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Tips for Boosting Your Metabolism

If you are in the middle or latter decades of life, you might notice that it's harder to keep weight off. Even if diet, exercise, and other factors have remained the same, aging simply makes the pounds harder to keep off.

Metabolism is the biochemical process through which the human body converts the fuel in food into the energy the body requires. This energy supports functions like growing and repairing cells, breathing, digesting, circulating blood, and more.

There are many factors that influence how well your metabolism performs, including age, sex, genetics, body composition, and lifestyle factors.

Metabolic health is inextricably linked to longevity- AKA how long we live in good health. Good health is defined as a life without chronic diseases and minimal age-related disorders.

Poor metabolic health can prevent the body from accomplishing these vital functions, creating a whole host of problems. Poor metabolism promotes inflammation, a key risk factor for many chronic diseases. Poor metabolism also promotes high blood levels of glucose and lipids.

Shockingly, research shows that only 7% of the U.S. adult population is metabolically sound. The majority in the 93% are at an increased risk of issues such as:

  • Weakened immune system: Poor circulation and nutrient supply to tissues vital for immune defenses decrease the body's ability to fight infections when metabolism is inefficient.

  • Hormonal imbalance: Sex hormone imbalances (estrogen, progesterone, testosterone), thyroid diseases, and other hormonal problems can be triggered by metabolic issues.

  • Excess weight gain and difficulty losing weight: With a slow metabolism, the body burns fuel such as fat and glucose at a slower rate, leading to more being stored as fat rather than utilized. This makes it challenging to lose weight, leading to obesity.

  • Brain fog or lack of concentration: A slow metabolism affects oxygen supply and nutrient delivery to the brain, altering cognition, memory, and focus.

  • High blood pressure: Excess weight and lack of physical activity take a toll on the arteries. Inflammation stemming from poor metabolism also contributes to high blood pressure, a risk factor for stroke and heart attack.

  • Fatigue: Since a slower metabolism means burning fuel such as fat and glucose slower, less energy is available to the body.

When these problems go unmanaged, they can contribute to a significantly lower quality of life and a higher risk of developing chronic diseases.

Optimizing Your Metabolism

Now that it's obvious why optimizing your metabolism truly matters for your health and longevity, what can you do to make it happen? First of all, consider blood tests run by your primary care physician to determine if your biomarkers indicate poor metabolic health. Metabolic issues are not always super clear from appearance alone, so bloodwork is a useful tool for establishing where you are at.

Tip 1. Consume More Beans

Keep your blood sugar and cholesterol levels in check by incorporating a serving of beans (1 cup cooked or canned) into your diet everyday. Beans contain high fiber and protein that make them a low glycemic food, which means beans even out blood sugar levels. Beans are also an excellent source of soluble fibers, which helps reduce blood cholesterol levels. Lowering cholesterol levels helps cardiovascular health.

Try navy beans, pinto beans, and black beans for the highest fiber content.

2. Eat More Prebiotic Veggies

Consider giving your metabolic health a boost with prebiotic vegetables. Prebiotics are compounds, often fibers, that serve as fuel source for the beneficial microbes in the digestive tract called the microbiome. Prebiotics provide the microbiome with energy, promoting their growth and activity. A diverse spectrum of beneficial bacteria in the gut promote metabolic health. A happy micobiome reduces inflammation, stabilizes blood glucose levels, encourages a healthier weight, and improves cognition.

Vegetables rich in prebiotic fibers include the following:

  • Broccoli
  • Jicama
  • Rutabaga
  • Cauliflower
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Garlic
  • Onion

3. Consider a Metabolism-Boosting Supplement

There is evidence to suggest that taking certain supplements may promote healthier blood sugar control, a cornerstone of a healthy metabolism. Here are some examples:

  • Propolis supplement: Research shows that propolis, a substance produced by honey bees, can lower blood sugar and HbA1c levels in those with elevated levels. Propolis contains bioactive compounds like flavonoids, terpenes, and phenolic acids, which may promote healthy blood glucose management.

  • Fenugreek supplement: Taking a fenugreek extract supplement has been shown to reduce high levels of blood sugar and hemoglobin A1c, biomarkers of blood sugar control. Fenugreek contains compounds called saponins, which inhibit the enzymes that break down carbohydrates, slowing the release of glucose into the blood. Fenugreek also contains other compounds that reduce the absorption of glucose by the intestine, helping to control blood sugar levels.

  • Garlic supplement: The compound that gives garlic its distinct taste, alicin, is also the main source of garlic's health benefits. The effects of garlic on blood glucose are the most dramatic for individuals that have high fasting glucose. In two studies, garlic supplementation was added to the medication of type 2 diabetics. The group with the added garlic reduced their fasting blood glucose 10% more than those on medication alone.

  • Cinnamon supplement:Cinnamon supplement: Cinnamon has strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Cinnamon may promote healthy blood glucose levels. Studies have shown that daily intake of cinnamon can reduce fasting blood glucose by as much as 10% in those with elevated levels.

4. Get More Sleep

Adequate sleep is extremely essential for ideal metabolic health. In fact, less than 7 hours of sleep at night is correlated with a reduction in leptin, an important hormone that decreases your appetite.As leptin decreases, appetite increases and therefore overeating. Insomnia is also associated with an increase in ghrelin, a crucial metabolic hormone that increases your appetite. Empower yourself with the knowledge to ensure your best metabolic health through simple, daily tweaks to lifestyle and diet.

As a result, prolonged periods of poor sleep may lead to excess calorie intake, weight gain, and elevated levels of fasting blood glucose and HbA1c.


Metabolic issues that keep the stubborn fat around your midsection and increase your risk of chronic disease are fortunately easily influenced by healthy changes to diet and lifestyle. Since metabolic issues largely arise out of poor diet and lifestyle choices, all it takes it healthier choices!

Dr. Laurel Ash ND, MS

Dr Laurel Ash, ND, MS is an Oregon and Washington board-certified Naturopathic Physician. With a passion for nutritional health, Dr Ash earned her doctorate in Naturopathy from the National University of Natural Medicine while receiving her masters in Integrative Mental Health. Her unique combination of evidence-based research and skilled knowledge in holistic medicine has allowed Dr. Ash to successfully treat many with a wide-range of issues.