Do you know your metabolic health score? If you score outside the range of these basic health status metrics, it may be time to consider some lifestyle adjustments.
What is Metabolic Health and Why Does it Matter?
At the most basic level, metabolic health is a function of cellular performance.
When the body is in balance, it is building up and breaking down various nutrients to properly support the body’s needs. A key component of this process is the conversion of what you eat and drink into energy to be used now or in the future.
A properly functioning metabolic system takes nutrients as inputs and works to digest, process, distribute and excrete those nutrients in an efficient way that maintains the health of the host. When this system isn’t functioning properly, cellular operation is disrupted and the body gets out of balance. This creates a cascading effect of disorder that is the precursor to a variety of chronic diseases, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s.
As it relates to COVID-19, the risk for those with metabolic syndrome is substantially higher. The presence of obesity, diabetes and pre-diabetes, high blood pressure and abnormal cholesterol are all predictive of worse outcomes. In a study published by Tulane University, patients diagnosed with metabolic syndrome were nearly five times more likely to be admitted into the ICU or develop ARDS, and 3.4 times more likely to die - even after adjusting for age, sex, race and other variables. (1)
What is Your Metabolic Score?
The most common guidance in defining metabolic health includes the following health metrics and reference ranges:
At Alive + Well, we add the following additional metrics to round out what we refer to as a “metabolic scorecard”:
This metabolic scorecard is a report on your health status, characterized by levels of metabolic indicators consistent with a high level of health and a low risk of impending chronic disease. If you score outside the range on any of these metrics, it’s time to consider some lifestyle adjustments.
How to Improve Your Metabolic Health
The good news: your metabolic health is quickly adjusted with a commitment to some simple changes.
Our top recommendations include:
- Avoid vegetable and seed oils at all costs. Use olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, and animal fat instead
- Eliminate added sugars wherever possible - replace with natural sugar substitutes and complex sugars (honey, maple) as needed
- Minimize processed carbs; focus on natural complex carbs in moderate amounts
- Ensure you are eating enough protein for your body (hint: this is hard to do if you are eating too many carbs)
- Exercise consistently - 5 days / week of moderate intensity for 30-60 minutes per session
- Get 7-8 hours of quality sleep every day
- Identify key nutrient deficiencies and add high quality supplements to your routine
- Find ways to reduce stress (meditation, community, drawing, music, etc)
- Measure, adjust. Measure, adjust. Repeat as needed
With a commitment to these simple adjustments in lifestyle, you can literally improve your metabolic health in weeks. In addition to reversing a trend toward disease, these changes can produce higher levels of energy, happiness and wellbeing.
If you need extra guidance and support, our Functional Wellness Team has created several programs to help you make health your top priority. Learn more here.