High blood sugar, blood pressure or triglycerides, out-of-control cholesterol, an expanding waistline separately, each of these can harm your health. But having three or more at the same time, a condition called metabolic syndrome, causes a lot more trouble than each can on its own. Luckily, these steps can help prevent or even reverse it, and cut your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes 50 percent.
Eat spinach, carrots, mangoes, and kiwis.
Eating three cups of any green and orange produce weekly cuts your risk of clogged arteries 10 percent. “This simple diet change can double, even triple, your intake of compounds that help prevent metabolic syndrome by improving blood-sugar control, correcting insulin resistance, and lowering blood pressure,” says Connie Guttersen, Ph.D.
Consume more seafood.
Eating at least 18 ounces weekly of any kind of seafood you like slashes your risk of developing metabolic syndrome 57 percent — even if the rest of your diet isn’t perfect, reports the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. Seafood is rich in nourishing omega-3 fats, which steady
blood sugar, plus help control your liver’s production of cholesterol and triglycerides, says study coauthor Inkyung Baik, Ph.D.
Every organ needs magnesium to function at its peak, so it’s no wonder that dozens of studies suggest that correcting a shortfall can cut your risk of metabolic syndrome 31 percent (by warding off weight gain, high blood pressure, and other risk factors). Try taking 400 mg. daily or massaging your skin with topical magnesium. “Available in lotion and oil form, it’s easy to use, very well absorbed and won’t cause digestive problems,” says Deborah Gordon, M.D.
One option: Ancient Minerals Magnesium Lotion, $21.95, Amazon.
Reach for an avocado.
Simply shedding a few pounds of belly fat (which produces damaging inflammation) can lower your cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure, dropping your risk of metabolic sydrome by 63 percent. And eating 1/2 cup of avocado per day can make it easy by curbing cravings 28 percent, while helping you burn 40 percent more belly fat, say Loma Linda University researchers.
Try black raspberry.
Black raspberry supplements like this one from Swanson ($8.05, Amazon) are shown to trim cholesterol as much as 22 points and blood pressure eight points, reining in two top causes of metabolic syndrome. Ellagic acid in the berries helps balance blood fats and relax artery walls.
A daily glass of wine or beer can up your artery-clearing HDL cholesterol 10 percent in 90 days and boost insulin sensitivity 7 percent, cutting your risk of metabolic syndrome 25 percent, say Old Dominion University pros. Alcohol and the dozens of plant compounds in these drinks get the credit.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Reverse Aging.