Metabolic syndrome is killing America. This group of risk factors - which includes a large waistline or "apple shape," a high triglyceride level, a low HDL "good" cholesterol level, high blood pressure, and high fasting blood sugar - can raise your risk of stroke, double your risk of heart disease and multiply your risk of diabetes by five. You must exhibit at least three of these risk factors to be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome. Although the risk of developing metabolic syndrome is closely linked to obesity, a lack of physical activity, insulin resistance, genetics, and aging are also causes to increase your risk for metabolic syndrome. Everyone should pay attention to metabolic health. By committing to a healthy lifestyle, you can prevent metabolic syndrome. Here are 5 areas to be mindful of:
1. Maintain a balanced diet of whole foods. Limit unhealthy foods. Instead, reach for fruits and vegetables. The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet and the Mediterranean diet are centered on whole foods and provide excellent guidelines to eat for your health and metabolic.
2. Get up and move! Moderate exercise - such as taking a brisk walk - for 30 minutes each day will drastically improve your body's defenses against developing metabolic syndrome and other ailments.
3. Reduce your sugar intake. Honey was the primary sweetener until the Middle Ages when sugar was introduced. Still, due to primitive production techniques, sweeteners were primarily reserved for the well-to-do. Up until the last few hundred years, the majority of people had no sweeteners at all in their normal diet, so obesity was seen primarily among the wealthy. Observational data and research suggest a strong link between sugar-laden diets and metabolic syndrome, obesity, hypertension, and diabetes. One of the easiest ways to reduce your sugar intake is to ditch sugary drinks, including processed juices and soft drinks, or by cutting back on how often you enjoy a sugary dessert. Missing the sweet in your life? Enjoy a piece of fruit, or opt for a small amount of raw honey or stevia a sweetener.
4. Keep stress to a minimum. Research now shows that chronic high-stress levels can significantly increase the risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. In fact, it is reported that three-quarters of American health care spending goes toward treating such chronic conditions. To help cut back on your stress, consider setting limits for yourself, learn to say "no" without feeling guilty, meditate, give yoga a try, or set aside time every day to read a good book. Whatever it is that calms your nerves and allows you to recharge, that’s what you need to do!
5. Maintain a healthy weight for your body. If you are overweight or obese, implementing and sticking with the lifestyle changes listed above will naturally help you shed pounds. Losing weight can help reduce insulin resistance, blood pressure, and your risk of diabetes. Find a body composition scale in your area to get a better idea of what your body's ideal weight is. No matter your size, shape, or current state of health, it is a good idea to consult your Naturopathic Doctor to determine if you are at risk for, or living with, metabolic syndrome. Click here! for more information about our naturopathic services.
Gymnema (Gymnema sylvestre)
Popular in many fields of medicine, Gymnema is native to parts of India, Africa, and Australia. In the study of natural healing, the plant is often used as a tea for its potent anti-diabetic properties. Now, initial modern research suggests that Gymnema may also be useful in preventing and treating obesity. The plant's active compound works to help curb diabetes by blocking sugar from accumulating in the body. These gymnemic acids help fight obesity by delaying glucose absorption as well as blocking the binding of carbohydrates in the intestine. Another key function of these acids is in preventing the activation of sugar molecules by the tongue which helps to also curb sugar cravings. Finally, they prevent the absorption of sugar molecules by the intestine, which can help to lower blood sugar levels.
Research has shown that Gymnema leaf extract can impact diabetes by stimulating the pancreas to increase the release of insulin. Further study is needed on its impact on diabetes in juveniles and adults; however, it is believed that the usage of Gymnema may delay its onset. Gymnema leaves have also been noted for lowering serum cholesterol and triglycerides. When considering any Gymnema treatments for any ailment, it is important to consult your Naturopathic Doctor first. Click here! to determine which supplements are best for you.