by J. Blake Craft, j.D.
Metabolism is a process we all share, but it’s just as individual as we are. Different factors, like our age, hormones, and muscle-to-fat ratio, all play roles in determining the speed at which our bodies turn what we eat and drink into energy. There are things we can do to increase our metabolism, and just as important are those things we may be doing to hinder it. Let’s take a look at some of those metabolism-slowing ways in which we behave.
1). Lack of Sleep
According to a recent study in the International Journal of Endocrinology, not sleeping enough, going to bed at different times throughout the week, or even sleeping 8 hours during the day and staying up through the night will all slow your metabolism. A recurring cycle of 7-8 hours of sleep a night will give you a steady metabolism and help your body use its energy more efficiently.
2). Strict Diets
Other studies by the National Institutes of Health show that ultra-low-calorie diets slow down your metabolism. Even with exercise, instead of burning the appropriate number of calories, the body will try and hold on to every nutrient it can, slowing its metabolism down to a crawl and making weight loss tougher. A steady diet with a reasonable reduction in calories is a healthier, more productive and more pleasant experience for both you and your body if your goal includes restricting your diet.
3). Sea Salt
It is tasty, it is trendy, and yes, it may contribute to slowing down your metabolism. How? Sea salt lacks the iodine contained in conventional salt. According to Dr. David Brownstein, physician and author of Iodine: Why You Need It, without iodine, the thyroid does not have everything it needs to effectively manage your metabolism. Instead of adding table salt together with sea salt to remedy the situation, try incorporating some iodine-rich foods into your diet throughout the week such as dairy, egg (yolks), prunes, seaweed, and fish.
4). Not enough Water
Per the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, water is a key ingredient to a healthy body and a healthy metabolism. Try and drink 8 cups of water a day. Even if you can’t get all 8 down by bedtime, every little bit helps.
5). Not enough Calcium
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition notes that calcium boosts your metabolism by jumpstarting thermogenesis, or the production of heat in the body. These little boosts in core temperature have been shown to speed up metabolism and burn more calories.
6). Too Much Fat
Similarly, The Journal of Clinical Investigation has evidence that too much saturated fat in your diet can contribute to insulin resistance, slowing down your metabolism.
A recent study published in Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences emphasizes stress’s impact on metabolism. One of the ways the body handles stress is by producing cortisol. However, the longer you are stressed, the more cortisol your body creates. Too much cortisol and your body loses the ability to use insulin efficiently. Your metabolism stalls and your weight begins to climb. Try to set aside time for activities that you truly enjoy. Throughout your day, try stepping away from your desk a couple minutes and practice stress relieving breathing techniques or even a quick 10-minute meditation. Everyone is different, so find any healthy activity that reduces your stress levels to help keep your metabolism on track.