Think your metabolism is slowing down? According to new research published in the journal Science, middle age may not be a good excuse for that weight gain. In fact, researchers discovered there was no real change in the metabolism of 6,500 participants during the age span of 20 to 60 years. And when some slowing began after the age of 60, it occurred at just 1% per year. Even resting metabolic rates between men and women showed no differences, further negating a commonly-held “truth.”
But good news exists. Since this research focused on resting metabolic rates, it means the link to weight gain and feeling lethargic as we age may lie in what happens or doesn’t happen to our metabolism when we are active.
Issues that contribute to slow metabolism and weight gain:
- Slowing down our exercise and switching to less challenging activities
- Decreasing our movement, so that the resultant loss in muscle mass reduces the ability to efficiently burn calories when at rest
- Problems with sleep can keep us from getting the rest our metabolism requires to function properly
Steps to increase or bring back healthy resting metabolism:
(according to Professor Edward Coyle of the University of Texas at Austin)
- Throughout your day, achieve at least 8,500 steps, every day
- Do strength training and high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Strength training makes more muscle, and muscle increases calorie burn. HIIT alternates periods of high activity and rest, which helps reduce fat mass. For a simple, HIIT walk, walk until you are warmed up first, then begin your intervals. Walk as fast as you can for 3-4 minutes, then slow down for a few minutes, then back to fast walking for 3-4 minutes. Keep doing your intervals for 20 minutes total.
- Avoid “exercise resistance.” Coyle’s research has found that people who move around less during the day benefit less from their longer workouts. Instead, use frequent bursts of energy throughout your day, in addition to your longer workout, in order to maintain or increase your body’s ability to metabolize fat.
Insulin and Metabolism
Insulin is another aspect of metabolism that we can take steps to “control.” Insulin is secreted from the pancreas throughout the day and in larger amounts after eating. Insulin tells fat cells to store fat and keeps stored fat from being burned for energy, so healthy insulin levels are important to healthy metabolism.
What we eat affects how much insulin gets secreted after meals or snacks, which means we can control our major fat-storage hormone with savvy food choices. Some are obvious, like avoiding “white” foods like white flour, refined sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and highly processed grains, but less obvious foods like potatoes, fruit and high-glycemic-index foods like carrots also spike insulin.
Attempting to balance every entire meal and snack, which is what the body’s insulin output responds to, minimizes insulin-provoking potential. Protein, fat and fiber all help balance the effect of carbohydrates. With a bit of practice, balancing protein, fat, fiber and carbs each time you eat will become a healthy habit.
- Small banana and nut butter
- Apple with nuts or a piece of cheese
- Need a starchy side? Swap white rice for brown, throw in some veggies, a little feta, and a drizzle of olive oil
Insulin Help from Minerals
If you are magnesium deficient, your insulin is most likely also dysfunctional. Increasing magnesium intake improves the efficiency of insulin, even for those who have normal magnesium levels. And since most of us are low on magnesium, the addition of this mineral to your diet or through supplementation seems like a smart idea.
Magnesium-rich foods include green, leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes. The recommended daily intake is 420 mg for males and 320 mg for females. Besides lacking magnesium in the diet, we also suffer from magnesium loss due to our acidic diets, soft drinks, toxin exposure, and stress. So, reaching recommended magnesium intake whether through food or in combination with supplements is a good idea for also helping achieve efficient insulin activity.
The trace mineral chromium is another nutrient that plays a beneficial role in optimizing insulin use. Chromium can be found in tiny amounts in beef and brewer’s yeast. Chromium may also be found in some multivitamins and as a stand-alone supplement.
Metabolism doesn’t have to be something that happens to us. We can make smart choices that support our healthiest metabolism. At Betsy’s Health Foods, we look forward to helping you with product questions, as well as discussing important health topics like your metabolism with you. “Always taking your health and your budget to heart,” since 1993.
Reference: WOMENSVOICEMAGAZINE.COM, Vol. 16-U a & Vol. 17-U
BetsyHealth Note: This article is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease. Consult your healthcare provider before trying a supplement, especially if you have a medical condition, including being pregnant or nursing, take prescription or over-the-counter medications, or are planning on having surgery.
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