Metabolism can be your body's greatest asset or its biggest obstacle. Metabolism enables your body to burn calories and function at its best, but it can be easily disrupted. Many of our everyday habits and activities can slow down metabolism, resulting in weight gain, fatigue and overall poor physical health. The key to a healthy metabolism is knowing what helps and what hurts it. Here are the top ten things that slow your metabolism and how to fix them:
1. You're not eating enough.
If you don't take in enough calories, your body will go into starvation mode. It will slow down it's metabolism to store the few calories it is getting for fuel. Make sure your taking in at least 1400 calories a day. Try to eat smaller meals throughout the day to keep your metabolism going strong all day.
2. You're not sleeping enough.
A lack of sleep slows down metabolism because you use less energy and therefore move less when you’re tired. You burn calories when you sleep. The less shut eye you get, the less calories you burn. Be sure to get 6-8 hours of sleep to rejuvenate your body and kick start your metabolism.
3. Your period.
During your menstrual cycle, your body loses iron which carries oxygen to your muscles and tissue. This means your muscles aren't getting sufficient iron, which will make you tired and bring your metabolism to grinding halt. Try eating food high in iron during your period or take an iron supplement to correct the problem.
4. Your food contains pesticides.
Pesticides commonly found on fruits and vegetables can interfere with your metabolism and stop your body from burning calories, leading to weight gain. Opt for organic fruits and vegetables to eliminate the threat of pesticides and keep your metabolism revving to go.
5. You're eating the wrong types of food.
If you're eating a lot of "white" carbohydrates, it can inhibit your body from burning fat efficiently. Switch to whole grain breads and pastas with ample fiber. Fiber can increase metabolism by up to 30 percent. Also, make sure you're getting enough protein, which also increases metabolism by 30 percent immediately following a meal. Add yogurt or nuts to each meal to reap this benefit and avoid unhealthy food.
6. You're not moving.
Studies show that sitting for just 20 minutes can slow metabolism. If you have to sit for work or school, try to get up for a quick stretch or break to get you moving. Even two minutes of movement is enough to break up your static period and get your metabolism moving.
7. You're eating at the wrong times.
Not eating meals at the same time each day confuses your body as to when it should burn calories, so your metabolism slows. Eat at the same time each day so your metabolism works continuously. Also, it's important to know that metabolism is at its highest during the morning and early afternoon. Avoid eating late at night. Eat the bulk of your calories earlier in the day to burn the most calories and stave off weight gain.
8. You lack Vitamin D.
Vitamin D preserves muscle tissue and muscle is what powers your metabolism. Try to eat foods rich in vitamin D every day, like tuna, salmon, milk, shrimp and eggs.
9. You're drinking too much.
Two or more alcoholic drinks will slow metabolism because your body will use the alcohol for fuel, instead of the fat your storing. Indulge in a drink occasionally. But don't over do it if you want to maintain a healthy weight.
10. You lack the right amount of calcium.
Calcium is what determines your body's fat metabolism. The amount of calcium you ingest will dictate if calories are used as fuel or stored as fat, causing weight gain and a sluggish metabolism. Drink milk or eat low-fat dairy products that are calcium-fortified, like cheeses and yogurts, to make sure you're getting enough calcium.
If you make the necessary changes based on this list, you will see an improvement in your metabolism and your overall physical fitness. Speak with your physician to make sure you are on a proper diet and exercise program and to discuss any questions or concerns you have about your metabolism. Follow this list and metabolism will be your friend, not your enemy.