Before the ever-increasing level of obesity around the world, people were only concerned about health and fitness. But now maintaining a low weight, controlling blood pressure, blood sugar, and triglycerides classify what is known as “metabolic health.”
Medical researchers believe that metabolic health isn’t just about losing weight. It’s about making sure that you possess enough muscle mass to regulate your blood sugar level. This means that if you are suffering from metabolic syndrome, you might be skinny and unhealthy just like you might be obese and unhealthy.
So, questions arise in minds of people; How to measure the status of metabolic health on your own? Although there’s no standard definition of metabolic health yet defined by the medical community, we’ve sourced some top experts’ opinion and compiled six primary markers to consider while gauging your metabolic health:
Experts say that waist circumference is quite important, even more important than your weight. For men, a waist circumference greater than 40 inches could lead to metabolic diseases. Similarly, for women, waist circumference should be 35 inches at maximum.
The waist circumference is measured right above the hip bones, usually at the most narrow part of the waist. As metabolic syndrome takes its toll, weight gain in the abdominal region can increase the risk a lot.
The blood sugar level before and after eating is another important marker to determine metabolic health. Though it might be difficult to test pre- and post-eating sugar levels through regular medical settings might not be possible, the comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP) can be used to cover fasting blood glucose. Doctors recommend a fasting blood glucose level to be around 70-80 mg/dL. Fasting blood glucose level greater than 100 mg/dL indicates insulin or blood sugar problems.
Triglyceride levels are the end product of digestion and breaking down of fats in the food you eat. Doctors consider Triglyceride levels important in the estimation of fat metabolism. A triglyceride level above 100 is questionable, while the level above 150 is considered as a metabolic disease.
You can check Triglyceride level using the standard lipid panel through which you can measure your good cholesterol level (HDL), bad cholesterol level (LDL), and triglycerides.
To ensure metabolic health, it’s important to have a low LDL cholesterol level on the standard lipid panel. According to experts, 80% of LDL level in your bloodstream is irrelevant and it’s known as buoyant LDL or type A. The remaining 20% is slow dense LDL or type B. If your triglyceride is low while LDL level is high, then it’s large buoyant, type A cholesterol that you need to get rid of.
Blood Pressure plays a vital role in metabolic health. A reading of 135/80 is considered as a risk factor for metabolic syndrome. Even if your blood pressure is higher than 125/57 consistently, you might be suffering from metabolic issues. So, it’s important to keep track of your blood pressure measurements especially if you’ve been suffering from high blood pressure in past.
Uric acid is the waste found in the blood which is created during the breakdown of purines in the body. High uric acid level is generally associated with gout i.e., a form of arthritis. If your uric acid is high, it indicates that your mitochondria aren’t functioning well, so you need to cut off sugar consumption.
How to promote metabolic health?
Taking proactive steps to prioritize your metabolic health and well-being can make all the difference in the long run. While it seems complex to maintain metabolic health, yet most experts agree on ways to promote and improve metabolic health and overall well-being. These include:
- Perform exercise regularly, ideally at least half an hour. This will also increase your heart rate and builds muscle.
- Increase the intake of omega-3 fatty acids in your food.
- Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables that are rich in phytonutrients and fiber-rich seeds, nuts, and whole grains.
- Maintain a low-glycemic diet.
- Ensure good-quality sleep.
- Find healthy ways to manage stress.