For many people, the concept of metabolism is something of a mystery. They might realize it’s related to weight status and temperature control. They might understand that it speeds up or slows down based on how much exercise they do – and what type. They might even think what they eat can take it up a notch. But beyond that, it’s just this nebulous figure that people are constantly trying to manipulate.
Your basal metabolic rate, or resting metabolism, is the amount of energy or calories your body needs to perform basic functions like breathing and digesting food.
While it’s true that genetics affect your metabolic rate, there are also things you can do to kick it up a notch, if you so choose.
Get some sleep. If you’re not getting sufficient sleep, your metabolism will naturally slow down to compensate. To hit the recommended seven to nine hours each night, establish a regular sleep/wake pattern where you go to bed and awake at the same time each day. Turn off all screens one hour before bedtime. And engage in a soothing 10-minute routine before lights out – things like reading, meditating or writing in a journal.
Your metabolic rate isn’t set. It changes throughout your life cycle – and during times of stress, growth and development (pregnancy, menopause and times of illness are all metabolic game changers). And while plenty of headlines suggest that sipping on green tea, eating spicy foods and subsisting exclusively on grapefruit will kick up your metabolism, there are no magic foods that boost metabolism enough to make a noticeable difference.
Andrea Thelen, MS, RDN, is a registered dietitian who specializes in nutrition counseling and health coaching at Henry Ford Health System’s Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention and the Henry Ford Heart & Vascular Institute.
Want to sit down with a nutrition expert to discuss how to get your slowed-down metabolism humming again? Schedule an appointment with a Henry Ford dietitian by calling 313-874-3095.
Members of the editorial and news staff of The Detroit News were not involved in the creation of this content.