Fitness and health experts talk all the time about boosting the metabolism to burn fat, lose weight and stay healthy. This begs the question, what exactly does metabolism have to do with your health? The simple answer is…everything.
Your metabolism defines your health. It determines your quality of life. The reality is, metabolism is life itself.
And that’s why there’s so much talk about boosting metabolism. Good health needs an active metabolism. When you’ve got an active metabolism, you have energy, you feel better – physically, mentally and emotionally, and you don’t get sick often. Here’s why…
What is Metabolism?
Metabolism is often described by its relationship to food and fat. Your metabolism turns food into energy or, if it’s slow, fat. This definition does not communicate the full extent of what your metabolism does.
Your metabolism includes every biochemical reaction in your body. Metabolism breaks down and builds up substances, aka the chemicals we need to live.[i] For example, through the action of enzymes metabolism starts in the mouth as you chew food and continues through every process down to the cellular level.
Metabolism also breaks down free radicals created during the energy creation process which would otherwise damage the cell or DNA. Your metabolism also neutralizes toxins that get into the body via food and environment, and pathogens like viruses, bacteria and fungi that would do you harm.
As part of the process, your metabolism builds the chemicals needed to drive this process. It builds new DNA as damaged cells are replaced. And of course, it builds ATP, the fundamental energy molecule needed in every chemical reaction.
Every process you can think of in your body – digestion, immune system, waste removal, muscle function including heart health, and more! – they all belong to the process we call metabolism.
Metabolism is your health.
The Importance of an Efficient Metabolism
An efficient metabolism gets the most work done for the least amount of energy. If you think of the trillions of chemical reactions taking place every second, the need for efficiency makes sense.
Wasted energy forces the body to prioritize what processes get energy and which have to wait. Over time, the waiting leads to inefficient conversion of food into energy, forcing the production of fat cells to store it. The immune system is less active allowing infectious germs to cause illness. Waste builds up throughout the body.
What Disrupts Your Metabolism
You have a lot of control over your metabolism. While some factors may be beyond your complete control such as exposure to infection, genetics and aging, there are some you do control. Diet is one example.
After 70+ years of the Western diet, the terrible impact of a carb-heavy diet featuring starches and added sugars on the metabolism is generally well-accepted by the scientific community. Added sugars provide no nutritional value and burn a lot of energy to convert them into energy. This taxes the digestive tract, the liver, the pancreas and the immune system.
Although the body uses glucose, a form of sugar, for energy, added sugars end up providing the body with too much. This sugar gets turned into fat which creates stress on the entire body. And in 2018, the results are telling:
- Heart disease is still the #1 killer of both men and women in the United States.[ii]
- Fatty liver disease, a condition which in the past only affected alcoholics (with rare exceptions), now afflicts more than 30% of the population.[iii]
- Nearly 40% of U.S. adults are obese, according to the CDC.[iv]
Researchers have confirmed the relationship between fatty liver and obesity.[v] But health experts have also recognized the connection between these conditions and other chronic conditions such as diabetes. Many of these chronic diseases are now referred to as metabolic diseases.
Of course, diet is only one cause of an inefficient metabolism. A lack of exercise is another. And research continues to show how exercise boosts metabolism.[vi]
What You Need for an Efficient Metabolism
The first step for an efficient metabolism is good digestion. Your body needs the raw materials like vitamins, minerals, and amino acids to drive its metabolic processes. You also need adequate enzymes.
Although energy is needed to power the chemical reactions of metabolism, enzymes are the molecules that make those chemical reactions possible. Without enzymes, the energy molecules alone would not be enough. Digestive enzymes improve the efficiency of food break down and nutrient absorption into the bloodstream.
Of course, digestive enzymes are only a small group of enzymes. Every other chemical reaction in the body needs enzymes too. These enzymes are called metabolic enzymes. They keep the blood clean, make immune response possible, support waste removal and more.
Unfortunately, as you age, enzyme levels naturally drop.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to keep your metabolism running strong. And when you do, you’ll not only find it easier to maintain the weight you want, but you’ll have more energy, look great, and feel better too…not to mention enjoy better health as you reduce the risk of metabolic diseases.
How to Keep Your Metabolism Strong and Efficient
Diet and exercise are two of the simplest ways to support metabolism. Eating raw, natural, non-processed food and exercising regularly are the two most basic ways to support or even boost your metabolism. They aren’t the only ones.
Here are a few other ways to support a healthy metabolism:
- Eat breakfast. Research shows eating breakfast gets the metabolism going in the morning with people who eat breakfast showing higher metabolic rates.[vii]
- Drink water. It might seem odd, but dehydration is a quick way to slow down the metabolism. Researchers report that drinking 500 ml of water increases the metabolic rate by 30% with increases being observed in as little as 10 minutes.[viii]
- Get enough sleep. Your metabolism requires a full night’s sleep in order to perform efficiently according to studies.[ix]
- Supplement as needed. Finally, take supplements as needed to ensure you get enough vitamins, minerals and enzymes in your diet. These are the building blocks your body needs to fuel your metabolism.