Rev Up Your Engines! 3 Effective Ways to Boost Metabolism
Your metabolism dictates how quickly and efficiently you burn calories to use for fuel and maintaining your body temperature. The higher your metabolism, the more calories you can consume in a day without gaining weight. Many of the patients that I see, complain of a sluggish metabolism – they don’t feel like they overeat, they consume healthy food, exercise regularly and yet they gain weight easily. Let’s take a look at three ways you can boost metabolism to help with weight loss.
Nourish Your Thyroid
Your thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland in your neck that regulates your metabolism. Think of it like the gas pedal for your body. A sluggish thyroid means a slow metabolism In order to do it’s job, your thyroid needs iodine, zinc, selenium, copper and tyrosine to build thyroid hormones.
Our main food source of iodine is iodized salt. As a public health measure, iodine was added to table salt as a means of gently supplementing everyone with a little extra iodine, to stave off underactive thyroids. However, excessive salt intake is considered unhealthy, so people have either stopped using salt in food preparation or shifted to using sea salt instead. Those of you strictly avoiding salt or using sea salt may not be getting the benefit of the iodine added to regular table salt. I recommend switching to iodized sea salt, which is readily available at most health food stores.
Selenium is a trace mineral that is vital to healthy thyroid function. Brazil nuts are a rich food source and consuming as little as 3 Brazil nuts per day supplies plenty of selenium for your thyroid.
Zinc is found naturally in beef, pumpkin seeds, egg yolks and shellfish.
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, so protein rich foods like beans, eggs, nuts, seeds, beef, fish and chicken will supply the amino acid, tyrosine, that is also crucial to healthy thyroid function.
Restore Your Adrenals
The adrenal glands are your stress glands; they help your body cope in times of stress. They assist the thyroid hormone to function properly by enabling transfer of the hormone into the tissues where it works to increase metabolism. The adrenal glands need substantial amounts of vitamins B5, B6, C, potassium, magnesium and zinc especially while under
To nurture healthy adrenals:
- Eat lots of leafy green veggies like kale, spinach, Swiss chard and spring mix salad greens. These are chock full of B vitamins, C, zinc, potassium, magnesium and zinc, everything that the adrenals need, all in one food.
- Get adequate rest and sleep. Stop working by 8 p.m. and relax. Aim to be in bed by 10 p.m.. The adrenals operate on a daily schedule that is regulated by daylight. They peak in the morning and taper off to their lowest between 8 p.m. and 4 a.m.. Try to work with their schedule, not against it.
- Reduce your stress. Easier said than done, but whatever you can do in this regard will help your adrenals and help to maintain a healthy cortisol level. Excessive cortisol contributes to weight gain around your waist. Stress reduction through psychotherapy, exercise, yoga, tai chi and massage therapy can all help if stress is the problem.
Exercise can boost metabolism for up to 48 hours afterward, so get off the couch and walk briskly, dance, go on the treadmill, do something active for 30 minutes 5-7 times per week. Exercise, but not to the point that you feel exhausted after, you should feel energized after exercise. It’s also the best stress reliever there is. Weight training and high intensity interval training (HIIT) are particularly good for building muscle mass. Muscles burn more calories than non-muscle tissue, so muscle can boost metabolism even while you are sleeping.