The Surprising Truth about Metabolic Health
Updated: Dec 4, 2022
If you’re successful at managing your weight, you might assume that your metabolism is healthy. However, a recent study found that only 12% of American adults meet the ideal standards for 5 key indicators.
Health experts now advise that it’s important to pay attention to blood sugar and other traits even if you’re not overweight. Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill focused on factors that can affect your risk for heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. In addition to blood sugar levels, that included triglycerides, cholesterol, blood pressure, and waist measurements.
They found that less than a third of participants with normal weights had optimal metabolic health. Fortunately, simple lifestyle changes can have a dramatic effect. Rundown this list of things you can do to keep your metabolism in top shape.
Diet and Exercise for Metabolic Health:
Lose weight. Being overweight puts you at a much higher risk for metabolic disorders. If shedding 20 pounds or more seems overwhelming, remember that even 5 pounds can make a big difference. For example, systolic blood pressure decreases one point for every 2 pounds of weight loss on average. You may not need to exercise much to retain lean body mass when you first lose weight with nutrition. However, as the weight loss progresses, exercise becomes increasingly necessary. And the good news is that as you lose weight, exercise gets more comfortable and enjoyable!
Take measurements. Taking your measurements is a better way to track your progress because it gives you a better picture of what's going on with your body. If you're seeking to improve your body composition by decreasing fat and/or gaining muscle, knowing how to take body measurements is a useful skill. When obtaining body measures, there are a few things to bear in mind. To begin, dress in form-fitting attire or, if possible, no clothing at all. For all of the measurements, stand with your feet together and your body relaxed. You probably watch your bathroom scale when you’re dieting, but a tape measure may be more helpful. Visceral fat that gathers near your waist tends to cause more insulin resistance, inflammation, and other complications.
Eat your vegetables. Mom was correct when it came to eating vegetables. They're beneficial to your health! It's unlikely that this comes as a surprise. We all know that eating veggies (and fruits) are good for us. Nonetheless, the majority of Americans do not consume the recommended 2 to 4 cups (the exact amount varies depending on age and sex). Vegetables of any kind count toward your daily limit. Starchy vegetables (such as potatoes), leafy greens, tomatoes, and fresh spinach are all examples. Fruits and vegetables are usually high in nutrients and relatively low in calories. They also provide fiber. Aim for at least 5 servings a day.
Cut back on sugar. Sugar is basically in everything we eat, which is one of the main reasons we consume so much of it. Sugar is found in everything we eat, such as salad dressing, yogurt, ketchup, bread, pasta, and a variety of other items. Whether we think these items are nutritious or not, they aren't considered desserts, thus they aren't thought of as foods with added sugars. To make matters worse, sugar has many of the same addictive qualities as illegal substances such as heroin, cocaine, opiate prescription medicines, and benzodiazepines. Artificial sweeteners and sugar can interfere with your metabolism, so drink plain water or tea instead of soda. Put a little less sugar in your coffee each day or try other flavorings like cinnamon or cardamom.
Limit saturated fat. When we talk about different kinds of fats, we're referring to the fatty acids that make up fat. The chemical composition of saturated fatty acids differs from that of other fats. Saturated fats are solid at normal temperatures because of this discrepancy. Consider this: corn oil, a polyunsaturated fat, is liquid at room temperature, whereas butter, a saturated fat, is solid. At normal temperature, olive oil, a monounsaturated fat, is liquid. Even so, that explanation is oversimplified. The truth is that no one form of fatty acid exists in any oil, fat, or meal. Although one type of fat predominates in oil or food, they all contain polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, and saturated fats in various proportions. You need some fat in your diet, but too much saturated fat can increase your cholesterol. Switch to no fat or low-fat dairy products. Increase your intake of fish and chicken. Ground turkey or chicken can be used instead of ground beef. Before cooking, remove the skin off the chicken.
Exercise regularly. Moderate exercise can help boost your metabolism. Spend at least 150 minutes a week on activities like cycling or brisk walking. Some additional vigorous exercise will produce even greater results. Eating healthy foods is another approach to speed up your metabolism. Eating nutritious foods keeps your body in good working order and aids in weight loss. Finally, some supplements claim to help you lose weight and enhance your metabolism, but only a small percentage of them deliver on their promises without creating adverse effects.
Other Suggestions for Metabolic Health:
Sleep well. Managing stress and getting adequate sleep to contribute to a healthy metabolism. Get a good night's sleep the night before to kickstart your day. A longer and better-quality night's sleep is linked to a better likelihood of reducing weight. It will ensure that you have the energy to keep up with your hectic routine. Go to bed early so you can get a full 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night.
Quit smoking. Do you want to stop smoking? Your heart rate and blood pressure will be lower just 20 minutes after your last cigarette, according to the American Heart Association. If you feel like you're going to give in to your tobacco craving, tell yourself that you must first wait 10 more minutes — and then do something to distract yourself for that period of time. Try going to a public, smoke-free zone. These simple tricks may be enough to derail your tobacco craving.
Understand the numbers. You may have noticed that blood pressure and other standards have grown stricter over the years. The tighter guidelines can help you and your doctor identifies and treats your risk factors.
Schedule screenings. You may not experience any noticeable symptoms, so it’s important to get tested for blood sugar levels, cholesterol, and blood pressure. Ask your doctor about making them part of your annual physical.
Track your test results. Keep copies of your lab results. You may need them if you switch doctors, and they’ll help you to evaluate your progress.
Know your family history. Gathering your family medical history can provide insight into what conditions you need to watch out for. If possible, try to go back 3 generations.
Talk with your doctor about any medications you may need to protect your metabolic health. Otherwise, a balanced diet and other positive lifestyle habits usually suffice to keep your heart healthy and lower your risk
Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. This means that if you purchase through those links, we may receive a commission. This doesn’t incur any cost to you. Those commissions help support the content for this website. Thank you for your support.