News from Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital and Hospital Foundation


Do you come up with excuses why you overindulge? Right now mine is COVID-19. Food is a source of comfort for me as well as a way to redirect stress.

While I consider myself to be a moderately active person, between COVID-19, the heat and smoke, I have definitely spent more time indoors. My treadmill has a thin line of dust, a reminder that I am sorely neglecting my promises to myself.

As we age, there is no doubt our bodies change. Many blame middle-age weight gain on a changing metabolism. So, what exactly is metabolism? Simply put, metabolism is the chemical reactions in the body’s cells that turn food into energy.

The key to our metabolism is nutrition as our body must break down nutrients in order to produce energy. In turn, this energy is used by the body to synthesize molecules into new proteins and nucleic acids (a complex organic substance present in DNA and RNA).

Calories are fueled by essential nutrients. Our diets need nutrients like oxygen, carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen, phosphorus, sulfur and approximately 20 other inorganic elements. These are supplied in the form of carbohydrates, lipids, and protein.

Boosting metabolism is key in controlling weight, but how fast your body burns calories depends on several things. Some people are blessed with a fast metabolism. Men tend to burn more calories than women, even when resting.

As the COVID-19 surge continues, you can resolve to meet the metabolic changes in your body head on. One way is to build your muscles. Every pound of muscle uses about six calories a day to sustain itself, while each pound of fat burns only two calories each day.

You can raise your metabolic rate several ways, one of which is basic strength training. Even if you can’t do a high-intensity workout, lifting weights, short bursts of jogging during your daily walk, or even dancing to an online video can rev up your metabolism.

Did you know your body needs water to process calories? Your metabolism can slow down if you are mildly dehydrated. Adults who drink eight or more glasses of water a day are likely to burn more calories than someone who drinks four glasses a day.

While it may be hard to comprehend, eating frequently can elevate your metabolism. Your metabolism slows down when you eat large meals with many hours in between. Small meals every three to four hours burn more calories over the course of the day. It also prevents you from eating as much during mealtime. However, it is important to snack smartly.

Spicy foods have natural chemicals that kick your metabolism into high gear as does replacing rich carbs with lean, protein-rich foods. Finally, coffee drinkers will be happy that in moderation, coffee offers a short-term rise in your metabolism.

Picking even a few options can start you on the right path to restarting your metabolism and the best part is it doesn’t take long to get you back on track.

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