Metabolic health can be described as having ideal levels of blood sugar, triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, blood pressure, and waist circumference, without using medications. These factors directly relate to a person’s risk for heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.
Increasing someone’s physical activity, reducing sugar and refined carbohydrate intake and reducing unhealthy, processed fats in the diet shouldn’t just be targeted at people with a weight problem, but to all people. Even if you don’t have a weight problem, you might still have a metabolism problem.
Those healthy lifestyle habits not only work to improve metabolic health but also offer a range of other benefits for the body and mind.
Sleep hygiene and stress regulation should also be incorporated into improving metabolic health. That has taken a hit on our modern society with technology and what often feels like a 24-hour workday for people.
Understanding your risks might start by getting your annual blood work test.
Ask your doctor about whether or not it would be appropriate to be screened for chronic disease risk. They can easily order a routine lab screening that looks at those relevant factors like your lipids, CRM, blood pressure, blood sugar, HOMA etc.
There isn’t a “simple fix” to improve metabolic health. However, there are some valuable lifestyle interventions to take into consideration.
Lifestyle interventions aimed at maintaining healthy body weight and cardiorespiratory fitness are associated with beneficial effects on blood pressure, diabetic control, lipid profile, and inflammation.
These interventions should also include non-smoking, restricted alcohol consumption, a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most or all days of the week and the maintenance of a healthy weight with BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 and waist-hip-ration of 0.9 or less (for men) and 0.85 or less for women (WHO recommendations).
A “heart-healthy” diet, including a varied eating plan based on nutrient-dense whole foods: non-refined, starchy, fibre-rich carbohydrates (salads, vegetables, fruits, beans etc.) and natural proteins (wild-caught fish, unprocessed meat, eggs, cheese, legumes etc.) with healthy fats (olive oil, avocado, nuts & seeds, etc. (no trans-fats and highly processed vegetable oils). Additionally, a proper sleep routine with individual stress regulation methods (meditation, yoga, walking, etc.) is of paramount importance.
Prevalence of Optimal Metabolic Health in American Adults: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2009–2016. Joana Araújo, Jianwen Cai, and June Stevens. Published Online:8 Feb 2019https://doi.org/10.1089/met.2018.0105
Diabetologia: April 2019, Volume 62, Issue 4, pp 558–566| Cite as Metabolic health in normal-weight and obese individuals
Definitions of metabolic health and risk of future type 2 diabetes in body mass index categories: a systematic review and network meta-analysisLuca A. Lotta, M.D., Ph.D.,1 Ali Abbasi, M.D., Ph.D.,1,2 Stephen J. Sharp, M.Sc.,1 Anna-Stina Sahlqvist, Ph.D.,3 Dawn Waterworth, Ph.D.,4 Julia M. Brosnan, Ph.D.,5 Robert A. Scott, Ph.D.,1 Claudia Langenberg, M.D., Ph.D.,1 and Nicholas J. Wareham, M.B. Ph.D.1
C. Noel Bairey Merz, Donna Polk, in Clinical Lipidology, 2009