Optimising Your Metabolic Health

The definition of metabolic health

Metabolic health refers to the optimal functioning of the body’s metabolic processes, which include the regulation of blood sugar levels, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and body fat. It signifies a state where all these factors are within their healthy ranges, indicating a lower risk of developing metabolic syndrome and related conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Good metabolic health is characterised by efficient energy use, stable blood sugar, healthy lipid levels, and normal blood pressure, contributing to overall well-being and reduced risk of chronic diseases.

Metabolic health markers

The following markers are used by healthcare professionals in the UK to identify individuals at risk of metabolic syndrome and related conditions, guiding interventions to improve metabolic health.

Blood Glucose Levels:

Ideal fasting blood glucose levels are measured in millimoles per litre (mmol/L) in the UK, with a healthy range being below 5.6 mmol/L.

Blood Pressure:

A blood pressure reading below 140/90 mmHg is generally considered healthy, although the optimal target for most individuals is below 120/80 mmHg to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Cholesterol Levels:

Cholesterol levels are also measured in mmol/L. A healthy profile includes low levels of LDL cholesterol (often considered optimal if below 3 mmol/L), higher levels of HDL cholesterol (more than 1 mmol/L for men and 1.2 mmol/L for women is considered protective), and triglycerides below 1.7 mmol/L.

Waist Circumference:

For metabolic health, a waist circumference of less than 94 cm (about 37 inches) for men and less than 80 cm (about 31.5 inches) for women is recommended to lower the risk of metabolic diseases.

Body Mass Index (BMI):

The healthy BMI range is between 18.5 and 24.9, used to indicate a healthy body weight for height (however, BMI is not a recommended measure for those with significant muscle mass).


Dietary Choices: The Foundation of Metabolic Wellness

What we eat significantly impacts our metabolic functions. Opting for a diet rich in whole foods, fibres, and lean proteins supports efficient metabolism. Such choices not only fuel the body effectively but also aid in maintaining a healthy weight.

The Role of Regular Physical Activity

Exercise isn’t just about shedding body fat; it’s a crucial component in stoking the metabolic fire. Regular movement, from brisk walking to strength training, enhances metabolic rate and promotes muscle health, keeping the metabolic engine running smoothly.

Stress Management: A Key to Metabolic Balance

The stress hormone cortisol, when elevated, can disrupt metabolic health. Embracing practices like meditation, yoga, or even simple breathing exercises can help manage stress levels, safeguarding metabolic wellness.

Prioritising Sleep: Essential for Metabolic Health

Quality sleep is non-negotiable for metabolic health. It’s during rest that our bodies repair and regulate the hormones responsible for hunger and satiety, playing a pivotal role in metabolic function and weight management.

Hydration: The Unsung Hero of Metabolism

Water is a fundamental catalyst in metabolic processes. Adequate hydration ensures the smooth operation of these processes, aiding in nutrient absorption and energy production.

The Power of Consistency

Embracing these lifestyle adjustments requires consistency. Small, sustainable changes often lead to significant, lasting impacts on metabolic health.


Elevating your metabolic health is within reach. Through mindful dietary choices, regular physical activity, stress management, prioritising sleep, and staying hydrated, you can enhance your metabolic function. Remember, the journey to improved metabolic health is a marathon, not a sprint. Embrace each step with commitment, and the rewards will follow.

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