Metabolism is the amount of energy (calories) our body burns to maintain itself. It is essentially the speed at which our body's motor is running.The speed at which our body burns calories is called the metabolic rate.
What is Metabolism?
The metabolism is based on the number of calories we burn throughout the day. Our body constantly burns calories to keep us going whether we are eating, sleeping, cleaning etc.
Once the daily business of breathing, eating, moving and other activities are met, any unused or surplus calories get stored, mostly in the form of fat. This means that if you take in more calories than you use, you will gain weight.
People with a lower percentage of body fat (i.e. muscular) have a higher metabolism than others that are less muscular because muscle uses more calories to maintain itself than fat.
Some people have a slower metabolic rate and have a harder time staying slim. A slow metabolism actually causes to store fat. The slower the metabolic rate, the greater the weight gains.
Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)
Your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is what your body needs at rest to maintain normal functions like beating of heart, respiration and the maintenance of body temperature at a thermostatic setting just under 100 deg. All these mechanical and thermometric functions require a base level of energy. About 60-75% of energy is expended by the body at rest in such activities.
You use another 10% of calories to digest and metabolize food.
Facts on Metabolism
- The amount of calories you burn varies with the type of food you eat. You burn more calories to breakdown a steak than a banana. Very few calories are expanded in breaking down simple sugars.
- The resting metabolism or the metabolic rate depends on age, gender, physical condition, the amount of fat and muscle in your body.
- Younger persons have higher (faster) metabolism because of the increased activity of cells.
- You had a very high metabolism at your birth. At mid thirties, metabolism slows by 3 to 5 % per decade. By age 55, you require 150 fewer calories per day than in your mid thirties. For that reason, you should cut back on calories or increase your activity level to burn more calories, otherwise you will store additional fat in your body resulting in increased weight.
- Men generally have a 10-15% faster BMR than women because male body has greater percentage of lean muscle tissues.
- Exercise can increase your BMR.
Basal Metabolic Rate can be calculated by the following formula of the World Health Organization.
Female = [ 655+(9.6 x Weight in kilogram) + (1.7 x Height in centimeter) - (4.7 x Age) ]
Male = [ 66+(13.7 x Weight in kilogram) + (5 x Height in centimeter) - (6.8 x Age) ]
Causes for Low Metabolism
- A low calorie diet
- Snacking throughout the day on high sugar foods (candy, colas, cakes, gum).
- Eating or drinking too much sugar cinliquors.
- Lack of physical activity.
- Under active thyroid symptoms.
How to Speed up Metabolism
- Do not skip any meals. Eat 5-6 small meals during the day. Starving will slow down your metabolism.
- Exercise daily
- Build your muscles. Do you Know: 1 pound of fat burns only 2 calories a day while 1 pound of muscle burns 50 calories a day !!! The more muscle you build, the faster your metabolism will be, and the more calories you will burn while at rest. When muscle mass decreases, the metabolic rate also drops.
- Avoid alcohol, sugar, and fastings
- Drink 8-10 glasses of water daily.
- Eat foods with high nutrition values
- Take apple cider vinegar+honey+garlic. It is good for increasing metabolism.
Some of the natural metabolism boosting foods are given below:
Note that foods can increase your metabolism only marginally. Only the lifestyle changes can make a dramatic effect on metabolism.
Foods that speed up metabolism are given below:
- Whole grains and oats
- Yogurt, Yoghurt, Dahi, Curd help boost metabolism.
- Green tea, milk, coffee, soy milk, water are natural meetabolism boosters.
- Almonds (raw) are good.
Fruits and VegetablesApples, asparagus, beans, beets, berries, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, celery, cucumber, grape fruits, lemons, limes, oranges, spinach, sprouts, tomatoes are natural metabolism enhancers.
HerbsCayenne peppers (chili), cinnamon, jalapeno, curry, garlic are good for raising metabolism.
Meat and FishBeef, chicken, pork, salmon, sardines, tuna, turkey.
- Omega 3 foods like walnuts, fish and flaxseeds can reboot your metabolism.
Homeopathic medicinePhytolacca mother tincture
Getting enough sleep can help to keep the hormones leptin and grehlin in balance, which regulates your metabolism and appetite.
Some over the counter pills are available that contain animal thyroid. You should not take these products as these may have side effects as diarrhea, increased heart rate, excessive sweating, nervousness, tremors, bulging eyes, etc
Be physically active. In an activity like walking, bowling, dancing or playing golf, the energy you expand is greater if you have more weight to move around. A 140 pound man who walks 3 miles in an hour burns 220 calories as compared to a person of 110 pound, who burns only 180 cal going the same pace.