Picture your gut as a bustling city, teeming with trillions of microscopic residents called the gut microbiota. These microbes work tirelessly behind the scenes to keep things running smoothly. They break down dietary fibre and produce short-chain fatty acids, which act as little energy boosters to rev up your metabolism. Your gut also houses hormones that regulate your appetite, influence your food intake, and how your body processes and stores energy. When your gut microbiome is out of whack, it can lead to metabolic mayhem, paving the path for a range of complications.
Why is metabolism a buzzword?
Simply put, it is the biochemical process by which your body converts food into energy. It has become a buzzword because it is a prerequisite for effective fat loss. If your metabolism is weak, no matter which diet or exercise regimen you follow, your results will be slow. Metabolism goes beyond obesity, digestion and fat gain. Even individuals who appear healthy may have a metabolic dysfunction, signs of which include abnormal blood sugar levels, lipids and chronic inflammation.
Key drivers of metabolic health
Mitochondrial health: Your metabolic health reflects how efficiently your mitochondria—the powerhouse of the cell—can turn nutrients such as glucose into energy. If it is inept, the glucose will be stored as fat. Thyroid health: When your thyroxine falls, your body receives signals to slow down the metabolic process, which increases your risk of fat gain. Keep your thyroid health in check and fix your micronutrient deficiencies.
Lifestyle tips to rev your metabolism
Get deep-quality sleep: You undergo natural detoxification when you sleep. A lack of it may result in a build-up of toxins and increased inflammation—big red flags for poor metabolic health.
Eat according to Circadian Rhythm: Your metabolic fire is highest during the afternoon, so have a wholesome lunch, and save dessert for this time. As the day progresses, your body prepares for rest-and-digest mode. Keep dinner light and closer to sunset, and consider fasting from sunset until sunrise.
Eat for your metabolic health: Thirty minutes before meals, have one tbsp of ACV with the mother culture mixed in a tall glass of water, if it suits you. Start your meal with raw salad. Then, eat cooked vegetables.
Follow this with protein and fats. Lastly, eat carbs/grains. Once done eating, sit in vajrasana or thunderbolt pose for four-five minutes and then take a gentle 10-minute walk. Stay hydrated: Every drop of water you fail to give your body when it needs it, slows your metabolism. Take hydration a step further by drink warm water because it helps increase your metabolic rate.
Build lean muscle: No one is asking you to spend thousands on gym memberships; build it using your body weight. The more lean muscle you build, the more Human Growth Hormone (HGH) your body produces. The more HGH you have, the better your metabolic rate.
Add good fats: Pure ghee, coconut oil, nuts and seeds are excellent sources. The quantity of these will depend on your health and lifestyle goals.
High-intensity interval training: HIIT workouts can spike your metabolism by activating it and keeping it high for a longer period compared to steady-paced workouts. Download a Tabata app and give it a try.
Quality supplements: While lifestyle changes are crucial, some supplements can improve your metabolism health. These include Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), B-complex vitamins, alpha-lipoic acid, carnitine, N-acetyl-cysteine, and omega-3 fats. Take these under the guidance of your healthcare expert.
Coutinho practises in the field of Holistic Nutrition - Integrative and Lifestyle Medicine, Founder of Luke Coutinho Holistic Healing Systems