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Metabolic Syndrome: Defuse The Ticking Time Bomb

Have you ever had a paramedical exam?

Doesn’t sound familiar?

A paramedical exam is the one the life insurance company makes you take before they calculate your insurance rates. It’s a pretty simple exam: a nurse will come to your home or office, ask you a few questions about your medical history, check your height and weight, blood pressure and pulse. Depending on your insurance company, they may take a blood sample, urine sample, or a saliva sample.

Why?

Because they want to avoid paying out money for as long as they can, and these tests will tell them if you’re at a high risk to die early, requiring a large payout. Their elite team of statisticians and risk assessors know that people with a specific set of health issues are at a high risk of dying young.

Would you like to know what those issues are so you can avoid them?

On this week’s “Wellness Wednesday,” I want to show you the health factors that your insurance company considers a death sentence.

Metabolic Syndrome

When I mention metabolism, your first thought is probably that moment in your 40s when you had to stop eating pizza and fried chicken because you suddenly couldn’t keep the weight off anymore. The common excuse is “my metabolism is slowing down.”

This is not that.

Metabolism is the root word that is used for all chemical processes that keep an organism alive. It includes digestion and nutrient absorption but goes beyond that to how your body manages blood sugar, cholesterol, fat, and triglycerides.

Metabolic Syndrome is a disorder where three or more of these systems in your body are failing at once. The conditions most commonly associated with Metabolic Syndrome are:

  • abdominal obesity
  • high triglyceride levels
  • high fasting blood sugar levels
  • high blood pressure
  • high LDL cholesterol
  • low HDL cholesterol

People diagnosed with Metabolic Syndrome are at a critically high risk of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

  • Heart disease kills over half a million Americans a year, and it’s almost entirely preventable.
  • Diabetes kills more than 3 million people every year and disables tens of millions more. Possibly thirty percent of Americans are diabetic or pre-diabetic and don’t even know it.
  • Obesity rates among children have tripled since 1980, and it is manifesting at earlier ages.

Preventable Misery

I know I keep saying it, but it is so frustrating to me how many people die prematurely for no better reason than they didn’t know they could do something to prevent it.

The worst part is, it’s not a secret. Nobody in America can honestly tell me that they have never heard someone say that they would live longer if they would eat right and exercise. I see people make fun of it with their clever memes on Facebook, but nobody laughs when they are having a heart attack.

As Dr. Josh Axe explains, “Some of the best ways to avoid metabolic syndrome include maintaining a healthy weight, regularly exercising and eating a plant-centric diet while avoiding metabolism death foods…In fact, a loss of just 3 percent to 5 percent of your current body weight can lower your triglycerides, blood glucose and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Greater amounts of weight loss can also improve blood pressure readings, lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and increase HDL cholesterol.”

To show you how easy it is to live longer and healthier, I want to give you a couple of short, simple lists of things you can do starting today. If you will take consistent action on this, you will see significant results in your health within weeks, if not days – even if you have already been diagnosed with Metabolic Syndrome.

Foods To Avoid

First, here are the foods you need to avoid (SPOILER ALERT: It’s the same culprits I identified when we talked about inflammation and destroying your gut flora.)

Processed Foods

If it comes in a cardboard box, it’s probably bad for you. Frozen foods, fast food, and foods with a long shelf-life are full of chemicals that attack your body from within. You may as well eat the packaging they are sold in. Shop the perimeter of the store, where the fresh produce, meats, and breads are sold.

Sugar and Refined Carbs

One of the great cons of the 20th century is sugar. It is as addictive as cocaine and just as destructive to your body. Sugar not only eats away at your teeth, it also breaks down your liver and pancreas, scrambles your brain and neurotransmitter receptors, and suppresses your immune system. It is the primary cause of obesity – not saturated fats. Sugar also has57 different name, like High Fructose Corn Syrup. HFCS is like heroin to your brain – it shouldn’t be legal anywhere, but it is. One of the best things you can do for your body is to get free from the bondage to sugar. Everything in the world will taste better if you do and you will feel so much better in every part of your body.

Artificial Sweeteners

Aspartame (aka “NutraSweet”) was banned in the U.S. until 1974 because clinical trials showed that it was dangerous neurotoxin (it killed brain cells). What changed in 1974? An executive from Searle – the company that invented aspartame – became the the head of the FDA. Convenient. Do you remember a few years ago when Glenn Beck announced that he had developed Macular Corneal Dystrophy? He was forbidden by his Mormon faith to drink coffee, so what did he substitute for it? Diet Coke. A report from the Department of Health and Human Services lists over 90 symptoms related to aspartame, including: migraine headaches, dizziness, seizures, nausea, numbness, muscle spasms, weight gain, rashes, depression, fatigue, irritability, tachycardia, insomnia, vision problems, hearing loss, heart palpitations, breathing difficulties, anxiety attacks, slurred speech, loss of taste, tinnitus, vertigo, memory loss, and joint pain. The following chronic illnesses are triggered or worsened by ingesting aspartame: Brain tumors, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, chronic fatigue syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, mental retardation, lymphoma, birth defects, fibromyalgia, and diabetes.

Trans Fats

Hydrogenated oils, margarine, crackers, pie crusts, cookies, chips, and foods like these raise your bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels. It adds inches to your waist and clogs up your heart. Remember how they used to market margarine — as a safe alternative to butter, which would clog up your arteries? Turns out, the opposite was true.

Foods To Increase

Vegetables

Did you think I might come up with something surprising? Spinach, kale, broccoli, cabbage, and especially avocado. Avocado might just be the perfect source of dietary fat and it tastes amazing on almost everything. Once you get sugar out of your system, the flavor of vegetables will explode around you!

Fruit

Packed with vitamins, antioxidants, fiber, and other nutrients, fruit is the perfect way to wean yourself off of sugar, but even fruit must be kept in moderation. Apples, bananas, oranges, and pears are a great start to the day. Adding lemon juice to water is amazingly therapeutic to the body.

Pomegranates

Dr. Axe shared: “Research published in Food & Nutrition concluded that pomegranate ‘exerts hypoglycemic effects, including increased insulin sensitivity, inhibition of α-glucosidase, and impact on glucose transporter type 4 function, but is also responsible for a reduction of total cholesterol, and the improvement of blood lipid profiles, as well as anti-inflammatory effects through the modulation of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor pathways. These effects may also explain how pomegranate-derived compounds function in the amelioration of adverse health effects caused by metabolic syndrome.’”

Fiber-rich Foods

Lentils, kidney beans, chickpeas, lima beans stabilize your blood sugar and give your body a great source of fiber and protein. I also love chia seeds in water. It’s the perfect balance of soluble and insoluble fiber, which are great for making down cravings and cleaning out fatty deposits in your system. Start your day with a bowl of oatmeal, and grab some kidney beans and brown rice for lunch. Fiber-powerful!

Simple Activities To Add To Your Day

Move Right Monday

I created a whole series of videos showing some simple exercises you can do at home or at the office for five minutes several times a day. Burn calories, strengthen your core muscles, and increase your stability, mobility, and motor control.

Walk

Take a brisk walk around the neighborhood for 15 to 30 minutes each day after work. It will burn calories, release positive neurotransmitters, drain out stress chemicals like adrenaline and cortisol, and strengthen your legs, heart, and lungs.

Stand

I have a friend who just bought a stand-up desk for work and it’s doing wonders for his energy, weight control, and mental clarity. Sitting is the new smoking, after all. If you must sit, take standing breaks every chance you get.

High-Intensity Interval Training

You can do anything for 30 seconds. Do squats, burpees, jumping jacks, or run in place for 30 seconds at 100% exertion, followed by 10 to 30 seconds of low-energy recovery time. Do that eight times and hit the shower. Short bursts of high-intensity activity are better for your heart and elevate your core body temperature so you become a fat-burning machine.

Overcoming Mindsets

If you were looking for something new or surprising, I’m sorry to disappoint you. You’ve probably heard all of this before, but I would be willing to bet you know someone who hasn’t. Someone who still thinks it’s okay to eat junk food and spend all night on the couch watching TV. The Metabolic Syndrome epidemic in America is happening because millions of people have found comfort in an over-fed, over-medicated, sedentary lifestyle.

We don’t have the time or money to try to change people’s minds with a global media campaign. We would be arguing against sixty years of media manipulation by a deeply-entrenched food manufacturing industry. We have to bring the message person to person, friend to friend. Most people will scoff at you at first. The proof will be when they are constantly sick and you are constantly healthy and vibrant. It will really come to a head when you are 100 and still active and vital, like the centenarians in the Blue Zones projects. Too bad your peers will already have died too early. Let’s work together to see how many people we can help avoid that fate.

Tomorrow night is our second “Fundamental Foods Night” at my office on Pine Ridge Road in Naples, behind the YMCA. I hope you will join us, but be sure to RSVP on our Facebook page as soon as you can. We had such a great time last month, and I’m sure this one will fill up fast. Bring a friend and a dish to share. We’ll start at 6:15 p.m.

“At the end of your feelings is NOTHING. At the end of your principles is a PROMISE.”  — Eric Thomas

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