In 30 seconds…
This blog post will show you 5 ways to do exactly that with the acronym SPEED, which stands for Sleep, Psychological Stress, Environment, Exercise, and Diet
Here are the key takeaways before we get started:
- Get 7-9 hours of quality sleep.
- Practice stress reduction techniques like meditation.
- Limit your exposure to EDCs.
- Focus your exercise on increasing lean body mass, such as resistance training and HIIT.
- Eat a diet consisting of colorful, local, seasonal, varied, unprocessed, and organic foods whenever possible.
With that said, let’s jump into the science behind SPEEDing up your metabolism!
We are a sleep-deprived society with evidence showing that we sleep an average of 6.8 hours per night.
Sleep is intricately connected to numerous hormonal and metabolic processes and is a key to maintaining metabolic homeostasis. Poor sleep hygiene has profound metabolic and cardiovascular implications and is believed to cause metabolic dysregulation through sympathetic overstimulation, hormonal imbalance, and low-grade inflammation.
Sleep deprivation can alter the glucose metabolism and hormones involved in regulating metabolism, such as decreased leptin levels and increased ghrelin levels. Chronic sleep deprivation is also associated with an increased risk of obesity and diabetes.
The body reacts to acute stress via a “fight or flight” response, which activates the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis to release the corticotropin-releasing hormone. This, in turn, stimulates the sympathetic nervous system.
Acute stress is commonly associated with a reduction in appetite and reduced body weight. However, chronic stress can lead to overconsumption of hyper-palatable foods, resulting in increased visceral adiposity and weight gain.
The obesogenic effects of chronic stress are mediated through the release of glucocorticoids and neuropeptide Y, which can adversely affect metabolism.
Synthetic chemicals ubiquitous in our society are leading to widespread contamination of the environment. These include (but are not limited to) pesticides, plasticizers, parabens, VOCs, antimicrobials, and flame retardants. These endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) can disrupt hormonal balance and result in developmental and reproductive abnormalities, obesity, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes.
Limiting exposure to EDCs by opting for organic foods and chemical-free, self-care products, cosmetics, cookware, cleaning products, furniture, etc., can lessen the load on one’s endocrine system, lower the risk for obesity and have a more favorable effect on metabolism.
The Environmental Working Group is a useful resource for limiting your environmental chemical load.
Resistance training has the potential to increase metabolic rate and daily energy expenditure. The principal mechanism is by augmenting fat-free mass (FFM). Increasing protein intake during a resistance training program produces additional increases in FFM. Increasing lean body mass can also improve insulin sensitivity and lower the risk for diabetes
High-Intensity Interval Training and the concomitant Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) can also boost your metabolic rate. EPOC is the amount of oxygen required to restore your body to homeostasis.
Protein-rich foods, such as meat, fish, eggs, dairy, legumes, nuts, and seeds, could help increase your metabolism for a few hours after a meal as your body uses more energy to digest them.
Due to TEF, the energy needed by your body to digest, absorb and process nutrients. TEF from protein can increase your metabolic rate by 15–30%, compared to 5–10% for carbs and 0–3% for fats.
Because protein-rich diets support lean body mass, they can also reduce the drop in metabolism often seen during weight loss. Protein may also help keep you fuller for longer, which can prevent overeating.
Nutrition tips to optimize metabolism:
- Eat a varied diet focusing on colorful vegetables and fruits along with legumes and beans.
- Include fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, pickles, tempeh, yogurt and kombucha.
- Consider taking a probiotic.