What is Metabolism?
Metabolism is the body's process of converting food into energy.
Your metabolism refers to a series of chemical processes in each cell that turn the calories you eat into fuel to keep you alive. Your basal (resting) metabolic rate measures how many calories you burn while you're doing nothing. It's the accumulation of all your tissues and organs with their different needs that require X amount of calories to keep them functioning.
The thermic effect of food (TEF) is the energy your body uses to digest, absorb, and process the food you eat, adding to the total calories burned during the eating and digestion process.
Factors Influencing Metabolism
Your resting metabolic rate actually accounts for the majority of your total calories burnt each day. Physical activity, on the other hand, accounts for only about 10 to 30 per cent (unless you're an athlete or your job is very physically demanding). Digesting accounts for about 10 per cent.
Your metabolism is in every cell in your body. It is not one specific thing you can manipulate but we do know that genetic factors, age, body composition, and physical activity are key influencers.
When you regularly exercise, especially with strength training, you promote the growth and upkeep of muscle mass. Muscle mass is like a high-powered engine for your metabolism, as muscles demand more energy to maintain than fat. They burn calories even when you're at rest, which helps increase your basal metabolic rate (BMR), contributing to better weight management and overall metabolic health.
Exercise not only builds and preserves muscle but also brings additional metabolic perks, such as improved insulin sensitivity and a healthier body composition. So, keeping up with regular physical activity isn't just about having strong muscles; it's like giving your metabolism a boost, making it more efficient and supporting your overall well-being.
Can Hormones Impact Your Metabolism?
Thyroid hormones, namely T3 (triiodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxine), act like conductors orchestrating the body's metabolism and energy production. Produced by the thyroid gland, these hormones play a pivotal role in controlling the rate at which cells convert nutrients into energy.
T3, the more active form, influences almost every cell in the body, encouraging them to work efficiently. T4, while less potent, serves as a precursor that can be converted into T3 as needed. Together, they regulate the body's metabolic processes, influencing how quickly or slowly cells burn calories.
When thyroid hormones are at optimal levels, metabolism hums along smoothly, contributing to energy balance. However, imbalances, whether in excess (hyperthyroidism) or deficiency (hypothyroidism), can disrupt this delicate symphony, leading to metabolic irregularities and energy imbalances.
Regular monitoring of thyroid function is crucial for maintaining a well-tuned metabolism and ensuring the body's energy production operates at its best.
Insulin and cortisol are two other hormones that exert profound influences on the delicate balance of our metabolism, particularly in relation to blood sugar levels and stress.
Insulin, produced by the pancreas, serves as a key player in regulating blood sugar, facilitating the uptake of glucose by cells for energy. When insulin functions optimally, it helps maintain stable blood sugar levels, preventing spikes or crashes.
On the other hand, cortisol, often referred to as the stress hormone, is released by the adrenal glands in response to various stressors. While cortisol is essential for managing stress, chronically elevated levels can lead to increased blood sugar and insulin resistance, disrupting the finely tuned metabolic orchestra.
The interplay between insulin and cortisol is intricate, as prolonged stress can contribute to metabolic imbalances, potentially leading to weight gain, insulin resistance, and other metabolic disorders. Striking a balance through stress management and maintaining insulin sensitivity is crucial for fostering a healthy metabolism and overall well-being.
What Foods Speed Up Female Metabolism?
Certain foods yield a thermogenic effect influencing our metabolism and calorie burn. When we consume lean proteins like chicken and fish, our bodies kick into high gear to digest and process them, resulting in a higher thermic effect.
When we consume chili and ginger we also get a temporary uptick in metabolism thanks to the thermogenic effect of capsaicin and bioactive compounds, most notably gingerol.
Additionally, foods rich in fiber, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, demand more energy for digestion.
The importance of balanced nutrition and meal timing.
If a healthy metabolism is important to you, be careful when it comes to dieting. Drastic and unrealistic weight loss through crash diets actually slows down the metabolism.
When people lose weight in this way, their basal metabolic rate actually slows down along with their hormone leptin (which regulates hunger), leaving them hungry all the time. When their metabolism does bounce back it can sometimes be only at 60% of their previous levels.