Category Archives for Weight Loss

cholesterol build up in arteries blocking significant blood flow

The Main Causes of High Cholesterol | Road Map to a Heart Attack

Healthy citizens are the greatest asset any country can have.

Winston S. Churchill

High cholesterol is very common in the U.S., but being commonplace doesn’t make it any less serious. While 95 million U.S. adults over the age of 20 are believed to have high cholesterol, it’s possible there are many more undiagnosed cases. [1] Oftentimes, people who have high cholesterol don’t know they have it. This is concerning considering the fact that high cholesterol is associated with serious health issues such as heart attack and stroke.

Despite its widespread nature, there are many things most of us don’t know about cholesterol. From understanding the differences between “good” and “bad” cholesterol to determining what you can do to improve your levels, there’s a lot to learn about this health phenomenon. Luckily, even if you’ve been diagnosed with high cholesterol or have a family history of the condition, there are many risk factors within your power to change. Explore what you need to know about high cholesterol below.

What is High Cholesterol?


Cholesterol is a waxy substance naturally produced by the liver. It’s a type of lipid which is crucial to the development of cell membranes, vitamin D, and key hormones. Yet, while it plays a critical role in these functions, having high cholesterol can be dangerous—particularly when there’s too much “bad” cholesterol. Thus, to understand the ways in which cholesterol can impact our health, it’s important to first explore the different types.

Types of Cholesterol

Because cholesterol can’t dissolve or move through blood on its own, it must be attached to proteins to be transported throughout the body successfully. The combination of cholesterol and proteins is referred to as a lipoprotein. There are two main forms of lipoproteins:

  • Low-density lipoprotein (LDL): Also known as the “bad” type of cholesterol, LDL carries particles of cholesterol through the blood. It can also accumulate within the artery walls, causing them to harden and narrow.
  • High-density lipoprotein (HDL): Commonly referred to as the “good” cholesterol, HDL carries excess cholesterol back to the liver. 

If your body has too much LDL, you could face an increased risk for serious health issues. Alarmingly, however, high cholesterol exhibits no symptoms, and the only way to test for high cholesterol is to have a blood draw.

Causes of High Cholesterol


Mature man eating donut while holding a second donut in his hand

The causes of high cholesterol span far and wide. Some contributing factors are within an individual’s control to change, while others are not. For example, while diet, weight, and exercise levels can influence HDL, factors such as age, gender, and genes can also contribute to LDL or HDL levels. Thus, the best way to maintain healthy cholesterol levels and thus support better cardiovascular health, is to focus on the factors within your control to change. Let’s take a closer look at the causes behind high cholesterol.

  • Diet: Cholesterol comes from two sources. While the liver produces all the cholesterol the body needs, we also take in cholesterol from foods derived from animals. This isn’t to say that eating meat or dairy products is bad for you. Foods with trans fats, however, cause the liver to produce even more cholesterol, which can lead to high cholesterol levels in some individuals. In addition to heavily processed animal products with trans fats, many baked goods can also trigger the liver to produce excess cholesterol. [5] 
  • Exercise Habits: Having a sedentary lifestyle can contribute to high LDL cholesterol. Regular aerobic activity, in particular, can help control LDL and in some cases promote healthy HDL levels. [6]
  • Weight: A large waist circumference and obesity are also associated with high cholesterol. [7]
  • Smoking: Smoking can lower your good HDL cholesterol, but it can compromise cardiovascular health in many other ways. In itself, smoking can increase the buildup of plaque in the blood vessels, damage the cells that line the blood vessels, and cause the vessels to thicken and narrow. [8]
  • Age & Gender: Cholesterol levels tend to rise naturally as we age. Prior to menopause, women’s total cholesterol levels tend to be lower than their male peers. After reaching menopause, however, their LDL cholesterol levels tend to rise, and HDL may also decrease. [9]
  • Hereditary Factors: Genetics play a role in the amount of cholesterol the body produces. High cholesterol can run in families, so individuals with relatives who have high cholesterol should be especially proactive in getting their levels checked.

Dangers of High Cholesterol


mature man gripping chest while sitting on couch in pain, mature man having heart attack on couch at home alone

Having high LDL cholesterol increases the risk for heart disease, the leading cause of death in the U.S. [2] Heart disease refers to a range of conditions which can affect the heart, many of which can lead to heart attack or stroke. Also known as hypercholesterolemia, high LDL increases fatty deposits within the arteries, thereby also increasing the risk of blockages. When cholesterol builds up on the artery walls, it forms what’s known as a cholesterol plaque. This plaque can restrict blood flow, also increasing risk for blood clot. Should a blood clot block the artery in the heart or brain, it can lead to a heart attack or stroke.

The good news is that high cholesterol can be treated with medication and managed through lifestyle modifications. First, however, you must know where you stand. Here is a general scale of LDL cholesterol numbers and what they mean.

  • Less than 100: optimal
  • 100-129: near optimal
  • 130-159: borderline
  • 160-189: high
  • 190 or higher: very high [3]

Keep in mind that in addition to having high LDL, having low HDL (again, the “good” cholesterol) can also put you at risk for heart disease. Thus, this too should be measured, with an ideal score of 60 or more. If HDL is less than 40, it could be considered a risk factor. [4]

The American Heart Association advises every adult over the age of 20 to have their cholesterol tested every four to six years, but these figures will vary based on the factors outlined above and on previous clinical indications.

Should high cholesterol be discovered in your blood test results, there are many ways to begin controlling it.

How to Lower Cholesterol Levels


Mature couple jogging and running outdoors in the city, Mature couple carrying reusable water bottles while jogging through the city

Lifestyle and diet changes are among the most effective ways to prevent and lower LDL. Additionally, if you’re a smoker and haven’t already done so, make a plan to quit. Here, we’ll explore some detailed changes that work well for lowering LDL cholesterol.

Dietary Changes

While there are many wise eating habits you can incorporate into your dietary plan to improve cholesterol levels, the lowest cholesterol levels are found in diets with the highest soluble fibers. [10] Diets high in soluble fiber often align with the typical anti-inflammatory diet, which emphasize foods like kidney beans, Brussels sprouts, and apples. Soluble fiber has the ability to reduce cholesterol absorption in the blood, making it a powerful nutrient for individuals with high LDL cholesterol. [11]

Additionally, eliminating trans fats found in margarine and store-bought, processed snack foods can help to reduce cholesterol. Individuals may also wish to incorporate foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as walnuts, flaxseeds, salmon, and mackerel. While these foods won’t affect LDL cholesterol themselves, they do have other cardiovascular benefits, such as the ability to help reduce blood pressure.

Exercise

Regular physical activity can support better cholesterol by increasing HDL. [12] Generally, most individuals can benefit from 30 minutes of exercise five times per week, or 20 minutes of high-intensity exercise three times a week. With that being said, it’s important for each person to work with an experienced physician who can make exercise recommendations based on the individual’s starting physical health.

Losing weight is another helpful way to control cholesterol, which can often be achieved with a strategic approach to dieting and exercising. Reducing alcohol consumption may also help to control cholesterol levels.

In some cases, medications may be needed in conjunction with the lifestyle and dietary changes described above to control especially high cholesterol levels. Even if medications are needed, maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help keep medication doses as low as possible. 

Understanding Your Risk for High Cholesterol – In Conclusion


Because it exhibits no outward symptoms, high cholesterol is a dangerous threat to health, which can have serious implications if left unaddressed. Its impact on heart health cannot be overstated, and while there are some factors which are beyond an individual’s control to change, many behaviors that influence cholesterol can be modified.

At Cenegenics, your individualized treatment plan begins with a comprehensive lab panel to test for underlying health issues, such as high LDL or low LDL cholesterol. Based on the findings, our clinical team devises tailored roadmaps to help you become healthier and enjoy a better overall quality of life. For instance, while our approach to healthy eating and exercise will certainly help to lower high cholesterol with ongoing compliance, it can also support weight loss, improved cardiovascular health, and reduced risk for disease. With the knowledge that the many measures of health are complex and often interconnected, we treat the entire patient, not just a single symptom or isolated condition.

If you’re interested in controlling your cholesterol and optimizing your wellness overall, contact your nearest Cenegenics location for more information.

Next Steps to Controlling Your Cholesterol

FREE Consultation

Our world class physicians create a personalized plan to help you feel 10+ years younger. You'll be more energetic, lose weight, sleep better, have more libido, and think more clearly. Click below to schedule a free consultation with one of our physicians. It's quick + easy. 

About the Contributor

Rudy Inaba 
Global Director of Nutrition & Exercise

Rudy Inaba is Cenegenics’ Global Director of Nutrition & Exercise. He is a recognized fitness and sports nutrition consultant with nearly 15 years of experience in clinical exercise physiology and lifestyle management. After pursuing his Master of Science in Clinical Exercise Physiology at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, Rudy joined Cenegenics where he leads 20 clinical locations nationwide in their advancements in kinesiology, nutritional biochemistry, and their analyses of industry research & market trending.

Key Resources

This guide was produced with contributions from the following key resources: 

The Cenegenics Education and Research Foundation  

The Textbook of Age Management Medicine Volume 1: Mastering Healthy Aging Nutrition, Exercise and Hormone Replacement Therapy

Click to purchase

The Cenegenics Education and Research Foundation  

The Textbook of Age Management Medicine Volume 2: Mastering Healthy Aging Nutrition, Exercise and Hormone Replacement Therapy

Click to purchase

Textbook Authors:

Jeffrey Park Leake, M.D., CPT

Dr. Jeffrey Park Leake is a Partner and Director of Education at Cenegenics Elite Health specializing in age management and wellness. Having trained hundreds of physicians worldwide, Dr. Leake is also the Director of Education for the Clinical Strategies for Healthy Aging course at AMM Educational Foundation.

Todd David Greenberg, M.D., CSCS

Dr. Todd Greenberg is a practicing physician with a broad range of expertise, including wellness, exercise, sports injuries, and MRI of sports injuries. He is a Radiology Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Washington.

References

[1] CDC, “High Cholesterol Facts.” 6 Feb. 2019. Retrieved from URL: https://www.cdc.gov/cholesterol/facts.htm 

[2] CDC; see above.

[3] Cleveland Clinic, “Cholesterol Numbers: What Do They Mean.” 26 July 2017. Retrieved from URL: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/11920-cholesterol-numbers-what-do-they-mean

[4] Cleveland Clinic, see above.

[5] American Heart Association, “Control Your Cholesterol.” 30 Apr. 2017. Retrieved from URL: https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/cholesterol/about-cholesterol

[6] Bhatt, Ami, MD, FACC. “Cholesterol: Understanding HDL vs. LDL.” Harvard Health. 12 Apr. 2018. Retrieved from URL: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/understanding-cholesterol-hdl-vs-ldl-2018041213608

[7] Bhatt, Ami; see above.

[8] CDC, “Smoking and Heart Disease and Stroke.” 28 Jan. 2019. Retrieved from URL: https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/campaign/tips/diseases/heart-disease-stroke.html

[9] Cleveland Clinic; see above.

[10] Leake, Jeffrey Park, M.D., CPT and Greenberg, Todd David, M.D., CSCS. The Textbook of Age Management Medicine: Volume 1. 2015, Leake-Greenberg Ventures. (125)

[11] Mayo Clinic. “Top 5 lifestyle changes to improve your cholesterol.” 11 Aug. 2018. Retrieved from URL: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/in-depth/reduce-cholesterol/art-20045935

[12] Mayo Clinic; see above.

mature couple smiling at phone while standing outside of tropical hotel

4 Dos and Don’ts for Eating Healthy While Traveling

The habits that took years to build,  

do not take a day to change.

Susan Powter

As a resident of New York, it is no surprise that I need to get away from the stone torture tube that is the subway and the hustle and bustle of New York. I have always been a huge fan of traveling and have done so with my family since I was 2 years old. Over the last 5 or 6 years, I have found a balance when on vacation between fun and health and I actually enjoy vacation more because of it.

I just came back from Costa Rica and feel no different than when I left, in terms of motivation. I was able to have my fun, while also keeping in mind that going all out all the time can have some pretty immediate effects. Here is a list of do’s and don’ts when on vacation to help you enjoy but also stay on track:

Dos and Don'ts of a Healthy Vacation

While trying not to fall too heavily off the tracks during a vacation, incorporate the following tips:

  • DO something active
  • DO drink plenty of water
  • DO make healthy choices as often as possible
  • DO get good quality sleep
  • DON'T overindulge on unhealthy food
  • DON'T consume alcohol with every meal
  • DON'T oversleep
  • DON'T be physically inactive

Vacation Don’ts


This has a bit of a negative connotation. Drinking, eating, and excessive relaxation are all part of a great trip away from the norm. However, in excess, they can cause problems and even bring great frustration.

DON’T make every meal your last meal on Earth

Believe me, I have been on vacation and have gone to restaurants where my mentality is, “They may have to carry me after this one.” This type of meal will happen, and that is okay.

However, treating every meal like this, especially over the course of many days, can pile on the calories, reduce your energy levels, and even disrupt your metabolism. Try to limit this type of meal as often as you can.

 Don’t be afraid to eat the things you enjoy, but maybe limit to once a day and not in massive quantities.

DON’T drink alcohol at every meal

mature group of friends drinking alcohol in a bar

Breakfast is awesome, and I love bacon and eggs. However, adding a cocktail to this meal, at 8:30 in the morning, is unnecessary.

 Try to consume more water and low-calorie beverages at meals like breakfast and lunch, and save the alcohol for meals that are low in carbohydrates as well.

DON’T sleep too much

Once again, I have slept in so much on vacation that someone had to remind me what day it is. Not only can you actually oversleep, but your entire rhythm will be completely thrown off.

Oversleeping can cause you to feel groggier throughout the day and less motivated to make the right decisions. Try to get a deep 8 hours or so, and wake up feeling refreshed, not like a zombie! 

DON’T do absolutely nothing physically

Some people will find a beach chair, pull it up, and sit for hours on end (I personally lose my mind sitting there for 30 minutes). Try to plan events that encourage you to be active, such as:

  • Hiking
  • Walking around historic destinations
  • Biking

These types of activities will allow you to see the most of your vacation destination, and keep you moving as well!

Vacation Do’s


There are a few of these that may seem contrary to what you want to do on vacation. These are mere guidelines that will take up a fraction of your time while helping you stay on point.

DO exercise

Mature couple hiking while on vacation

I am a crazy person who will literally “workout” for hours on vacation. I love playing sports, lifting weights, and doing outdoor activities. However, for you non-crazy people out there, this does not have to be the case.

Working out in the morning when you first wake up is a great idea. A morning workout can help you:

  • Feel more refreshed to start the day
  • Make better food and beverage choices
  • Lessen the overall impact of poor calorie choices
You do not have to work out every day or for very long, but try to get at least 30-45 minutes a day of resistance training with cardio every other day

DO drink lots of water

man pouring water into glass cup while sitting in clean kitchen

Forgetting to hydrate is one of the biggest mistakes people make when on vacation. It is safe to say you may partake in some dehydration type activities, so maintaining consistent fluid intake will help.

Here are some basic hydration tips:

  • Try drinking water with every alcoholic beverage
  • Avoid sugary drinks and mixers as often as possible
  • Fruit juices, sodas, cream based coffee drinks, and overly sweet frozen drinks should also be avoided

DO choose healthy options as often as possible

mature gentlemen eating salads after playing golf during vacation

Believe it or not, there are almost always tons of healthy options when on vacation. Whenever I have gone on a cruise, or to an all-inclusive, there have been loads of fresh fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats.

Granted, they are surrounded by fried, doughy madness, but your ability to sift through these unhealthy options is part of the learning process of balance. Try when possible to stick to the lower glycemic side of the scale, while occasionally tossing in a treat snack or meal.

DO get good sleep

mature couple sleeping in robes in hotel room

Sleeping too little is just as big a problem as sleeping too much on vacation. Go out and have your fun, but also know that too many days of back to back poor sleep can set you up for quite the difficult return trip.

Try your best to get 8 solid hours of sleep while on vacation (but remember, not too much either).

ENJOY! You’re on Vacation


Mature couple smiling while sailing on boat

When we travel, it is usually to a place nothing like where we are from. Take in all the culture has to offer, and enjoy immersing yourself in an unfamiliar place. Overeating and moving very little may seem appealing but can actually hinder your ability to explore and enjoy.

Find the balance, and you will make the most of your trip!

Vacation Control: How to Enjoy While Staying on Track – In Conclusion


The key to eating healthy and not falling off track while traveling is balance. Understanding that it is important to step away from our busy lives and live in the moment, while also not over indulging, is a hard lesson to master.

Tips such as getting in a morning workout so you feel more motivated to make additional healthy choices, and getting enough sleep in order to not have unhealthy cravings are great steps to take in order to not feel too guilty while on vacation.

At Cenegenics, your clinical team is only an email or phone call away. If you are unsure of what steps to take while on vacation, your clinical team is your greatest tool!

Next Steps to Learning Vacation Control

FREE Consultation

Our world class physicians create a personalized plan to help you feel 10+ years younger. You'll be more energetic, lose weight, sleep better, have more libido, and think more clearly. Click below to schedule a free consultation with one of our physicians. It's quick + easy. 

About the Author

Joshua D’Alessandro MS, CSCS, CISSN
Nutrition & Exercise Counselor at Cenegenics New York City

My name is Joshua D'Alessandro and I am an Exercise and Nutrition Counselor for Cenegenics in NY. My passion for fitness began at a very young age and has manifested into a career filled with possibilities. The countries largest epidemic, and quite possibly the root cause of most issues, is diminishing health. In my career, I hope to do everything and anything I can to improve the well being and lives of the people around me! 

Key Resources

This guide was produced with contributions from the following key resources: 

The Cenegenics Education and Research Foundation  

The Textbook of Age Management Medicine Volume 1: Mastering Healthy Aging Nutrition, Exercise and Hormone Replacement Therapy

Click to purchase

The Cenegenics Education and Research Foundation  

The Textbook of Age Management Medicine Volume 2: Mastering Healthy Aging Nutrition, Exercise and Hormone Replacement Therapy

Click to purchase

Textbook Authors:

Jeffrey Park Leake, M.D., CPT

Dr. Jeffrey Park Leake is a Partner and Director of Education at Cenegenics Elite Health specializing in age management and wellness. Having trained hundreds of physicians worldwide, Dr. Leake is also the Director of Education for the Clinical Strategies for Healthy Aging course at AMM Educational Foundation.

Todd David Greenberg, M.D., CSCS

Dr. Todd Greenberg is a practicing physician with a broad range of expertise, including wellness, exercise, sports injuries, and MRI of sports injuries. He is a Radiology Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Washington.

Man in windbreaker standing on top of mountain staring out at mountainous green landscape as sun is rising

Getting Back on Track with Diet & Exercise: Staying Motivated

When I lost all my excuses, I found all my results.

Unknown

After a long, strenuous week, it’s Friday! The work week is over, and it is time to relax and leave some of the stress behind. During the week, you remained focused and diligent, not just on work, but on yourself. Your nutrition was spot on, and you hit the gym 3 out of 5 days. You are feeling great and motivated, and there is nothing that can slow you down!

Saturday comes along, and your friends invite you to a party. No big deal; socializing is part of a healthy lifestyle. When you get there, you are feeling confident that you have found balance and can enjoy yourself while maintaining the moderation that has gotten you here.

Immediately, the smell hits you. All of your favorite snacks are there along with pizza, subs, and all types of alcohol, like the world ends tomorrow. You try your best, but you give in, and 3 glasses of wine, 2 slices of pizza, and 2 cookies later, you’re on the couch in an immovable heap of a food coma. Now, there are a few scenarios that follow this.

  • You wake up the next morning, feeling guilty about your decisions the previous day, and decide to continue down that path. You figure, “I will just start again Monday,” and add pancakes to the mix the next morning.
  • You overreact and eat little to nothing the next day. You think this will help but, on Monday, you feel even worse than before, and your workout goes terribly.
  • You acknowledge that it was one meal and that it has little to no effect on all of the hard work you put in. You wake up the next morning, hydrate (you all know why), and you kick it back into gear.

Getting Back on Track with Diet & Exercise


Blonde woman handing pizza to a smiling mature man at dinner table

When we hear the phrase “falling off track,” many of us see this as an insurmountable mistake. Not only have we fallen off track, but the train is cascading down a hill that creates a new uphill battle.

The reality of the situation is that one meal did not knock you off a cliff. One meal merely tilted you off one wheel for a small fraction of time. The only way for the train to fall completely off the tracks is for you, as the conductor, to allow this to happen.

Acknowledging that it was one meal, or a single night out, and not allowing yourself to use this as an excuse to continue down your current path makes a large difference. Tilt the balance back by waking up and eating a high quality, nutritious breakfast, and hit the gym for a satisfying workout!

Staying Motivated on a Diet & Exercise Program


Staying motivated and keeping on track can be difficult, but it is not remotely impossible. Much like anything in life, there will be bumps along the way that provide immense challenges. Having a plan going into these situations will turn this so-called disaster into an enjoyable and necessary social experience. Here are some tips to not only stay on track but to also keep moving forward!

Staying Motivated

Here are some tips to help you stay motivated & stay on track:

  • Workout Before Going Out
  • Eat & Hydrate Before Going Out
  • Workout Afterwards or the Following Day
  • Have a Motivation or Workout Buddy
  • Have Healthy Meals Planned for After a Social Event
  • Enjoy & Live in the Moment 

Workout Before Going Out and Socializing

  • Most of the time when we go out, it is not until at the very least the early afternoon
  • Take the time to wake up in the morning, eat well, hydrate a lot, and toss in a great workout
  • Working out before these events will increase your metabolism, increasing muscular demand for those potentially bad calories, and even reduce your cravings for them
  • Make good use of the calories to come, and start the day with activity and good decisions!

Eat and Hydrate Before You Go

Woman drinking water while exercising with mature male partner
  • Most of the time when we go to social events, we typically plan to eat until it hurts
  • This is a huge mistake, because going into a social event hungry will increase cravings and the possibility of binging
  • On top of your morning workout, try to have as much high quality nutrition as you can before you go, including:
    • Lean protein such as chicken, fish, eggs and egg whites
    • Lots of vegetables
    • Healthy fats like avocado and nuts
    • Some fruit or low glycemic carbs such as quinoa or sweet potato
    • Lots of water
  • The more satisfied you feel going into the social event, the less likely you are to go all out

Workout Afterwards, or the Next Day

  • Working out as soon as you can, after a cheat meal or event, can help you immediately make use of the calories and steer you in the right direction
  • Instead of slamming down more bad food the next morning, get up and go to the gym
  • Even a light workout will help you release endorphins that help you think positively of the food you had, and allow you to carry on with your nutrition and exercise regimen right away

Have a Motivation Buddy

silhouetted man helping partner climb large boulders
  • Having someone with the same mentality as you can be very helpful
  • If you are going to a party or event with a spouse, friend, or family member, have each other’s back
  • Try to support one another by making realistic goals going in and sticking to them as best you can
  • Make plans together to go to the gym in the morning before or the morning after the event
  • Keep each other accountable, and you will succeed!

Have Healthy Meals Planned out for After the Social Event

ENJOY!

  • Life is about taking in these fun, slightly glutinous moments and appreciating them
  • Living in the moment is key here
  • By living in the moment, you can get what you need out of these less healthy decisions, and make them fit well into your lifestyle

All in all, enjoy life and maintain a balanced approach. No one can push you off the tracks. Staying on path is up to you, and these tools will make it much easier.

Finding Motivation – In Conclusion


We all live busy lives and aren’t always able to say no to socializing with friends and family, but “don’t’ get so busy making a life that you forget to live it”. Enjoy life, but remember to maintain a healthy balance.

If you are going out, be sure to plan ahead:

  • Enjoy a morning workout and a healthy breakfast
  • Keep hydrated
  • Have healthy meals ready for after
  • Always have a motivation partner
  • Don’t guilt yourself the next day

Having a healthy mindset and being able to recognize that one night does not ruin all of your progress is the best way to keep yourself on track and motivated. Your Cenegenics Nutrition & Exercise Counselor is also a great source of motivation when you are feeling overwhelmed by your choices from a night out.

Our customized nutrition and exercise programs are designed to help optimize your health & wellness, taking into account your current lifestyle. Your Cenegenics team is here to help you every step of the way. To learn more, contact your nearest Cenegenics location.

Next Steps to Staying Motivated with Cenegenics

FREE Consultation

Our world class physicians create a personalized plan to help you feel 10+ years younger. You'll be more energetic, lose weight, sleep better, have more libido, and think more clearly. Click below to schedule a free consultation with one of our physicians. It's quick + easy. 

About the Author

Joshua D’Alessandro MS, CSCS, CISSN
Nutrition & Exercise Counselor at Cenegenics New York City

My name is Joshua D'Alessandro and I am an Exercise and Nutrition Counselor for Cenegenics in NY. My passion for fitness began at a very young age and has manifested into a career filled with possibilities. The countries largest epidemic, and quite possibly the root cause of most issues, is diminishing health. In my career, I hope to do everything and anything I can to improve the well being and lives of the people around me! 

Key Resources

This guide was produced with contributions from the following key resources: 

The Cenegenics Education and Research Foundation  

The Textbook of Age Management Medicine Volume 1: Mastering Healthy Aging Nutrition, Exercise and Hormone Replacement Therapy

Click to purchase

The Cenegenics Education and Research Foundation  

The Textbook of Age Management Medicine Volume 2: Mastering Healthy Aging Nutrition, Exercise and Hormone Replacement Therapy

Click to purchase

Textbook Authors:

Jeffrey Park Leake, M.D., CPT

Dr. Jeffrey Park Leake is a Partner and Director of Education at Cenegenics Elite Health specializing in age management and wellness. Having trained hundreds of physicians worldwide, Dr. Leake is also the Director of Education for the Clinical Strategies for Healthy Aging course at AMM Educational Foundation.

Todd David Greenberg, M.D., CSCS

Dr. Todd Greenberg is a practicing physician with a broad range of expertise, including wellness, exercise, sports injuries, and MRI of sports injuries. He is a Radiology Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Washington.

granola parfaits with blueberry and raspberries in mason jars

Healthy Snacks to Get You Through the Day

Calories from protein affect your brain, your appetite control

center, so you are more satiated and satisfied.

Mark Hyman, M.D.

In today’s society, being on-the-go is in everyone’s daily routine. Whether it is flying out the door to get to work on time or running late to pick up the kids from school, we are frequently moving from one event to the next. This leaves little time to stop for a full, nutritious meal, meaning we easily turn to fast food. If we don’t have time for even fast food, we will turn to snacks.

When we enter a convenience store, we are bombarded with options. It can get quite overwhelming, and this typically leads to us choosing the wrong item. These items include cakes, cookies, chips, processed bars, and candy. All of these foods are packed with sugar, additives, and preservatives that can wreak havoc on the insulin, blood sugar, gut microbiome, as well as energy levels.

Top 4 Sources of Healthy Snacks


There are many ways to make the right snack choice on-the-go; it just takes a little more effort. Here is a list of snacks to choose for most on-the-go scenarios, as well as foods to stay away from.

Sources of Healthy Snacks to Satisfy the Munchies (Guilt-Free)

Here are the top 4 groups of healthy snacks to grab on-the-go: 

  • High Protein Snacks
  • Low Glycemic Carbohydrate Protein Snacks
  • Healthy Fat Snacks
  • Combination Snacks

High Protein Snacks

Protein helps us maintain metabolism and muscle mass throughout the day. Getting 15-30 grams of quality protein multiple times throughout the day is a great way to curb cravings, maintain energy, and maintain muscle.

Beef jerky on black stone board with peppercorns in background
  • Animal protein options:
    • Pre-sliced natural turkey, roast beef, and chicken (high in protein, no nitrates or nitrites)
    • Low sugar beef jerky
    • Tuna packets and salmon packets (wild caught if possible)
    • Low sodium cheese sticks (if not lactose intolerant)
    • Hard-boiled egg 2 pack
    • Greek yogurt—No high fructose corn syrup
    • Whey protein shake – Cenegenics® offers a whey protein sources from grass-fed, hormone-free dairy and is free of artificial colors, preservatives and sweeteners
Seasoned hummus with oil in white bowl on white background
    • Vegetarian/vegan protein options:
      • Roasted chick peas
      • 3 bean salad (pre-made with vinegar and olive oil)
      • Hummus (with vegetables)
      • Vegan protein shake – Cenegenics® Pea & Rice Protein is a great option, additional suggestions can easily be made upon request

Low Glycemic Carbohydrates Protein Snacks

Carbohydrates provide necessary, long term energy to perform our most basic and most difficult daily life functions. Incorporating whole food carbohydrates throughout the day is a great way to minimize energy crashes.

Fruits and vegetables in a basket in garden
  • Sources include:
    • Whole fruit: Apples, peaches, berries, pears, oranges (fruits with skin have a higher fiber content)
    • Fibrous vegetables: Broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, celery (great with hummus)
    • Roasted chick peas

Healthy Fat Snack Choices

Healthy fats are necessary to maintaining cell health, immune function, temperature regulation, and satiety. Adding healthy fats to snacks can make snacking easy and healthy.

Always check serving size. Fats have the highest caloric content per gram, so be aware of what a serving is

Guacamole in a bowl surrounded by avocados
  • Sources include:
    • Nuts: Almonds, walnuts, pecans, cashews, pistachios
    • Guacamole
    • Nut butters (natural nut butter, no sugar or syrups added)
    • Dark chocolate (serving size!)

Combination Snacks

  • When possible, combine your macronutrients when snacking
  • Some examples include:
    • 3 ounces natural turkey, 1 apple, 15 almonds
    • Carrot sticks with 3 Tbsp. hummus
    • Vegan protein shake with 1 Tbsp. natural peanut butter blended in
    • Turkey rollup
      • 2 slices turkey, 1 slice avocado, spinach, and some mustard
    • Tuna salad made with guacamole
    • 2 hard-boiled eggs and an orange
  • GET CREATIVE: Keep combining foods from each category to keep it interesting!

Foods to Avoid for Weight Loss & Optimal Health


Top 4 Foods to Avoid For Weight Loss

These are groups that you should skip while shopping or looking for healthy snacks: 

  • "Low Fat Options"
  • Foods with Any Kind of Syrup
  • Processed Junk Foods
  • Sugary Beverages

When searching for snacks, there are some things you should avoid at all times:

Chocolate, chips, candy, cookies, and junk food in bowls on solid background
  • These include:
    • ​​​​​​​"Low fat options"
      • ​​​​​​​These foods, typically found in crackers, bars, and other high carb products, are very high in sugar, which has replaced the fat
    • Foods with any kind of syrup
      • ​​​​​​​If you see the word syrup on the nutrition label, PUT IT BACK!
      • These syrups are usually not natural and can spike insulin aggressively
    • Processed junk foods
      • ​​​​​​​Almost, if not all cakes, cookies, chips, cereal and cereal bars, candy, and pastries are processed and blood sugar bombs
    • Sugary beverages
      • Soda, juices, sports drinks, creamer based coffee drinks, and slushies are all massively high in sugar

People Also Asked


1. What is the best snack for weight loss?

There are many options that can included, but I suggest a combination with protein, high fiber, and phytonutrients as a best option for weight loss. The protein can yield a small thermogenic effect, while also supplying amino acids to skeletal muscle tissue. The protein and fiber will also help you feel fuller longer – likely satisfying you until your next meal. Lastly, phytonutrients to provide your body with antioxidants, vitamins, & minerals.

Examples could be Greek yogurt with berries and flaxseed meal, Cenegenics whey protein shake with a handful of baby carrots/an orange, a pouch of tuna or chicken breast on tomato slices or wrapped in greens. Anything with that structure should offer a lot of benefits.

2. What are healthy snacks to buy?

Portable protein sources (Cenegenics Whey, single serving, unflavored greek yogurt cups, nitrate-free jerky), mixed nuts (roasted/raw, salted/unsalted would be based on preference and hydration status, single-serving packs may be good for individuals with portion control issues), portable vegetable options, fruit that can stay at room temperature, avocado, etc. Selected options would vary based on in-office/at-home with refrigeration/no refrigeration, in the car, etc.

3. What are 5 healthy snacks?

High quality protein powder, oranges, apples, avocados, mixed nuts – based on ease of use and no need for refrigeration.

Healthy Snacking – In Conclusion


Nutrition is often described as the most difficult part of weight management. As discussed in our Healthy Meal Prepping Ideas blog, often failing to prepare is preparing you to fail. Don’t go to the grocery store without a list and fall prey to the trap of convenience in the form of processed foods. Although they may look enticing, most of these foods are high in sugar, have very little nutritional value, and can lead to weight gain and increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Whole foods (fruits & vegetables), animal and vegetarian/vegan protein, and combination snacks are often the most efficient for curbing appetite, maintaining energy, and helping to sustain a regular metabolic rate.  

Your Cenegenics® physician and clinical team work to provide custom tailored nutritional plans. They help make adjustments based on your lifestyle demands and they help you to effectively utilize your time. If you’re interested in learning more about optimizing your nutrition & overall wellness, contact us below for your free consultation.

Next Steps to Optimizing Your Nutrition & Overall Wellness

FREE Consultation

Our world class physicians create a personalized plan to help you feel 10+ years younger. You'll be more energetic, lose weight, sleep better, have more libido, and think more clearly. Click below to schedule a free consultation with one of our physicians. It's quick + easy. 

About the Author

Joshua D’Alessandro MS, CSCS, CISSN
Nutrition & Exercise Counselor at Cenegenics New York City

My name is Joshua D'Alessandro and I am an Exercise and Nutrition Counselor for Cenegenics in NY. My passion for fitness began at a very young age and has manifested into a career filled with possibilities. The countries largest epidemic, and quite possibly the root cause of most issues, is diminishing health. In my career, I hope to do everything and anything I can to improve the well being and lives of the people around me! 

Key Resources

This guide was produced with contributions from the following key resources: 

The Cenegenics Education and Research Foundation  

The Textbook of Age Management Medicine Volume 1: Mastering Healthy Aging Nutrition, Exercise and Hormone Replacement Therapy

Click to purchase

The Cenegenics Education and Research Foundation  

The Textbook of Age Management Medicine Volume 2: Mastering Healthy Aging Nutrition, Exercise and Hormone Replacement Therapy

Click to purchase

Textbook Authors:

Jeffrey Park Leake, M.D., CPT

Dr. Jeffrey Park Leake is a Partner and Director of Education at Cenegenics Elite Health specializing in age management and wellness. Having trained hundreds of physicians worldwide, Dr. Leake is also the Director of Education for the Clinical Strategies for Healthy Aging course at AMM Educational Foundation.

Todd David Greenberg, M.D., CSCS

Dr. Todd Greenberg is a practicing physician with a broad range of expertise, including wellness, exercise, sports injuries, and MRI of sports injuries. He is a Radiology Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Washington.

Mature woman cutting vegetables on wooden chopping board in kitchen

7 Tips To Make Any Meal Healthier

By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.

Benjamin Franklin


One of the main reasons people struggle to maintain success with a nutrition plan is lack of preparation. Although there are healthy options to be had on the go, it is very tough to tell exactly which options provide what we truly need. Many foods at restaurants, pharmacies, etc., tend to have additives to increase flavor, such as sugar, salt, and other preservatives. The best way to know for sure you are getting what you need is to take matters into your own hands.


Preparation is the key aspect on any solid plan, nutrition based or not. Going into an endeavor without planning is the first step to feeling overwhelmed and falling off track. In order to make sure this does not happen, the effort needs to be put in before our hectic schedules get the best of us.

Meal prepping sounds challenging. Not many people want to waste their hard earned free time cooking loads of protein. However, there are many benefits to meal prepping that people do not typically acknowledge including:

These are just a few of the many benefits to getting ready for the week. Here are some suggestions on how to meal prep effectively to fit a busy lifestyle! I will also provide examples of meal prepping that go by specific nutrition requirements (vegan, low carb, etc.)

Meal Prep Guide & Tips


Healthy Meal Prep Tips

Here are a few suggestions to help you meal prep effectively, even with a busy lifestyle:

  • Pick one day to meal prep for the week
  • Prepare a shopping list
  • Buy food that you can store in the freezer in bulk
  • Buy large containers of healthy snacks
  • Purchase various container sizes
  • Stock up on spices
  • Get others involved!

Choose a Day to Prep That You Can Stick To 

  • Typically, meal prep will take a few hours
  • Choosing a day during the weekend or a day where you are off from work during the week is a great time to get the shopping done and prep as well
  • Use the time wisely, because this will also save you time preparing lunches, dinners, and snacks throughout the week
  • This is precious time that adds up, even if you don't notice it immediately
Calendar icon with checkmark

Make a List Before Going to the Store  

  • Having a list before going in will save you time and even money
  • By focusing in on the things you need and keeping out the things you don't, you will navigate the supermarket more efficiently and buy less "craving" food
Checklist icon with a bold priorty

Buy Food in Bulk That You Can Keep in the Freezer

  • Certain foods you will have to buy 2-3 times a week, including fruits, vegetable, and other perishable foods
  •  With protein, frozen veggies, and other freezer friendly items, try to stock up. Being able to take this food right out of the freezer and defrost while at work is a great way to save trips to the grocery store

Buy Large Containers of Healthy Snacks

  • Investing in a large bag of healthy snacks can make eating throughout the day manageable
  • Healthy fats to buy in bulk
    • Almonds, walnuts, pistachios, cashews
    • These foods maintain well, have good fat and fiber, and will keep you full
    • CHECK SERVING SIZE! These foods are calorically dense and need to be measured out
  • Healthy protein snacks in bulk
    • Low sugar beef jerky
    • Wild caught tuna packets
    • Vegan/whey protein tubs
    • Low sodium cheese sticks
  • Healthy carb snacks
    • Some whole fruits (apples, oranges, pears)
    • Steel cut oats packets

Buy Container Sizes

  • Buy various containers for lunches, dinners, and snacks
  • Portion out your meals and snacks in their respective containers
  • Label them as "lunch, dinner, snacks" to make them easy to grab
  •  Ziploc bags help quite a bit as well for packing snacks like fresh vegetables, nuts, and fruit

Buy Loads of Spices!

  • Load up on garlic salt, adobo, cumin, paprika, Himalayan sea salt, pepper corn, or whatever flavors you enjoy!
  •  This will help keep your food flavorful and help you avoid monotony

Make It a Family Thing!

  • Family time, or time with a spouse or friends, cannot be overstated
  • Get the whole family involved
  • Not only will it save you time, but it can also get everyone on-board with this very necessary, healthy habit!

Healthy Meal Prepping Ideas & Recommendations


General Guidelines: Low Glycemic Meal Prep

Chicken, pecans, and mixed vegetables in glass container for meal prep
  • 5-7 pounds of lean protein
    • Skinless chicken, lean ground turkey or chicken, whole roasted turkey, fish (salmon, mackerel, cod, tuna, WILD CAUGHT)
    • Ground chicken and turkey can be made into meatballs, burgers, meatloaf, or for Mexican style bowls (lettuce, guacamole, fresh pico de gallo, black beans)
  • 1-2 pounds of 3 different fresh vegetables
    • Squash, zucchini, broccoli, asparagus, cabbage, Brussel sprouts
    • Be sure to cook down the cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cabbage to avoid GI distress
    • Large bags of organic spinach, kale, arugula, cabbage mix, and spring mix
  • Healthy fats (choose 2-3)
    • 4-6 avocados
    • 1 large bottle of olive oil
    • 1 large package of unsalted nuts (almonds, walnuts, etc.)
    • 1 jar of natural, no sugar added peanut or almond butter
  • Breakfast/miscellaneous
    • 1-2 dozen free range organic eggs
    • Turkey sausage (all natural)
  • Seasonings and additions
    • Himalayan salt, pepper, paprika, adobo, mint, etc.
    • Garlic
    • 5-6 lemons or limes (great for adding flavor to chicken and vegetables, use rinds as well)
    • Red wine vinegar
    • Stone ground mustard
    •  Hummus and guacamole (good for dipping)

Additional Guidelines for Whole Food Nutrition (Moderate Glycemic)

Meatballs, broccoli, and rice in glass containers for meal prep

For those consuming energy dense, moderate to low glycemic diets, the following recommendations can be followed in addition to the general guidelines listed above:

    • Moderate to low glycemic index carbohydrates (1 or 2 to keep variety)
      • ​​​​​​​2-4 pounds of sweet potatoes
      • 1 bag of organic quinoa (1 cup usually makes 2 to 3 servings)
      • 1 large bag organic brown or wild rice
    • 2-4 pounds of fresh fruit
      • ​​​​​​​Apples, oranges/clementine's, bananas, berries
    • Breakfast/miscellaneous
      • ​​​​​​​1 package of certified organic, certified gluten-free steel cut oats
      • 1 tub plain Greek yogurt

Additional Guidelines for Keto Style Meal Prep

Salmon, avocados, and nuts are a great example of keto style meal prep

If following a keto plan, limit your lean protein to 3-4 pounds, compared to the recommended 5-7 pounds for low and moderate glycemic plans. Try to limit to no less than 50 grams of carbs from vegetable sources a day to maintain ketosis.

Additionally, you can choose 3-4 healthy fats, instead of limiting it to 2-3 as the low and moderate glycemic plans do. Organic coconut oil and unsalted ghee/butter can be used as additional sources of healthy fats within the keto style meal prep.

Low-Glycemic vs Whole Food vs Keto – Which One Should I Choose?  


Low-glycemic plans is ideal for individuals trying to lose weight, manage prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, as well as prevent chronic diseases such as obesity and heart disease [1].

Whole foods (moderate glycemic) plans follow most of the same guidelines as a low-glycemic plan, but allows for a little more flexibility of additional carbs such as sweet potatoes, quinoa, and organic brown or wild rice. It eliminates the risk of processed foods, and helps you feel full longer.

Keto meal plans are often used for individuals trying to bulk up. It has been found to be effective in weight loss, since it forces the body to use fat instead of carbs are a source of energy. There is evidence that a low-carb keto diet can reduce body mass without the negative impact on strength and power [2].

The above guidelines are based on general recommendations of popular meal plans. For custom, individualized meal plans contact your nearest Cenegenics location to discover how Cenegenics can help you live well, longer.

Choosing The Right Meal Plan For You – In Conclusion


Choosing the right nutritional plan is truly dependent upon your individual goals, medical history and current lifestyle. Cenegenics is focused on treating the individual and helping to optimize overall health and wellness.

Our physician and clinical team will perform a comprehensive health evaluation, including analyzing key biomarkers to determine if any deficiencies exist. Customized nutrition plans are then formed to help ensure your body receives the nutrients it needs to function optimally, both now and in the long term.

If you are interested in learning about nutrition and meal prepping beyond the basics, contact your nearest location today.

Next Steps to Receive Individualized Nutritional Plan


FREE Consultation

Our world class physicians create a personalized plan to help you feel 10+ years younger. You'll be more energetic, lose weight, sleep better, have more libido, and think more clearly. Click below to schedule a free consultation with one of our physicians. It's quick + easy. 

About the Author

Joshua D’Alessandro MS, CSCS, CISSN
Nutrition & Exercise Counselor at Cenegenics New York City

My name is Joshua D'Alessandro and I am an Exercise and Nutrition Counselor for Cenegenics in NY. My passion for fitness began at a very young age and has manifested into a career filled with possibilities. The countries largest epidemic, and quite possibly the root cause of most issues, is diminishing health. In my career, I hope to do everything and anything I can to improve the well being and lives of the people around me! 

Key Resources

This guide was produced with contributions from the following key resources: 

The Cenegenics Education and Research Foundation  

The Textbook of Age Management Medicine Volume 1: Mastering Healthy Aging Nutrition, Exercise and Hormone Replacement Therapy

Click to purchase

The Cenegenics Education and Research Foundation  

The Textbook of Age Management Medicine Volume 2: Mastering Healthy Aging Nutrition, Exercise and Hormone Replacement Therapy

Click to purchase

Textbook Authors:

Jeffrey Park Leake, M.D., CPT

Dr. Jeffrey Park Leake is a Partner and Director of Education at Cenegenics Elite Health specializing in age management and wellness. Having trained hundreds of physicians worldwide, Dr. Leake is also the Director of Education for the Clinical Strategies for Healthy Aging course at AMM Educational Foundation.

Todd David Greenberg, M.D., CSCS

Dr. Todd Greenberg is a practicing physician with a broad range of expertise, including wellness, exercise, sports injuries, and MRI of sports injuries. He is a Radiology Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Washington.

References

[1] Augustin, L. S., Kendall, C. W., Jenkins, D. J., Willett, W. C., Astrup, A., Barclay, A. W., . . . Poli, A. (2015, September). Glycemic index, glycemic load and glycemic response: An International Scientific Consensus Summit from the International Carbohydrate Quality Consortium (ICQC). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26160327

[2] Greene, D. A., Varley, B. J., Hartwig, T. B., Chapman, P., & Rigney, M. (2018, December). A Low-Carbohydrate Ketogenic Diet Reduces Body Mass Without Compromising Performance in Powerlifting and Olympic Weightlifting Athletes. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30335720

* Disclaimer: These are general recommendations based on popular nutrition plans. If you are interested in plans specific to your goals, please contact Cenegenics to learn more about our individualized programs.

Sugar cubes and granules of sugar in wooden spoon on soft leather

Are You Insulin Resistant? Here’s How Cenegenics Can Help

There are ways to cut cravings by naturally 

balancing your blood sugar.

Mark Hyman, M.D.

Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas which helps glucose, or blood sugar, make its way into cells throughout the body’s muscle, fat, and liver to be used for energy. Glucose is found in various amounts in different types of food. Blood sugar levels spike after you eat, prompting the pancreas to release insulin. Thereafter, insulin regulates blood sugar levels.

When the cells in your body no longer respond to insulin as they should, it impedes their ability to take glucose from the blood. As a result, glucose builds up in the blood. The pancreas goes into overdrive, producing even more insulin in response. This phenomenon is known as insulin resistance.

Insulin sensitivity is one of the most important markers of overall wellness. Insulin resistance is the hallmark of type 2 diabetes and is ultimately associated with the cascade of events that can cause metabolic syndrome, a cluster of disorders that increase the risk for stroke and heart disease, as well as premature cardiovascular-related deaths. [1]

Here, we take a closer look at insulin resistance to help you determine your risk and actively prevent against this serious condition. Additionally, patients who have already been diagnosed with insulin resistance will find treatment options below. 

How is Insulin Resistance Diagnosed?


Lab technician holding tube of blood next to microscope

If the pancreas is able to produce enough insulin to combat the cells’ weakened insulin response, blood glucose levels will stay within a healthy range. Thus, while diagnosing prediabetes and type 2 diabetes is fairly straightforward, testing for insulin resistance isn’t always as simple.

Laboratory tools such as the Homeostatic Model Assessment of Insulin Resistance, or HOMA-IR score, can be used to detect insulin sensitivity. A HOMA-IR score of less than 1.0 indicates healthy insulin sensitivity, whereas a score between 1.7 and 2.4 suggests insulin resistance.

A score of 2.6 is the cutoff for prediabetes. [2] A series of other diagnostic tests, combined with a review of the patient’s medical history and symptoms, may also be used to help doctors diagnose insulin sensitivity.

When the blood glucose levels are elevated but not high enough to be considered type 2 diabetes, patients are diagnosed with prediabetes. This occurs when patients have some insulin resistance or the pancreas isn’t producing enough insulin to keep blood sugar at a normal level.

Excess glucose therefore builds up in the bloodstream instead of being used by the cells, and 15-30% of people with prediabetes will be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes within 5 years. [3]

The good news is that with both insulin resistance and prediabetes, it’s possible to make lifestyle changes to prevent or delay diabetes and other serious health conditions. We’ll discuss insulin resistance treatments in an upcoming section, but first let’s examine the causes of insulin resistance.

What Are the Causes of Insulin Resistance?


Mature businessman wearing suit sitting with arms crossing in front of open laptop

Experts have yet to develop an exact understanding of the mechanisms behind insulin resistance and prediabetes, but a few major factors have been established as playing a role in the conditions.

Being overweight or obese, for example, is an important cause of insulin resistance. Storing excess fat around the abdomen, known as visceral fat, is an especially noteworthy contributing factor. For men, a waist measurement of 40 inches or more has been linked to insulin resistance, whereas 35 inches or more becomes concerning for women.

This is likely due to the fact that abdominal fat can produce hormones which contribute to chronic inflammation. [4] Inflammatory factors parallel insulin sensitivity. [5]

In addition, insulin resistance has been attributed to leading a sedentary lifestyle, as it’s suspected that exercise spurs bodily changes which help to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Physical activity has been shown to decrease insulin resistance in previously sedentary adults. [6]

Risk Factors

Beyond physical inactivity and having excess visceral fat, populations with certain genetic or lifestyle risk factors may face an elevated risk for developing insulin resistance. 

Risk Factors of Insulin Resistance

Excess abdominal fat and lack of physical activity largely contribute to insulin resistance. Additional factors include:

  • Being over the age of 45
  • Having a parent or sibling with diabetes
  • Elevated cholesterol or blood pressure levels
  • A history of heart disease or stroke
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Certain medications, including antipsychotics and drugs for HIV
  • Hormonal disorders, including Cushing’s syndrome
  • Sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea

With these risk factors in mind, let’s explore some of the possible symptoms of insulin resistance.

What Are the Symptoms of Insulin Resistance?


Diagnosing insulin resistance becomes further complicated by the fact that patients typically exhibit no symptoms. When the condition progresses to the point of prediabetes, patients may notice darkening of the skin in certain areas, such as the armpit or neck. Skin tags may also develop.

In some cases, patients may experience fatigue, weight gain, excessive thirst, and excessive urination. Nonetheless, these symptoms typically don’t manifest until the condition has surpassed the levels of insulin resistance and prediabetes or type 2 diabetes have developed.

The absence of symptoms can indeed complicate the ability to diagnose and treat insulin resistance. Nonetheless, whether you suspect you could be at risk for insulin resistance or you’ve already been diagnosed, the following lifestyle changes can benefit everyone.

Insulin Resistance Treatment Options


Mature couple in runners pose getting ready to race in a park

One of the most effective insulin resistance treatments is for overweight or obese patients to reach a healthy weight. This can be achieved both through diet and exercise.

Although low-fat diets were advised for weight loss in the past, experts now recommend the modernized and more effective approach of incorporating healthy fats into the diet, along with nutritionally dense yet low-calorie foods such as vegetables and lean protein.

Most importantly, minimizing intake of processed foods and increasing foods with a low glycemic index can make positive changes towards a healthier insulin sensitivity. [8] Glycemic index measures the ways in which the blood glucose levels are impacted by the food product. Foods such as white breads and pastas tend to have the highest glycemic index scores.

Exercising regularly can also spur weight loss, and is believed to support the metabolism which may help to control or prevent insulin resistance. [9] Certain types of exercise, such as high-intensity interval training (HIIT), tend to reduce visceral fat specifically. [10]

Finally, controlling any other risk factors, such as high blood pressure or cholesterol, may help to prevent the development of prediabetes or type 2 diabetes.

Insulin Sensitivity as an Indicator of Overall Wellness – In Conclusion


Without an in-depth analysis of a patient’s biomarkers, conditions such as insulin resistance can be easily overlooked. Yet, like many other precursors for serious disease, insulin resistance is most effectively addressed in its early stages. It’s therefore critical that at-risk populations, including adults over the age of 40, overweight or inactive individuals, and people with a family history of type 2 diabetes, have their insulin sensitivity routinely tested.

At Cenegenics, our clinicians remain focused on disease prevention by addressing any current warning signs while also giving patients the tools they need to optimize their health moving forward. T

hrough comprehensive lab work, patient-oriented treatment approaches encompassing individualized meal and exercise plans and ongoing vigilance, our specialists help patients navigate conditions such as insulin resistance and prediabetes successfully. The end result is better health and vitality, both now and into the future.

If you’re interested in discovering how Cenegenics can help you unlock the healthiest version of yourself, contact your nearest location today.

Next Steps in Understanding Insulin Resistance

FREE Consultation

Our world class physicians create a personalized plan to help you feel 10+ years younger. You'll be more energetic, lose weight, sleep better, have more libido, and think more clearly. Click below to schedule a free consultation with one of our physicians. It's quick + easy. 

About the Contributor

Rudy Inaba 
Global Director of Nutrition & Exercise

Rudy Inaba is Cenegenics’ Global Director of Nutrition & Exercise. He is a recognized fitness and sports nutrition consultant with nearly 15 years of experience in clinical exercise physiology and lifestyle management. After pursuing his Master of Science in Clinical Exercise Physiology at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, Rudy joined Cenegenics where he leads 20 clinical locations nationwide in their advancements in kinesiology, nutritional biochemistry, and their analyses of industry research & market trending.

Key Resources

This guide was produced with contributions from the following key resources: 

The Cenegenics Education and Research Foundation  

The Textbook of Age Management Medicine Volume 1: Mastering Healthy Aging Nutrition, Exercise and Hormone Replacement Therapy

Click to purchase

The Cenegenics Education and Research Foundation  

The Textbook of Age Management Medicine Volume 2: Mastering Healthy Aging Nutrition, Exercise and Hormone Replacement Therapy

Click to purchase

Textbook Authors:

Jeffrey Park Leake, M.D., CPT

Dr. Jeffrey Park Leake is a Partner and Director of Education at Cenegenics Elite Health specializing in age management and wellness. Having trained hundreds of physicians worldwide, Dr. Leake is also the Director of Education for the Clinical Strategies for Healthy Aging course at AMM Educational Foundation.

Todd David Greenberg, M.D., CSCS

Dr. Todd Greenberg is a practicing physician with a broad range of expertise, including wellness, exercise, sports injuries, and MRI of sports injuries. He is a Radiology Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Washington.

References

[1] Leake, Jeffrey Park, M.D., CPT, and Greenberg, Todd David, M.D., CSCS. Textbook of Age Management Medicine: Volume 1. Leake-Greenberg Ventures, 2015. p.43

[2] Leake, Jeffrey Park, M.D., CPT, and Greenberg, Todd David, M.D., CSCS; see above.

[3] Pletcher, Peggy MS, RD, LD, CDE. “What’s to know about insulin resistance?” MedicalNewsToday. 17 Feb. 2017. Retrieved from URL: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/305567.php

[4] National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). “Insulin Resistance & Prediabetes.” Retrieved from URL: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/what-is-diabetes/prediabetes-insulin-resistance

[5] Leake, Jeffrey Park, M.D., CPT, and Greenberg, Todd David, M.D., CSCS; see above; p. 29.

[6] Leake, Jeffrey Park, M.D., CPT, and Greenberg, Todd David, M.D., CSCS; see above; p. 313.

[7] NIDDK; see above.

[8] Leake, Jeffrey Park, M.D., CPT, and Greenberg, Todd David, M.D., CSCS; see above; p. 29.

[9] Donson, Laura. “Insulin Resistance Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment.” VeryWell Health. 03 Jan. 2019. Retrieved from URL: https://www.verywellhealth.com/what-is-insulin-resistance-2242260

[10] Leake, Jeffrey Park, M.D., CPT, and Greenberg, Todd David, M.D., CSCS; see above; p. 136

Mature man monitoring his blood pressure at home

What is Metabolic Syndrome? Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment

The simplest way to look at all these associations, between obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, cancer, and Alzheimer's (not to mention the other the conditions that also associate with obesity and diabetes, such as gout, asthma, and fatty liver disease), is that what makes us fat - the quality and quantity of carbohydrates we consume -

also makes us sick.

Gary Taubes

Metabolic syndrome is a constellation of disorders which increase the risk of stroke, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. Patients who have these conditions together face greater odds of developing future cardiovascular disease than any single factor alone. Nearly a quarter of the adult population is living with metabolic syndrome – a serious concern when considering the life-threatening complications with which it’s associated. [1]

Moreover, the number of individuals with metabolic syndrome increases with age, making it a particular concern for adults in their middle ages and older. More than 40% of people in their 60s and 70s have the condition, though age isn’t the only factor correlated with increased risk. [2]

To help you better understand your risk and develop an effective prevention plan, this guide examines the causes and complications of metabolic syndrome. We’ll also explore treatments for individuals who have already been diagnosed, thereby helping to prevent life-threatening cardiovascular events.

How Is Metabolic Syndrome Diagnosed?


The cluster of conditions comprising metabolic syndrome include obesity, high blood pressure, and a trend toward insulin resistance, among others.

Clinical Diagnosis of Metabolic Syndrome

A clinical diagnosis of the condition is given when a patient exhibits three or more of the following criteria: 

  • Fasting glucose of 100 mg/dL or greater
  • Systolic blood pressure of 130 mm HG or greater; or, diastolic blood pressure of 85 mm HG or greater (also the criteria for hypertension stage 1)
  • HDL cholesterol of less than 40 mg/dL for men or 50 mg/dL for women
  • Triglyceride level of 150 mg/dL or greater
  • Abdominal obesity, defined as a waist circumference of 40 inches or more for men, or 35 inches or more for women [3]

Having a single one of these conditions doesn’t mean you have metabolic syndrome; likewise, it’s also possible to have metabolic syndrome without exhibiting all of the above signs. For example, some patients who do not meet BMI criteria for obesity have metabolic syndrome. Ultimately, having any one of these conditions can increase the risk of serious disease, and having more than one likely increases risk even more.

Causes of Metabolic Syndrome


The primary underlying causes of metabolic syndrome are being overweight or obese and leading a sedentary life. In addition to weight and physical inactivity, aging also contributes to the disorder. Genetic factors, such as ethnicity and family history, may also play a role. [4] Thus, while some of the risk factors for metabolic syndrome are controllable, others are not.

One other important, and oftentimes controllable, factor for the condition is insulin resistance. Insulin sensitivity is one of the most important markers of overall health. The hormone insulin regulates blood sugar levels; thus, when the body fails to respond to insulin as it should, sugar builds up in the blood.

Insulin resistance typically precedes diabetes and metabolic syndrome but often does not exhibit any symptoms. High glycemic index foods, including carbohydrates and especially processed varieties, may contribute to insulin resistance. [5] 

Additional Risk Factors

Mature woman having blood pressure checked by nurse in doctor’s office

The causes behind metabolic syndrome listed above tend to act together. Beyond these underlying causes, however, there are also some shared characteristics researchers have observed among many patients with metabolic syndrome: excessive blood clotting and constant and low-grade inflammation.

It is presently unclear whether these conditions play a role in the disease’s development or whether they worsen it. Additionally, researchers are also studying other factors which may contribute to metabolic syndrome, including:

Additionally, a family or personal history of diabetes faces an increased risk for diabetes. Women are also more likely to develop the condition compared to men, as are Mexican Americans compared to Caucasians and African Americans. [7]

With these causes and risk factors in mind, let’s explore some of the reasons why preventing and controlling metabolic syndrome is so important.

The Dangers of Metabolic Syndrome


Complications of Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic syndrome increases risk of developing:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Type 2 diabetes

Many metabolic risk factors exhibit no signs or symptoms. While being overweight or obese is an obvious sign, factors like high blood pressure often go unnoticed. For this reason, metabolic syndrome is especially dangerous.

Having metabolic syndrome increases the likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease, the condition in which plaque builds up in the arteries. This causes hardening and narrowing of the blood vessels, which typically precedes heart attack or stroke. It also elevates risk for developing type 2 diabetes, a chronic condition with its own host of possible complications including nerve, kidney, and eye damage, among others. [8]

Nonetheless, being diagnosed with metabolic syndrome doesn’t mean you’re destined for serious illness or cardiovascular event. In fact, many of the conditions that make up metabolic syndrome can be combated with lifestyle adjustments, medications, and other forms of treatment, if needed.

Treatments for Metabolic Syndrome


When treating metabolic syndrome, the primary objective is to address the most serious concerns first. This encompasses reducing the risk for ischemic heart disease, in which the heart arteries are narrowed, and preventing or controlling type 2 diabetes. [9]

Typically, treatments for metabolic syndrome are first directed at controlling cholesterol and high blood pressure, which may necessitate the use of medications depending on the patient’s levels. With that said, lifestyle changes are of equal importance for improving health over a long-term basis.

Some of the behavioral changes patients with metabolic syndrome are encouraged to make include smoking cessation, adopting healthy stress management practices, and achieving and maintaining a healthy body composition. This is supported by both physical activity and heart-healthy eating.

The Best Diet for Metabolic Syndrome


Businessman eating a pre-packaged salad while standing in office

Diet is one of the most important factors for controlling and preventing metabolic syndrome but also for supporting health overall. Thus, the optimal diet for metabolic syndrome patients is built on sensible healthy eating practices the population as a whole should follow. This includes avoiding simple, refined carbohydrates.

Minimizing carbohydrate intake can help individuals lose weight and improve blood sugar control while also contributing to the prevention of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. [10]

The most practical way to avoid simple carbohydrates is to steer clear of processed foods including breads, baked goods, desserts, and packaged snacks. White bread, rice, pasta, and flour are also considered processed carbohydrates.

Beyond carbohydrates, individuals with metabolic syndrome should also avoid trans fats. In fact, trans fats should be avoided even in patients without any metabolic risk factors as they are linked to unhealthy cholesterol levels, type 2 diabetes, and an increased risk for heart disease and stroke. [11]​

Trans fats are found in margarine, packaged cookies, deep-fried foods, frozen snack foods like pizzas and French fries as well as frozen dinners, crackers, nondairy creamers, and cake mixes and frosting, among other sources.

Diet for Individuals with High Blood Pressure

For anyone with high blood pressure, reducing sodium intake may also be advised. In this case, soy sauce, canned foods, table salt, prepared pasta sauces, certain types of cheese, cured meats, and salty snack foods should be avoided.

In addition to avoiding certain foods, a healthy diet for metabolic syndrome should also prioritize certain elements of nutrition. Lean protein sources and vegetables are among the healthiest options for controlling the set of conditions. Fiber-rich foods, including beans, fresh vegetables, and fruit can aid in regulating blood sugar and cholesterol. [12]

Other essential nutrients, including potassium and omega-3 fatty acids, also help to support heart health. Grapefruit, black beans, tomatoes, yogurt, and collard greens are rich sources of potassium, while flax seeds, olive oil, avocados, and many types of nuts are high in healthy fats.

Understanding Metabolic Syndrome – In Conclusion


Even with the dietary guidelines listed in the previous section, preventing and controlling metabolic syndrome can seem daunting. The questions of exactly what to eat and when, how to structure a heart-safe yet effective fitness routine, and when and whether further treatments should be implemented loom over patients who are at risk or have been diagnosed with one or more of the conditions making up metabolic syndrome.

With the primary goal of reducing the risk for serious disease in adults, Cenegenics helps patients prevent or control metabolic syndrome through our comprehensive approach to wellness. Upon joining our program, each patient undergoes rigorous testing to indicate any specific health concerns, including those that exist presently as well as those the patient is at risk of developing down the road.

This gives our physicians, nutrition and exercise specialists, and additional clinicians the guidance needed to craft a highly personalized wellness map incorporating dietary and fitness recommendations as well as any nutraceuticals or medications as needed. We then take an agile approach to maintain continuous improvement, optimizing all aspects of health to prevent or control disease for a better quality of life both now and into the future.

If you’re interested in learning how Cenegenics can help you control or prevent the conditions that make up metabolic syndrome, find a center near you to get started.

Next Steps in Managing Metabolic Syndrome

FREE Consultation

Our world class physicians create a personalized plan to help you feel 10+ years younger. You'll be more energetic, lose weight, sleep better, have more libido, and think more clearly. Click below to schedule a free consultation with one of our physicians. It's quick + easy. 

About the Contributor

Rudy Inaba 
Global Director of Nutrition & Exercise

Rudy Inaba is Cenegenics’ Global Director of Nutrition & Exercise. He is a recognized fitness and sports nutrition consultant with nearly 15 years of experience in clinical exercise physiology and lifestyle management. After pursuing his Master of Science in Clinical Exercise Physiology at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, Rudy joined Cenegenics where he leads 20 clinical locations nationwide in their advancements in kinesiology, nutritional biochemistry, and their analyses of industry research & market trending.

Key Resources

This guide was produced with contributions from the following key resources: 

The Cenegenics Education and Research Foundation  

The Textbook of Age Management Medicine Volume 1: Mastering Healthy Aging Nutrition, Exercise and Hormone Replacement Therapy

Click to purchase

The Cenegenics Education and Research Foundation  

The Textbook of Age Management Medicine Volume 2: Mastering Healthy Aging Nutrition, Exercise and Hormone Replacement Therapy

Click to purchase

Textbook Authors:

Jeffrey Park Leake, M.D., CPT

Dr. Jeffrey Park Leake is a Partner and Director of Education at Cenegenics Elite Health specializing in age management and wellness. Having trained hundreds of physicians worldwide, Dr. Leake is also the Director of Education for the Clinical Strategies for Healthy Aging course at AMM Educational Foundation.

Todd David Greenberg, M.D., CSCS

Dr. Todd Greenberg is a practicing physician with a broad range of expertise, including wellness, exercise, sports injuries, and MRI of sports injuries. He is a Radiology Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Washington.

References

[1] American Heart Association. “About Metabolic Syndrome.” 31 Jul. 2016. Retrieved from URL: https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/metabolic-syndrome/about-metabolic-syndrome

[2] Cleveland Clinic. “Metabolic Syndrome.” 11 Feb 2015. Retrieved from URL: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/10783-metabolic-syndrome

[3] American Heart Association; see above.

[4] National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). “Metabolic Syndrome.” Retrieved from URL: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/metabolic-syndrome

[5] Leake, Jeffrey Park, M.D., CPT, and Greenberg, Todd David, M.D., CSCS. Textbook of Age Management Medicine: Volume 1. Leake-Greenberg Ventures, 2015. p. 25.

[6] NHLBI; see above.

[7] NHLBI; see above.

[8] Mayo Clinic. “Metabolic Syndrome.” 06 Mar. 2018. Retrieved from URL: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/metabolic-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20351916

[9] NHLBI; see above.

[10] Iftikhar, Noreen, MD. Healthline. “Metabolic Syndrome Diet.” Retrieved from URL: https://www.healthline.com/health/metabolic-syndrome-diet#foods-to-avoid

[11] Iftikhar, Noreen, MD; see above.

[12] Iftikhar, Noreen, MD; see above.

Young female doctor checking mature male’s blood pressure in office

Causes of High Blood Pressure: How to Prevent Hypertension

Maintaining good control of glucose and hypertension [high blood pressure] limits morbidity and mortality.

Stuart Weiss

High blood pressure, also referred to as hypertension, is an epidemic in the U.S. Affecting nearly half the population, many individuals don’t even know they have this condition. [1] Blood pressure measures the amount of force exerted against artery walls as blood flows through. Left untreated, high blood pressure can lead to many serious health issues.

Yet, by some estimates, only roughly half of the people who have been diagnosed with high blood pressure have it under control. [2] Fortunately, there are solutions available to prevent high blood pressure, as well as treatments to help patients regain control if their blood pressure is already high.

Of course, effective treatment and prevention are built on an in-depth understanding of blood pressure. Whether you’re unsure of your risk for developing hypertension or you’ve already been diagnosed, here’s what you need to know about the “silent killer.”

Which Blood Pressure Levels Are Considered Healthy?


When your blood pressure is taken, you’re given two numbers. The upper number represents your systolic blood pressure, or the pressure blood exerts against the artery walls with each heartbeat. The second number is your diastolic blood pressure, which measures how much pressure blood exerts against the artery walls at rest in between beats.

Blood Pressure Categories

Here's the breakdown of the current blood pressure categories and their ranges (measured in mmHg):

  • Normal: systolic <120; diastolic <80
  • Elevated: systolic 120-129; diastolic <80
  • High blood pressure (hypertension) stage 1: systolic 130-139; diastolic 80-89
  • High blood pressure (hypertension) stage 2: systolic 140 or higher; diastolic 90 or higher
  • Hypertensive crisis: systolic >180; diastolic >120 [3]

Individuals with normal blood pressure should have their blood pressure tested at least every two years; all other patients should follow their doctor’s recommendations for testing, which may include at-home tests.

The Dangers of High Blood Pressure


High blood pressure increases the risk for heart disease and stroke, two of the most common causes of death in the U.S. [4] The added pressure on artery walls can damage blood vessels and organs throughout your body. The longer the condition goes uncontrolled, the more damage can occur.

High blood pressure can harden and thicken artery walls, leading to the condition called atherosclerosis which increases the risk of heart attack and stroke risk. High blood pressure is also linked to heart failure, aneurysm, kidney complications, vision problems or loss, dementia, and vascular dementia.

Furthermore, high blood pressure is a major cause of erectile dysfunction. As stated above, high blood pressure can lead to atherosclerosis which, in men, can keep arteries from dilating properly in order to bring blood to the penis; this prevents an erection from occurring.  It is for this reason that erectile dysfunction is a potential indicator of an underlying disease – such as heart disease. 

Dangers of High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is known as the "silent killer" as it can quietly damage your body for years without the patient presenting with any symptoms. Complications of high blood pressure include: 

  • Atherosclerosis & Increased Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke
  • Coronary Artery Disease
  • Dementia
  • Mild Cognitive Impairment
  • Kidney Failure
  • Nerve Damage
  • Sexual Dysfunction

Additionally, hypertension is encompassed by metabolic syndrome, the cluster of disorders including high triglycerides and high insulin levels, among other symptoms, associated with increased risk for diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. [5]

It is therefore no surprise that physicians implore their patients to be vigilant about high blood pressure prevention and control, as well as watching for possible symptoms.

Hypertension Symptoms


Mature male struggling with migraine while staring at laptop

As mentioned above, high blood pressure is often referred to as “the silent killer,” mainly because it’s often asymptomatic – even when blood pressure reaches dangerous levels. In some cases, patients may experience headaches, nosebleeds, or shortness of breath.

However, patients are most likely to experience the following symptoms only upon experiencing a hypertensive crisis, at which point immediate medical intervention is needed:

  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Heart palpitations
  • Breathlessness [6]

Because symptoms of high blood pressure may not manifest until levels are dangerously high, it’s critically important for individuals to understand the condition’s causes and contributing factors.

Causes of High Blood Pressure


For most of the population, there is no single, discernible cause of high blood pressure. This is called primary or essential hypertension and is believed to develop gradually over time. In secondary hypertension, high blood pressure is directly caused by an underlying medical condition, such as:

  • Kidney problems
  • Adrenal gland tumors
  • Thyroid issues
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Congenital defects in blood vessels
  • Certain medications
  • Illegal drugs, including amphetamines and cocaine [7]

Risk Factors


Risk Factors of High Blood Pressure

Although there is no single, distinct cause of high blood pressure, the following increase the likelihood of developing high blood pressure:

  • Age
  • Race
  • Family History
  • Obesity
  • Chronic Conditions
  • Lack of Physical Activity
  • Tobacco Use
  • High-Sodium Diets
  • Poor Diet
  • Stress
  • Alcohol Consumption

Despite the fact that essential hypertension may lack a single established cause, there is strong evidence linking certain risk factors to an increased likelihood of developing high blood pressure. These risk factors include:

  • Age: Risk of high blood pressure increases with age. Men are more likely to experience hypertension until age 64; thereafter, it is more prevalent among women.
  • Race: High blood pressure occurs more often in African Americans than white individuals.
  • Family history: Hypertension often runs in families.
  • Being overweight or obese: The more a person weighs, the more blood is needed to transport vital nutrients to tissues. When the volume of blood increases, it also increases pressure against artery walls.
  • Chronic Conditions: People with certain immune system conditions such as psoriasis have a higher risk of high blood pressure. High blood sugar, a characteristic of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, is also linked to hypertension. [8]

Lifestyle Risk Factors

  • Physical inactivity: Lack of exercise is linked to higher heart rates, which forces the heart to work harder and therefore increases blood pressure.
  • Tobacco use: Smoking and chewing tobacco elevates blood pressure immediately and can cause long-term damage to artery walls.
  • High-sodium diets: People who eat less salt have been found to have lower blood pressure than those who consume it in excess.
  • Poor diet: The relationship between fat and blood pressure has long been studied. While high-fat diets were once considered a causative agent behind hypertension, experts have begun to warn against the type of fats – not the volume – being consumed. Specifically, trans fats found in processed foods pose the greatest threat to both blood pressure and overall health.
  • Stress: Researchers have linked mental stress with high blood pressure, especially when stress is experienced over the long-term.
  • Alcohol Consumption: Systolic blood pressure levels are roughly 7 mmHg higher in individuals who drink regularly than those who abstain from alcohol.

With these risk factors in mind, let’s explore some of the ways elevated blood pressure, as well as more advanced stages of hypertension, can be treated.

Treatments for High Blood Pressure


Mature male in bright orange shoes and blue shirt sprinting on urban bridge

Recommended treatments for high blood pressure vary based on the patient’s stage. For example, if high blood pressure is elevated, lifestyle changes may be enough to bring levels down within range. Regular exercise (burning more than 1,500 calories per week) has been shown to reduce hypertension by 27%. [9]

In general, individuals who exercise 30 to 60 minutes per week can expect to reduce their blood pressure by 4-9 mmHg. Weight loss is likewise effective for reducing blood pressure, with some research suggesting even losing ten pounds can make a significant impact in controlling high blood pressure. Moreover, medications used for controlling high blood pressure are typically more effective when patients are at a healthy weight. [10]  

Treatments for High Blood Pressure

Recommended treatments for high blood pressure may vary based on the patient's stage. However, the following are typical treatments: 

  • Weight Management
  • Exercise Regularly
  • Optimized Nutrition Plan
  • Quit Smoking
  • Reduce Sodium in Diet
  • Stress Management
  • Limit Alcohol Consumption

Of course, the challenge of losing weight lies in improving both exercise and dietary choices. Eating a diet rich in lean protein, vegetables, and fruits can lower blood pressure by up to 11 mmHg for patients with hypertension. [11] Limiting sodium intake can also help but, most importantly, processed foods should be avoided as many contain inordinate amounts of sodium. [12]

If needed, the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet may also be recommended by some physicians to help control portion size, cholesterol, and sodium intake, while also promoting an overall balanced diet.

Managing stress and following a cleaner lifestyle by minimizing alcohol intake and quitting smoking are also lifestyle changes which can help with early stages of hypertension. Additionally, optimizing your sleep schedule may also contribute to improving blood pressure.

Understanding High Blood Pressure – In Conclusion


High blood pressure is a serious though largely preventable condition. With so many means to control it, patients have a variety of options to work towards a healthier range or maintain normal blood pressure levels if they’re already at an ideal level. Yet, many individuals remain unaware of their risk and precisely what can be done to preserve their health both now and into the future.

Cenegenics gives adults the tools they need to optimize wellness at every age. Our program prioritizes weight management, nutrition, improved sleep and, when needed, hormone optimization, to help patients achieve their healthiest life. Reduced blood pressure is a natural byproduct of participating in the highly personalized program, which takes into consideration each patient’s current health, genetic risk factors, and lifestyle.

Our physicians also perform a robust patient analysis, going far beyond blood pressure tests, to achieve an accurate and detailed picture of disease risk and health. This sets the foundation for a comprehensive treatment plan which addresses any immediate concerns, such as high blood pressure, while also taking a preventive approach to chronic disease for long-term wellness. Ultimately, we don’t simply help patients achieve a specific measure for normal blood pressure but instead enable sustainable changes for a healthier, more vibrant life overall.

If you’re interested in learning how Cenegenics can help you control your blood pressure and achieve a better state of wellness for the long term, find a center near you to get started.

Next Steps in Avoiding the Dangers of High Blood Pressure

FREE Consultation

Our world class physicians create a personalized plan to help you feel 10+ years younger. You'll be more energetic, lose weight, sleep better, have more libido, and think more clearly. Click below to schedule a free consultation with one of our physicians. It's quick + easy. 

About the Contributor

Rudy Inaba 
Global Director of Nutrition & Exercise

Rudy Inaba is Cenegenics’ Global Director of Nutrition & Exercise. He is a recognized fitness and sports nutrition consultant with nearly 15 years of experience in clinical exercise physiology and lifestyle management. After pursuing his Master of Science in Clinical Exercise Physiology at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, Rudy joined Cenegenics where he leads 20 clinical locations nationwide in their advancements in kinesiology, nutritional biochemistry, and their analyses of industry research & market trending.

Key Resources

This guide was produced with contributions from the following key resources: 

The Cenegenics Education and Research Foundation  

The Textbook of Age Management Medicine Volume 1: Mastering Healthy Aging Nutrition, Exercise and Hormone Replacement Therapy

Click to purchase

The Cenegenics Education and Research Foundation  

The Textbook of Age Management Medicine Volume 2: Mastering Healthy Aging Nutrition, Exercise and Hormone Replacement Therapy

Click to purchase

Textbook Authors:

Jeffrey Park Leake, M.D., CPT

Dr. Jeffrey Park Leake is a Partner and Director of Education at Cenegenics Elite Health specializing in age management and wellness. Having trained hundreds of physicians worldwide, Dr. Leake is also the Director of Education for the Clinical Strategies for Healthy Aging course at AMM Educational Foundation.

Todd David Greenberg, M.D., CSCS

Dr. Todd Greenberg is a practicing physician with a broad range of expertise, including wellness, exercise, sports injuries, and MRI of sports injuries. He is a Radiology Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Washington.

References

[1]American Heart Association. “Monitor Your Blood Pressure.” 30 Nov. 2017. Retrieved from URL: https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure/the-facts-about-high-blood-pressure#.WK7OgBKLSV5

[2] CDC. “High Blood Pressure.” 13 Feb. 2019. Retrieved from URL: https://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/index.htm

[3] American Heart Association. “Understanding Blood Pressure Readings.” 30 Nov. 2017. Retrieved from URL: https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure/understanding-blood-pressure-readings

[4] CDC; see above.

[5] Mayo Clinic. “High blood pressure (hypertension).” 12 May 2018. Retrieved from URL: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/symptoms-causes/syc-20373410

[6] Stephens, Carissa, RN, CCRN, CPN. “What’s to know about high blood pressure?” MedicalNewsToday. 28 Nov. 2017. Retrieved from URL: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/159283.php

[7] Mayo Clinic; see above.

[8] Stephens, Carissa, RN, CCRN, CPN; see above.

[9] Leake, Jeffrey Park, M.D., CPT, and Greenberg, Todd David, M.D., CSCS. Textbook of Age Management Medicine: Volume 1. Leake-Greenberg Ventures, 2015. p. 224.

[10] Stephens, Carissa, RN, CCRN, CPN; see above.

[11] Mayo Clinic. “10 ways to control high blood pressure without medication.” 09 Jan. 2019. Retrieved from URL: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/in-depth/high-blood-pressure/art-20046974

[12] Leake, Jeffrey Park, M.D., CPT, and Greenberg, Todd David, M.D., CSCS; see above.