Why Movement and Nutrition are Crucial
The role of diet and exercise to treat metabolic conditions
We live in a utopia of science where life expectancy has skyrocketed, even in developing countries. Compared to the early 1800s, we have excellent incomes and live in a clean world with outstanding medical assistance and plenty of food (1, 2). We live more, but that does not mean we are healthier, because as life expectancy rises, the incidence of chronic disease follows a similar trend. Our society is experiencing fewer cases of infectious diseases, but diabetes, hypertension, cholesterol problems and heart disease are the new galloping horses of apocalypse (3).
What can we do about this modern trend of metabolic conditions? The key is simple, and it is something that even people in the 1800s will be able to do without modern gadgets. Successful prevention and treatment of metabolic disease are based on simple modifications in your diet and exercise.
Metabolic disease and metabolic syndrome
The new trend of metabolic disease is giving rise to a new diagnosis named metabolic syndrome. This syndrome features high cholesterol in the blood, hypertension, high blood glucose, and other conditions that predispose to heart disease (4).
Being in a metabolic syndrome state is the first step to develop type 2 diabetes and increases your risk of stroke and heart attack. However, there’s a simple solution beyond medications, and many patients have found significant improvements by adjusting their diet and exercise.
Dietary changes to treat metabolic conditions
The reason why the components of the metabolic syndrome are linked to each other is founded on nutrition. We are having more processed foods than ever, added sugars are everywhere, and saturated fat is becoming a convenient hot pick in our fast-food world. Such a diet is associated with an increase of bad cholesterol (LDL) in the blood, frequent rises of insulin that predispose to pancreatic dysfunction, insulin resistance, and diabetes. In turn, diabetes creates alterations in the circulation of blood and predisposes to hypertension and heart disease.
Changing your diet is a simple approach to prevent and significantly improve all of these conditions at the same time. Consuming more fresh foods reduces your intake of added sugar and trans fat, which will reduce your cholesterol and sugar levels at the same time.
Simple changes in your diet entail long-lasting modifications in your metabolism, and many patients have used this method to control their metabolic problems with lower doses of drugs or to use an entirely natural approach.
How exercise improves and prevents metabolic problems
Exercise is the other half of the equation, and combining excellent nutrition with an active lifestyle is enough to live healthier. Physical activity does not only burn extra calories, which is excellent to maintain a healthy weight; it has been found to increase your levels of good cholesterol (HDL) and reduce insulin resistance.
HDL cholesterol is a beneficial particle that travels in your arteries and collects excess fat that would otherwise contribute to atherosclerosis. Thus, we will be reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. On the other hand, reducing your insulin resistance allows insulin to work appropriately in your muscle tissue and absorb glucose faster, helping patients prevent and control type 2 diabetes (6, 7).
The recommendation to attain these benefits is through moderate physical activity for 30 minutes, 5 days a week (or a total 150 minutes a week), and performing weightlifting exercise at least twice a week (using weights or your own bodyweight). Still, any change in your physical activity levels will be beneficial, and the more active you are, the better results you will have (8).
By combining physical activity and exercise, you will not only control your metabolic problems. It will also give you more energy, improve your mood, and make yourself a living example to anyone interested in living healthier and for a longer time.