A metabolism is a process where the body converts food and drinks into energy. Even when your body is inactive, it still needs energy to maintain all of its “automatic” functions like breathing, blood circulation, hormone balance, and cell growth and repair.
Your basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the number of calories you burn just living—breathing, keeping your heart pumping, and maintaining other vital functions.
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How many calories you burn at rest (basal metabolic rate, or BMR) is determined by a number of different factors, including your weight, age, gender, and muscle-to-fat ratio. This means that people who are taller or have more muscle burn more calories than people who are shorter or have less muscle, even when they are not active.
Your gender is another important factor. Men burn more calories than women. Besides this, your age is another factor that affect how your metabolism rate.
The amount of energy the body needs for basic functions is not easy to change.
Another way that calories are burned is through the digestion, absorption, transport, and storage of the food we consume. Approximately 10% of the calories derived from carbohydrates and proteins are used during the digestion and absorption process.
In addition, physical activity is a factor. Exercise is responsible for the majority of the calories your body burns each day. How many calories you burn in a day is highly affected by how much physical activity you do.
Aging & Metabolism
The average person tends to lose muscle and gain fat as they age, which in turn slows down their metabolism.
The amount of energy someone uses decreases only a little bit until they reach the age of 60. Consumption has been dropping by 0.7% per year since the sixties.
Many people gain weight as they age, even if their diet and exercise habits remain unchanged. And yes, body weight is also redistributed as we age. Fat accumulates more quickly in the middle. This is especially true for men, but also for women, who tend to store fat on their hips.
Exercising and doing light whole-body training regularly as you age can actually prevent the negative effects of a slowing metabolism. If you are active, you improve your circulation, maintain muscle mass, and improve function in the long term.
Tips How You Can Support Your Metabolism
1. Weight Training
Metabolism slows down with age partially because there is less muscle mass. If you are in your thirties, you may lose 3 to 5% of your muscle mass each decade.
Increasing muscle mass through strength training raises your metabolism, as muscle burns more calories than fat. The more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism, and the more calories you burn, even at rest.
Targeted, functional strength training can help you stay agile and mobile as you age.
To achieve this goal, you need to do full-body exercises like squats or push-ups. These exercises are low-impact, so they do not put any strain on the joints. They are effective at building or maintaining muscle mass.
2. Protein-Rich Diet
This advice is closely related to strength training and muscle mass. As people age, their bodies require less energy, or energy that is “quickly available” (i.e. carbohydrates). You can support your muscles by eating a lot of protein.
The body generally needs proteins to maintain tissue. This rule applies to more than just muscles, it also applies to skin tissue. However long you want to keep your skin looking young, firm, and plump, there are ways to help make that happen.
3. B-Vitamins and Magnesium
The metabolism is supported by vitamins and minerals, especially B vitamins and magnesium. These nutrients help speed up the chemical reactions involved in converting food into energy.
The B vitamins are present in whole-grain foods such as brown rice and oatmeal. Magnesium can even be found in cocoa powder.
Vitamins play an essential role in metabolism.
A 2018 study on rodents showed that low levels of various B vitamins may affect how quickly the body breaks down fats, including cholesterol and triglycerides.
There is a potential link between vitamins, metabolism, and weight loss that needs to be further explored.
If you’re not used to eating breakfast, you may want to try intermittent fasting. However, if you want to keep your metabolism and blood sugar levels up, you shouldn’t skip breakfast as you get older.
It’s a good idea to eat a healthy breakfast with a mix of plants to give your body a boost in the morning. If you are not looking for a big meal in the morning, a light smoothie or a power shake can get you started with proper nutrition and easy to fix.
5. Drink Water
Water is essential for all bodily functions. After all, our body is made up of 70% water! Water intake supports metabolism.
If your digestive system and skin are functioning well, it’s a reflection of your overall health. You can help your liver eliminate toxins by drinking enough water. Is water too boring for you?
Beans are a food that can speed up your metabolism! Beans are an excellent vegan source of protein. They are also full of fiber, which is beneficial for gut bacteria and keeping you full.
Not only will this tip help you boost your metabolism, but it will also support your gut, which is important for your wellbeing.
You have probably been informed that not all fats make you fat. It depends on which fats or fatty acids you consume. Monounsaturated fatty acids can help increase your metabolism by making your body use more calories.
A balanced amount of vegetable fats (preferably from whole foods such as nuts, seeds or avocados) stabilizes blood sugar.
This means you’ll crave food less and have more energy hours after eating. A great thing about nuts is that they not only taste delicious, but they’re also full of vitamins and are a good source of brain food.
8. Eat at Regular Times
The body relies on balance and regularity.
The researchers suggested that having a regular meal pattern can help with reducing inflammation, improve circadian rhythms, increase the body’s ability to withstand stress, and manage gut flora.
They suggested that the following may provide health benefits:
- eat breakfast
- consume most energy-providing foods early in the day
- eat two to three meals per day at regular times
- have periods of fasting
When meals are eaten might have an effect on resting energy expenditure. The results were not enough to provide a conclusion, and more research is necessary.
Time-restricted eating is a type of diet that focuses on when you eat, rather than what you eat. The idea is that by restricting your eating to specific times of day, you can improve your health and gain muscle.
READ MORE: 8 Power Benefits Of Fasting
9. Eat Enough Calories
Some people choose not to eat meals as a way of losing weight. However, this can negatively impact metabolism. Not eating filling meals can have the same effect.
If you don’t eat enough calories, your metabolism will slow down to conserve energy, says the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
The current dietary guidelines suggest that adult females need 1,600 to 2,400 calories a day, depending on their physical activity levels. For males, the guidelines suggest that they need 2,000 to 3,000 calories a day.
Females will need up to 452 additional calories during pregnancy and breastfeeding, depending on the stage.
Some research has suggested that green tea extract may help the body to process fat.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics claims that any weight loss from drinking green tea is likely to be small, but it may have other benefits for health. For example:
- Consuming green tea instead of sugary sodas and juices can reduce sugar intake.
- Drinking green tea throughout the day can help a person stay hydrated.
- The antioxidants in green tea may help reduce the risk of inflammation, cell damage, and heart disease, blood pressure, and cholesterol.
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health states that it is safe to drink up to 8 cups of green tea a day.
You should speak with a doctor before increasing your intake of green tea or consuming it during pregnancy. It may interact with some medications. Pregnancy may increase the risk of birth defects if folic acid levels are low.
Strength training helps to build muscle mass and may slightly increase a person’s metabolism when they are resting. For example, when a person is sleeping or sitting, their metabolism may be slightly higher if you have more muscle than fat.
A small 2018 study found that combining resistance training with dietary measures led to a small, but not statistically significant, increase in metabolic rate. The participants who only did resistance training saw a decrease in their fat mass and an increase in their lean mass. This research suggests that people with more muscle mass burn food for energy more efficiently. In other words, their metabolism is less wasteful.
In one study, those who did resistance training for 9 months saw an average 5% increase in metabolic rate; however, the findings varied greatly between individuals. The researchers suggested that lean mass and thyroid hormone levels might help account for the variability.
Training that involves using weights or resistance bands to build muscle is called resistance training.
A study from 2012 found that high intensity interval training also increased metabolic rate. In this study, it was found that participants’ bodies used energy at a higher rate for at least 22 hours after a single training session.
Regular exercise may not be suitable for people who are new to interval training because it is highly intensive.
12. Reduce Stress
If you’re stressed, it can affect your hormone levels and make your body produce more of the stress hormone cortisol.
Cortisol is a hormone that helps regulate appetite. In 2011, researchers discovered that people suffering from disordered eating generally had higher cortisol levels than average. The body releases cortisol in times of stress.
Although a small study in 2020 found no correlation between anxiety and metabolic rate, Stress could have an impact on metabolism by affecting eating patterns and sleep.
13. Get Enough Sleep
People with a lower quality of sleep may have a lower metabolic rate, according to research from 2015. The study was conducted in a sleep laboratory, and participants slept 4 hours per night for 5 nights followed by one night of 12 hours sleep.
They had a lower metabolism after nights with little sleep, but it returned to normal after a night of good sleep.
When a person sleeps less, the body slows the metabolic rate to conserve energy. People who do not sleep enough are at a greater risk for weight gain, they observed.
The amount of sleep each person needs varies, however, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that adults aged 18-60 should get at least 7 hours of sleep per night.
14. Spice Up Your Meals
Some research has suggested that eating spices such as chili, which contains capsaicin, can help with weight loss by increasing metabolic rate, including the rate at which the body burns fat and uses energy.
The study found that people who ate spicy food every day had a higher body mass index (BMI) than those who did not. They said more research is needed to understand why this occurs.
Chili peppers could potentially increase metabolism for a short while, it is not likely to cause a big change.
Exercise and diet can play a role in your metabolism.
A good metabolic rate may help with weight management. It is better to focus on eating a varied diet with plenty of whole foods and being physically active, for those seeking to lose weight. Although certain foods may give you a temporary energy boost, they are not a sustainable solution.
A doctor should always be consulted before making any changes to diet or exercise.