Apr 042011

There is quite a lot of discussion about metabolism on line, in the press, and on TV talk shows but do you have a clear understanding of what “metabolism” is? This article includes a basic definition of what metabolism is, why it is so important, and some ideas on how to make it better.

The word “metabolism” come from a Greek term and is used to refer to the various chemical reactions that take place in all living organisms necessary to life itself. It is these chemical processes that allow growth, reproduction, basic structure maintenance, and responses to changes in the surrounding environment. There are two parts of metabolism:

Anabolism: uses energy to build parts of cell structure like nucleic acids and proteins>
Catabolism: digests organic matter for other uses like harvesting energy>

It is the function of metabolism to determine which compounds a given organism will consider nutritious and which will be poisonous. Just one example is some forms of life recently discovered around deep sea vents live on hydrogen sulfide which is a deadly poison to any animal.

But it is our metabolic rate that we are most interested in.

Our metabolic rate is a measurement of energy expended while we are at rest in a neutrally temperate climate. This is the amount of energy needed to keep the basic function of the body going. Obviously, this expenditure of energy results in calories being consumed and is, in fact, the largest part of our daily calorie burn.

It just stands to reason that any changes made to our metabolic rate to increase the number of calories consumed will be a huge help in losing weight, cardiovascular health, and overall wellbeing. With that goal in mind, here are just a few ideas on how to supercharge your metabolism.

Drink Water: The more water you drink, the easier it is for your body to burn calories. A good goal is to have a glass of water just before any meal and every snack.

Eat Frequently: Instead of eating the traditional three large meals daily eat a smaller meal every few hours. Eating smaller meals more frequently forces your metabolism to work more and burn more calories. Some recent research also indicates that people who have regular snacks throughout the day eat less at each meal. Just be sure you are eating healthy and not loading upon carbohydrates and sugar. Focus on whole grain crackers and fruit.

Exercise and Build Muscle: Research indicates that each pound of muscle requires about 6 calories each day. In contrast, a pound of fat needs just 2 calories a day. So, the more muscle you build, the more calories are required to maintain them. You don’t have to be a body builder, but exercise and weight training will help raise your overall metabolism rate.

Eat Protein: Human metabolism will use about twice as many calories digesting protein as it will digesting carbohydrates or fat. Foods rich in protein include pork, fish, lean beef, beans, nuts, and eggs. Don’t go overboard; be sure your overall diet is in balance.

Ignore Crash and Fad Diets:  Do your best to ignore all the noise about “miracle” weight loss. Any diet that requires you to eat less than 1,000 calories a day is not healthy and can be a disaster. While you may well lose some weight in the short term, that few calories will certainly cause your metabolism to slow dramatically. The result of these fads, crash diets is a metabolism that burns much fewer calories and, as a consequence, gains weight much faster than it did before.

In the final analysis, the best way to boost your metabolism and reach your weight goals is to focus on getting exercise and building muscle mass as well as eating a healthy and balanced diet.

The recipes here at Best Fruit Smoothies are all loaded with fruits, vegetables, and other healthy nutrients like ground Chia seed. Making smoothies part of your regular meal plan is a great way to begin.

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