What Is Metabolism?

Metabolism is a word whose meaning encompasses everything the body does to keep human beings alive, which includes the proper function of the organs, reparation of the cells, the digestion of food and breathing. Age, gender, or even weight can be the factors that determine the metabolism rate. Besides, this set of biochemical reactions is linked closely with nutrition, such as carbohydrates, proteins, fats, etc. Proper nutrition is responsible for healthy metabolism in a large scale.

What Is Metabolism?

Metabolism is the technical term used when describing all of the biochemical and hormonal reactions in the body that keep the organs and cells working in optimal order. Metabolism is broken down into two sections here.

  • Anabolism. This is when all of the compounds needed by the cells of the body are synthesized for optimal use.
  • Catabolism. This is simply the process of breaking down molecules for energy.

What Determines Metabolism?

  • Age. One of the biggest factors to metabolism is age. As we age it is hard to drive metabolism up to the speed it used to be. Our metabolism decreases 5% each decade after we turn 40. This is because we tend to lose muscle mass at that time.
  • Gender. Gender is a factor here. Men have much more muscle mass than women do and will burn more calories faster. Women have a harder time. After the child bearing years start to decline there is a marked downgrade in metabolism and the “baby fat” tends to stay on.
  • Heredity. Heredity is a big factor in metabolic rate. You can look at your parents and grandparents and determine what your lean will be.
  • Weight. Weight has a surprising factor. It is a fact that people who are of large stature and have more muscle mass will actually burn more calories than thinner people. This is because it simply takes more energy for them to move.

What Is Basal Metabolism Rate?

Basal metabolic rate is often called BMR for short. It is what tracks the minimum energy it takes your body to burn the maximum calories. This rate will account for 40-70% of the energy your body needs daily to live up to this rate. This percentage also depends on several factors—such as weight, age and what your lifestyle is. In other words, how active are you? When someone says they have slow metabolism—what they actually mean is—low BMR.

What Is the Relation Between Metabolism and Nutrients?

Without nutrition, we could not break down nutrients like DNA and RNA which are our nucleic acids. The path for these nutrients is laid out by metabolism. They are then broken down for energy. Metabolism in relation to nutrition is responsible for using nutrients to maintain important bodily functions, the amount of nutrients needed and tracking the amounts that fall below the amounts needed to sustain life.

1. Metabolism and Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are the energy powerhouses in the body. They are pulled from the starches and sugars and cellulose we eat in our foods daily. Our metabolism will break down these nutrients and supply what we need for the day. People generally only consume around half of the daily need for these compounds. They are generally consumed from foods such as bread, cereal, rice, pasta, potatoes and wheat. Glucose is the main source of energy which is formed from metabolized starches and sugars combined. This takes place post-digestion.

2. Metabolism and Proteins

Proteins are what we need to build muscle and tissues. Proteins are an integral part of each cell in the human body. It is a life giving substance by which hemoglobin is formed. This is just as important as blood. Proteins help cells carry oxygen into the blood stream as well as DNA and nitrogen. Proteins contain amino acids—8 of which the body can produce—the others are called essential amino acids that we must get from food. Essential amino acids are:

  • Valine
  • Tryptophan
  • Methionine
  • Lucien
  • Isoleucine
  • Phenylalanine
  • Threonine
  • Lysine

3. Metabolism and Fats

Fat produces twice the energy than proteins or carbohydrates. Fat is essential in its healthy forms. It helps to produce cell structure, it protects the vital organs with a cushion, the fat soluble vitamins we take are absorbed through fats and fat will create storage for energy when we need it. The healthy fats we need to metabolize for the aforementioned functions are unsaturated fats such as arachidonic and linoleic fats.

4. Metabolism and Vitamins, Minerals

Minerals are responsible for the regulation of bodily functions. The minerals found in food are not used for energy in a direct sense but they play an important role in metabolic processes. There are some top minerals that will cause issues in the body when it is deficient. These are considered to be essential minerals. Essential minerals are:

  • Iodine
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Phosphorus
  • Sodium
  • Chloride ions
  • Potassium
  • Cobalt
  • Copper
  • Manganese
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc
  • Fluorine

How to Increase Metabolism

  • Drink Green Tea and Coffee. Green tea boosts metabolism and burns fat around the mid-section especially. Drink in the morning upon awakening and throughout the day interchanging coffee daily.
  • Take Vitamin D. Studies show that people with low vitamin D levels tend to gain more weight more rapidly and keep it on.
  • Eat Right Foods. Eat protein and iron rich foods. Eat chilies to reduce belly fat and boost metabolism with capsicum containing foods like peppers.
  • Eat Regularly. The reason you should eat regularly—preferably small meals throughout the day—is it will also maintain a high metabolism and your blood sugar will remain stabilized.
  • Exercise. Exercising is the number one way to boost metabolism apart from good eating. Walking, swimming or any other aerobic exercise is best.
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