Dr. Oz reveals the three simple tests that could save your life.
You wouldn't drive your car for 5, 10 or 20 years without getting a checkup. So why would you do it to your body? It's crucial to know your body's condition to prevent three of America's biggest killers—heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Here, Dr. Oz shares how to do so with 3 simple tests available through your doctor or pharmacist. Now more than ever, you have the power to detect and fight those diseases, improving your health and maybe even saving your life.
Test 1: A Comprehensive Weight and Fat Assessment
A comprehensive weight and fat assessment is more than just standing on a scale and counting the pounds. This seven-in-one test gives you insight into your overall health by measuring the following: Body Weight, Body Mass Index (BMI), Body Fat Percentage, Body Age, Resting Metabolism, Visceral Fat, and an important measurement that may be new to you, Skeletal Muscle. And while you may assume men are more concerned about muscle mass, knowing your percentage of skeletal muscle is just as crucial for women. In fact, skeletal muscle is the secret key to your body's ability to burn fat over the long term and lose weight. Your doctor can tell you your ideal percentage based on a variety of factors, but generally women should shoot for close to 30 percent, while men should be closer to 35 percent. If your percentage is too low, it's time to ramp up your muscle mass.
There are two great ways to build muscle for men and women. First, eat more eggs. One egg contains about 10 percent of your daily protein requirements—vital for building muscle—and is loaded with vitamins A, D and B12, as well as lutein and zeaxanthin. While most people think eggs are high in cholesterol, the amount contained in the yolk is actually negligible.
To build even more muscle, add a creatine supplement to your daily shakes and smoothies. Consuming 2 grams of creatine a day while exercising provides your muscles with more energy, allowing them to grow as they're pushed to work harder and longer. Put simply, the more muscle you have, the more calories your body will burn. But you must be engaging in regular, moderate-to-high intensity exercise—otherwise, you could gain weight.
Test 2: Blood Pressure
Heart disease is the number-one killer of women, yet when it comes to blood pressure—a major contributor to heart disease—so many people continue to go unchecked and undiagnosed. Healthy arteries are vital for transporting blood through your heart and to the rest of your body. Above-normal pressure puts too much force on your arteries, and can lead to arterial damage, including weakening, scarring, risk of plaque build-up and blood clots, and overall coronary artery disease. High blood pressure is associated with the development of life-threatening conditions such as stroke, kidney failure, and type 2 diabetes. An ideal blood pressure reading should be 115/75; anything over 140/90 is considered hypertension, while prehypertension is any reading in between.
Medicinal and all-natural options exist to lower your blood pressure. Try taking Coenzyme Q10, also known as CoQ10 or ubiquinone. It's an over-the-counter supplement that can help maintain healthy blood vessels. Taking 200 mg per day has been demonstrated in some studies to help reduce blood pressure. You should also add more garlic to your diet. Eating at least 1 clove a day may lower your blood pressure and slow the hardening of the arteries.
This painless, finger-prick blood test measures both your blood sugar levels and cholesterol. The best part? You don't have to fast beforehand!
If you haven't eaten within a couple hours, your blood sugar levels should be between 70 and 100. A measure of 100-125 is considered prediabetic, and 126 means you've got diabetes. If you've eaten recently and your blood sugar level reads above 200, it also places you among the 80 million Americans living with diabetes. And as the sugar builds up in your body due to insulin resistance, it acts like shards of glass, scraping away at the walls of your arteries, leaving them severely weakened.
You can take 2 supplements to temper the effects of diabetes. Many type-2 diabetics are naturally low in magnesium, which is important for regulating blood sugar levels. Taking 400 mg a day of magnesium supplements can help manage blood sugar levels. Additionally, taking 200 mcg of chromium polynicotinate supplement daily can improve how insulin works in your body, going so far as to bring pre-diabetics—people in the 100-125 blood sugar range—back down to healthy levels. (If you're already taking diabetes medication, or if you have kidney or liver problems, talk to your doctor before trying any supplements.)
Your cholesterol levels should also be below 200. Anything higher should prompt a trip to the doctor's office. In addition to the treatment she or he recommends, add coconut oil to your meals as a substitute for butter and other unhealthy, saturated fats. In fact, adding just 1 tablespoon to your diet per day could help raise your HDL, or healthy cholesterol levels, to protect your arteries. You can also include a red yeast rice supplement in your daily routine to help lower cholesterol. This supplement may work like the class of prescription drugs known as statins, blocking the enzyme that produces bad cholesterol. Try taking 1200 mg twice daily to get your cholesterol under control (after checking with your doctor, of course).
Remember, there are a million excuses to avoid taking these tests. Maybe you're too busy with family, work, or even just afraid to find out what the results may be. But the sooner you know the status of your body, the sooner you'll be able to turn it around and experience the best health of your life.