What is Metabolism? Why is it important?
Metabolism is the complex chemical processes that your body uses for normal functioning and sustaining life, including: (a) breaking down food and drink to energy and (b) building or repairing your body. The amount of energy your body burns at any given time is directly affected by your metabolism. (1)
In a nutshell: You need healthy metabolism to function well. Without healthy metabolism you are unable to burn energy effectively and it can lead to a whole host of issues including weight gain and even ‘Metabolic Syndrome’, a cluster of conditions that increase the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes, which is estimated to affect as much as one-third of modern populations.
Your metabolic rate is the rate that your body uses energy to function, so it is really important!
What are the symptoms of poor metabolism?
- Tired all the time
- Weight gain around the waist
- Mood swings
- Irregular period
- Always hungry
- Hair loss
- Body temperature issues
- Heartbeat irregularities
- (Poor digestion)
What are the factors that impede healthy metabolism?
- Poor diet
- Lack of exercise / low physical activity
- Psychological stress
The Good News: How we can support healthy metabolism!
To protect, and even supercharge, healthy metabolism, here are a few things to consider relating to your diet, exercise and stress management.
- Good Quality Food and Drink including good quality fats such as ghee, olive and coconut oil will provide the essential nutrients and kilojoules required for healthy metabolism. Focus on plant-based, whole food that is local and as organic as possible.
- Start the day with a hot water or hot herbal tea to warm up your digestion AND Sip hot water or herbal tea throughout the day. Starting with a hot water or hot herbal tea will warm up your digestion first thing, and sipping throughout the day will provide ongoing assistance for digestion and metabolism.
- Eat your main meal in the middle of the day. If you can, try eating your main meal at lunch time, when your digestion is at its strongest, then for dinner try something lighter, such as a soup.
- Intermittent Fasting. Studies have supported the hypothesis that intermittent fasting can improve metabolism and reduce the risk of obesity-related conditions, diabetes and cancer (2)
DRINK TULSI TEA
There is evidence that Tulsi can assist specifically with metabolic syndrome and associated issues. Clinical trials show that Tulsi has anti-diabetic activity, protects the liver and kidneys from metabolic damage, prevents weight gain, decreases glucose levels, improves blood pressure, lowers cortisol levels, reduces inflammation and reduces many diabetic symptoms in patients with Type 2 Diabetes. (3)
Tulsi is also known to improve stamina, endurance, mood, stress resilience and improve digestion, all contributing to support healthy metabolism. There is a whole range of beautiful ORGANIC INDIA teas containing Tulsi, you might want to try Tulsi Original, Tulsi Green Tea, or Tulsi Cinnamon Rose Tea.
Try to exercise at least five days each week. Around this time of year, start incorporating some Sun Salutations and twists into your yoga practice, these help to generate heat to burn away any winter sluggishness, also the weight-bearing movements builds muscle which leads to burning more energy and better metabolism.
- Exercise + Nose Breathing to boost fat metabolism!
This is fascinating! You should also consider learning how to correctly nose breathe while exercising, as this can boost fat metabolism. Ever wondered where the fat goes when you lose weight? Turns out fats are broken down into CO2 (carbon dioxide) and we breathe it out!
‘During exercise the efficiency of breathing off the fat increases metabolic activity seven-fold which increases the CO2 breathed away as fat by 20%.’ (4) So, the more efficiently you breathe, the better your fat metabolism, and the most efficient way to breathe is to use all five lobes of the lungs, and to do that you need to breathe through your nose.
Dr Douillard can teach you how to do this, check out his article for more detail. (4)
A WORD ON STRESS
Many of us know that when you are in a stressed state, your body reacts by getting you ready for ‘fight or flight’. This is great if you are facing an immediate threat as your body becomes alert and ready for action. However, if you experience stress on an almost daily basis, it can become very depleting and take a huge toll on your health, playing havoc with our digestion, metabolism, immune system, energy levels, mental capacity and quality of sleep. We need to become stress management ninjas.
The great news is, you can absolutely give yourself permission to slow down and do something soothing, to connect to your inner steadiness. Rather than feeling guilty, or ‘un-productive’, take a break and slow down to smell the roses. That could be the most ‘productive’ thing you do every day.
About the Author: Sarah Holloway is an ORGANIC INDIA team member with a keen interest in Ayurveda and a background in environmental resource management. She is a proud Aunty and lives near Byron Bay with her husband and beloved pooch.