Health News of Thursday, 17 April 2014

Source: Dr Essel

Fasten your belt. Ready. Set; rev up your metabolism

Humans, we simply love to eat; we eat when happy, sad or stressed and the list continues. Even the story of Easter over two thousand years ago begun with a Thursday evening “Last Supper”. Once you eat you stand the risk of gaining extra fat and our metabolism has often been at the receiving end of our anger and frustration. Almost everyone who has more fat than is desired will explain it as “eating hardly anything but having a slow or low metabolism. Often we lament that others eat much more but do not gain weight. This “evil” metabolism covers all the physical and chemical processes in the body that convert or use energy and it includes; blood circulation, breathing, digestion of food, muscle contraction and brain function among several others. It is also true that factors such as our gender, our size or build and even our genes may affect our metabolism by making it faster or slowing it down. A few activities of daily living can help to rev up our metabolism and by paying attention to these we may be able to reduce our fat stores. 1. Exercise; it always pops up in our discussions and it may be a great idea to make this a way of life. a. Build muscle: exercise with weights to build extra muscle. Muscle increases your metabolism hence you turn to lose fat’ i. This increase in metabolism from increased muscle may even raise your metabolism at rest. Muscle burns three times the calories that an equal weight of fat will burn. ii. This may account for men in general eating more but not gaining as much fat as a woman may if she eats a similar portion of food. b. Intensify aerobic activity if possible i. Walking, riding, dancing and other aerobic exercises will increase your metabolism when you increase the intensity. Remember not to overdo the intensity since it can open the door to injuries. ii. You may alternate a moderate pace of exercise with short bursts of high intensity. 2. Dietary Modifications a. Eat small healthy meals often i. Have you ever wondered why some people who want to lose weight are asked to eat about five small healthy meals a day? Simple; large meals with several hours in between forces the body to reduce its metabolism to conserve energy while eating small frequent meals (about 3 to 4 hours apart) causes an increase in metabolism leading to weight loss. b. Spice up your life i. Pepper and many other natural spices are known to increase our metabolism over short periods. Spicing up your meals will add up the benefits. ii. Remember if you have health challenges such as peptic ulcer you may not use this option. c. Revel in healthy Protein i. The body certainly burns up more calories digesting proteins compared to carbohydrates and fats. Try healthy proteins such as beans, fish, eggs, nuts, chicken and low fat dairy products. ii. This is one reason having protein in most meals is a must. Ensure you have a healthy protein in your breakfast. 3. Increase Fluid or Beverage Intake a. Indulge in good drinking water i. Water is crucial for many processes in the body that lead to the use of calories. Drink lots of water and fruits to enhance your metabolism. ii. Dehydration has been noted as a major factor for reducing metabolism. b. Seize a cup or two of coffee i. Moderate consumption gives your metabolism a boost and you may get an extra perk from the caffeine that makes you feel less tired and increases your endurance while you exercise. c. Green Tea or Oolong Tea may be priceless i. These teas contain caffeine and catechins that may push your body to burn more calories over short periods especially while you exercise. Restrict yourself to a maximum of four cups a day. 4. May increase metabolism but better avoided a. Many Energy Drinks contain caffeine and other additives that may increase your metabolism but the downside with many of such drinks is the increase in blood pressure, anxiety and sleep disturbances that may result. Crash Diets have been used by many to lose weight temporarily. Since the total calorie intake is so small, the body will drop pounds. Unfortunately muscle is often lost in the process making future weight gain faster. This may account for some people putting on extra weight soon after a long fast. These may all help us to burn a few extra calories and lose fat but it is no excuse to eat more than an appropriate meal portion. The different activities all add up. So as we celebrate the resurrection of our saviour; the single feat that has endorsed Christianity as the way to the Father, let us remember to spend time praying and praising our maker for his unparalleled love for us. AS ALWAYS LAUGH OFTEN, WALK AND PRAY EVERYDAY AND REMEMBER IT’S A PRICELESS GIFT TO KNOW YOUR NUMBERS (blood sugar, blood pressure, blood cholesterol, BMI)

Dr. Kojo Cobba Essel Moms’ Health Club (

*Dr Essel is a medical doctor and is ISSA certified in exercise therapy and fitness nutrition.

Thought for the week – “The only way to know if you have high blood pressure is to have it measured. Check your blood pressure TODAY”

References: • • MedlinePlus