All the ongoing chemical reactions inside your body that support life and regular function are referred to as metabolism (maintaining normal functioning in the body is called homeostasis). These procedures comprise those that digest the nutrients in our meals as well as those that help our bodies grow and heal.
Energy needed for body building and repair ultimately comes from food. Your metabolism has an impact on how many kilojoules (kJ) of energy your body burns at any given time.
Achieving or maintaining a healthy weight is a balancing act. If we regularly eat and drink more kilojoules than we need for our metabolism, we store it mostly as fat.
The majority of the energy we spend daily is utilized to maintain the health of our body’s various systems. We have no control over this. But when we exercise, we may make our metabolism work for us. The body uses more energy when you’re active (kilojoules).
Two processes of metabolism
Our metabolism is complex – put simply it has two parts, which are carefully regulated by the body to make sure they remain in balance. They are:
- Catabolism – the breakdown of food components (such as carbohydrates, proteins and dietary fats) into their simpler forms, which can then be used to provide energy and the basic building blocks needed for growth and repair.
- Anabolism – the part of metabolism in which our body is built or repaired. Anabolism requires energy that ultimately comes from our food. When we eat more than we need for daily anabolism, the excess nutrients are typically stored in our body as fat.
Your body’s metabolic rate (or total energy expenditure) can be divided into three components, which are:
- Basal metabolic rate (BMR) – even at rest, the body needs energy (kilojoules) to keep all its systems functioning correctly (such as breathing, keeping the heart beating to circulate blood, growing and repairing cells and adjusting hormone levels). The body’s BMR accounts for the largest amount of energy expended daily (50–80% of your daily energy use).
- Thermic effect of food (also known as thermogenesis) – your body uses energy to digest the foods and drinks you consume and also absorbs, transports and stores their nutrients. Thermogenesis accounts for about 5–10% of your energy use.
- Energy used during physical activity – this is the energy used by physical movement and it varies the most depending on how much energy you use each day. Physical activity includes all incidental activity, as well as intentional exercise, from playing with the dog to going for a run or playing a sport.
Basal metabolic rate (BMR)
Your BMR is largely determined by your total lean mass, especially muscle mass, because lean mass requires a lot of energy to maintain. Anything that reduces lean mass will reduce your BMR.
An average man has a BMR of around 7,100 kJ per day, while an average woman has a BMR of around 5,900 kJ per day. Energy expenditure is continuous, but the rate varies throughout the day. The rate of energy expenditure is usually lowest in the early morning.
Now let’s talk about improving your metabolic rate (metabolism), which means improving the amount of energy your body requires to lay down in bed and do nothing for 24 hours.
Extra physical activity, extra thinking or fighting illness are things that require a lot of energy (burn a lot of calories) but they don’t really increase metabolism… actually they can decrease it.
You Can Naturally Change the Speed of Your Basal Metabolism. Does Eating More Increase Metabolism?
People frequently start their seasonal weight loss journeys by sticking to extremely tight diets and overworking their bodies with several hours of exercise each day.
Despite this method’s success in the short term, it simply cannot be relied upon to raise metabolism and cause substantial fat loss over an extended period of time.
A different scenario happens when you eat less and move more for an extended period of time (weeks or months). In that case, your metabolism will slow down because your body will receive the message that there is little access to food.
That’s exactly how your body reasons:
More Resources Coming in = More Energy Released (Improved Metabolism)
Fewer Resources Coming in = Less Energy Released (Decreased Metabolism)
Note that activities like weight training and high-intensity interval training (HIIT), when combined with an increase in nutrient-rich foods, will also improve your metabolism.
Be aware that not all foods are equal and only certain foods have the power to increase metabolism to a noticeable extent.
Switching to a whole-food, plant-based diet is the first step; the second is including some of these metabolism-boosting foods in your daily diet.
- Chia Seeds
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Coconut Oil
- Green Tea
Last but really not least is water. In fact, it is called “the starting point for a boosted metabolism,” citing a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism that found that drinking water increases metabolic rate by 30 percent.
Increasing your fluid intake may help your body to more effectively break down fat. Add to that its natural appetite suppression, and water may be your metabolism’s new best friend.
Find more in-depth information here: source 1, source 2.