What is Metabolic Syndrome?
Metabolic syndrome is a term for a cluster of conditions, including abdominal obesity, high triglyceride levels, high fasting blood sugar levels, high blood pressure, or low HDL cholesterol. When a person has three or more of these metabolic risk factors occurring together, then he or she is diagnosed as having metabolic syndrome.
A variety of lifestyle habits contribute to developing metabolic syndrome, including physical inactivity, weight gain, and overeating. The American Heart Association estimates that almost 23% of adults in the United States have metabolic syndrome. Developing this syndrome raises your risk of diseases such as, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. The good news is that you can reduce your risk and even reverse metabolic syndrome with healthy daily lifestyle choices. Below are some nutritional guidelines for preventing or reversing metabolic syndrome.
FOOD TO HELP AND PREVENT METABOLIC SYNDROME:
1. Fish & Omega-3 Rich Food: The omega-3 found in wild-caught, cold-water fish have been found to help regulate heartbeat, reduce blood pressure, decrease blood clot formation, and reduce overall inflammation; all of which decrease the risk for heart attack and stroke. Omega-3 rich food is also cholesterol-lowering helping reduce triglycerides and LDL cholesterol. Other omega-3 rich sources include walnuts, flaxseeds, and chia seeds.
2. Vegetables: Dark leafy greens like kale, spinach, avocado, broccoli, cabbage, and carrots are just a few of the many options when it comes to your daily intake of vegetables. These veggies are loaded with disease-fighting and anti-inflammatory antioxidants and phytonutrients. Think of a rainbow as you make your daily vegetable choices (red bell peppers, pumpkin, yellow squash, arugula, purple eggplant). This way, not only do you keep your meals interesting, you obtain all the great vitamins and nutrients vegetables can offer you.
3. Fruits: Fruit contains fiber and many essential nutrients that help prevent metabolic syndrome. Fruits that are high in fiber include apples, pears, raspberries, blackberries, and mangoes. These fruits are converted into blood sugar at a slower rate than others and are the best choices for preventing metabolic syndrome.
4. Lean Animal Protein: Including lean protein, such as chicken or turkey breast, with each of your meals helps stabilize blood sugar and satisfy your appetite. Grill, roast, or bake meats rather than frying them and choose boneless, skinless selections to minimize fat and calorie intake.
5. Healthy Fats: In addition to the omega-3 fat from fish, the fat in some plants like avocado, nuts, seeds, and unrefined plant oils is also beneficial. Olive oil is one of the most popular types of healthy fat and is easy to incorporate as a salad dressing or condiment for vegetables.
FOOD TO AVOID:
1. Refined Carbohydrates and Added Sugar: Consumption of large quantities of added sugar and refined carbohydrate are major culprits when it comes to high blood sugar levels, insulin resistance, and the development of diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
2. Trans Fats: Trans fatty acids are found in food made with hydrogenated oils and fats, such as margarine, baked goods like cookies, cakes, pies, crackers, frostings, and coffee creamers. They raise LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels, which is harmful to your waistline, heart health and metabolic disorders.
3. Alcohol: Too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure and triglyceride levels. Alcohol also adds extra calories to your diet, which can cause weight gain, therefore alcohol should be avoided in the prevention and treatment of metabolic syndrome.