Holistic Healing for Metabolic Syndrome

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Metabolic Syndrome is a metabolic disorder that involves not one, but a combination of three or more of specific health issues. These include abdominal obesity, high blood sugar, high triglyceride levels, high blood pressure or low HDL (“good”) cholesterol. This complex condition arises in many different forms, and multiple combinations of these symptoms are possible for the diagnosis.

Precursors that contribute to the likelihood of the condition include: sedentary lifestyle, visceral abdominal fat, insulin resistance, ongoing stress, lack of sleep, and genetic factors.  With the rising obesity rates and cardiovascular issues in adults and children, this condition is becoming more prevalent. However, it generally affects almost 50% of those over the age of 60.

When it comes to the management of Metabolic Syndrome, there are several preventative measures that can be taken. It’s not an overnight fix, but with conscious choices and accountable actions, this condition can be reversed.


NUTRITION:

Wild-Caught Fish.

The omega-3 fatty acids found in wild-caught, cold-water fish have many benefits including helping to regulate heartbeat, reduce blood pressure, decrease blood clot formation, and reduce overall inflammation.  These functions improve overall health and decrease the risk of heart attacks and strokes. High LDL cholesterol levels are one of the symptoms needed to diagnose Metabolic syndrome, and omega-3 foods can help to lower this number. Besides fish, other omega-3 foods include walnuts, flax seeds, natto, and grass-fed beef.

Apple Cider Vinegar.

ACV Assists with balancing hormones, insulin levels, metabolism, and cleanses the body. It can improve the speed of the weight loss process and make your metabolism work more efficiently.

Take: 1 tbsp before each meal.

Non-Starchy Vegetables.

The wider the range and the greater variety in color increases the amount of disease-fighting and anti-inflammatory antioxidant, phytonutrients and vitamins and minerals you consume.

Avocados are associated with lowering metabolic syndrome because of their gut-healing properties. The antioxidants found in carotenoids, can reduce multiple symptoms of metabolic syndrome. They are able to neutralize free radicals, which can cause cell mutations, reduce excess visceral fat deposits, metabolic disorders, and high blood sugar levels.

Choose: avocado, beets, broccoli, kale, cabbage, carrots, celery, radish, and spinach.

Fruits come with the same benefits as anti-metabolic syndrome non-starchy vegetables. However, they must be consumed in greater moderation due to the high natural sugar content.

Choose: Low GI fruits -assorted berries, apples, pears, grapefruits, oranges, cherries, prunes.

Legumes. The prevention of metabolic syndrome must include balancing blood sugar levels and maintaining a healthy weight. This is the main function of legumes.

Choose: chickpeas, lentils, adzuki, and kidney beans.

Whole Grains. Containing a high amount of fiber, whole grains have proved health benefits for diabetes and heart health and can aid weight-loss and maintenance. This will help with all metabolic syndrome prevention goals.

Choose: brown rice, quinoa & buckwheat.

Coconut Oil. Improves the body’s insulin resistance state, which lowers your chances of developing diabetes, a cornerstone of metabolic syndrome.

Take: 1-2 tbsp daily in with or over meals.

Spirulina. The pigment, phycocyanin, has been shown to lower blood pressure. This can help reverse endothelial dysfunction in metabolic syndrome.

Choose: tablet or powder form. Take daily.

Reduce/Eliminate/Avoid:

Refined Carbohydrates and Sugar. These foods are the leading cause of metabolic syndrome components. They increase blood sugar levels and cause insulin resistance.

Limit/avoid: Processed/packaged foods like crackers & chips, white bread, white rice, white potatoes, table sugar & baked goods with added sugar.

Processed Foods.

Canned and boxed items are typically stripped of their nutrients and filled with unhealthy additives and preservatives that are detrimental to your health. Over-Consuming these foods increases your risk of developing metabolic syndrome.

Artificial Sweeteners. All different types have been linked with the occurrence of diabetes and metabolic syndrome. They prevent weight loss and increase the development of cardiovascular disease.

Avoid them at all costs.

Diet Sodas/ALL sodas. Aside from containing high amounts of artificial sweeteners, diet sodas are associated with an increase is metabolic syndrome components. They also pull calcium from bones and speed up the aging process.

Trans Fats.

Found in foods made with hydrogenated oils. They raise LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the body which increase your risk of metabolic syndrome.

Foods to avoid: margarine, store-bought baked goods, pies, boxed crackers, frostings, and coffee creamers.  

Alcohol.

Increased alcohol consumption can raise blood pressure, blood triglyceride levels and cause weight gain. While high amounts can cause metabolic syndrome, small amounts can be beneficial; therefore, you do not have to cut alcohol out altogether.

*Moderate amounts, such as one drink for a woman and two for a man are permitted.


LIFESTYLE

Quit Smoking. Behavioral remedies are just as important as dietary ones when it comes to preventing metabolic syndrome. Smoking is one of the most toxic and addictive habits you can possess. Smoking cigarettes can lead to and worsen the health consequences of metabolic syndrome. It makes you less physically able, leading to a more sedentary lifestyle, Cigarettes contain high amounts of carcinogens, raising the chances of chronic disease and cancer, and can cause high blood pressure. They also increase your likelihood of heart problems and stroke. Find support, and commit to quitting.   

Lower Stress Levels. Breathwork is a helpful tool - Take mini “breath breaks” throughout the day, before tests, or whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed. Simply inhale deeply for 7 counts, hold for 2, and then exhale for 7 counts.

Exercise. Losing weight through diet and exercise can reduce insulin resistance and blood pressure. Since metabolic syndrome is so closely associated with physical fitness, obesity, visceral fat and diabetes, it is evident that regular physical activity is a critical component of preventing the onset of the syndrome. Aim for exertion 4-5 times a week to improve your cardiovascular system and burn fat. Daily walks are perfect!!


SUPPORTIVE HERBS

Holy Basil. Can improve blood sugar control and manage cholesterol levels in the body. Supplementation of holy basil can control diabetes and reduce symptoms that are used to diagnose metabolic syndromes.

Cinnamon. Highly effective at balancing insulin sensitivity. Some flavonoids in cinnamon mimic the effects of insulin, which lowers fasting blood sugar levels and prevents the dangerous spikes and drops diabetics experience.

Ginseng, Berberine and Bitter Melon All three of these herbs are potent natural remedies for metabolic syndrome. This is because they aid in glucose regulation and lipid metabolism. These roles assist with weight maintenance.

Maca. Maca root significantly improves glucose tolerance by reducing glucose levels in the blood. This improves heart health, necessary in metabolic syndrome prevention. Maca also increases glutathione levels in the body. This improves your immune system, disease resistance and helps to balance appropriate levels of cholesterol in the body.

Cayenne Pepper. Reduces the amount of insulin produced by the body for a smoother form of digestion and energy storage. This will help with the severe spikes and drops of blood sugar people with diabetes experience.