What do we really know about metabolism? Metabolism is a collection of chemical reactions that take place in the body’s cells. After food is eaten, enzymes in the digestive tract break proteins down into fats and carbohydrates into simple sugars that are used for energy. But that doesn’t matter when you’re battling weight loss or are frustrated that you are exhausted all the time. Having a metabolism leisurely living your life is brutal. What is the sick game here? Your weight plays a part in the speed of your metabolism. “People who weigh more are more likely to have a faster metabolic rate — not a slower one — because a portion of the excess weight is muscle tissue,” the Mayo Clinic reported. Your sex and your age also factor into the equation of having a slow metabolism as well as hormones. The worse part of it is that we’ve heard all the advice on how to rev up the metabolism, but not what slows it down. Watch for these 6 slow metabolism triggers and learn what you can do about them.
You love the heat.
If you want to burn fat and get your metabolism up, refrain from keeping your house too toasty. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that people who slept in bedrooms cooled to 66 degrees for a month doubled the amount of brown adipose tissue that they burned. Participants were exposed to the temperature for at least 10 hours each night. They wore standard hospital clothing and had bed sheets only. “Brown fat becomes more active in cooler temperatures to help keep us warm,” said Aaron Cypess, MD, who works at NIH. “So the more active your brown fat, the more calories you’ll burn throughout the day.”
You’re not getting enough sunshine.
Some people never heard that the sun impacts your metabolism. We need the sun’s help to keep the body going. As a country we are less active and spend more time indoors, leading to little sun time, and exposure to nature’s vitamin. Your body is usually able to get all the vitamin D it needs if you regularly expose enough bare skin to the sun. However, many people don’t get enough sunlight because they spend a lot of time inside and because they use sunscreen. “Sunlight may help regulate your circadian rhythm, which controls countless functions in your body including how well you sleep, how much food you consume, and how much energy you burn,” Prevention reported.
You’re not getting enough sleep.
A lack of sleep fuels depression, weight gain, stress and can hurt your metabolic health. It can cause you to burn fewer calories and also spike cortisol levels, which causes weight gain. You need 7 to 9 hours a night to help your body to metabolize sugar better. Howard LeWine, M.D., Chief Medical Editor at Harvard Health wrote that the lack of sleep hinders the brain by adding more protein. “People who are persistently sleep deprived are more likely to have high blood pressure, diabetes, and narrowed blood vessels. Each of these can decrease blood flow inside the brain. Brain cells need a lot of oxygen and sugar, so blood flow problems could affect their ability to work properly.” There is always a cause and an effect to the system when you don’t get enough sleep.
Dehydration happens when the body loses water with more liquid coming out of the body through our cells than what we are taking in. When cells are deprived water they can also shrink. The body then is alerted to scale back and to slow down to preserve water as needed. Dehydration causes your body to slow down and even the slightest dehydration will prevent your metabolism from running at 100 percent. Well, how do you know that you are dehydrating? People believe thirst is a solid indicator to predict if you’re dehydrated. It’s the color of the urine, WebMD explained. “Clear or light-colored urine means you’re well hydrated, whereas a dark yellow or amber color usually signals dehydration.”
You’re stressed out.
Stress and worrying will slow the body down as it can’t metabolize food as fast. “Increased cortisol levels can cause you to overeat, and when you overeat, you can gain weight. Also, weight gain causes your metabolism to slow,” author and Dr. Christine Gerbstadt explained to Everyday Health. “To counteract stress, avoid people and situations that cause your stress level to spike,” she suggested. Stress can really put on the pounds and causes people to eat more fatty foods to help them feel better. When they compensate for this stress through food, you add to the waistline. We can’t avoid stress altogether, but we can be cognizant of how it plays a role.
You may have low iron.
Iron is needed to carry oxygen to the blood, muscles and tissues. According to livestrong.com, iron is a component of neurotransmitters. This is where the substances used by “brain cells to communicate with each other. Iron is part of the production process of connective tissue, the cells and fibrous tissue that forms the cellular glue of the body.” If the body is depleted of iron, it can make you feel sluggish and even ill-tempered. Have your doctor check you for anemia, a common blood condition. You can take an iron supplement and start eating more foods with iron like red meats, leafy greens, beans, tofu and whole grains. Beans, dried fruit, bread and pasta also can support the body with an iron deficiency.
The metabolism is important because it influences how your body stores fat, burns calories and handles stress. If you are baffled as to the reason you’re are feeling tired and seem to be gaining weight, see your doctor.