Ketogenic, low carb, slow carb, carnivore, plant-based….all these different diets claim to improve your metabolic health, so which one is the best? And why is metabolic health important? What does metabolic health even mean anyway?
Metabolic Health 101
In a nutshell, metabolic health encompasses a set of chemical reactions in and around our cells, one of the most important of which is how we generate and process energy. Imagine it a bit like a factory: the raw material to generate energy comes into the factory in one truck, has to be unloaded, reloaded into another truck and then transferred to the burner to be converted to the final end product of energy that we want, every step of this process creating debris along the way.
Your metabolic health is a representation of how efficient and clean your cell “factory” is running, i.e. are the trucks able to get to the unloading dock? Are there enough resources on hand to unload the truck? Is the next truck available and free to take on the new load or is the door jammed or rusty? Literally!!! Our cells oxidize or “rust”, the degree to which we can influence through our lifestyle. What is the quality of the raw material being used to turn into energy? Does it create a lot of toxic debris while burning it? Is there a good cleanup crew on hand?
Obviously, we want our “factory” to be running as clean and efficiently as possible for optimal health and wellness.
Ok, so why should I care?
How your cells work is at the very basis of our health: our hormones, libido, how we manage stress, athletic performance, fertility, concentration and focus, cardiovascular fitness, mental and emotional stability, sleep… you name it, it is, in one form or another, connected to our metabolic health.
So if you want improved focus and mental clarity, better memory, stable mood, improved sleep, a stronger immune system, improved sexual function, sustained athletic performance and hormonal balance, then you need to care about your metabolic health.
Improving your metabolic health is one of the most important things you can do to increase your overall health and wellness.
How do I know how metabolically healthy I am?
Glucose is an essential precursor for energy and needs to be pretty tightly regulated for our metabolism to work optimally, and to keep our “factory” working at its best and with minimal “debris”. We want our blood sugar to be as stable as possible throughout the day, avoiding a continuous rollercoaster which fatigues our hormonal glands, our organs and leads to big energy and mental bumps throughout the day.
You can measure your cells' ability to metabolize glucose effectively and efficiently, through insulin levels in the blood. This can be measured using a continuous glucose monitor to truly understand your ability to keep your ranges stable and how your lifestyle choices affect your blood sugar levels in real-time. Since everyone’s metabolism is individual and affected differently by our gut microbes, health history and more, a continuous glucose monitor is the most accurate and efficient way today to learn about your personal metabolic health and how you can improve it.
Read on for 5 simple things you can do today to boost your metabolism:
1. Exercise more. Add interval training to your cardio routine and burn more calories in less time. For example, run for a minute, then walk for two minutes. Repeat this pattern for 20 to 30 minutes.
2. Weight train. Adding muscle mass to your body and you will burn more calories at rest. Before you even ask, no, you will not get ‘bulky’. Don’t know where to start with weight training - get a trainer to learn proper mechanics and make sure you don’t get injured. Find a trainer in your area.
3. Don't skip meals, especially breakfast. You need to keep the furnace burning and you actually burn calories as you digest food.
4. Eat fat-burning foods. Fat-burning ingredients like protein, spicy peppers and green tea have been proven to bump up metabolism. Eat some form of these foods, especially protein, at every meal. Protein is especially important: It takes more calories to digest than other foods and also helps the body build fat-burning lean muscle tissue.
5. Get a good night’s sleep every night. Many studies have shown that sleep deprivation commonly leads to metabolic dysregulation. Poor sleep is associated with increased oxidative stress, glucose (blood sugar) intolerance, and insulin resistance. And sleeping less may disrupt circadian rhythms, leading to weight gain.
If you’re interested to decode YOUR metabolic health, please contact us at email@example.com to set up a personal consultation with our nutrition specialist.