6 way TO PREVENT IT
Fortunately, simple lifestyle changes can help you prevent and manage metabolic syndrome. If you have already been diagnosed, discuss with your GP any medications that may be required.
1 Lose belly fat
Losing weight is an important fi step. Research has shown that losing just 5–10 per cent of your body weight can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. It will also help to improve blood pressure and cholesterol.
2 Move more
Try to be active for 30–60 minutes every day, and sit less during the day. You don’t need to pump iron at 5am or run 10km in your lunch break. Instead, if you find a physical activity that you actually enjoy, you’re much more likely to stick to it. Why not join a dance or yoga class, or start a walking group with friends?
3 Cut back alcohol
Your waistline will thank you — and your heart will too. Alcohol is brimming with almost twice as many kilojoules as carbohydrates and protein — which can help contribute to weight gain. And binge drinking in particular can harm your ticker by raising your blood pressure and triglycerides. The National Heart Foundation recommends no more than two standard drinks per day.
4 QUIT SMOKING
Smoking increases your risk of coronary heart disease and stroke, but your risk reduces once you quit. After 15 years smoke free, your risk will have lowered significantly and be almost as low as a non-smoker. You can do it!
5 Eat a healthy diet
There’s no need to fork out on expensive, faddish superfoods. Keep it simple by choosing natural, fresh foods while also limiting processed ones. Cook at home where possible; use less salt and choose healthy fats (p36). Opt for low-GI choices, such as wholegrain bread instead of white, and snack on fresh fruit or nuts to boost your fibre intake.
6 STRESS LESS
Stress can contribute to hypertension and poor eating habits. Remember that last time you were frazzled at work and you reached for that chocolate bar in the vending machine? Find a way to unwind that doesn’t involve food. Take a hot bath, listen to your favourite album, or read a few chapters of your new book.