Metabolic syndrome affects up to 30 percent of the population. It is a term used to describe a group of conditions that can increase a person’s risk for heart disease, stroke, and Type 2 diabetes. Luckily, simple lifestyle modifications have been shown to be very effective in helping treat metabolic syndrome. Let’s take a look at some of the changes your functional medicine provider may suggest as part of your treatment plan.
Your provider may recommend changes to your diet. In addition to overall reduced caloric intake, he or she may suggest that you:
Processed foods are those that are pre-cooked and pre-packaged.They include things like breakfast cereals, cheese, potato chips, and soft drinks. Although it is not always the case, a vast majority of processed foods contain large amounts of added salt and sugar. This, in turn, increases their caloric content. For this reason, your provider may recommend avoiding processed foods whenever possible as part of the treatment plan for your metabolic syndrome.
Individuals with diets rich in whole grains have been shown to have better insulin production and resistance rates than those who do not. What’s more, whole grain-rich diets appear to stimulate production of a chemical compound in the body that helps regulate glucose levels.
Not only are berries rich in nutrients and antioxidants, they have also been linked to positive outcomes in patients with metabolic syndrome. Specifically, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries were shown to effectively reduce inflammation in obese patients, reducing their risk for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Alcohol is, first and foremost, very high in calories. If weight loss is part of your health plan, stopping or limiting drinking alcohol is a good idea. Alcohol has also been linked to high blood pressure and causes an imbalance in gut flora. Although human studies are not yet definitive, there have been animal studies linking gut imbalance with the presence of metabolic syndrome.
When necessary, your provider may recommend that you supplement your diet with oral vitamins. This may be temporary or indefinitely, depending on your unique needs. For example, older women naturally experience bone loss. In addition to incorporating dietary sources of calcium, you may also be asked to take a calcium and vitamin D supplement.
Adequate water intake is essential for your body to function correctly. It will be even more important as you increase your activity levels, since it balances your body’s fluids and reduces muscle fatigue. Drink water regularly throughout the day. You should never feel parched and your urine should be a pale yellow color. Other signs of dehydration include muscle cramping and headaches.
Of course, exercise is a fundamental part of good overall health. If you do not exercise regularly and you have metabolic syndrome, your provider will recommend beginning a manageable workout regimen. A good average is 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week–enough to get the blood pumping, but not so intense you can’t keep it up. Daily walking is a great place to start.
If weight loss is part of your treatment plan, it can be very useful to monitor your caloric intake through an app or other tracking program. It is very easy to go over calories without realizing it. A fitness app or other tracker can also help you log your daily exercise and water intake.
Smoking causes myriad adverse health effects, many of which are associated with metabolic syndrome. Smokers have higher risk factors for high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, and diabetes, for example. Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do to take steps toward a healthier life. It is not easy, but there are plenty of resources to help make quitting achievable. Your functional medicine provider will help you.
“Sleep hygiene” is a set of steps to help you get a restful night’s sleep. High quality sleep for adequate amounts of time is critical for your body to repair and restore itself. Chronic sleep deprivation has been associated with weight gain, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease.
Your functional medicine provider will help you implement practices that improve your sleep. For example, he or she may suggest stopping all caffeine intake after 12 pm and turning off all screens at least one hour before bed.
At Balanced Body Health & Wellness, we utilize a holistic approach through the lens of functional medicine. Our goal is to find the underlying causes of your health conditions, not merely treat your symptoms. We will work with you to develop a custom plan to achieve your personal health goals. This may involve simple lifestyle changes or a combination of diet/activity modifications and pharmaceuticals. Whatever it takes, we are here to help you regain your perfect balance. Call or go online today to schedule your first appointment. A fifteen minute phone consultation is completely free!