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Understanding Metabolism and Food

Karishma Chawla

Karishma Chawla
08 October 2020

This article is authored by Karishma Chawla. She is a practising nutritionist and a weight loss expert. She advises people on what to eat in order to lead a healthy lifestyle or to achieve a specific health-related goal.

It is fascinating to understand the importance of your metabolism, i.e. how your body burns energy. Every individual’s metabolism determines his/her caloric intake of the day and how right diet and lifestyle tools can help in achieving or maintaining a healthy body weight.

Basal metabolism refers to all the chemical reactions that take place within the body in order to maintain the living state of cells and the organism as a whole and keep the body alive. Complex molecules are broken down to produce energy.

It includes the various internal activities happening inside the body:

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Nutrients breakdown and build up - breakdown for energy use and build up for growth and storage. Every cell and tissue break down due to wear and tear with age, illness or injury and builds up for growth and repair. All metabolic reactions can be categorized as catabolic and anabolic reactions. Catabolism is the process by which large molecules are broken down into smaller ones. Anabolism is the process of synthesis of complex compounds. Anabolic processes require energy.

Metabolism involves metabolic activities necessary to sustain life. It includes cellular functions, cardiac and brain functions. These functions occur even during sleep and in the fasting state. These are involuntary activities performed by metabolically active tissues such as brain, liver, gastrointestinal tract, heart and kidney. The energy required for these activities must be met before energy can be used for anything else.



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The three energy yielding macronutrients in food-carbohydrates, proteins and fats, after digestion and absorption are oxidized by a complex series of chemical reactions in cells to obtain metabolic energy from food energy.

Basal Metabolic Rate is defined as the speed of basal metabolic activities or the amount of energy required for basal metabolic activities. The three biggest factors that affect BMR are body composition, body type and hormones. While body type is based on genetics, body composition and hormone health can be changed with exercise and diet. BMR decides whether you appear fat or thin. When your BMR is more than the calories you eat, you burn off stored body fat and become lean whereas if your BMR is less than the calories you eat, you store the unused calories and gain fat. Few natural factors that can affect and slow metabolism include age, lack of movement and muscle loss (an avg loss of 2% muscle each decade).



By understanding metabolism and how it can affect the body fat, it would be beneficial that we include foods and regular exercise that can help in boosting metabolism.

1. Consume high thermogenic foods. These increase the BMR for 1-3 hours after a meal due to increased work of digestion and absorption. Sources are whole cereals, sprouts, high fibre fruits & veggies, chicken, fish, eggs, milk, curd, paneer and alsi (flax seeds).

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2. Eat every 2-4 hours, it helps to keep the metabolism high. Long gaps between meals or skipping meals puts the body in a starvation mode, where the body tends to preserve calories rather than spending it dropping the BMR.

3. Drink enough water. A dehydrated body lowers BMR. Women must consume 2.7 litres water a day and men must consume 3.7 litres a day.

4. Exercise regularly, especially resistance training. It helps to keep the metabolism high for 24 hours.

5. Ensure 7-8 hours sleep. Lack of sleep or poor sleep can disrupt hormones and slow metabolism down.

6. Keep your thyroid gland happy, one of its major function is maintaining metabolism. Eat a diet rich in iodine found in sea vegetables & fish and selenium found in mushrooms – to help you in boosting metabolism.

For any fitness enthusiast the goal is to achieve high metabolism and boosting metabolism in order to keep low body fat percentage and achieve optimal well-being. Use these tips to become a healthier you.

Depending on the cause, take the right action to deal with the symptoms of bloating. If your problem persists, consult a doctor to help ease the bloating and the distress caused by it.



DISCLAIMER

The views and opinions expressed, and assumptions & analysis presented in this content piece are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company. The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

 

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