According to the American Heart Association, 47 million Americans havesomething called metabolic syndrome. That’s almost one out of every six people. Metabolic syndrome, also known as syndrome X, increases your risk for heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Here’s how you get it and what you can do about it.
Do You Have Metabolic Syndrome?
Metabolic syndromeis characterized by a cluster of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors that increases your risk for heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. You have metabolic syndrome if you have three or more of these measurements.
Low HDL (“good cholesterol”) level: Less than 40 mg/dL (men); less than 50 mg/dL (women)
High blood pressure: 130/85 mm/Hg and higher
High fasting blood sugar: 100 mg/dL and higher
Metabolic Syndrome Health Effects
Compared to someone without metabolic syndrome, a person with metabolic syndrome is:
Twice as likely to develop heart disease.
Five times as likely to develop diabetes. If your waistline is over 40″, your risk is 12 times higher for diabetes.
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that a calorie-controlled diet rich in whole grains reduced cardiovascular risk factors.They studied two groups — one group ate whole grains and the other ate refined grains.
Refined grains have a high glycemic load which means they’re rapidly absorbed into your bloodstream. Examples of refined grains include: white pasta/noodles, white rice, white bread/rolls/tortillas, enriched wheat bread/bagels, and corn flakes.
Whole-Grain Diet Results
Weight loss and cholesterol levels decreased similarly in both whole-grain and refined-grain groups, BUT the whole grain group had the following results:
38% decrease in inflammation. C-reactive protein (CRP) levels decreased. CRP is an inflammatory biomarker and an emerging risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD). It is a predictor of cardiac events in persons with and without CVD.
Significantly greater decreases in the percentage of abdominal fat.
Why Whole-Grains Reduce Inflammation
The reduction in inflammation could be due to:
Lower blood glucose concentrations throughout the day. This is the result of increased fiber in the whole grains.
The antioxidants in the whole grains which have anti-inflammatory properties.
The release of inflammatory compounds from the loss of abdominal fat. Abdominal fat (visceral fat) is highly inflammatory. Eating whole grains decreased belly fat substantially.
I was on ABC10 TV out of Sacramento yesterday to show their viewers (a.k.a. Easter bunnies) how to pull together a ‘healthy Easter basket’. Hmmm…. that’s an oxymoron, you say. Believe it or not, options outside of solid chocolate bunnies, Peeps and sugar-coated sugar do actually exist.
Here are my five basic principles when it comes to “healthify-ing” this tradition.
Include plant-based foods and plant-based colorants.
Load up on whole grains.
Use healthy fats.
Cut back on sugar.
Swap out milk chocolate with dark chocolate.
All the recipes for the treats on the show will be featured in my upcoming book, “Athletes in Aprons“. 😀
Oat & Berry Bars: These whole-grain, gluten-free bars are made with oat flour and rolled oats layered with an organic berry purée sweetened with just apple juice.
Chocolate Chip Cookies: These cookies will surprise you! They’re made with garbanzo bean and fava bean flours, oat flour, zucchini, dairy-free dark chocolate, and organic unsweetened applesauce. Gluten-free.
Fudge Brownies: These fudge-y treats are made with whole wheat flour and… spinach. Really! Their moist richness comes from just a couple tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, unsweetened applesauce, and golden ground flaxseeds. You have to taste ’em to believe they’re not loaded with hydrogenated fat and white flour.
Following an eating plan that centers around whole-grain foods versus refined grains can help you reduce belly fat and other health risks. See Eat Your Way to a Trimmer Waist. But shopping for whole grains can be confusing with all the varying descriptors. So here’s a guide to help you decipher what’s whole grain and what’s not.
To qualify as a whole grain, 100% of the original kernel – all of the bran, germ, and endosperm – must be present. All grains start out whole, but during the refining process, the bran and germ are removed. As a general rule, look for the key word “whole”, such as “whole grain”, “100% whole grain”, or “whole wheat” when shopping for a whole-grain product and see that it’s listed as the first ingredient on the food label.
Are you running on an empty tank? People who start their day without an a.m. meal often feel depleted, overeat later in the day, and make some not-so-smart decisions as they go along. Eating a good breakfast sets the stage for making healthy choices that will power up your body as well as your brain.
Why Eat Breakfast?
As you sleep, your body works hard to digest last night’s dinner. By the time you wake up, your body and brain demand fuel.
Three Breakfast Components
Morning menus are filled with options — from breakfast wraps to smoothies in every color — and need not be complicated. Breakfast can be simple, quick and satisfying. Be sure it includes a heart-healthy mix of wholegrains, protein, and healthy fat to satisfy you as well as sustain you. Continue reading “♥ Daily Dose | What Makes a Good Breakfast?”→