Have you heard of metabolic syndrome?
The rates of this disorder are continuing to skyrocket in America.
Currently, 47 million Americans have metabolic syndrome1. That’s one out of every six people1!
The term “metabolic” refers to all the biochemical processes that occur in our cells that allow us to eat, breathe, exercise and do our daily activities.
When metabolic syndrome occurs, this means that body’s reactions have begun to malfunction. These malfunctions can put one at risk for many of the most common chronic diseases today.
While this is a serious condition, the good news is that it can be prevented and reversed with proper diet and lifestyle modifications.
More About Metabolic Syndrome
Metabolic syndrome (also known as Met S) is a collection of 5 risk factors that increases the risk for the development of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
Having one of any of these risk factors increases one’s risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Having three or more of these risk factors is classified as Met S.
Most people who have type 2 diabetes also have Met S.
What Are the 5 Clinical Risk Factors for Metabolic Syndrome?
- Increased blood pressure
Greater than 130/ 85 mmHg or on blood pressure medication
- Low HDL, or “good cholesterol” levels
Less than 50 mg/dL for females or less than 40 mg/dL for males
- High triglyceride levels
Greater than 150 mg/dL or greater
- Insulin resistance
High blood sugar greater than 100 mg/dL
- Excess abdominal fat
Waist circumference greater than 40 inches for males and 35 inches for females
Interestingly, with Met S, most of the symptoms can go undetected and are considered “silent” risk factors.
One of the most visible signs of Met S is increased adiposity around the waist as opposed to the hips or thighs.
Where the fat is located on the body can greatly predict health and disease risk.
The fat that’s stored around the abdomen is referred to as “central obesity”. This visceral fat is a much greater risk factor because the fat is stored around a number of internal organs such as the liver, pancreas and intestines.
What are the two most important risk factors for developing Met S?
What are other risk factors?
- Increasing age
- Leaky gut syndrome
- Sleep apnea
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
- Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
How is it diagnosed?
- Check blood pressure levels
- Test cholesterol levels
- Test triglyceride levels
- Test fasting glucose levels
- Measure waist circumference
Abnormalities with three or more of the above tests can result in a diagnosis of Met S.
What can I do?
- Heal leaky gut
Research has identified distinctly different microbial populations in the guts of lean versus obese people. Leaky gut, or intestinal permeability, has been associated with obesity, heart disease and insulin resistance (in other words Met S)2.
- Lose weight
Select sensible portion sizes. Drink water instead of high kcal beverages. Limit daily calorie intake. Be aware that to lose weight 1 pound of stored body fat it is equal to a 3,500-calorie deficit.
- Exercise regularly
Limit sedentary activities. Sitting is the new smoking. Resistance activities help to build lean muscle mass. People with high lean tissue have higher basal metabolic rates, which means they burn more calories.
- Eat the right foods
Limit consumption of empty calorie foods and opt for nutrient dense foods instead. Avoid processed foods. Avoid sugary beverages and artificial sweeteners that disrupt metabolic processes. Limit excess alcohol intake as it is very high in calories and will be stored as fat in the body. Avoid gluten and soy as these are known irritants to the gut lining and can contribute to leaky gut.
- Get enough sleep
Research has shown that getting less than 6 hours per night of sleep is associated with increased intake of food3 and a preference for high calorie, unhealthy foods3. At least 7-8 hours is best. Go to sleep with the sun down and awake with the sunrise like our ancestors.
- Enjoy the sunshine
Sunshine should be treated as a supplement to your healthy routines. When the sun hits your skin it converts the cholesterol in it to vitamin D. This is the body’s way of normalizing its cholesterol levels. It also increases immunity and decreases inflammation.
- See a chiropractor
Chiropractic can help to align the body and restore it’s natural nervous system functioning. Chiropractic can help with hypertension and it is one of the best tools for protecting your heart.
- Eliminate toxin exposures
Toxins in the environment or your household cleaners disrupt the body’s metabolism and cause toxins to build up in the body. They are also associated with breaking down the gut lining and leading to leaky gut. You’ve got to choose non-toxic products for health.
What are the 10 best foods to eat for Met S?
- Fatty fish like salmon
Wild-caught, fatty fish like salmon are rich in omega 3 fatty acids to lower inflammation and boost levels of HDL.
These are rich in monounsaturated fats to increase HDL and lower inflammation. These can also help to lower blood pressure due to the unique compounds they contain. They are also anti-obesity. Avocados are cardioprotective and can protect against Met S.
These are really great at boost HDL levels. They are also rich in soluble fiber, which acts as a prebiotic to fuel good microbes in gut and aid in healing leaky gut.
- Dark, leafy greens
Greens like kale, spinach or arugula are rich in antioxidants that can fight inflammation and oxidative stress. These are also high in natural nitrates, which can boost nitric oxide in body, lower blood pressure and lower inflammation.
- Beets and beetroot greens
These contain relatively high levels of natural nitrates, which are converted to nitric oxide in the body, and can significantly reduce blood pressure and inflammation. They also have betaine in them, which is an amino acid that can lower homocysteine levels, which reduces risk for plaque formation.
- Citrus fruits
Citrus fruits are cardioprotective. They have compounds in them that can lower blood pressure and increase HDL, both of which are heart protective. They can also lower triglycerides and systemic inflammation, which further protects against Met S.
- Grass fed organ meats
Grass fed organ meats like liver contains high levels the vitamin B3 or Niacin. Niacin significantly raises HDL levels. Also, these are a complete protein that can increase satiety and aid in waist loss. Check out our new Kick Start My Heart for a healthy alternative to preparing organ meats.
Eggs contain a good level of ApoA, the good type of HDL cholesterol. They are also a complete protein, which can increase satiety and assist with weight loss. Overall, eggs are rich in nutrients and can aid in normalizing cholesterol levels and decreasing inflammation.
- Soluble fiber foods
These foods are great for weight loss. Fiber keeps you feeling fuller longer and has prebiotics, which help to heal the gut. Additionally, it can slow the passage of foods through the digestive tract and lower the glycemic response of foods, which helps with insulin resistance.
- Fermented foods
These are rich in beneficial bacteria and B vitamins to heal the gut and lower inflammation. The gut microbiome regulates metabolic processes. Eat these to help your metabolism. These foods, through their effects on the gut, also play a role in improving cholesterol, blood pressure, weight and glycemic response.
- Chamomile tea
Chamomile tea is heart-healthy. It has a compound called apigenin, which significantly boosts HDL levels and is heart-healthy. Also, this compound significantly lowers inflammation.
Above all, follow the guidance of our ancestors and enjoy a Paleo diet, which is built upon vegetables, healthy fats, quality meat and fresh fruits.
What are the best supplements for Met S?
Regulates glucose and lipid metabolism and can aid in weight loss. Also helps to normalize blood lipid levels. This plant extract is perfect for anyone and everyone.
- Daily Defense
Perfect meal or snack to combat Metabolic Syndrome. Just check the ingredients on this delicious shake mix.
Other helpful things to do:
Summary of information:
- Metabolic syndrome occurs when 3 out of the 5 risk factors for the disorder are present.
- This disorder is a result of diet and lifestyle. Obesity, insulin resistance, lack of physical activity and leaky gut are the greatest risk factors for Met S.
- Proper diet, quality supplementation, regular exercise, losing weight, adequate sunshine, relaxation techniques and healing leaky gut can all aid in preventing or reversing Met S.