The body produces 2 main types of cholesterol: LDL the bad guy, and HDL the good guy. Take the total of these two lipids, along with 20% of your triglyceride score, and this equates your total cholesterol score. LDL is the easiest lipid to regulate by: decreasing intake of beef & pork by 1-2 servings a week, increasing servings of fish, taking omega 3 fish oil supplements (increases HDL), 30 min or more of aerobic exercise 4-5x a week, and increasing the intake of high fiber foods. (Statins are not ever an option in my opinion)
Blood Pressure <130/80
These numbers determine the force of blood pushing against the walls of the blood vessels, so if the #s are high this strains the heart and arteries. Hypertension is referred to as the “Silent Killer” because it lacks obvious symptoms, and currently nearly half of the adults in the US have high blood pressure. If it is not controlled it becomes a risk factor for stroke, heart attack, heart failure, and kidney disease. Sodium intake has always been linked to hypertension, but did you know that more than 70% of sodium intake comes from food produced outside the home? (processed foods and restaurant food) Increase your consumption of potassium rich foods, as potassium helps to lower sodium levels.
Resting Heart Rate 60-100
The lower your resting heart is, the better your cardiovascular fitness is. Certain medications (beta blockers) can lower your resting heart rate, but not the same thing. For every 5 lbs of extra weight you gain, your body produces about a mile of capillaries to maintain that “flesh”. So, for example, 20 extra lbs = 4 miles further your heart must supply with blood. The heart IS a muscle, so use it or lose it, otherwise you end up with an oversized flabby heart, which leads to congestive heart failure. A minimum of 20 min a day of aerobic exercise, can help to keep the “flabby heart” at bay.
Blood Glucose Level <100
Your blood sugar can fluctuate depending on what you eat and when you eat, so this is the reason doctors always want to see a “baseline / fasting” glucose level. The body’s inability to regulate glucose is the primary component of diabetes. As food gets broken down to sugar with digestion, insulin (a hormone made by the pancreas) helps transport blood glucose into all your body’s cells. Diabetes occurs when the body fails to make enough insulin, or the cells become resistant to it. A fasting blood glucose test is a snap shot of that moment, whereas an A1c test can give an average blood sugar level over a 3-month period. A Glycomark test measures blood sugar levels over 2-3 weeks, and used to show if dietary or medication changes are effective. A diet low in sugar, and higher in protein, fruit, vegetables and whole grains is best. Please understand that switching out all sugar for artificial sweeteners, is not an option here. A new study just came out showing that just having to diet soda’s a day significantly raises your risk for a heart attack...so pick your poison! Research has also found that diabetes is less prevalent in those with the highest levels of vitamin, had the lowest risk of diabetes.
Body Mass Index 18.5-24.9
BMI is a ratio of weight to height, and when the numbers too high it can classify one as overweight, or obese. The higher the BMI the greater the risk for heart disease, stroke, certain forms of cancers, and other chronic diseases. If you don’t know your BMI go here to find out. Losing even 5% of your body weight can result in significant decrease of your risk factors, and overall health.
Waist Circumference 40 men 35 women
People who carry extra weight around their abdomen, verses hips or other areas, have a greater risk for heart disease and type II diabetes. Take a tape measure around your natural waist, and without “sucking it in”. Note the size. A recent study showed that high-intensity interval training, mixing brief bouts of fast walking, running, or biking, with longer stretches of slower paced exercise, was more effective at burning off abdominal fat.
VO2 MAX >28.2 men >20 women
Unless you’re a serious athlete, you probably don’t even know what this is, but it’s a measurement of your aerobic fitness. The higher your number, the healthier your cardiovascular system is. Normally this measurement is taken by having one run on a treadmill to the point of exhaustion, but now researchers have developed a calculator where you plug in specific numbers to calculate your VO2 max score at home. This calculator will tell you not only your VO2 max score but your fitness age also. Go Calculate