3. April 2023
6 tips to speed up your metabolism
Metabolism refers to all the biochemical processes that take place in our cells. This includes the absorption of nutrients from food, the provision of energy for the body or the removal of waste products from the organism. Even at rest, the body needs energy for all life-sustaining functions such as breathing, blood circulation, hormone balance or cell growth and repair. This is conventionally measured in calories and referred to as the basal metabolic rate. It is always individual to a person as well as dependent on various factors. These include body size and composition, gender and age.
In addition, two other factors determine how many calories the body burns per day. The first is food processing – also known as thermogenesis – i.e. the energy required for digestion, absorption, transport and storage of the food consumed. And secondly, physical activity, which also consumes energy.
The better the metabolism functions or the better the body can utilise the food, the more power we have. In addition, a good metabolism can help you lose weight and keep it off. Symptoms of a slow metabolism can include weight gain, hair loss, skin and nail problems, memory lapses or fatigue.
Below we have a few tips on how you can positively influence your metabolism. To complement this, we have also added a couple of exciting and surprising side notes.
1.Water, water, water
Adequate fluid intake is the key to a first-class metabolism. After all, the body is made up of around 70 percent water, and this is needed for numerous vital metabolic processes. With the intake of water you support your digestion and increase your basal metabolic rate. The DGE (German Nutrition Society) recommends drinking at least 1.5 litres of fluids a day. If you do a lot of sport or if the temperature is high in summer, you should drink more. Ideally, it is best to avoid sugary drinks and drink water or tea instead.
Side Note: Cold water is even more effective in stimulating the metabolism, as the body has to expend additional energy to heat it to body temperature.
Sleep is good for metabolism. Poor sleep, however, can stimulate the hunger hormone ghrelin and at the same time reduce the satiety hormone leptin. This is a negative combination that could explain why people who are sleep-deprived often suffer from food cravings and have difficulty losing weight. Poor sleep patterns can increase blood sugar levels and insulin resistance, which can lead to obesity and even diabetes in the worst cases.
Side Note: A handful of pistachios acts as a natural sleep aid. According to the latest scientific findings, the pistachio is the food with the highest content of melatonin and can positively influence sleep.
To process proteins, the body needs more energy than they can supply. In addition, proteins in the form of chickpeas, lentils as well as nuts, keep you full for longer and prevent muscle breakdown. Furthermore, it makes sense to eat foods with a high nutrient density and to eat regularly, because if we don’t, the body can switch to “economy mode” and the metabolism slows down. Not only proteins, but also complex carbohydrates such as those found in flaxseed or wheat bran should be part of your diet, as these help regulate blood sugar levels and support fat metabolism.
Side Note: Unfortunately, it is not only the consumption of sugar that is toxic to our metabolism, additives such as preservatives or flavour enhancers also harm us. Since the body wants to get rid of these toxins as quickly as possible, it neglects other metabolic processes. A splash of apple cider vinegar or lemon in a glass of water first thing in the morning activates the metabolism.
Most of the hormones that regulate the enzymes involved in metabolism are produced in the thyroid gland. Therefore, it makes sense to check the health of the thyroid gland if a slow metabolism is suspected, because disturbed hormone production in the thyroid gland can have an influence on the metabolism. For the case of hypothyroidism, the thyroid gland produces too few hormones – for example, as a result of an iodine deficiency. This slows down the metabolism, because the lack of hormones often means that there are not enough enzymes available to break down food. The cells are then not supplied with energy quickly enough, and at the same time nutrient reserves for the production of energy can no longer be broken down properly. Possible consequences of this are fatigue and unwanted weight gain.
When you are permanently under stress, your metabolism also suffers. Your body remains constantly active, which does not allow the blood sugar level to drop and keeps the insulin level high. Since insulin transports blood sugar into the cells, this subsequently leads to the automatic storage of unused energy, which can result in weight gain.
Additionally consequences of too much stress are sleep disorders, an increased craving for alcohol and unhealthy eating. All of this together throws the body out of balance. Rest and relaxation in the form of, for example, regular meditation, the use of special breathing techniques or walks in nature can help to you regain balance, which in turn can have a positive effect on metabolism.
Side Note: And if the craving for chocolate is too great in stressful times, reach for dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa content. This contains flavonoids and caffeine, both of which are known to stimulate the metabolism.
One reason why metabolism slows down in old age is often due to reduced muscle mass. From the age of 30, the body can lose between 3 and 5% of its muscle mass. The more muscles you have, the more calories you burn, even at rest, after exercise. This after-burn effect should not be underestimated when it comes to consuming calories. These build up muscle, thus increasing the basal metabolic rate and driving the fat metabolism to peak performance. Therefore, strength training in particular is very useful for a good metabolism. The most effective exercises are full-body exercises such as squats, push-ups and press-ups.
Side Note: According to some studies, the best results are achieved when endurance and strength training are combined. This not only burns fat but also builds muscle at the same time. It’s best to start with strength training and then add a crisp and short endurance session.
If you want to positively influence your metabolism, it makes sense to focus on healthy lifestyle habits in general.
Adequate sleep, healthy stress management practices, a balanced diet, sufficient hydration and regular physical activity are crucial for metabolic health as well as efficiency. The same goes for your hormonal health, which plays an important role in maintaining a healthy metabolism.