Wellness Wednesday: Let It Burn! Keeping Your Metabolism Up
According to the Mayo Clinic, “metabolism is the process by which your body converts what you eat and drink into energy.” Think of it like a treadmill inside your body: as long as it’s running smoothly you’ll burn calories. Your metabolism burns up energy to keep your body functioning. In addition to the calories you burn through eating, sleeping, and exercise, you burn about 100-800 additional calories a day through what is called nonexercise activity thermogenesis (also called NEAT). NEAT activities can include things like gardening and even just fidgeting in a chair.
While our biology has a lot to do with our metabolism, there are some steps you can take to keep your metabolism running at a brisk pace.
Get plenty of rest.
Like a computer running updates after it’s been restarted, your body repairs and maintains itself when you go to sleep. Your metabolism is a part of that maintenance process. When you’re sleep deprived, it can throw your metabolism out of whack—sleep affects your glucose and insulin levels, the imbalance of which can cause a metabolic slowdown. Try and get a full night’s rest (6-8 hours, depending on your age and health) as often as you can.
Don't skimp on your protein intake.
Protein-rich foods do a lot of good for your body: they can help reduce muscle loss and make you feel more full. They also require more energy to process for your metabolism. It’s called the thermic effect of food: our body expends a certain amount of energy to burn through calories. Proteins have a high thermic effect: 20-30% higher compared to fats and carbs.
Get up on your feet! Sitting for too long can increase your risk of gaining weight. You burn less calories sitting than you would walking or even standing.
Make nutrient-dense choices for your food that have plenty of fiber.
High fiber foods can help reduce cholesterol, promote blood sugar control, and even potentially reduce the risk of gastrointestinal cancer. They also tend to be lower in calories and make you feel full, which can help regulate your appetite.