But what is it really? To simply put, “metabolism” is the system in our body that helps convert calories to energy. There are numerous variables that contribute to our metabolism, including age, gender, and hereditary. When this system slows down, it leads to a build-up of calories which will eventually turn into fat, leading to weight gain.
There is a notion that our metabolism slows down as we get older. This is particularly true and research has even confirmed that a progressive decline in basal metabolic rate to be directly associated with age. Moreover, besides age, your daily habits also play a role in wrecking our metabolism even further. But this does not mean you have to put up with it all your life.
Below are several bad habits that you should consider cutting out to keep your metabolism and energy levels intact:
Since our metabolism slows down during sleep, eating a nutritious breakfast in the morning can help fire it up, helping you burn more calories throughout the day. Eating breakfast signals the body that there are plenty of calories to burn for the day. However, when you skip breakfast, it signals the body to conserve the incoming calories instead of burning them (Rush University Medical Center).
2. Eating Unhealthy Breakfast
Apart from not skipping breakfast, the type of food you eat can greatly influence the state of your metabolism. Having a sugary or high-carb food can lead to a crash later in the day. Therefore, it is ideal to opt for healthy food rich in fibre and protein such as eggs, berries, yoghurt, or whole-wheat food such as toast topped with peanut butter.
3. Not Drinking Enough Water
In a study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, it was shown that drinking 500 ml of water, which is about 2 cups, increase metabolic rate by 30%. This spike in metabolic rate due to water lasts for more than an hour. So drinking water not only hydrates your body but also boost your metabolism, thereby keeping you healthy.
4. Too Much Sitting
Modern lifestyle comes with routines that can put you in a very sedentary mode. From the office to commute to our homes, sitting has become part of our present lifestyle now. Sitting for a long period can put your body into energy-conservation mode that disrupts your metabolism to the worst. It slows down the metabolism process, which then affects the body’s ability to regulate blood pressure, blood sugar and fat breakdowns (National Health Service, UK).
5. Avoiding Dairy
Did you know that dairy products are also known as metabolism booster? As per a research published in the journal Nutrients that examined the role of dairy products is in metabolic diseases like diabetes, obesity, and hypertension, it has been confirmed that people with high dairy consumption, including milk, cheese, yoghurt and other dairy products have lower rates of obesity. This is because dairy products, in part, contains calcium and protein – both possibly helping in maintaining muscle mass while promoting weight loss.
6. Eating Too Many Fast Foods
Regular consumption of fast foods does not only adds an unhealthy amount of extra calories to your body but slow down your metabolism as well (Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics). The high fat content takes longer to be digested, slowing down the metabolism. So it is best to cut down if not completely avoid your fast food consumption for the sake of your metabolism and your health.
7. Sleeping In A Warm Room
According to a study that explored the effects of ambient temperature on brown fat and metabolism (NIH Research Matters), it was witnessed that sleeping in a cool room –either under an AC in the summer or without a room-heater in the winter –increase the levels of brown fat in the body. Humans have several types of fat. White fat stores extra energy. Brown fat, unlike unhealthy white fat, helps burn chemical energy to create heat and help maintain body temperature. Additionally, the research also suggests that 66F (19C) is the ideal overnight temperature.
8. Not Getting Enough Sleep
Ever felt sluggish after a night of not getting any sleep? It not only makes you feel sluggish, but it also impairs your cognitive processing, and make you more likely to overeat. Now imagine such sleepless nights in a row. Not getting adequate sleep for a series of nights can badly decrease and crash your metabolism and hormonal imbalances may follow.
9. Constantly Stressing Out
Our body produces a hormone known as cortisol whenever we are in a state of stress and anxiety. Cortisol is generally good for the proper function of our body. However, too much of it can increase our appetite, cravings for comfort foods, decrease the desire to exercise and even disrupt our sleep pattern. These are things that negatively impact metabolism. While we can not always control our stress levels, finding ways to manage stress, however possible, is the key to protecting our metabolic system.
10. Missing Strength Training
While exercises such as cardio can be a great way to burn calories, but once you are done with the exercise, calorie burn returns to normal. Therefore, strength training exercises such as HIIT and resistance-based workouts helps maintain the calorie burnt to be elevated for longer periods as after exercise muscle needs more calories to repair itself, keeping your metabolism better. According to the American Council on Exercise, Strength training is a key component of metabolism as it is linked directly to muscle mass. The more active muscle tissue you have, the higher your metabolic rate.
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Now that you know what causes your metabolism to go whack, finding ways to avoid these unhealthy habits will not only boost your metabolism but also help you in accelerating the process of losing extra kilos, burn fat, and in reaching your weight goal. You become healthier and in better control with improved energy levels when you lose weight.