Metabolic health refers to a condition where a body is able to utilize nutrients and calories in an optimal way to produce energy. The opposite of that is a metabolically unhealthy body that cannot use nutrients effectively, so it stores nutrients in fat tissue. Disturbed body metabolism is a leading cause of many conditions, such as diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, and other cardiovascular diseases. However, in order to understand all the aspects of metabolic health, we will start by explaining the concept of metabolic health.
What Is Metabolic Health?
Optimal metabolic health means that the body can maintain stable blood glucose levels, effectively metabolize fats and carbohydrates, and sustain a healthy body weight. That means all indicators are in an optimal range. Indicators that define metabolic health are blood pressure, blood glucose levels, triglycerides, HDL cholesterol, and waist circumference. Let’s go quickly through each of them:
Blood pressure serves as a good indicator of metabolic health as it shows the health of the cardiovascular system and metabolic processes. Elevated blood pressure, or hypertension, is associated with insulin resistance, obesity, and abnormal lipid profiles. Chronic high blood pressure can strain blood vessels, increase the risk of heart disease, and negatively impact overall health.
The body’s ability to regulate blood sugar is measured by glucose levels. Elevated fasting glucose levels are a hallmark of insulin resistance and poor metabolic health. On the other hand, consistently low blood sugar levels can signal issues with glucose utilization.
High triglycerides are linked to a cluster of metabolic abnormalities known as metabolic syndrome. It includes high blood pressure, abnormal blood sugar levels, and excess abdominal fat. This syndrome increases the risk of stroke and heart attack.
HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol is a vital indicator of metabolic health. It’s known as “good” cholesterol because it removes excess cholesterol from the bloodstream and transports it to the liver for disposal. High levels of HDL cholesterol are associated with better metabolic health as they help protect against atherosclerosis and heart disease. Low HDL levels, on the other hand, can indicate poor metabolic health and lead to a range of cardiovascular problems.
Waist circumference reflects the distribution of fat in the abdominal area. Excessive abdominal fat, particularly visceral fat, is associated with an increased risk of metabolic disorders such as insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. A large waist circumference is a signal of poor metabolic health, even in individuals with a normal body mass index (BMI). Monitoring waist circumference is important because it helps identify individuals at risk of metabolic problems.
How to Improve Metabolic Health?
It is good news that metabolic health can be improved. Improving metabolic health requires the adoption of a healthy lifestyle. We prepared a list of practical tips you can consider in order to gain better metabolic health:
Begin With a Healthy Diet
Healthy eating is the number one change you can make to improve your metabolism. Forget about sweets, bakery goods, fast food, soda drinks, and other junk food. Instead, opt for healthy foods that include:
- Lots of fresh fruits and vegetables
- Sea food
- Chicken, turkey, and pork meat
- Dairy products
- Healthy fats like avocado and nuts
- Coconut oil, butter, and olive oil
- Antioxidants from sources such as berries, spinach, broccoli, or antioxidant supplements
Start an Exercise Routine
Regular physical activity enhances insulin sensitivity and helps cells absorb glucose effectively. That leads to stabilized blood sugar levels. Exercise also increases muscle mass, which in turn boosts metabolism as muscles burn more calories at rest than fat. Besides, it reduces body fat, especially harmful visceral fat, which lowers the risk of metabolic disorders.
Control Stress Levels
Chronic stress triggers the release of cortisol, which causes increased appetite and the accumulation of abdominal fat. Due to increased blood sugar levels, it can result in insulin resistance and weight gain. Stress-related emotional eating can result in poor dietary choices. By managing stress through techniques like massage, yoga, and regular exercise, you can lower cortisol levels, reduce emotional overeating, and improve overall metabolic health.
Get Enough Sleep and Rest Every Day
Adequate sleep helps regulate hormones that influence appetite and thereby reduces the likelihood of weight gain. Quality sleep also supports insulin sensitivity and helps maintain stable blood sugar levels. Chronic sleep deprivation is associated with an increased risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular issues. Try to sleep seven to nine hours each night to boost your metabolic function.
Take Quality Food Supplements
Certain antioxidant supplements can remarkably impact metabolic health. That is the case with polyphenol supplements, which significantly improve metabolic and overall health. VANA is a powerful food supplement based on important polyphenols: quercetin, resveratrol, and urolithin A. These polyphenols work in synergy with other potent herbal ingredients and lead to:
- Easier weight control
- Reduced water retention
- Reduced stress levels
- Slowed cell aging
- Skin renewal
- Body detoxification
- High energy
- Better sleep quality
- Improved cognitive abilities
- Better digestion and immunity
If you need help improving your metabolism, keep in mind that VANA is your best ally!
How to Measure Metabolic Health?
Measuring metabolic health involves assessing several key indicators, which include:
- Insulin Sensitivity Index (ISI): While not typically measured in routine health check-ups, specialized tests can evaluate how the body responds to insulin, which is the main indicator of metabolic health.
- Body Mass Index (BMI): A simple calculation based on height and weight provides an initial assessment of metabolic health, but it doesn’t account for factors like muscle mass.
- Waist circumference: It shows the distribution of body fat.
- Blood pressure: High blood pressure is a sign of stress, and it can result from insulin resistance and other metabolic imbalances.
- Blood sugar levels: Blood sugar levels indicate how well the body regulates sugar.
- Cholesterol profile: Assessing levels of HDL, LDL cholesterol, Apolipoprotein B, and triglycerides can help identify lipid abnormalities associated with metabolic disorders.
Regular health check-ups can help you monitor these indicators and make informed decisions for improving metabolic health.
Possible Consequences of Poor Metabolic Health
Poor metabolic health leaves serious consequences for overall health and life quality. One of the most concerning outcomes is the development of type 2 diabetes. Poor metabolic health often accompanies obesity and an increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and abnormal cholesterol levels. Among other conditions, metabolic dysfunction can cause atherosclerosis, where fatty deposits accumulate in the arteries, increasing the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Other than that, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), sleep apnea, and hormonal imbalances can manifest as a result of metabolic dysfunction.
Many factors and their mutual interactions determine metabolic health. Although we cannot control factors such as genetics, most factors we can improve. If you suspect problems with metabolism, first check the parameters of metabolic health. Take action immediately to change any unhealthy habits. Do not forget that your body is the only place where you have to live for the rest of your life.
How can I improve my metabolic health?
Improving your metabolic health requires a holistic approach that implies various lifestyle changes. Here are the most vital aspects of good metabolic health:
- Balanced diet: Focus on a diet rich in whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, proteins, and healthy fats. Avoid processed foods, added sugars, and excessive calorie intake.
- Regular exercise: Incorporate cardio exercise (like walking, running, or cycling) as well as strength training into your routine.
- Adequate sleep: Prioritize a minimum of seven hours of quality sleep per night, as insufficient sleep negatively impacts metabolic health.
- Stress control: Practice stress-reduction techniques like meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises to control cortisol levels and manage stress.
- Avoid alcohol and cigarettes: Excessive alcohol consumption and smoking can harm metabolic health, so it would be best to avoid them.
- Regular check-ups: Visit your healthcare provider for regular health check-ups to monitor the main metabolic indicators, such as blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels.
- Weight management: Maintain a healthy body weight through a combination of diet and exercise. Even small weight loss can significantly improve metabolic health.
- Consult a healthcare professional: If you have specific metabolic concerns or conditions, consult a healthcare professional for personalized guidance and treatment options.
What are the components of metabolic health?
There are many components that determine metabolic health, including:
- Insulin sensitivity: The body’s ability to respond effectively to insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. Insulin sensitivity is crucial for efficient glucose metabolism.
- Blood sugar control: Stable blood glucose levels are indicative of good metabolic health. Elevated blood sugar can lead to insulin resistance and, ultimately, type 2 diabetes.
- Cholesterol profile: A balanced ratio of HDL to LDL cholesterol and healthy triglyceride levels are important for cardiovascular health and overall metabolism.
- Blood pressure: Maintaining healthy blood pressure is essential, as chronic high blood pressure is often linked to metabolic dysfunction.
- Body composition: This refers to the distribution of body fat. Visceral fat around the abdomen is a sign of a metabolic disorder.
- Inflammation: Chronic low-grade inflammation is associated with metabolic disorders.
- Hormonal balance: Hormones like cortisol, thyroid hormones, and sex hormones play a significant role in metabolic regulation.
- Liver health: The liver is vital for various metabolic processes, including glucose and lipid metabolism. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease can be a sign of metabolic issues.
- Genetics: Genetic factors influence metabolic health and how the body responds to diet and exercise.
- Lifestyle factors: Diet, physical activity, sleep, and stress management are very important determinants of metabolic health.
- Gut microbiome: Certain research suggests that the composition of the gut microbiome can impact metabolism and overall health.