Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and accredited Positive Psychology practitioner Smaranda Maier gives an insight into the risks associated with metabolic syndrome.

 

With alarming figures currently indicating that 1 in 3 people in Ireland meet the criteria for Metabolic Syndrome, we are compelled to examine this topic more closely. We need to translate it into basic language and help people unpack it in a way that positively impacts their health.

Everything we do requires energy. Whether you’re running, jumping, thinking, or sitting silently, your body needs a reliable power supply to function. It gets this supply by converting food into energy through a set of biological processes known as metabolism.

Good metabolic health means that your body can efficiently produce and use energy, helping your cells—and you—function at full capacity. Poor metabolic health, or Metabolic Syndrome, by contrast, means that cells aren’t getting the energy they need, leading to numerous mental and physical challenges. Poor metabolic health also increases your risk for chronic conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, fatty liver disease, heart disease, and stroke.

People often use the term “low metabolism” in relation to being overweight or gaining weight. However, this is only one side of the coin. In fact, being metabolically healthy saves you from worrying about chronic or life-threatening diseases like cancer, cardiovascular disease, or diabetes. Focusing on staying metabolically healthy should be the key goal of your overall health.

You might be asking what causes poor metabolic health and how you can prevent it. Where should you start, and what are the best healthy habits to cultivate?
The causes of metabolic syndrome are classified into two types: genetic conditions and lifestyle conditions. The good news is that the science of epigenetics teaches us that genes are not decisive in the case of metabolic syndrome.

Just because you have a parent with diabetes or a high risk of cardiovascular disease, or any other metabolic health-related condition, you are not doomed to have it as well. There is a saying: “genes load the gun, but lifestyle pulls the trigger.” This leads us to the lifestyle and environmental changes that can support our metabolic health.
If you have a metabolic risk due to your genetic background, you might feel like a victim of circumstances with little choice. Nothing could be further from the truth. It takes personal decision and willpower to work towards your health.

If metabolism means how our bodies convert resources into energy, we should investigate two aspects: the resources we use and the process of converting those resources inside our own bodies.
When we talk about the resources we use, the main ones that keep our body alive and functioning are oxygen, water, and food. These are already three controversial topics. Regarding oxygen and water, it can be trickier to get it right and more daunting to manage, especially if you rely on the quality of air you breathe daily in a town or near an airport. Water, even though tap water must meet certain requirements, requires caution to increase our chances of staying healthy. A water filter system is worth considering.

But my expertise is food. Every single bite of food we put into our bodies can either trigger genes for disease or genes for health. The quality and quantity of the foods directly impact our metabolic health. Metabolic syndrome is what I personally call the syndrome of an overfed and undernourished body.
My first recommendation to someone looking to improve or maintain their metabolic health is to examine their eating style and habits. Eliminating all ultra-processed foods and understanding the difference between food-like ingredients and actual food ingredients is a good starting point. Simply swapping ready-to-eat meals bought in your supermarket with homemade, simple, nourishing meals will help you eat less and nourish your body more.

Adding a daily 20-30 minute exercise session or a walk and managing your stress levels during the day are other impactful tools for improving your metabolic health.
I invite you to take charge of your health today because your health is your wealth. It may take a visit to your GP or a session with a health coach or nutritionist. Take one step now, and your body will thank you for the rest of your life. And remember, the best time to start is NOW.

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Subscribe for just €3 per month

If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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