When we hear the term “fast metabolism,” it’s usually regarding people — often younger than us — who seem to be able to eat whatever they want and as much of it as they can: They can indulge in sweets, fried food, simple carbs and more without gaining an ounce of fat. But just because they don’t appear to gain weight, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re optimally healthy. They may experience the same low energy, mood swings, brain fog, digestive upset and other effects of unhealthy dietary habits, that, over time, can worsen.
You see, true metabolic health isn’t just about having your cake and eating it too, so to speak. The state of your metabolism has much more to do with your overall health than simply your weight,
Metabolism lies at the foundation of health. It’s a complex system that directly influences how our cells, tissues and body systems function and get the nutrients they need — while getting rid of what they don’t. Metabolic processes are involved in our most critical areas of health, including cardiovascular, cognitive, inflammation and immunity.
Essentially, good metabolism doesn’t mean you don’t gain weight, it means you feel good every day, have plenty of energy for daily activities and are in good overall health. Poor metabolism often means the opposite.
Just as metabolic health can be influenced by a variety of factors, a number of signs and symptoms can indicate that your metabolism needs support. If left unchecked, these early signs may eventually manifest into metabolic syndrome and its dangerous offspring, type 2 diabetes. If you experience a number of these signs regularly, it’s time to take action.
What’s your waist size? Extra fat around the abdomen is the unhealthiest type of fat and one of the most common signs that you may need to support your metabolism. If you are a man with a waistline of 40 inches or greater, or a woman with a waistline of 35 inches or greater, your metabolic health may need to be examined.
Do you generally feel run down, like you’re “running on fumes?” Do you become exhausted after eating? Feeling sleepy once in a while after a restless night can be expected. But, if you are frequently tired with low energy throughout the day — even after a good night’s sleep — your metabolism may be to blame.
Do you sweat for no apparent reason? Perspiring when it’s hot or you’re doing hard physical exertion is normal and healthy. But if simple, daily tasks like doing the dishes or walking up a flight of stairs make you drip, you may need to address your metabolic health.
Do you feel cold much of the time? Are your fingers and toes always chilled or do your hands and feet fall asleep easily? When you hurt yourself, does it take a long time to heal? Low circulation may be a sign that your metabolism could use some help.
Unhealthy Gums And Teeth
Do your gums bleed when you brush or floss? Are they painful? Do you have a propensity for cavities? More and more research points to a relationship between gum disease and chronic health conditions such as heart disease, cancer, and metabolic issues such as diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
How regularly do you see the dentist? If your oral health is suffering, your metabolic health may be deteriorating according to research demonstrating links between metabolic dysfunction and periodontitis.
Maintain Metabolic Health
So you’ve determined that your metabolism isn’t what you want it to be. Now what? The good news is that a large part of your metabolic health can be improved using targeted diet, exercise and lifestyle adjustments.
High stress is a culprit in metabolic mayhem. It fuels inflammation and metabolic-disrupting stress hormones like cortisol. Try adding 15 minutes of meditation to your daily routine. In addition, when you feel your stress levels getting out of hand, take 20 seconds to stop whatever you’re doing and simply breathe. Take three deep breaths and exhale fully, pulling your bellybutton toward your spine to completely empty your diaphragm. A mere 20 seconds is so quick that nobody will even notice that you “checked out” for that time. But it may be enough to bring you (and your metabolism) some peace.
Any kind of cardio (aerobic exercise) helps to both rev up your metabolism and reduce your stress (which should please the multitaskers).
Studies show that 1½ hours per week of moderate physical activity, like brisk walking, keeps the average person healthy (more is needed if you want to lose weight). What’s more, studies show that 10 minutes here and there work just as well as 45-minute workouts, as long as your total exercise time adds up to 90 minutes or more over the course of the week. This is a relief for any busy person; it’s much easier to fit a 15-minute walk into your daily lunch break than it is to get up an hour early to go to the gym.
Although light cardio is important, don’t forget to include some muscle-building exercises. Muscle is more active than fat, so more muscle means more efficient metabolism. Explore different ways to fit muscle training into your day. Do squats while you’re waiting for dinner to cook. Do some push-ups or sit-ups while waiting for your shower to get hot. Install an over-the-door pull-up bar and do one or two pull-ups every time you walk by. Be creative!
Easy metabolic tip: Eat more green vegetables, fiber and protein. Eat less sugar and simple carbs.
This alone should be enough to put you well on your way to metabolic health, but it’s not hard to take your food consciousness to an even higher level for greater vitality and health.
Learn the difference between good fats and bad fats. For example: deep-fry oil, trans-fat and anything hydrogenated are all bad. Omegas, coconut, avocados, olive oil, seeds and nuts: These are good.
Incorporate vegetables of some form into every meal: Yes, even eat these at breakfast! Try blending some spinach or kale into a fruit and yogurt smoothie and I bet you won’t even taste the greens.Vegetables should make up at least half of each meal.
If you’ve got a sweet tooth that just can’t be tamed, get a bag of xylitol. It looks, tastes, mixes and bakes just like regular sugar, and has an extremely low glycemic index (meaning it will not throw your metabolism out of balance the way refined sugar and corn syrup do). As an added bonus, xylitol actually benefits your teeth and gums by promoting healthy bacterial balance.
To help you on your journey of maintaining metabolic health, a number of targeted ingredients can help balance glucose and insulin function, regulate fat and sugar absorption, and reduce cravings for sweets and unhealthy foods. Some top supplements include alpha lipoic acid, taurine, seaweed-derived alginates, chromium, cinnamon, gymnema leaf, kudzu root and medicinal mushrooms. For more information about how to support metabolism with targeted natural solutions, download my free metabolic wellness guide here.
The holidays are just around the corner. In the presence of the season’s sweets and treats, along with more time spent indoors, this time of year can wreak havoc on metabolic and overall health. Be prepared with a strong foundation of good habits to support your metabolism. You can enjoy greater seasonal and long term wellness in the process.
For more health and wellness information, visit www.dreliaz.org.