Do you consider yourself to be metabolically healthy? Many people think that they are because of the average weight. However, this isn’t always the case. There are a number of factors to take into consideration. Understanding what it means to be metabolically healthy is the first step to success. Let’s also look at preventative measures that we can take to achieve metabolic health.
According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the term “metabolic” refers to the biochemical processes involved in the body’s normal functioning, and risk factors, habits, and conditions that could possibly increase your risk of disease. Metabolic syndrome occurs when you don’t meet the standard criteria and your risk of metabolic diseases increase.
In other words, to be metabolically healthy, one must have ideal levels of blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol, and waist measurements without help from any medication. When you have at least three metabolic risk factors, you may be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome.
We hear the term “metabolism” all the time and most often attribute our energy levels – or lack of it to our metabolism. While our metabolism does indeed affect our energy, metabolic health is so much more in-depth than this.
Glucose (blood sugar, is responsible for our main energy source. We obtain glucose from the carbohydrates we eat, although fat and protein may also convert to glucose as well. Insulin is a hormone that is secreted by the pancreas that helps regulate blood sugar levels. These levels should be neither too high nor too low.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, blood sugar must be regulated to help prevent or delay long-term, serious health problems, such as heart disease, vision loss, and kidney disease.
Arteries are responsible for carrying blood from your heart to other parts of your body. Your blood pressure will go up and down throughout the day based upon activity. High blood pressure (hypertension) is when blood pressure is elevated more than the normal level. High blood pressure can lead to heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. There are generally no symptoms of high blood pressure, which is why it’s very important to routinely have your blood pressure checked. Understanding healthy and unhealthy blood pressure levels and making healthy lifestyle choices is crucial in preventing hypertension.
Cholesterol is a waxy substance made in the liver and is needed to make vitamin D, hormones, and substances that help us digest food properly. It is also obtained from certain foods. Too much cholesterol though can lead to plaque formation in our blood. This buildup can lead to blockage, heart disease, and stroke. Smoking and lack of exercise can also lead to unhealthy cholesterol levels. Understanding good cholesterol and bad cholesterol as well as how to prevent high cholesterol levels can help you create a plan to reduce your risk of developing disease.
Your chance of developing disease, heart attack, and stroke are much higher if you have poor metabolic health. Making lifestyle changes can greatly influence your risk factors in developing diseases related to metabolic health.
The thought of unwanted tests and exams when you have no symptoms of disease makes it easy to consider skipping this visit. However, these doctor appointments are vital for your overall health and can help you discover diseases early and you can learn how to take preventative steps in overcoming or preventing metabolic syndrome.
A study published by The National Library of Medicine, shows a direct correlation between smoking and abdominal obesity. Another study showed an increase in metabolic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes in smokers. According to the American Diabetes Association, smokers have a higher risk of developing heart disease and becoming insulin resistant.
We all understand the importance of consuming a healthy diet, but as we age this becomes even more important as our bodies begin to change. Our diet plays a crucial role in our overall health. Consider implementing these steps to improve your diet:
Healthy sleep patterns are often overlooked when we are thinking of reducing our risk of disease. However, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, poor sleep is linked to diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. Setting a consistent bedtime, limiting caffeine, avoiding alcohol, and creating bedtime rituals are just a few examples of ways to improve your sleep.
Understanding metabolic health and then taking preventative steps such as those listed in this article will help you reduce your chance of developing disease.
Now that we have learned about metabolic health, let’s look at foods that protect against heart disease
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