People with ‘Metabolic Syndrome’ have at least three of the following 5 conditions: high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high triglycerides, low ‘good’ HDL cholesterol and higher abdominal fat and/or obesity.
And people with ‘metabolic syndrome’ have a high risk of type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and stroke, Alzheimer’s, kidney disease and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
According to the American Heart Association, a staggering 23% of American adults have it and it was a factor common in 99% of deaths from COVID-19. African-Americans, Hispanics and Asians are particularly likely to have it.
Having any one of the five risk factors is not ideal, but having three factors is known to double your risk of a heart attack or stroke.
Definition of Metabolic Syndrome factors
According to the American Heart Association, you score poorly for a factor if:
i) Your Systolic Blood Pressure (top reading) is greater than 130 mm Hg; and your diastolic is more than 85 mm Hg.
ii) Your waist is greater than 40 inches in men, 35 in women.
iii) Your Triglyceride levels are 150 mg/dL or greater.
iv) Your ‘good’ HDL cholesterol is less than 40 mg/dL in Men and 50 mg/dL in women.
v) Your fasting blood sugar is greater than 100 mg/dL
What can you do about Metabolic Syndrome?
1. Eat better – certain essential changes are simple. Cut out saturated fat foods like red meat, coconut oil and dairy and eat a Rainbow Diet of more vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, olive oil, pulses and whole grains. These foods, along with increases in good gut bacteria, influence hormones such as Leptin which control metabolic factors.
2. Eat slower – People who eat their food quickly and rush their meals are at a greater risk of metabolic syndrome.
3. Fast – Time restricted fasting (where you only eat for 8 hours a day, and eat less calories during that time) or Intermittent fast (where you eat for 5 days and fast for two) each reduce blood sugar, blood insulin and cholesterol levels, and reduce weight.
4. Take exercise – Aerobic exercise is vital to beat metabolic syndrome – do it at least 4 times a week and, ideally, every day. Exercise should be 45-60 minutes induration including 20-30 minutes where you are physically out of breath. Exercise alone without weight loss can reduce insulin resistance (1).
5. Control Stress – Stress Hormones have an over-riding effect on others in your body. Exercise produces endorphins – yoga is the greatest producer per minute. Meditation and prayer produce opioids. Endorphins and opioids work together to control stress hormones. There are also ‘adaptogenic’ herbs such as Ashwagandha and Holy Basil, which can reduce stress hormones and thus correct the balance of others.
6. Don’t smoke, cut alcohol – obvious really!
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