Metabolism is the process by which your body converts what you eat and drink into energy. The body requires energy even when you are asleep to perform functions like breathing, pumping blood and to repair. This use of energy for basic functions is known as basal metabolic rate.
According to Mayo Clinic, slow metabolism may be the result of a number of factors like eating habits, physical activity, hormonal imbalance or genetics.
Slow metabolism may lead to weight gain and obesity in some cases. If you think you might suffer from slow metabolism, consult your doctor for any underlying causes like hypothyroidism or PCOS.
Slow Metabolism: Causes
Hormonal imbalance can be one of the contributing factors for slow metabolism. Hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, diabetes may affect the release of certain hormones slowing down the metabolism. Stress may also result in release of hormones slowing down rate of metabolism.
Lack of sleep may also affect the ability of the body to use energy and it may have a negative impact on your metabolism.
The drastic changes in the diet with reduction in calories makes your body cling to anything it gets and it messes up with the natural metabolic rate of the body. Diets may reduce the metabolism of a person.
Lack of protein in your diet may also slow down metabolism. According to the US NIH, a protein-rich diet can improve the metabolic rate by 20-30 percent and the rate at which the body burns calories increases after the protein-rich diet.
A sedentary lifestyle can also be one of the reasons. Work from home has increased the hours we work without moving which slows down the metabolism further.
Slow Metabolism: Symptoms
Weight gain without specific reason even when you are eating right in the right portions and exercising regularly as well. It may also be difficult to lose weight or maintain the lost weight in the long run.
Heather L. Hofflich, an endocrinologist and professor of Medicine in San Diego claims that fatigue is also a common sign of slow metabolism due to the slow burning of calories.
When your body is not able to produce energy, the cells also slow down and lack proper blood supply. All these factors make the skin dry and it loses it luster.
Loss of hair and brittle nails is also another symptom since the nutrients are not well-absorbed by the body, disrupting the regrowth of the hair.
Other symptoms due to the hormonal imbalance causing slow metabolism include no resistance to cold, forgetfulness, migraines and frequent headaches.
Slow Metabolism: Ways to Boost it
People may have slow metabolism due to various reasons but there are certain foods and drinks that have been claimed to be helpful in boosting metabolism like green tea, coffee, spices among others. There are no enough evidence to prove that they are effective in the long run.
According to the UK NHS, these are some of the ways you can boost metabolism.
Aerobic exercises for at at least 150 minutes a week can help boost your metabolism. You can divide it for the entire week as you want and may increase the weekly time if you want to lose weight. You can include activities like cycling, swimming or walking.
Strength training is also a fun way to replace your fat with the muscle mass. These exercises can be done for few days in a week by lifting weights, high-intensity exercises, etc.
There are also conditions that are responsible for slowing down the metabolism like hypothyroidism and Cushing's syndrome. If staying active and lifestyle changes do not make a difference, may be an underlying medical condition is the cause. You have to consult your doctor for further medication or treatment.