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Dietary Change That Can Protect Your Health From Unstable Blood Sugar Levels

Dietary Change That Can Protect Your Health From Unstable Blood Sugar Levels

We all know sugar is not good for our bodies – not only can it cause us to put on weight, but once it’s in our blood system, it can wreak havoc with our moods and the inner workings of our body. Having stable blood sugar levels, therefore, is essential for controlling our energy, mood and overall health.

Eating the wrong types of sugars can cause the spikes and dips in our blood sugar levels that, in turn, cause the mood swings and energy rise and depletion – and this is the most obvious sign of our blood sugar levels being affected.

But what we don’t always realise is the damage that this ‘blood sugar rollercoaster’ is doing to our circulatory system – spikes and dips can put a strain on the large blood vessels increasing the risk of heart attacks, stroke, diabetes as well as the small blood vessels resulting in damage to the eyes, kidneys and nerves.

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Changing our diet can be the number one factor in how we can mess with, or stabilize blood sugar levels and cause the blood sugar rollercoaster we want to avoid.

How Diet Affects Blood Sugar Levels

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    Our blood sugar levels are determined by the types of carbohydrates we eat: refined sugar, refined grains and whole grains. Refined sugar and grains found in confectionary, white flour, white bread and white rice are the carbs that cause the most havoc. Consuming these are what causes our blood sugar levels to take that unwanted rollercoaster ride.

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    Whole grains are found in whole wheat products, brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat and other whole grains which help to stablilize blood sugar levels.

    When we eat carbohydrates, our body converts them into glucose, pumps it into our blood stream which then goes on to feed our brain, muscles and other organs. But the difference between refined carbs and whole grains is how long it takes for them to be converted into glucose and this is key to understanding and maintaining a healthy blood sugar level.

    Refined carbohydrates cause glucose to enter the blood stream extremely quickly causing a major spike in energy and mood. Alternatively, whole grains and fruit take much longer to be digested meaning it enters the blood at a much slower rate.

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    How Exactly Does A Blood Sugar Level Spike And Crash Happen?

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      When our blood sugar levels are spiked, the pancreas immediately starts to produce insulin to counteract the amount of sugar in our system because the body is always trying to maintain an even blood sugar level.

      The problem occurs because the pancreas always overcompensates the amount of insulin released and the role of this insulin is to remove the glucose and send it to the cells in our body. This results in too much glucose being removed and levels dropping significantly hence a quick and massive crash in energy levels.

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      Sudden low energy levels mean we will crave more refined sugars to up our mood and so the detrimental cycles continues.

      The Secret Ingredient To Stabilize Blood Sugar Levels

      It’s fibre. To prevent the blood sugar rollercoaster from occurring, we need to replace refined sugars and grains with whole grains and fruit because it’s these that contain the fibre needed to stabilize the glucose levels in our blood.

      Whole grains contain soluble fibre which acts as a sponge in your stomach, soaking up everything and causing it all to be digested much slower by the body. This causes the sugars to be released at a much more stable and even level. The pancreas doesn’t need to release so much insulin to overcompensate and so there isn’t a quick removal of glucose as with refined carbohydrates.

      So if you want to get off the blood sugar rollercoaster, switch to a diet rich in whole grains and eliminate the refined sugars and grains that promote the spikes and crashes that can cause your mood to dip. Cutting down on the amount of refined carbs you eat will improves your happiness levels and overall health so substitute brown rice for white or a chocolate bar for a piece of fruit and reap the benefits.

      Featured photo credit: unsplash.com via pexels.com

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      Jenny Marchal

      A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

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      Last Updated on November 11, 2019

      How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

      How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

      Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

      To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

      Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

      1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

      Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

      Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

      To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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      2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

      Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

      If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

      Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

      3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

      Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

      Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

      4. Feed Your Brain

      Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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      This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

      Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

      Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

      5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

      According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

      Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

      Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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      6. Write it Down

      If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

      It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

      You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

      7. Listen to Music

      Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

      8. Visual Concepts

      In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

      Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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      Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

      9. Teach Someone Else

      Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

      Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

      10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

      Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

      So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

      Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

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      Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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