Education on Diabetes

Metabolic syndrome 101!

This week I am raising awareness about what metabolic syndrome is, and most importantly what we can do to prevent it!

Metabolic syndrome affects around 1 in 3 adults over the age of 50 (UK statistics), and cases in younger people are increasing. This calls for greater education on the topic, and most importantly, how we can improve our health to live a happier life.

What is it?

blood pressure for metabolic syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is the term used when an individual has a combination of diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity.

Having metabolic syndrome puts individuals at a much higher risk of getting cardiovascular disease, having strokes as well as several other serious health conditions.

This is because diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity can cause damage to blood vessels. This can vary, sometimes blood vessels become stiff, and sometimes blood vessel walls become weak, both of which can cause health complications.

How is it diagnosed?

The NHS criteria includes:

  • Being overweight or having a lot of fat around the waist.
  • Having high LDL cholesterol and/or high triglycerides.
  • Having a blood pressure of 140/90mmHg or higher
  • The inability to control blood sugar levels (also referred to as insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes).

If you are concerned about your health, or any of the points above, make an appointment with your doctor now!

Prevention and action is key!

Most importantly metabolic syndrome can indeed be prevented and reversed! So if you have been diagnosed, it is time to take action for your health!

Here are some ways you can help yourself:

table salt - metabolic syndrome
  • Losing weight
  • Exercising for at least 30 minutes everyday – try to complete a variety of cardio, weight lifting and yoga based training for the maximum benefits.
  • Eat a rainbow diet rich in fibre, fruit and vegetables
  • Limit your packaged and processed food intake – opt for fresh food
  • Stop adding sugar and table salt to your food
  • Quit smoking
  • Limit your alcohol consumption
  • Increase your water intake to around 2.5L a day

I know for some people this is very simplified, but to change your lifestyle, it has to be achievable!

Thank you for reading Metabolic disorder 101! I hope you found this interesting and useful. Be sure to subscribe and follow me on Instagram!

If you liked this post, be sure to check out Been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes? Here’s what to do! and What is the deal with cooking oils

Education on Diabetes, Top Tips

How to lower your cholesterol!

Maintaining healthy cholesterol levels is vital for your wellbeing and for disease prevention. Having high cholesterol puts us at an increased risk of getting cardiovascular disease, strokes and many other health issues.

Keep reading for my top tips!

1. Find out what your cholesterol is

blood test - cholesterol levels

The first place to start is to chat with your doctor and ask for a cholesterol test. If you have diabetes, cholesterol should be checked at least twice a year alongside your HbA1c.

It really is important to keep track of your cholesterol results as well as your HbA1c as high cholesterol can have the same long-term consequences as high glucose.

When cholesterol is high, it can damage the lining of blood vessels leading plaque build up.

This also allows you to set goals with your doctor to better your health.

These are the following cholesterol blood test goals:

  • Total cholesterol: Under 5mmol/L
  • High-density lipids (HDL): below 4 mmol/L
  • Low-density lipids (LDL): Below 3mmol/L
  • Serum triglycerides: below 2.3 mmol/L

2. Limit processed foods

Firstly it is really important to understand that there are different types of fat, some of which are not great for your health, and others that are fundamental for your body and health.

Processed foods tend to be packed with what people call ‘bad fats’. This is known as saturated fat and trans fats. Essentially, you want to consuming as little of these fat types as possible.

This is because ‘bad fats’ cause the health problems associated with having high cholesterol.

The best way to avoid processed foods is to make your meals and snacks from scratch. Also think about limiting red meat sources as they are high in saturated fats.

I also want to make it clear that consuming what many call ‘bad fats’ occasionally is absolutely fine. Please remember that every food group has a place in the diet, it is just about making food that promotes health the bulk of your diet.

3. Increase ‘good fats’

good fats to lower cholesterol

‘Good fats’ are vital for health because they help to lower ‘bad fats’ in the blood. Good fats are known as HDL and bad as LDL.

Include some of the following in your daily diet:

  • Avocado
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Nuts and seeds (walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds etc)
  • Oily fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna etc)
  • Eggs
  • Dark chocolate
  • Yogurt

Please do not be afraid to include the above foods in your diet! I have personally increased the amount of oily fish in my diet and I have seen many benefits. Food is your friend, never the enemy!

4. Support your liver

The liver is actually the main organ that controls the amount of cholesterol in the blood. HDL’s are released from the liver when LDL’s are too high in the blood. HDL’s then attach to LDL’s and move them back into storage in the liver.

This process is absolutely vital, but can become compromised when the liver is under pressure.

To support your liver try to do the following:

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Limit alcohol consumption
  • Eat the rainbow
  • Eat sour foods (lemon juice, rocket, artichoke, watercress etc)
  • Don’t smoke
  • Hydrate!

5. Live an active life

exercise to lower cholesterol

Having an increased body weight and sedentary lifestyle puts us at a higher risk of having elevated cholesterol.

Therefore, it is vital to make movement and exercise a part of your daily routine.

Try to complete at least 30 minutes of exercise per day, but try to do more! If you only have time to do 20-30 minutes, opt for high intensity types to get more out of the time.

Most importantly, choose exercise you enjoy because this makes it easier to stick to a routine long-term!

Thank you so much for reading how to lower you cholesterol! I hope you found this post useful and you learnt something new today! Be sure to subscribe and follow me on Instagram!

If you liked this post, be sure to check out How to keep your kidneys healthy with diabetes and How to read food labelling effectively!