Exercise, dieting and any other measures to drop those pounds will prove futile if your metabolism is sluggish.
Metabolism gets blamed when people put on weight or have trouble losing it, but you can learn how to speed up yours. Increasing your metabolism can help you burn calories, replace fat with muscle and give you more energy. The key to increasing your metabolism is understanding what exactly it is.
What is metabolism?
Metabolic rate is the amount of energy (calories) our body burns to maintain itself. Metabolism takes place in our muscles and organs and the result of it is what we commonly refer to as "burning calories". Metabolism is essentially the speed at which our body's motor is running.
Why is high metabolism required?
The most important advantage of having a higher metabolism is that you can consume more food or exercise less to achieve the same results. A higher metabolism implies your body is expending more energy. Therefore, you can take on more energy in the form of food while maintaining your shape or even losing fat.
What factors influence metabolism?
Your metabolic rate is determined by three factors:
1. The rate at which your body uses energy for vital processes, such as breathing.
2. The rate at which you burn energy during physical activity.
3. The rate at which you burn energy during digestion. During the digestive process, various organs (like the kidney, liver, intestine etc) participate. Hence, keeping the organs active and efficient is the key to revving up the metabolism.
How to improve your metabolism
1. Keep the intestines working well
Foods which load the intestine should be curtailed. Eating too much non-vegetarian food makes the intestine acidic and additionally puts a load on the liver.
Maida (white flour) sticks to the insides of the intestine and prevents nutrition from getting absorbed by the intestinal lining. Over several years, the gut lining becomes covered with fermenting waste products, leading to the growth of bacteria. This leads to digestive problems, nutritional deficiency and water retention. Many recurrent infections of the body also occur due to the digestive tract being clogged with an unhealthy lining, which encourages toxins to enter the blood stream.
To ensure intestinal health one must undergo a light detox diet once in a fortnight. On that day, avoid all heavy foods like meat, poultry, eggs, heavy paneer, dals (pulses), pickles, colas, churans etc. Have lots of fruit, vegetable juices, soups with herbs and a light vegetable dalia (wheat porridge) or khichdi for lunch. Try to drink lukewarm water on that day.
2. Keep the liver lively, clean and charged
The liver is given a lot of importance in Naturopathy, Chinese medicine and Ayurveda. It is the seat of digestion and a sluggish liver will result in low metabolism, rapid fat gain, low energy, skin problems, swelling in the body/feet and stagnant weight. The iver can be partially detoxified by the intestinal detoxification process mentioned above and completely by the Panchakarma Ayurvedic cleansing method.
3. Consume all kinds of fibre
Fibre is slowly digested and insoluble fibre helps the body control weight and reduce sugar levels. Fibre also boosts the metabolism by its effect on the fat metabolism hormone called insulin. A lot of fibres are present in the skins of fruit, oats, brown rice, dals (pulses) with an outer cover like sabut moong (whole green gram), sabut chana (whole Bengal gram) etc.
4. Eat frequent, small meals
Consuming food triggers digestion, and digestion requires calories. By eating more frequent, smaller meals, you continuously supply your body with nutrients while forcing it to digest and break down the foods. This, in turn, can have the effect of raising your metabolism.
5. Eat earlier in the day
Research has demonstrated that you can lose weight simply by eating a substantial breakfast and lunch and a light dinner. Dinner should be eaten as early as possible, preferably at least four hours before bedtime.
6. Increase physical activity
Aerobic exercise that increases the heart rate can raise metabolism while you're exercising. Some experts believe that aerobic exercise also boosts metabolism for several hours, as muscles burn calories to recover and repair themselves.
You can jump-start a sluggish metabolism through exercise and diet, which will have lasting health benefits for you. Not only will you lose weight and gain muscle mass, you'll have more energy to burn -- and you'll feel great.