In the present time of food convenience, we can get the food we desire within walking distances. Even when we get too lazy, we are able to get food delivery at our fingertips. Are we conscious enough to know what we eat can affect our health positively and negatively? What will happen if we continue a sedentary lifestyle?
Many of us may admit to lack of exercise and snacking food throughout the day. The words fats, calories, overweight and diet seems to appear everywhere in social media. Without lifestyle modification, individuals may soon find themselves with a condition known as Metabolic Syndrome. It is a name of group risk factors for high triglycerides, glucose, cholesterol, blood pressure and abdominal obesity. This may result in increased risk for coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Of course, there is no one magic pill to reverse or avoid Metabolic Syndrome. The best solution by far is to go the natural way by eating healthy and doing regular exercise.
Research has shown that individuals who exercise, regardless of the intensity (light, moderate or vigorous), have lesser risk of having metabolic syndrome. If you have yet to exercise, a good 10 minutes of continued exercise is a good start and slowly increase to 30 mins each bout. Plan an exercise according to your fitness level. For those who started light intensity of walking, gradually increase the duration or consider doing some muscles strengthening exercise to build muscles mass. It is known that even at rest, muscles continue to burn more calories than fats. With as little as a 7 to 10 percent weight loss can significantly improve health conditions such as high blood pressure, blood sugar and blood cholesterol.
A healthy diet replaces most processed foods and substitute it with nutritious and whole foods. When cooking foods at home, use healthier cooking methods such as grilling, stir-frying, steaming or boiling.
Higher intakes of dietary fibre from fruits, vegetables and wholegrain products are beneficial. Choose low fat or fat-free dairy, lean meat and seafood. Fibre rich food reduces the bad cholesterol in our body, controls our blood sugar level, aids in digestion and allows us to feel fuller.
Omega 3 fatty acids are known to keep our heart and blood vessels healthy. Foods include almonds, walnut, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, avocado, salmon, sardines, tuna or mackerel.
Below are some food choices that needs to be eaten sparingly.
- – Foods that have simple or refined carbohydrate are not limited to sweets (chocolate bars), white bread, white rice, baked goods (cakes, cookies, doughnuts, pastries), potato chips, fruit juices, sugary drinks (coffee, tea, milo, bubble tea, etc). Eating these will create a spike in blood glucose.
- – Processed foods are commonly found to have Trans Fat through partially hydrogenated oil. Trans fats is known to raise unhealthy cholesterol levels (Low Density Lipoprotein – LDL). Foods high in Trans Fats are not limited to deep fried foods, packaged biscuits and cookies, margarine, microwave popcorn, potato chips, frozen pizza, pies and pastries, cake mixes and frosting, and creamers.
- – Sodium rich food are not limited to potato chips, salted nuts, smoked or cured meats and fish, salted butter and margarine, canned food, frozen pizza, sauces and instant noodles. Excessive sodium intake may lead to a raise in blood pressure.
Healthy lifestyle of diet and exercise should be a consistent choice and not a temporary weight loss idea. We are all in this journey to healthy lifestyle together. Let’s never give up!