2.   Create the right exercise plan for yourself

You might have got into an exercise rut where you are doing the same form and type of exercise every single day. Could you eat just one vegetable every day and hope to get diversity in nutrients? Exercise is the same. If you fall into a movement rut, your body feels lethargic as well. You take your body for granted and the body takes your exercise for granted. It does not feel new, exciting, or effective!

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Always make sure that you have strength training, stretching, and cardiovascular movement. Often people tend to be focused on one or two areas. HIIT training can be very effective in improving metabolism.

Strength training helps you build lean muscles which then improve mitochondrial health, since muscles have more mitochondria. Always push your boundaries, slowly but surely. Pushing too far too soon can stress adrenal function and prevent recovery. Not pushing at all can drop metabolism and leave you sluggish. Get qualified guidance to walk you through this correctly. 

3.   Improve hormone health

Hormonal health is a big part of the metabolism puzzle. A lot of people do not understand the foundational principles of metabolism. It does not matter if you have hypothyroidism. I sometimes hear people getting stuck with their diagnoses and labeling themselves, deciding that they have slow metabolism because of their condition. This is just not true.

If you look at the same people, they also have poor gut health, sleep, and exercise. Blood sugar balance is the base on which all your hormones sit. Eating high sugar prevents homeostasis of hormones. Before you decide that this is not you and you do not eat sugar, look at your plate. A lot of people are eating rice, dosa, idli, tamarind chutney, bread, jaggery, coconut sugar, and healthy desserts. All of these spell sugar, and they still impact blood sugar and hormones.

Beginning your day with high protein and fat, and tweaking proportions to what your body needs, will instantly keep your blood sugar stable.

4.   Reduce inflammation with the right nutrients

Inflammation increases oxidative stress and reduces metabolism overall. If you are deficient in omega-3 and B vitamins, you could find that you struggle with improving your metabolism. Including the right form of supplementation with vitamin B, D, omega-3, and zinc can be beneficial.

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Most of us are no longer living and working out in nature. We also use a lot more sunscreens and air conditioning. If you were out in the dirt on a farm moving around while absorbing nutrients from the sun and the soil, your metabolism would be very different. It does help to also begin your morning with no exposure to blue light, and just getting a run as the sun comes up.

5.   Poor detoxification needs to be improved

I see a lot of health-conscious people who have tried several high-end detoxification therapies like ozone therapy only to still struggle with their health, metabolism, and weight. You do need to have optimal detoxification to move the lymphatic system and keep your metabolism going. You do not need extreme versions of these.

Just including optimal exercise and foods that are high in soluble fibre such as chia, rolled oats, ladyfingers, lentils, and vegetables can be a great way to keep detoxification going.

At times you may need some further support. Just increasing the number of cups of fruits and vegetables might be adequate. If you are already doing all that and still struggling, you may need something more substantial in terms of detoxification but always work with someone qualified to do so.

Whatever you are already doing, do not get frustrated. It might just mean that you need to change things in each of these areas to get out of the rut. Our bodies need changes and tweaks all the time. What helped with energy at one point in time might not be helpful today. If an exercise regime made you strong some time, and is not doing that now, it is time to mix it up and change it. It just requires moving away from frustration to excitement of something else.

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Edited by Megha Reddy

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)


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