“Metabolic syndrome” is a term used to describe the simultaneous presence of a number of serious risks for the development of Type two diabetes and various forms of heart disease. Roughly 50 million Americans experience the effects of this disorder. You can help ease or prevent the effects of metabolic syndrome by adopting a healthy eating plan.
Simultaneous risk factors that contribute to a metabolic syndrome diagnosis include excessive levels of fat in or near your abdomen, high blood pressure, excessive blood levels of LDL cholesterol and fatty substances called triglycerides and low blood levels of HDL cholesterol. Additional simultaneous factors include abnormal resistance to the blood sugar-controlling hormone insulin and high blood levels of a substance called C-reactive protein. Out of these problems, the most threatening to your health are probably insulin resistance and abdominal obesity.
General Dietary Guidelines
To combat the effects of metabolic syndrome, you must control your weight. In turn, weight control typically requires controlling your overall food intake and making certain changes in your daily diet. General guidelines for establishing a healthy diet plan include increasing your intake of whole grains, fruit, vegetables and beans; eating only lean meat, fish and poultry; and switching to low-fat or fat-free dairy products. You will also need to reduce your intake of foods including those that contain significant amounts of added sugar, sodium, cholesterol and two forms of fat called saturated fat and trans fat.
Foods high in saturated fat include red meat, whole-milk dairy products and skin-on poultry, while foods high in trans fat include processed foods, commercial baked goods, fast food and margarine. In your new diet plan, you can replace these foods with foods that contain healthier substances called monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Common monounsaturated fat foods include avocados, sesame and pumpkin seeds, pecans, almonds and olive, peanut and canola oils. Common polyunsaturated fat foods include fish, walnuts, flaxseeds, canola oil and oils made from flaxseed and soybeans.
Fruits, Vegetables, Grains
You can also promote weight loss by increasing your intake of vegetables, grains and fruits that contain high amounts of a substance called fiber. Fiber helps reduce your food intake by increasing the amount of time it takes to chew your food and making you feel full for extended amounts of time. Common sources of fiber include strawberries, blueberries, tomatoes, pears, apples, cucumbers, carrots, zucchini, celery, seeds, nuts, beans, dried peas, oatmeal and whole-grain cereals and breads.
To increase your chances of sticking to a new diet plan, pick appropriate foods that appeal to you and choose as many different options as possible. Introduce fiber to your diet slowly over time to reduce your chances for unpleasant side effects such as cramping, abnormal gas production or bloating. While it may cost you a certain amount of money, you may gain significant benefits from planning a new diet in association with a doctor or registered nutritionist.
- American Heart Association: Metabolic Syndrome
- National Heart Lung and Blood Institute: How Can Metabolic Syndrome Be Prevented?
- Harvard School of Public Health: The Nutrition Source; Fats and Cholesterol; Out With the Bad, In With the Good
- MayoClinic.com: Dietary Fiber; Essential For a Healthy Diet; November, 2009
- Harvard School of Public Health: Fiber; Start Roughing It!
- Weight-Control Information Network: Weight Loss For Life; January 2009