The Holiday Season is in full swing, and it’s time to ask yourself the question- are you on the Naughty list this year in terms of sticking to a healthy eating plan? Do you tend to cave in to the temptations of sugar, spice, and everything nice, only to realize you may be looking a bit to jolly (aka- jiggly!) for your liking?
Fear not! There are ways to help recover and repair your metabolism, so that you can start the new year off on a new foot. The foods we eat can either help or hinder our metabolisms (which have so many effects on not only weight gain, but mood, gut health, and many other chronic diseases).
Read below to learn a bit more about the power of our amazing metabolisms, and 3 simple ways to improve yours.
Our bodies are made to run on fat, not sugar. Our cell membranes almost exclusively rely on Omega 6 fatty acids to help create a smooth, sturdy boundary to help protect against bacteria, fungus, and other damage. It is important to make sure the Omega 6s we consume are not damaged (Over heated, loaded with chemicals, and full of GMOs), since our bodies will not be able to use them. Unfortunately this is the case with most commercial oils out there on the market. It may be difficult, but it’s important to avoid vegetable oils, such as canola, soybean, cottonseed and any hydrogenated oils which may be damaged and toxic to our system.
Omega 6s are extremely anti-inflammatory, they can help reverse hormonal imbalance, insulin resistance, and thyroid issues. Not only will eating the right kind of fat reduce chronic inflammation and weight gain, but can also supercharge your metabolism.
Where do we get Omega 6? Use hemp seed oil (which also happens to be very good for the skin, and can help tone and tighten loose skin when losing weight). 1 teaspoon, 3 times a day is a great start. Other great source are nuts (walnuts especially), seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, flax), Ghee (grassfed clarified butter), sesame oil, and pine nut oil. We can also find omega 6s as supplements, but it’s always best to get as much as possible from our food sources. We recommend using a 4:1 ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 for best metabolic results.
The essential fatty acid GLA supports metabolism and enhances a particular kind of fat, “brown fat”, loaded with mitochondria, which burns off energy. By increasing the amount of GLA in your diet, you can fast-track your metabolism without doing much else! Coconut oil is another fat most of us have heard of by now which has very useful benefits in weightloss due to its “medium chain triglycerides”. MCT’s has been shown to be an effective tool to help with weightloss due to its rapid metabolic burning in our body, boosts stored fat burning and increases mental clarity. Not to mention its antibacterial, antifungal, and countless other benefits.
What does your gallbladder have to do with your metabolism? Plenty!
The secretion of bile from our gallbladder breaks down fat, carries away toxins, and is extremely important for the natural detox process taking place in our bodies.
Issues with the gallbladder are often associated with thyroid problems, which results in metabolism slowdown. As we age, every day toxins build up in the bile. Processed foods, high blood sugars, high levels of estrogens (found in many food additives, contraceptives, and household chemicals), and stress all decrease the quality of bile. Poor quality bile means that the fats in our digestive system are not being broken down properly.
Dietary fats supply our body with the building blocks for our thyroid regulation. Fats being broken down by bile triggers the thyroid into activating hormones that convert T4 into T3 (the main thyroid hormone that is responsible for metabolic functions of fat burning and energy usage). Therefore, without adequate, good quality dietary fats, our thyroid cannot properly use the hormones that regulate our metabolism.
What can you do to support your gallbladder? Use bile salts, drink lemon & water, and load up on bitter foods (coffee, dark chocolate, bitter greens, grapefruit). And make sure to be taking in lots of healthy sources of fats! Even if you’ve had your gallbladder removed, you can still support the production of good quality bile by supplementing your diet.
The importance of sleep can not be overstated. Several studies have shown the impact sleep deprivation has on hormone and metabolic disruption. Proper sleep is important in regulating glucose absorption, leptin secretion (the hormone that controls our appetite), increases ghrelin levels (the hormone that stimulates appetite and cravings) and is correlated with increased risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes. Plus, being tired and sleep deprived means less energy to be active during the day!
Our brain’s pineal gland produces the hormone melatonin, which sets our “Body clock”. Studies have shown that lack of melatonin is associated with lower levels of brown fat in our body. Brown fat is the “good” fat in our bodies, that actually helps burn calories and extra body fat. Help increase your melatonin levels by going to sleep early, getting 8-9hrs a night, and get plenty of sunlight during the day, and keep lights low close to bedtime. This can help to stimulate melatonin production and reset your body clock to a circadian rhythm that can help change your metabolism into a fat burning machine.
Another way to reset your system and turn your metabolism into a fat-burning machine, is to incorporate pseudo-fasting into your eating plan. Intermittent fasting has been shown to have positive effects on weightloss, energy levels, lowered insulin levels, Type 2 diabetes reversal, and mental alertness to name a few.
Our metabolisms essentially exist in 2 states: the “fed” state, and the “fasting” state. When we are fed, our body uses up the incoming energy from food and converts it into energy. Because the energy from food (glucose) is very easily converted into glycogen, this means it does not need to tap into the excess fat stored on our bodies for energy. However, when we allow our bodies to go in a “fasting” state, our bodies must then turn to burning stored body fat into energy. If we are constantly eating and supplying our metabolism with energy from food, then we are not using up body fat. Intermittent fasting doesn’t need to be difficult or complicated. In fact, most of the fasting is done during our sleep. Just extend it a bit by trying to eat all meals within an 8 hour window (9-5ish), which will give your metabolism plenty of time to go into a fasting, aka “fat burning” state.
So there you have it, 3 ways to reset and improve your metabolism. Even small steps can have a huge positive impact on your health. So why not end 2018 on a high note and give one of the above changes a try... in 3 months from now you'll thank yourself.