- Hippocrates speaks
- 10 Food Rules
- Metabolic Syndrome
- Blue Zone #8
Yes, I am back in Las Vegas teaching school, but…
What about Hippocrates?
Nearly every health, fitness, nutrition, and supplement specialty article uses this quote from Hippocrates (460 B.C.-370 B.C.). “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”, but what does mean today? Do we ignore 2500 years of science and eat what grew in another time and place? I can not. Science and medicine have become essential for diagnoses and major repair or treatment of our body and mind. Modern Western medicine can isolate and produce the nutrients that can activate healing or repair but the very act of isolating nutrients disenfranchises the adjunct nutrients that are complimentary to healing and good health, plus these healing prescriptions all have adverse side effects. Our future health lies in prevention not treatment, I think. The foods we have access to today are not the same as those foods from 2500 years ago. Industrial commercial farming has provided us with plenty of food but not the ancient quality. It is a dilemma and we are all caught in it. We still have choices. I choose to eat the best I can based on my body and its needs. What good is a long life span if you don’t have a good health span?
My 10 Rules for Eating and Shopping.
THESE COME FROM LOTS OF RESOURCES. NOT A SINGLE ONE IS ORIGINAL. I HAVE LOST 60 POUNDS DOING THESE.
- S.O.S- RESTRICT SALT, OILS, AND SUGAR.
- G-BOMB- EAT GREENS, BEANS, ONIONS, MUSHROOMS, AND BERRIES.
- S.S.S.- IF STUCK ON PLANNING OR TIME, GO TO SOUP, SALAD, OR SHAKE.
- ORGANIC- CHOOSE ORGANIC FIRST.
- CALORY RESTRICTION- ALL LONG LIVING PEOPLE EAT FEWER CALORIES.
- LIMIT MEAT- BLUE ZONE COMMUNITIES LIMIT MEAT INTAKE. I’M AT 3.5 OZ. EVERY OTHER DAY.
- LIMIT DAIRY- DAIRY IS FOR COWS; NOT FOR PEOPLE.
- WHOLE GRAINS-THE LESS PROCESSING THE BETTER.
- LIMIT PROCESSED AND ULTRA-PROCESSED FOODS- THESE WERE ONCE GOOD-INTENTIONED CHEMISTRY PROJECTS. NOW THEY ARE POISON.
- WATER IS ESSENTIAL- GET YOURS WHILE IT LASTS.
The Big Three to Unwrap First
If you want to get started with a lifestyle of health, talk to your doctor to be sure your body is okay to begin. Then download an App. myfitnesspal.com. Unwrap the plan for exercise, the plan for nutrition, and the plan for your spirit to de-stress. There is a free version of this app. You can watch a 2019 documentary called “HEAL“. I found a lot to think about in this film. There is a trailer on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rdNWn6BwU8s
Here is something you can fix with the your diet: Metabolic Syndrome.
WHAT IS METABOLIC SYNDROME?*
Doctors have long been interested in uncovering a connection between obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Metabolic syndrome, also known as Syndrome X or insulin resistance syndrome, emerged as a way to describe shared underlying characteristics.
METABOLIC SYNDROME SYMPTOMS
You may be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome if you have at least three of the five following conditions.
- A large waist circumference: You have an “apple-shaped” body, or your waist circumference measures greater than 35 inches for women or greater than 40 inches for men.
- High blood glucose (sugar): Your blood sugar measures 100 mg/dL or more, or you take medicine for high blood glucose.
- Low levels of HDL (“good”) cholesterol: Your HDL levels are less than 40 mg/dL for men or less than 50 mg/dL for women.
- High levels of triglycerides: Your triglyceride levels measure 150 mg/dL or more, or you take medicine for high triglycerides.
- High blood pressure: Your blood pressure measures 130/85 mmHg or more, or you take medicine for hypertension.
A variety of traits, conditions, and lifestyle behaviors put you at greater risk of developing metabolic syndrome. The following may occur on their own or in combination with other risk factors.
- Excessive fat in and around the abdomen
- Inactivity (less than the recommended 150 minutes per week of exercise)
- Too much or too little sleep (more than 10 hours or less than six hours)
- Smoking and/or heavy alcohol consumption
- Age: Your risk increases as you get older.
- Gender: Men are at a greater risk than women, although women are more likely to have low HDL.
- Ethnicity: Metabolic syndrome is most prevalent among Hispanic adults.
- A family history of diabetes or metabolic syndrome
- Insulin resistance, which occurs when cells don’t respond normally to insulin
- Polycystic ovary syndrome, a condition that causes cysts to grow on the ovaries
- Chemotherapy: Women treated with chemotherapy before or after breast cancer surgery are at a higher risk.
HOW DOES DIET AFFECT METABOLIC SYNDROME?
“Metabolic syndrome is certainly very much impacted by diet,” says Nicole Harkin, MD, FACC, founder of Whole Heart Cardiology. “The central component to it is weight gain which is often created by a combination of genetic factors, a sedentary lifestyle, and then dietary factors that really go into developing insulin resistance and a body weight that’s above ideal.”
A primary culprit, she says, is the standard American diet, which tends to be rich in highly processed foods.
A 2021 study published in Liver International investigated the connection between ultra-processed foods and metabolic syndrome. A total of 789 male and female participants (59 years old on average) received a food frequency questionnaire, an abdominal ultrasound, body measurements, blood pressure measurements, and fasting blood tests. Researchers found that eating more ultra-processed foods was associated with higher odds for metabolic syndrome and its components—hypertension, hypertriglyceridemia, and low HDL.
On the flip side, evidence shows that a whole-food, plant-based diet can play a protective role against metabolic syndrome. Not only is it low in saturated fat; it’s also high in fiber, which could be effective in the management of metabolic syndrome for its ability to control body weight through its effect on satiety (among other health benefits). And research indicates that eating greater quantities of fruits and vegetables is associated with a lower risk of metabolic syndrome.
HOW TO REVERSE METABOLIC SYNDROME
“While [metabolic syndrome] might sound like a scary diagnosis, it’s definitely something that you can turn around with lifestyle changes,” says Harkin.
A healthy diet and regular exercise are keys to doing just that, according to a 2007 study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.
Researchers divided 335 metabolic syndrome patients aged 45 to 64 in northwest Italy into an intervention group and a control group. The intervention group reduced saturated fat intake and increased polyunsaturated fat and fiber intake, along with exercise levels. After 12 months, researchers saw weight, waist circumference, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (a marker of inflammation), and most metabolic syndrome components decrease in the intervention group and increase in the control group.
“Getting an adequate amount of exercise is a great part of preventing and reversing metabolic syndrome,” says Harkin.
And it doesn’t need to be vigorous exercise, which may be especially challenging for overweight or more sedentary individuals. Instead, according to a 2007 study published in the American Journal of Cardiology, even moderate exercise, such as walking about 12 miles per week, can sufficiently improve metabolic syndrome. Alternately, the American Heart Association recommends 30 to 60 minutes per day of moderate-intensity physical activity supplemented by two days per week of resistance training.
“If you lose somewhere between just 5–10% of your body weight, that can really improve your insulin sensitivity and reverse some of the cardiometabolic abnormalities that we see in association with metabolic syndrome,” says Harkin.
REAL-LIFE SUCCESS STORIES
By adopting a healthier lifestyle, it’s possible to avoid and even reverse metabolic syndrome and its risk factors. For inspiration, check out the following first-person testimonials from individuals who have—with the help of a whole-food, plant-based diet—done just that:
- I’m Reversing Metabolic Syndrome on a Plant-Based Diet
- I’ve Normalized Sky-High Triglycerides and Begun Reversing Kidney Disease in Just 12 Weeks
- What a Plant-Based Diet Did to My Cholesterol, Blood Sugar, and Triglycerides
- From Cheese-Loving Vegetarian with Sky-High Blood Pressure to Whole-Food, Plant-Based and Healthy
- What Giving Up Meat, Dairy, and Processed Foods Did for My BMI, Blood Pressure, and Cholesterol
To learn more about a whole-food, plant-based diet, visit our Plant-Based Primer. For meal-planning support, check out Forks Meal Planner, FOK’s easy weekly meal-planning tool to keep you on a healthy plant-based path.
Author Lindsay Morris for Forks Over Knives
*from Forks Over Knives
Blue Zone Lesson # 8
The Blue Zones
9 Lessons For Living Longer
From the people who’ve lived the longest
by Dan Buettner
This is not meant to be a book review, but a chance to impart some great information that we all need to know.
“Life expectancy of an American born today averages 78.2 years. But this year, over 70,000 Americans have reached their 100 birthday.”
Dan Buettner teamed up with National Geographic to find the world’s longest-lived people and study them. They found pockets of people around the world with the highest life expectancy, or with the highest proportions of people to reach age 100.
The 5 places are:
Barbagia region of Sardinia-mountainous highlands
Ikaria, Greece-Aegean Island
Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica
Seventh Day Adventist-around Loma Linda, California
Okinawa, Japan-Island area.
They put together medical researchers, anthropologists, Demographers, and epidemiologists to search for evidence-based common denominators. They found nine lifestyle and diet habits .
Here is the first Lifestyle habit:
#1. Move Naturally.
“The world’s longest-lived people don’t pump iron, run marathons or join gyms. Instead, they live in environments that constantly nudge them into moving without thinking about it. They grow gardens and don’t have mechanical conveniences for house and yard work.”
How do I incorporate this into my life?
“Have fun, Keep moving’
“The Okinawans call it ‘Ikigai’ and the Nicoyans call it ‘plan de vida;’for both it translates to ‘why I wake up in the morning.’ Knowing your sense of purpose is worth up to seven years of extra life expectancy.”
In his book, The author says to take time to see the big picture. For me, I know some days are going to not be pain free. Having a purpose helps me push the pain and strain aside.
#3. Down shift
“Even people in the Blue Zones experience stress. Stress leads to chronic inflammation, associated with every major age-related disease. What the world’s longest-lived people have that we don’t are routines to shed that stress. Okinawans take a few moments each day to remember their ancestors, Adventists pray, Ikarians take a nap and Sardinians do happy hour.”
#4. 80% Rule
“‘Hara hachi bu’ -the Okinawan, 2500-year old Confucian mantra said before meals reminds them to stop eating when their stomachs are 80% full. The 20% gap between not being hungry and feeling full could be the difference between losing weight or gaining it. People in the blue zones eat their smallest meal in the late afternoon or early evening and then they don’t eat any more the rest of the day.”
#5. Plant Slant
“Beans, including fava, black, soy and lentils, are the cornerstone of most centenarian diets. Meat–mostly pork–is eaten on average only five times per month. Serving sizes are 3-4 oz., about the size of a deck of cards.”
#6. Wine @ 5
“People in all blue zones (except Adventists) drink alcohol moderately and regularly. Moderate drinkers outlive non-drinkers. The trick is to drink 1-2 glasses per day (preferably Sardinian Cannonau wine), with friends and/or with food. And no, you can’t save up all week and have 14 drinks on Saturday.
All but five of the 263 centenarians we interviewed belonged to some faith-based community. Denomination doesn’t seem to matter. Research shows that attending faith-based services four times per month will add 4-14 years of life expectancy.
#8. RIGHT TRIBE
The world’s longest-lived people are either born into or choose to create social circles that support healthy behaviors. Ikarians enjoy tight-knit communities that socialize frequently, while Okinawans build “moai” groups of five friends that commit to each other for life.
Research from the Framingham Studies shows that smoking, obesity, happiness and even loneliness are contagious. Assessing who you hang out with, and then proactively surrounding yourself with the right friends, will do more to add years to your life than just about anything else.
Blue Zone #9 is coming, the final lifestyle similarity in the next blog.
Be healthy, Coach Brown