Understanding Metabolism

teen-metabolism

At the micro level, cells need nutrients in order to carry out their functions properly. In order for our metabolic pathways to function optimally, we need proper amounts of vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats, carbohydrates, water, enzymes, and trace minerals.

Restricting calories starves your body of vital nutrients and actually slows down metabolism. This decreases weight loss potential and and actually predisposes your body to hold onto fat more readily. This is because your body is getting the signal that its starving and is preparing for famine by inducing as much fat storage as possible from whatever foods you are eating. All the while, the body ramps up hunger signals and cravings, making it increasingly harder for you to maintain. Fatigue and irritability set in as a response to the body being under stress.

Continued calorie restriction leads to deterioration of muscle tissue, bone, skin, hair, nails, and overall metabolic rate. It also often results in a binge because your body is calling for lots of nourishment to make up for past deprivation. This is biology. It’s your body crying out for balance. Honor your body and treat it with the utmost respect by giving it exactly what it needs in the most wholesome form. This is truly the key to a balanced metabolism & after a short adjustment period, your body will respond positively by settling into it’s natural weight.  


Nourishment: A Wholesome Approach


 

Whole foods diet: Minimal refinement and processing keep foods in their most bioavailable and nutrient dense form. This way your body knows exactly what to do with it + how to process and digest it. This can only increase the efficiency of your metabolic pathways, increasing energy, mental clarity, and overall well-being.

Try: Lots of organic fresh fruits & vegetables, nuts & seeds, greens, and grains.


 

Reduce processed foods: Processed and refined foods are not well assimilated into your body. Your body has a tough time processing these foods and does not digest them as well as whole foods. Impaired digestion can lead to a number of conditions that will negatively affect your body’s metabolism. Processed foods are also often laden with additives and colorings that burden our bodies and, in excess, create internal stress which takes away from functioning optimally. Most packaged, highly processed items are now marketed as “low fat” or “low calorie” foods. Little do most of us know that these packaged foods contain harsh ingredients that actually disturb our metabolism and will continue to harm the body if eaten often. Try to aim for more unpackaged goods, natures candy like fruit and vegetables, and complex carbohydrates/protein which will require more energy by the body to digest and support a healthy metabolic function.


 

Fill up on omegas: Most diets are low in essential fatty acids. Omegas are incredibly beneficial for the brain, immune system, and metabolism, and help to reduce inflammation throughout the body. Incorporating healthy fats, rich in omegas keep the skin nourished and supple and support mood & weight regulation.

Try: Wild caught fatty fish like salmon, flax seeds, walnuts, and hemp seeds. Healthy fats to include in the diet: coconut oil, avocado oil, fish, walnuts, cold pressed olive oil, avocados, hemp seeds, chia seeds, omega 3-6-9 etc! Adding these to your eggs, wraps, salads, and cooking in the healthy oils like coconut and avocado is an easy way to get in those healthy fats throughout the day.


 

Increase Antioxidants: Antioxidants help to clear out metabolic wastes, freeing up our body’s resources to work towards keeping us healthy. They are also a crucial component to our immune system, so consuming them can help us to maintain resistance to pathogens that may lead to illness.

Try: wild blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, ginger, turmeric, goji berries, pecans, kidney beans, and dark chocolate.

 

Pay attention to digestion: Your digestion is a crucial part of the foundation of overall health and wellbeing. Know the telltale signs of improper digestion: bloating, excessive or painful gas, acid reflux, constipation, and unexplained irritability, abdominal weight gain, bitter taste in mouth, oily stools, light or pale stools, frequent nausea etc. Good digestion requires nutrients which you will not get from ‘dieting’.

 

Drink PLENTY of water - Water aids in weight loss, improves your mood, reduces dizziness, inhibits headaches, hydrates the skin/organs in the body, improves performance, stops constipation, increases energy, and reduces the occurrence of kidney stones.

Drink ½ your bodyweight in ounces daily to keep your body hydrated.

 

Sleep deep - Our metabolism is working 24/7, this includes when we are sleeping. Lack of sleep will lower the hormone leptin and increase the levels of ghrelin. Leptin is a hormone that suppresses appetite, and grehlin increases cravings and is known to play a role in regulating our body weight. Lack of sleep causes us to go towards comfort foods the next day and crave more than we need. So put an eye mask on at night, put those melatonin hormones to work and enjoy a nice nights rest!

 

Move your body - little exercise is better than no exercise… however working towards getting roughly 30 minutes of exercise daily will increase your metabolic health, support metabolism and weight, and maintain muscle. This does not mean you have to do 30 minutes of intense workouts every day. This could simply mean a 30 minute to 1 hr walk. Rotate activities like yoga, pilates, swimming, running, spinning, boxing, weights, or at home workouts like dancing.

 

Support your Liver - your liver is responsible for burning fat and often an organ left out when trying to lose weight yet, is the most beneficial in terms of regulating your hormones, metabolizing fats, proteins, and carbs, supporting fat burning and keeping you full of energy! The liver is the largest internal organ in the body and is best known for breaking down toxins and getting rid of them from the body. Since we are exposed to such an extreme volume of pollutants and industrial chemicals today, our liver has a tough time keeping up with the ability to detoxify.


The following herbs and supplements can be used to help the liver detoxify naturally. They also help to support digestion and the assimilation of nutrients.

Amla fruit extract. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and high amount of natural vitamin C prevent the toxic effects of many chemicals, pharmaceutical drugs, and heavy metals.

Glutathione. Most powerful antioxidant made by the body and mostly found in the liver. Made up of 3 amino acids (cysteine, glycine, and glutamine). Rids free radicals from the liver and is a key ingredient in the body’s detoxification process.

Milk Thistle. Supports the liver and is a powerful antioxidant that clears free radicals and boosts the activity of our bodies antioxidants including glutathione.

Burdock Root. Is rich in calcium, iron and vitamin c and helps stimulate bile flow and protects the liver and can also help to restore the liver from excessive alcohol consumption.

Chlorella. Freshwater algae that has been on earth for more than 2 billion years and includes powerful detoxification properties. Chlorella has the ability to bind to toxins and heavy metals and remove them from the body.
























 

kristin dahl