DUNMORE, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – Your health is something you should never take for granted but a recent study indicates many of us are doing just that. It concerns what’s called your metabolic health.
The overwhelming majority of us are in poor metabolic health which puts us at greater risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. As Eyewitness News Healthbeat Reporter Mark Hiller explains, a Commonwealth Health family medicine physician in Dunmore is weighing-in on the study and offering ways we can do better.
“How do we metabolize things? How does our body process them? How do we use what we take in for energy?” Dr. Marla Dempsey is talking about metabolic health and according to a study in the journal Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders, only 12 percent of us have an optimal level of it without relying on medications. The research shows those with the worst metabolic health are obese. “The rates of obesity in this country are very high. Upwards of a third of the population is considered obese,” said Dr. Dempsey.
But it means more than just measuring your waistline. Take, for example, your level of insulin. Dr. Dempsey says if you’re eating a lot of high-sugar meals, it spikes your blood sugar which then crashes and makes you feel hungry again. “If you can try to eat frequent small meals, lots of protein and try to get lots of fruits and veggies in there, that will keep your metabolic rate instead of going up and down and up and down like this.”
Besides controlling your insulin, other factors include maintaining good blood pressure, HDL cholesterol and triglycerides which are a type of fat in your blood. Getting enough cardio exercise is also critical. So is increasing your muscle mass which, Dr. Dempsey says, burns more fat at rest. “Your basic metabolic rate burns about a thousand to 1,200 calories a day. And if you have lean muscle, that’s going to go up.”
Another key to optimal metabolic health? How well you’re sleeping. “Make sure you’re getting good sleep. If you don’t give your body time to rest and rejuvenate then none of this will make any difference,” said Dr. Dempsey.
Some things you have no control over such as genetics, age and hormonal factors. But other things you do like drinking more water and some green tea and not drinking alcohol or smoking. All of this counts toward improving your metabolic health.