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How to support your metabolism for a fulfilling life

Wie man seinen Stoffwechsel für ein erfülltes Leben unterstützt

The word "metabolism" is often used in connection with weight - but although metabolism obviously affects body weight, it is the basis of all of life.

Let’s take a look at what metabolism is, what it does in the body, and how you can optimize your metabolic health.

What is metabolism?

Metabolism is the process by which a living organism carries out actions that keep it alive. In short, metabolism is the biochemical process that makes life possible.

There are three basic tasks of metabolism:

  • Converting food into energy to power cellular processes
  • Converting food into the “raw material” the body needs to form proteins, fats, nucleic acids and carbohydrates
  • Elimination of metabolic waste

Two types of metabolic reactions make all of these processes possible. In catabolic reactions, compounds are broken down (e.g. during digestion), while in anabolic reactions, new compounds (proteins, etc.) are built up.

To give a real life example, when you eat food, your body begins to break down the complex compounds in that food through the process of digestion. Metabolism is what breaks down these compounds and then converts them into new compounds. This happens by catalysts called enzymes triggering a series of metabolic reactions in "metabolic pathways."

Fast vs. slow metabolism

When someone says their metabolism is "slow" or "fast," they are referring to their metabolic rate (MR). Metabolic rate (MR) is "the minimum level of energy used by the body to maintain life."

Basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the amount of energy actually used to maintain normal human functions while awake.

The basal metabolic rate of the body as a whole is influenced by weight. In general, the more body weight a person has, the higher their energy needs.

In other words, the more you weigh, the more work you have to do to live - on a molecular level.

Metabolism is calculated by comparing basal metabolic rate to fat-free mass, which is everything in your body except fat. A higher percentage of lean body mass means a “higher” metabolism!

Metabolism affects every system in the human body

It's not just about the weight; Metabolism occurs in every part of the body and affects us from head to toe.

A healthy metabolism means the body is functioning optimally, including your:

immune system
Digestive system
Cardiovascular system
Endocrine system
Nervous system
reproductive organs
Respiratory organs

Think of it this way: When your body processes, builds and breaks down things the way it's supposed to, everything works perfectly.

Although fat and muscle together make up over 60% of your total mass, your basal metabolic rate only uses about 3% of its total energy to burn fat and only 20% to fuel muscle. The remaining energy is used to keep the heart, brain, kidneys, liver, digestive system and other body functions running as expected.

Causes and risk factors for suboptimal metabolic health

Although a balanced metabolism is ideal, there are a number of known risk factors that prevent us from optimal metabolic health. These factors are not necessarily the cause of metabolic problems, but are somehow related to them.

Lack of exercise
Poor diet
Genetic predisposition
Increasing age
Weakened immune system
Non-alcoholic fatty liver problems
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)

A number of causes work together and lead to metabolic problems. Some cannot be controlled. For example, genetics - although we cannot choose or change it, our family history and our genetics influence our health.

The importance of metabolic health increases with age.

On the other hand, factors such as obesity and daily physical activity are controllable factors related to metabolic health.

There is also a clear connection between metabolic health and the immune system.

This is encouraging - because your immune system is revitalized every 100 days! In less than 4 months you have the opportunity to make a fresh start.

4 pillars for optimal metabolic health

Metabolic health is not a symptom that you can treat with a magic bullet. Metabolic health is a combination of dozens, possibly hundreds, of factors that can influence you throughout your life.

Take a look at the four key pillars known to support a healthy metabolism. How many of these can you implement?

1. Lifestyle changes

Lifestyle changes are the most important factor you can influence to promote good metabolic health.

A healthy lifestyle that supports your metabolic processes can include:

No or moderate alcohol consumption: Moderate beer and wine consumption can actually protect against metabolic problems. However, heavy alcohol consumption has the opposite effect. Abstinence from alcohol can also be a good choice.
Quit Smoking: There are countless reasons to quit smoking, and supporting a healthy metabolism is one of them.
Physical Fitness: Generally, 30-60 minutes of physical activity per day is ideal to keep the body in shape. These 30-60 minutes can be spread out throughout the day - they don't have to happen all at once. Brisk walking is the most recommended form of fitness that one should practice. The more physical activity you do, the more your body will benefit.
Good sleep: Sleep affects all areas of the body, from the immune system to the brain. Sleep quality and duration have a major impact on almost all aspects of health. Sleep at least 7-8 hours per night, monitor for signs of sleep problems, and take short naps (less than 30 minutes per day).
Minimal Screen Time: Spending less than 2 hours per day watching TV is associated with a healthy metabolism.
Full-time work: Working 40 or more hours per week appears to have a positive effect on metabolism.
Positive relationships: Do you want to avoid metabolic problems? Spending an hour a day with your friends will help you achieve your goal. In general, a community of supportive, healthy friends and family relationships can not only improve metabolic health, but also have a positive impact on your mental health.
Healthy Weight Management: Since fat mass keeps your metabolism running at full speed, promoting a healthy weight can help alleviate metabolic problems.

2. Healthy eating

Eating a healthy diet rich in nutrient-dense foods and low in sugar and empty calories can reduce your risk of metabolic problems.

According to available research, the following dietary habits are most beneficial:

Mediterranean diet: On the Mediterranean diet you should include whole grain products, fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, olive oil and high-quality meat and dairy products on your plate. The Mediterranean diet is associated with a significantly longer life expectancy and better general health. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends this diet for people at increased risk of heart problems.
DASH Diet: Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) is a diet developed and promoted by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. It targets blood pressure but may also improve other risk factors for metabolic syndrome. The DASH diet reduces sodium intake and eats primarily fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, whole grains, fish, poultry, and nuts.
Keto diet: The ketogenic or keto diet is a diet with a very high fat content, very low carbohydrate content and moderate protein intake. A healthy keto diet focuses on food quality, but most importantly, ketosis, a metabolic state in which the body uses fat and ketones instead of glucose for energy. Ketosis has a positive effect on the body's insulin production, supports weight management, promotes healthy blood sugar levels and has an anti-inflammatory effect, even more effectively than a very low calorie diet. A 2017 clinical trial followed patients with metabolic problems for 10 weeks and found that a keto diet successfully improved several metabolic markers.
Nordic Diet: Similar to the Mediterranean diet, the Nordic diet focuses on seasonal foods common to Nordic countries. It is rich in healthy fats, fruits and vegetables, certain whole grains and fatty fish. A 2013 clinical study found that the Nordic diet improved blood cholesterol levels and balanced inflammation in people with metabolic problems.
Plant-based diet: A plant-based diet, e.g. Eating a vegetarian or vegan diet, for example, may be associated with a lower risk of metabolic problems. However, there is little high-quality research to confirm whether or not these diets can reverse a metabolic disorder once it has begun.
All of these diets have some factors in common. Even if you don't choose one of the above diets, you should keep these tips in mind for a healthy diet:

Stick to an appropriate number of calories per day (2,000 calories per day as a guide)
Eat high-quality, minimally processed foods
Fill your diet with fruits and vegetables
Eat healthy fats like olive oil, avocados, and grass-fed butter
Eat fatty fish and nuts rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which promote heart health.
Use healthy, natural, low-calorie sweeteners in moderation, such as stevia, allulose, monk fruit, xylitol and erythritol
Reduce your sugar consumption as much as possible
Avoid artificial sweeteners that can cause weight gain, such as aspartame, Ace-K, sucralose, neotame, saccharin and cyclamate.
Changing your diet can seem like a daunting task. However, if you can replace the processed, sugary and acidic foods with a diet of nutrient-dense, whole foods, the results will come quickly and last a lifetime.

3. Eliminate toxins

Did you know that the household and food chemicals you've been exposed to since childhood can affect your metabolism?

You may want to reduce your exposure to chemicals such as:

BPA (Bisphenol A)
Chemical pesticides
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAs)
BPA is a common chemical found in plastics, paper receipts and other common items. A 2008 study found that BPA exposure can inhibit the release of a fat-specific hormone that keeps insulin sensitivity and inflammation under control, which may increase the risk of metabolic problems.

Household chemicals often disrupt the endocrine system, which regulates hormones. These substances are called endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs). They can contribute to metabolic problems.

Such chemicals are often found in harmless places, e.g. Am:

Personal care products (makeup, facial and body care products, hand soap, lotions, etc.)
Household cleaners and detergents
Food packaging
Furniture and upholstered furniture
Medical equipment

4. Use of nutritional supplements

As a complement to a healthy lifestyle and diet, certain nutritional supplements (“nutraceuticals”) can promote a healthy metabolism.

Supplements that support metabolic health include:

CBD (cannabidiol)
Curcumin (from turmeric)
Green tea
Vitamin B3 (niacin)
Vitamin B12
Vitamin D

Metabolism & the immune system

There is a close connection between metabolic problems and problems with the immune system. There is even evidence that you are at higher risk of weight gain if your immune system is not working properly.

Most of the immune system is in your gut. The best way to support the immune system is to promote good gut health.

A whole-body approach to health

One-third of Americans struggle with metabolic problems every day. In order for the body to function optimally, metabolism must be controlled.

There is clear scientific evidence that the immune system plays an important role in metabolism. To support your metabolism, support your immune system!


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