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How the Environment Can Impact Your Health

Pollution is one of the biggest concerns when it comes to our environment. As humans, we’re actually responsible for most of the pollution that gets released into the environment. What we don’t realize, however, is that breathing in all that pollution can actually have a detrimental impact on our health.

Air pollution can be classified into two types: Visible or invisible. Things like smoke, dust and haze are considered “visible” pollutants and can oftentimes be smelled, while other pollutants like carbon monoxide are considered “invisible” as they are without color and odour. Another common example of air pollution is the burning of fossil fuels. For example, oil, coal, as well as gasoline to provide us with electricity and power our homes and vehicles. Pollution can also be caused by agricultural activities, exhaust from factories, mining operations, and even household products like cleaners and paint supplies. Whether you spend your time indoors or outdoors, you can be affected by air pollution.

Pollutants can be inhaled into the lungs as well as cross into the blood stream which can have an effect on your respiratory system as well as have an impact on other organs in your body. For example, if you have pre-existing cardiovascular or respiratory problems, you may notice an aggravation of those illnesses. High levels of air pollution can also cause added stress to the heart and lungs, thus forcing the body to work harder to supply itself with oxygen. Things like asthma, bronchitis and emphysema can also occur as a result of long-term exposure to air pollution – and in some cases even cancer. You are at an increased risk of developing health problems as a direct result of air pollution if, as mentioned, you can certain pre-existing conditions, are pregnant, under the age of 14, are elderly, or work outdoors. It isn’t just humans who are impacted, either, as pollutants can also be harmful to plants and animals.

With summer now here, this means so is fire season. In recent years, wildfires have devastated parts of British Columbia like never seen before, and it’s important to know about the effects that smoke inhalation can have on your health as well as to make sure you take necessary precautions to protect yourself. You can find helpful emergency preparedness tips relating to forest fires and your health via HealthLink BC.

It’s also important to pay close attention to the air quality index, either by watching local weather reports or by visiting the Government of British Columbia’s Air Quality website. For a list of active forest fires across the province, click here.

Before-and-After Workout Tips

When it comes to physical activity, what you do before and after working out is important – from pre-workout stretching, to the type of food you consume. Below are some of the most crucial pre and post-workout tips to help you get the most out of your exercise routine.

 

Food & Drink

Having a healthy diet and consuming proper foods and beverages can improve your health in a number of different way – such as reduce the risk of diabetes, improve cholesterol levels, and help you lose weight… but did you know that what you eat and drink can also make a difference when it comes to your workout routine? Particularly if you’re wanting to increase your energy levels.

If you’re going to be engaging in high-impact exercise or training sessions, you’ll want to avoid consuming foods that are considered heavy or may take longer to break down in the stomach. Of course the obvious foods that you should stay away from include any foods that are fried or fatty, carbonated beverages, artificially flavoured drinks (as they often contain lots of sugar), as well as foods that are spicy. Foods that are high in fibre, while considered healthy, should also be avoided right before working out, as should nuts as they tend to have a higher fat content which means they can take longer for your stomach to digest. If you do want to have a light snack, health professionals recommend eating a banana at least 60 minutes prior to your workout. A banana provides your body with some of the essential nutrients it needs to stay healthy, such as potassium, manganese, and carbohydrates – which improve endurance, help with muscle function, as well as help with bone development and wound healing. Following your workout, opt for a low-protein snack.

It’s also important to stay hydrated. When we workout and sweat, our bodies lose water, so it’s always a good idea to have some H2O on hand – and drinking water also benefits your health in many other ways, too, which you can read more about here.

Stretching

People often choose to stretch before working out, which is fine, but it’s also a good idea to stretch after your workout, too. Stretching can help increase your range of motion and decrease any muscle/joint discomfort you might be feeling. It also helps to bring your body back down to a cool, resting position. Here you will find a list of different and easy post-workout stretches to try. For increased soreness or any inflammation, I also recommend taking cooler showers or using cold packs (sometimes alternating with heat) to help expedite the healing process.

How the Brain Changes as We Age

As our bodies develop, so do our brains. We adapt, we learn, we make memories, and become smarter. However, just as your body eventually changes over time, the brain goes through changes as well. The brain’s aging process begins in your late twenties, which results in neurons being lost. By the time you reach your sixties, the brain begins to shrink – and while this might sound startling, it’s a natural process that happens to everyone.

When we are born, we’re born with the following: Billions of neurons, reflexes, and basic survival skills. As we grow up, those neurons get bigger and work harder, and also aide in everything from our eyesight to our hearing. By the time you reach 2 years of age, your brain will already have reached nearly 80% of its adult size. During early childhood, the brain is about 85% developed. You’ll have learned intellect, motor and social skills, and will have adopted you own personality. The brain’s use for language is also strengthened during this period. By adolescence, brain activity increases in the frontal lobe. The frontal lobe is the part of the brain that is responsible for controlling cognitive skills such as problem solving, emotional expressions, our ability to judge, as well as memory. It’s essentially what allows us to communicate. Once you reach your early twenties, the frontal lobe finishes developing and the brain has reached its peak performance. In your late twenties to early thirties, the brain begins to go through even more changes. For example, the myelin begins to degrade, which means the receptors in your brain don’t fire off as quickly, and you start to lose speed of thought and reasoning skills. It may also take longer for you to memorize things, such as words or names of people.

Once you reach your sixties (or older), the brain will have significantly shrunk in size. While it sounds scary, this happens to everyone as a result of aging. However, one of the biggest risks associated with aging and the brain is Alzheimer’s disease. There are certain risk factors that can contribute to the likelihood of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, such as smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity, lack of physical activity, alcohol use and depression. These are known as modifiable risk factors, meaning you have the ability to change them and decrease your chances of developing Alzheimer’s.

To improve and maintain your brain health, it’s important to live a healthy lifestyle. Quitting smoking, avoiding alcohol, and eating healthy foods are the three most important factors when it comes to having a healthy brain. In addition, you should also try to challenge your brain as much as possible; for example, by trying something new like learning another language or reading a book you haven’t read before. It’s also important to reduce your stress level, which can be done through things like physical activity and meditation.

You also need to take steps to protect your brain – especially when playing sports. Concussions are one of the most common brain injuries that one can suffer from – particularly if you play contact sports (i.e., football.) If you or someone you know plays contact sports, it’s recommended that a helmet be worn at all time. Concussions can also happen as a result of a blow to the head, or from a fall (and subsequently banging your head on something.) For more information on brain injury prevention, click here.

How to Soothe an Upset Stomach

If you suffer from a sensitive or upset stomach, finding relief can sometimes be difficult. There could also be a number of reasons as to why you have an upset stomach. It could be due to pregnancy, overeating, food poisoning, alcohol consumption, or you could have the stomach flu; after all, it is flu season. (Click here to find out more about flu season and how to protect yourself.) It’s also not uncommon for certain medications to cause stomach upset, especially antibiotics. For the stomach-sensitive person, doctors and pharmacists will often recommend taking antibiotics with a small amount of food or a probiotic, such as yogurt. Although oral probiotics in pill form tend to be better. They can especially be helpful in reducing the good bacteria in the gut that often gets lost after being on a week-long course of antibiotics.

To avoid further stomach upset, the last thing you should do is sit down to a gourmet meal. However, there are certain stomach-soothing foods that might actually help you feel better.

Ginger is one of the best herbs (also considered a spice) to use if you’re dealing with an upset stomach, nausea or vomiting. The best way to use it is by putting a small amount in a cup of boiled hot water. For some, ginger can be quite a strong flavour, so you can try to make it by adding in some lemon or honey. Alternatively, you can also purchase tea that contains ginger at almost all grocery or health food stores. In addition to soothing the stomach, ginger can also give your immune system a boost, so it may be something you’ll want to incorporate into your diet regularly! You can find plenty of ginger-based recipes on places like Pinterest, or by doing a simple Google search.

Fruits like bananas and papayas are also great if you have an upset stomach. Bananas are easy to digest and they’re also a good source of calcium which is something your body loses as a result of vomiting or diarrhea; while papayas also help the digestive process due to them being rich in proteolytic enzymes. Papayas can also improve the stomach’s acidic environment.

As mentioned, yogurt can be good to eat when you’re taking an antibiotic, but it can also be good to reduce nausea and stomach upset even when antibiotics aren’t the cause. This is because active cultures found in yogurt help to restore the good bacteria in your gut, and it can also help with digestion. To get the most benefits from yogurt, it’s good to make sure that the yogurt you’re eating is plain. If you find plain yogurt sour, try sweetening it with a spoonful or two of honey.

While starchy foods like potatoes, rice, bread and saltine crackers aren’t foods that Dr. Ghahary or other health experts, such as dietitians and nutritionists, would typically recommend as a part of a normal diet (due to the fact that they can cause weight gain and lead to other health problems if consumed regularly), they can be good for decreasing nausea and upset stomach as they aren’t hard on the digestive system. They can also absorb any excess fluid and help relieve diarrhea.

Aside from food, you can also find relief by using a heating pad or electric blanket – particularly if your upset stomach also comes with cramps. Many people will find the warmth soothing, and it can also help to relax the muscles. Just don’t leave a heating pad on your skin too long, as it could cause damage or burns if too hot.

If your stomach upset persists or if you have stomach pain that lasts longer than 48 hours, it would be a good idea to see a doctor as prolonged problems could be an indicator that something else is going on with your health – including potential food allergies, irritable bowel syndrome (also known as IBS), or Crohn’s disease.

Fighting Food Cravings

Fact: When we feel hungry, we eat.

Also fact: We eat when we aren’t necessarily hungry but have certain cravings for foods, like salty potato chips or sugary sweets such as chocolate, cakes, and candy; and sometimes these temptations can be hard to resist. However, these food cravings are often an indicator that our bodies are missing something.

Below are some of the most common reasons as to why we might experience food cravings, and what you can do to crush them and ultimately replace certain unhealthy foods with ones that are better for you.

LACK OF WATER: Also known as dehydration, this can often manifest itself as hunger. Common reasons as to why one might become dehydrated include sweating, diarrhea, vomiting, frequent urination, burns, as well as diabetes. Symptoms of dehydration often include increased thirst, darker urine as well as decreased urine production, dry mouth, fatigue, headache, muscle weakness, and, as mentioned, hunger. Therefore, if you do become dehydrated, instead of reaching for something to eat you should first increase your fluid intake with a glass of H2O. Not only will water rehydrate you and help you curb cravings, but it has many other health benefits too.

HORMONES: During a woman’s menstrual cycle, it’s not uncommon to develop cravings – especially for things like chocolate or salty foods. This is because during your period, your body is going through physiological changes and your hormones become temporarily out of whack. While cravings related to hormones are out of your control, you can still opt for healthier food options. Alternatively, some women may notice a decrease in their appetite during their period, though this can sometimes be blamed on other symptoms related to menstruation such as nausea, bloating, fatigue, constipation and/or diarrhea.

EMOTIONS: Hormones can certainly send your emotions spiralling, but we can also feel emotional for a multitude of other reasons. This can come from being in an unhappy relationship, feeling uninspired, lacking spirituality, feeling lonely, disappointed, or even stressed. All of these can lead to what’s known as “emotional eating.” When your emotions are at an all-time high, stop and ask yourself why instead of using food as a crutch. If you’re having trouble with mental health, such as feeling anxious, depressed, or suicidal, never feel ashamed to reach out for help.

NUTRITIONAL DEFICIENCIES: When the body is deficient in certain nutrients, it sometimes tries to make up for that lack of nutrients by making us crave other unhealthy foods, such as sugar and caffeine – or, if you’re not getting enough minerals, salty foods. In order to fully function, the body needs a variety of macro and micronutrients.

To find out whether or not things like nutritional deficiencies, hormones, and other health factors are contributing to your cravings, it’s a good idea to book an appointment with your family physician. There are also other things you can do to keep those cravings at bay. Firstly, you need to be mindful of the foods you eat. Mindful eating can help you distinguish the difference between cravings and actual hunger, and teaches you awareness about your eating habits. It’s also not a good idea to let yourself get to the point where you are starving, or skip out on meals, as this will only increase your hunger and cravings. Always make sure you eat three healthy, well-balanced meals each day and have healthy snacks on hand. Eating more protein at breakfast time can also significantly reduce your cravings. Another great way to curb them is through meal prep. Spontaneity is one of the biggest reasons why people indulge in foods they shouldn’t, so by planning meals ahead of time you’re able to make healthier choices and will be less likely to experience cravings. When you do find yourself craving a certain food, try to distance yourself from it by finding a distraction. A distraction can be anything from going for a walk, talking a shower, or reading a book; anything that takes your mind off of the foods you know you shouldn’t be eating.

Health Benefits of Walking

With all of the different types of exercise that one can do, along with the various types of exercise equipment and gym classes available to sign up for, there’s really no shortage of ways that we can keep fit. However, walking is one of the best workouts you can give your body as it really covers a lot of bases. Not only is it cost-effective, but it’s simple enough for anyone to do regardless of their fitness level. There are also a lot of bonus effects that regular walking can have on your overall health, including the mind!

One of the biggest reasons why the body loves walking is because it can actually add to your life rather than take from it. In fact, research has shown that you can improve your quality of life by as much as 2 years just from walking. You also don’t need to do a lot of walking in order to reap its many other benefits. For example, walking for just 2 hours per week decreases your risk of a stroke by as much as 30%, and it can also protect and improve the regions of your brain that are associated with memory, while going for as little as 30-minute walks each day can reduce your risk of developing depression, or reduce symptoms of depression, stress and anxiety by almost 40%. Walking also helps strengthen the bones and improve your mobility as you get older. If you walk for 4 hours per week, you decrease your chance of a hip fracture by as much as 45%, along with other types of fractures and bone problems. It can also improve the heart. By walking for just 40 minutes twice per week, your risk of heart failure can decrease by as much as 38 percent, while going for 20-minute walks per day can lower your risk of heart disease by as much as 30%. Walking is also a fantastic exercise to partake in if you’re wanting to lose weight. One Canadian study showed that going for one-hour walks over a 14-day period can reduce belly fat by as much as 20%.

If you’re someone who doesn’t particularly enjoy exercising, it’s not uncommon to find yourself finding ways (also known as excuses!) to talk yourself out of it. For example, you might think that you don’t have the time – but when it comes to exercise it’s important to make time, as your health depends on it. If you’re someone who tends to rush to get ready for work in the morning, set your alarm earlier so that you have enough time to go for a quick walk – even if it’s just around the block – as something is better than nothing. If you don’t have time to fit in a workout in the morning, try doing so after work – even if you feel tired. Another common reason that people will use to avoid working out is by suggesting it’s boring. To make your walking routine more fun, you can always invite friends or family along. This can also be a great way to keep each other motivated. If you absolutely can’t stand walking, then try finding an exercise regimen that’s right for you.

Whenever you do exercise, it’s also important to incorporate stretching into that – and it can be beneficial to do both before and after your workout. Whether you’re walking or doing a different type of exercise, you want to stretch the muscles that you’re going to use the most.One great examples of a stretching exercise includes lunges/squats. By stretching you not only reduce your risk of injury, but it can also boost your overall agility, balance, and even speed.

Healthy Summer Foods

When it’s warm out, the last thing anyone wants to do is stand over a hot oven or stove cooking – and the warmer the weather, the more tempting it can be to want to grab something quick and easy, which might not always be the healthiest. For example, getting something from a fast food restaurant, which could be loaded with grease, bad carbohydrates and sugar – all things you want to avoid to ensure optimal health and reduce the risk of potential health problems like weight gain, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

Before we dive into the topic of food, it’s a good time to remind everyone about the importance of drinking water. Water is always something you should have on hand (and it’s recommended that you drink at least 8 glasses per day), but it’s all the more important to keep yourself hydrated in warmer weather to avoid things like heat stroke, sun stroke and dehydration. Drinking water maintains the balance of fluid in your body which helps with things like absorption, digestion, circulation, saliva creation, transporting nutrients, and maintaining body temperature. You can find more about the health benefits of water by clicking here.

Summer is one of the best seasons to find fresh products. Fruit and vegetables, especially. As mentioned, water is something everyone should be drinking – but what you might not know is watermelon actually 92% water, making it a great alternative to H20 and a delicious thirst quencher. You might also not be aware of the benefits of tomatoes. It might sound strange, but consuming tomatoes can actually help protect your skin from sunburn. Still, you shouldn’t completely rely on eating tomatoes to keep your skin protected. If you’re going to be out in the sun, it’s recommended that you apply an SPF 15 or 30 to prevent things like sunburn and skin cancer, wearing sunglasses to keep your eyes protected, as well as a large brimmed hat to protect your scalp. The sun can do serious damage and its effects can be long-lasting and sometimes life-altering. On the subject of skin cancer, did you also know that drinking a single cup of coffee might actually reduce that risk? According to a 2007 study done by the European Journal of Cancer Prevention, individuals who drank one cup of coffee per day reduces their risk of non-melanoma skin cancer by as much as 10%. To keep cool, order (or make) your coffee iced. That being said, as many pros as there might be to coffee, it also has its cons. If you’re someone who suffers from insomnia, for example, then coffee might not be right for you. You can find out more about the risks and benefits of caffeine consumption here. As an alternative, some people also prefer drinking tea, which can be consumed hot or cold.

Then there are blueberries. Another great summer fruit, and high in things like fibre, folate, potassium, as well as vitamin C and vitamin B6. They can improve bone strength, heart health, skin health, as well as blood pressure, and can also help manage things like diabetes, boost the mood, and even prevent cancer. Blueberries can be great consumed as a standalone fruit, or mixed into things like Greek yogurt, oatmeal, or blended into a healthy smoothie. If you’re on a blood thinner, it’s suggested that you speak with your physician or pharmacist if you plan on increasing your intake of blueberries, as they’re also high in vitamin K, which can affect blood clotting.

With warmer weather, you’re likely to either be invited to more barbecues or have more barbecues of your own. That doesn’t necessarily mean the foods you’re consuming are healthy, however. One thing to keep in mind when it comes to grilling is to make sure you’re not charring your food. Regular consumption of meat or other foods that are well-done can actually increase your risk of developing pancreatic cancer by as much as 60%. When foods are cooked at such high temperatures, chemicals known as heterocyclic amines (or HCAs) form. These chemicals then lead to changes in your body’s DNA which can develop into cancer. As hamburgers and hot dogs are also two of the most commonly grilled foods, so is the use of condiments like mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, and relish, as well as butter. However, mayonnaise is high in fat, and ketchup can be high in sugar. Rather than using these condiments, try swapping them for things like salsa, and replace butter with olive oil.

Medication Interactions

Whether you’re on medication long-term or short-term, it’s important to be aware of the potential interactions between medications that you have been prescribed by your physician – as well as possible interactions between prescribed medications and ones you would buy over-the-counter. What you also might not be aware of is the fact that certain foods can also interact with certain drugs, and vice versa. The effects of food and drug interactions can range from mild to severe – and, in some cases, if not taken seriously, could even lead to death.

One way to avoid potentially harmful drug interactions is to ensure you let your physician know exactly which medications you’re taking. While your family doctor may be aware of everything you’ve been prescribed, a doctor who is not your regular healthcare provider (such as a physician at a walk-in clinic) may not. By knowing which medications, your attending physician will have a better idea as to what medications they should (or shouldn’t) prescribe to you – including any medications you might be allergic to or have had interaction issues with in the past. Furthermore, it’s also important to have your prescriptions filled at the same pharmacy. By keeping everything in one place, they will be better able to provide you with the best knowledge possible about the medications you’re taking, as well as make you aware of any interactions between them. Your prescribing physician and pharmacist should also be aware if you are using any illicit drugs. Illicit drugs not only pose a significant risk to your health on their own…but that risk can be even greater when mixed with different types of medications.

Below is a list of some of the most common medications that are known for their interactions:

Narcotics: These particular drugs, which are used to treat moderate to severe pain, include (but aren’t limited to) medications such as Codeine, Oxycodone, and Morphine. They are not only known to be dangerous due to their addictive nature and the risk for overdose, but they also interact with other commonly prescribed medications such as antidepressants and medications prescribed to help you sleep. The most common interaction between these medications is increased sedation. Sedation can also be increased when you mix narcotics and alcohol.

Anticoagulants: Also known as blood thinners, these medications (such as Warfarin) are often prescribed to slow down the body’s process of making blood clots, which can be deadly. There are also several interactions with anticoagulant medications and other commonly prescribed medications, including aspirin-containing products, ibuprofen and other NSAIDs, acetaminophen, anti-fungal medications, as well as certain antibiotics which can lead to an increase in INR. Foods containing Vitamin K can also make anticoagulants less effective. Some of the most common foods that contain Vitamin K and should be avoided when taking a blood thinning medication include broccoli, spinach, kale, and cabbage. Other foods including cranberries, garlic, ginger and ginseng should also be avoided when on an anticoagulant, as they can increase the risk of bleeding.

Statins: One of the most commonly prescribed medications for treating high cholesterol, they, too, come with a list of both drug and food interactions. If you’re taking a medication to lower your cholesterol, it’s important to avoid mixing them with other medications used for the same purpose. They can also interact with medications used to lower blood pressure, and some pain relievers (such as NSAIDs.) If you’re in need of a pain reliever, Dr. Ghahary suggests trying acetaminophen instead, as this is less likely to increase your blood pressure. Some beverages, such as grapefruit juice and alcohol, can also increase the level of the drug in your system, which also increases your risk of developing intense drug-related side effects, such as muscle pain, liver damage, increased blood sugar levels, as well as neurological-related effects.

These are just a few of the more commonly known medications with interactions. If you have any concerns about a medication you have been prescribed, websites like Medscape have a drug interaction checker available. However, to ensure you get the most up-to-date and accurate information on interactions, you should always double check with your physician or local pharmacy.

What You Should Know About Nutrition

In order to be healthy, you need to live healthy. This means engaging in regular physical activity as well as consuming well-balanced meals and avoiding things like trans fats and sugar. Having a healthy diet is one of the best things you can do for your health as this will combat and prevent certain illnesses, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension, and even cancer – and can also help you lose and maintain and healthy weight.

When it comes to good nutrition, you should be eating a variety of foods from the different types of food groups. These 5 food groups consist of the following:

• Vegetables and Fruit (7 to 8 servings per day)
• Grain Products (6 to 7 servings per day)
• Milk and Alternatives (2 to 3 servings per day)
• Meat and Alternatives (2 to 3 servings per day)

Vegetables and Fruit
Dark, leafy green or orange vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, romaine lettuce, carrots, squash, and sweet potatoes.

Grain Products
Quinoa, brown rice, barley, oats, whole grain breads.

Milk and Alternatives
Skim milk, 1% milk, 2% milk, fortified soy beverages.

Meat and Alternatives
Skinless chicken, salmon, mackerel, trout.

Per the Canadian Food Guide, it’s also recommended that you either avoid or limit foods and beverages that are high in calories, fat, sugar and sodium (salt.) Examples of these foods include things like chocolate, granola bars, candy, cakes, pastries, donuts, muffins, frozen desserts (such as ice cream), potato chips, nacho chips, French fries, fruit flavoured drinks, soda, sports and energy drinks, and alcohol.

Nutrition and health also varies based on your age. For example, children have smaller appetites than adults and therefore require calories to help them grow and develop. Just as adults would, children should also eat a variety of foods from the 4 different food groups, but in smaller portions. When it comes to giving your child a snack, also make sure it’s healthy – for example, fresh fruit. Women should also eat a healthy diet, especially if they are pregnant or breastfeeding – taking a multi-vitamin that contains both folic acid and iron is beneficial, and you should also include a few extra servings from each food group in your diet. For those over the age of 50, it’s also recommended that you take a daily vitamin D supplement.

Improving Your Metabolism

When the body converts what you eat and drink into energy, this is a biochemical process known as metabolism in which calories get combined with oxygen and releases the energy your body needs in order to function.

The speed of your metabolism is determined by your metabolic rate – also known as basal metabolic rate or BMR – and it can be fast or slow. Your basal metabolic rate refers to the number of calories the body burns while it’s resting. If you have a low basal metabolic rate, you will burn fewer calories. If you have a high basal metabolic rate, you’ll burn more calories. That being said, there are many factors to consider when it comes to figuring out your metabolic rate, such as age, gender, genetics, as well as body composition.

If you have slow metabolism, you may have trouble losing weight. If your metabolism is too fast, then you may have a hard time gaining weight. Whether you have slow or fast metabolism, there are certain things you can do to improve your metabolic rate, such as making certain lifestyle changes; including changing your exercise habits and paying close attention to the foods you eat. If you’ve stuck to the same eating habits for several years, this could be a sign that your metabolism is slowing down, which is particularly common as we get older. As we age, our calorie-burning muscle turns into fat, which leads to slower metabolism. On the other hand, if your metabolism is fast, you’re burning more calories; especially if you workout, as you’re also building muscle. Genetics can also play a role in fast metabolism. People with fast metabolism also tend to be able to eat higher calorie and high-carb foods without gaining much weight. However, don’t let the fact that you have fast metabolism make you think that it’s okay to indulge in junk food every day and deter you from making healthy meal choices. A healthy diet should be part of everyone’s daily regimen regardless of their circumstances.

If you’re having trouble gaining weight or find you’re dropping too much weight/your metabolism is too fast, you will need to increase your calorie intake. Higher calorie foods consist of whole grains bagels or breads, cheese, milk, eggs, fatty fish (such as salmon), avocados, beans, peas, potatoes, nuts, seeds, and fruit juice. For those with a slower metabolism and looking to increase it, try different muscle strengthening exercises, such as weight lifting, or different body-resistance exercises like push-ups and squats. If you go for 30 minute walks, increase those walks to 60 minutes. Also make sure your calorie intake isn’t dropping too low. Calories should be at 1,200 for women, and 1,800 for men. Anything below that could cause your metabolism to pause. You can also increase your metabolism by incorporating more protein into your diet, drinking more water, and partaking in high-intensity fitness classes. Lack of sleep has also been linked to slow metabolism, so make sure you’re getting a good night’s rest each evening.

Remember, having a higher metabolism is important because it can not only help you lose weight, but improve your overall health, as well as give you more energy. Still, there are dangers to having metabolism that is too high or too low, so always speak with your physician about any concerns you have.