As we begin to start promoting our annual Cardiometabolic Health workshop, it’s important to take a step back and look at the benefits of eating healthy and putting together a food plan below are 5 helpful reasons why it is important.
Reduce Fasting Blood Sugar and Insulin Levels
Address elevated glucose (blood sugar) and insulin levels by reducing the intake of refined carbohydrates and limiting the intake of grains which can directly raise blood sugar spikes and subsequent insulin elevations. Insulin is a catabolic hormone whose role is to get glucose out of the bloodstream and bring it to the liver to be made into lipids and fat. Higher insulin levels promote the production of body fat, especially the inflammatory abdominal and visceral (around the organs) body fat. The high amount of fiber in the diet also will help to reduce the absorption of glucose from the GI tract.
The diet focuses on removing processed foods, polyunsaturated fats and hydrogenated oils all of which are drivers of inflammation in the body. There is also a focus on increasing Omega-3 fatty acids which reduce inflammation in the body.
Reduce Harmful Blood Lipids (LDL and Triglycerides)
Focusing on monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty fats help to lower cholesterol and “thin” the blood to reduce the incidence of blood clots and vessel damage that lead to heart attacks and strokes. The diet’s increase in fiber (beans, fruits, and vegetables, beans) helps to bind fats in the GI tract, thus reducing lipid levels, especially in those individuals who are high absorbers of fats and cholesterol. Reducing refined carbohydrates and grains reduce blood glucose levels and insulin levels which also drive lipid production, especially the most dangerous types, sLDL, and triglycerides.
Reduces Oxidative Stress
By stressing a plant-based diet with 8-12 servings of fruits and vegetables oxidative stress (damage to proteins, fats) is reduced because of the increased intake of antioxidants and free radical neutralizers.
Reducing High Blood Pressure
The food plan addresses inflammation and oxidative stress both of which lead to vessel damage and elevations in blood pressure. The reduction of sodium intake has an impact on blood pressure but the increase of potassium through the increased intake of fruits and vegetables has an equally beneficial impact on blood pressure as potassium balances the deleterious effects of sodium. The diet also addresses obesity, a major driver of hypertension and blood pressure elevations.