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Reducing Your Risk of Metabolic Syndrome

Changing your lifestyle and taking better care of yourself can lower your risk of developing metabolic syndrome.

If You Are Overweight, Lower Your Weight

  • Find a weight loss program that is right for you.
  • Lose weight slowly and steadily and plan ways to maintain the weight loss.
  • Monitor your weight.
  • Improve your eating habits.

Eat Healthy Foods

  • Eat more fruits and vegetables.
  • Choose lean cuts of meat.
  • Bake, broil, or grill your poultry, fish, or meat rather than frying it.
  • Reduce the amount of salt in your diet. Do not add salt to foods. Choose low-sodium foods.
  • Cut down on saturated and trans fats.
  • Choose whole-grain foods. For example, choose whole wheat bread or brown rice instead of refined or processed foods like white bread or white rice.
  • Eat more fiber-rich foods, such as beans, fruits, vegetables.
  • Eat less sugar.
  • Limit or eliminate soda and other sugary drinks including juice.

The Mediterranean diet is one diet that may help to reduce your risk of developing metabolic syndrome. This diet emphasizes plant-based foods like fruits, veggies, grains, and olive oil. It also highlights low-to-moderate amounts of fish, poultry, and dairy products.

Increase Your Physical Activity

  • Exercise a little each day. Aim for a total of 30 minutes or more.
  • Commit yourself to more physical activity. Join a health club or plan walks with friends.
  • Include increased activity into your daily habits.

See Your Doctor

  • Get regular physical check-ups from your doctor.
  • You and your doctor should monitor your weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels.
  • Get counseling on diet and exercise that is right for you.

Other Ways to Reduce Your Risk

Work with your doctor to:

  • Control your blood pressure
  • Control your lipid levels
  • Prevent diabetes by eating healthy food and by exercising
  • Increase your intake of specific minerals, such as magnesium.
  • Quit smoking

References:

Bo S, Ciccone G, Guidi S, et al. Diet or exercise: what is more effective in preventing or reducing metabolic alterations? Eur J Endocrinol. 2008;159(6):685-691
Cornier MA, Dabelea D, Hernandez TL, et al. The metabolic syndrome. Endocr Rev. 2008;29(7):777-822.
Metabolic syndrome in adults. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.... Updated March 11, 2016. Accessed September 23, 2016.
Orchar TJ, Temprosa M, Goldberg R, et al. The effect of diet and exercise or metformin on the metabolic syndrome: The diabetes prevention program randomized trial. Ann Intern Med. 2005;142(8):611-619.
Prevention and treatment of metabolic syndrome. American Heart Association website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated August 24, 2012. Accessed May 10, 2013.
Third Report of the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) Expert Panel on Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Cholesterol in Adults (Adult Treatment Panel III): Executive Summary. National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed May 10, 2013.
7/22/2011 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed...: Kastorini CM, Milionis HJ, et al. The effect of Mediterranean diet on metabolic syndrome and its components: a meta-analysis of 50 studies and 534,906 individuals. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2011;57(11):1299-1313.
3/30/2015 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed...: Babio N, Toledo E, Estruch R, et al. Mediterranean diets and metabolic syndrome status in the PREDIMED randomized trial. CMAJ. 2014;186(17):E649-E657.
7/15/2015 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed...: Dibaba DT, Xun P, Fly AD, Yokota K, He K. Dietary magnesium intake and risk of metabolic syndrome: a meta-analysis. Diabet Med. 2014;31(11):1301-1309.
Last reviewed June 2016 by James Cornell, MD
Last Updated: 7/15/2015

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