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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 September 10, 2019

      7 Morning Rituals to Empower Your Day And Change Your Life

      7 Morning Rituals to Empower Your Day And Change Your Life

      Most of your reality is not a given. It is shaped by your expectations, beliefs and thoughts you have formed about it. A big chunk of these beliefs and expectations are encoded into habits you integrate in your daily life.

      Yes, some of these habits are formed unconsciously and can be counter-productive or limiting but conversely, you can consciously form positive habits that will transform and empower your life significantly.

      This is a powerful point of departure that more and more people are becoming aware of. The most common trait of highly successful people is the recognition of the power they have in co-creating their reality through changing the way they think, believe or expect their reality to be.

      One of the most effective ways of changing our belief patterns is through practising and maintaining daily rituals. Ancient traditions had clearly understood the power of rituals in reinforcing habits and changing the way we see and create our reality a long, long time ago.

      Once again, if you look into the life history of any highly successful individual, you will find some form of ritual in their daily routine. Some of these rituals may seem banal or eccentric but don’t be deceived by appearances. Rituals are one of the most effective self-empowering tools freely available at the practitioner’s disposal – that is, you!

      Below are some the easiest yet life-changing morning rituals you can do every day. Of course, you can have your own afternoon or bed-time rituals but morning rituals are extremely effective in empowering your day since they help you charge yourself before it all starts.

      1. Gratitude

      Feeling gratitude and appreciation for those little signs and moments of joy happening in your life is probably one of the most overlooked or underestimated rituals. It is a perfect morning ritual to start your day on a very positive key.

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      The real power of gratitude is that it makes you pick out and focus on what is working in your life – what is in tune with your being as a whole. It is selectively positive. It reinforces happiness and positivity by shedding light on those awesome things, small or big, that grace your everyday living.

      Quite often, we just pick out the pain points, the problems, the bottle necks, whatever it is that is not working in our life and causing friction, anxiety and unhappiness. This is like constantly rewriting the script of your life with a negative or tragic overtone. Your subconscious mind follows faithfully that script you write whether it is a negative or positive one.

      So feeling gratitude is undoubtedly an immensely empowering ritual. Start your day by being thankful for those positive things that happened the previous day or throughout the week. It could be something really petty and small. It doesn’t matter. You might be grateful for an unexpected visit from an old friend, a beautiful encounter with a kind stranger, a new opportunity or whatever it is that shines your way. Do it every morning and see what happens during the day.

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        2. Writing Down Your Most Important Tasks

        This is a very practical ritual. Start your day by identifying and writing down from one to three of the most important tasks you need to complete during that day. These tasks are ones which support important long term goals that are aligned to your purpose, passion or general direction in life.

        For example, if writing a book or building an online community are important long term goals which are aligned to your personal growth, then an important task for the day might be finishing off a particular page or two of the book or coming up with fresh content ideas for the online community.

        What is important with this ritual is that you identify these tasks and complete them as early in the day as possible. Of course, you will have other tasks apart from the ones you will write down but, these are tasks which can be tackled later or batched up and carried out in one go.

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        Writing down your most important tasks in the morning helps you focus your day and life according to what is essential. It helps you prioritize and manage your time better. As a result, you simplify your life by applying your focus and energy on what really counts for your overall life progress.

        3. Affirm Your Goals in Writing or Drawing

        This is similar to the previous idea but different in its application and purpose. Writing down your most important tasks of the day is a way to have a concrete structure of action to follow. Affirming your goals, on the other hand, is a very powerful way of crystallizing your vision and goals in life into your everyday mental space.

        Writing down or doodling your goals on a piece of paper helps you externalize those goals by giving them form. In return, they are reflected back in your subconscious mind and thus, reinforcing them and integrating them more wholly.

        An example of this would be writing down “I am achieving greater success in my career” or “I am becoming healthier and stronger through my exercise.” Notice the present tense being used as a way to tell yourself you are in the process already. Remember the life script we subconsciously follow? You are basically modifying the script to be applied now in the present.

        Drawing or doodling can be equally, or even more, effective  (if you are more of a visual person) as it summarizes a graphical representation of your goals. For example, if your goal is to build a new house or live in another country, you can draw the house or draw things that symbolise the country you want to live in.

        write down goals

          4. Practice Qi Gong Exercises

          According to Chinese philosophy, Qi (pronounced ‘Chee’) means the life force or energy inherent in all things;[1] and Qi Gong is the practice to cultivate and circulate that energy in your body. This may sound esoteric or complicated but actually, Qi Gong is really a set of simple exercises aimed at increasing your health and vitality.

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          There are numerous forms and practices available for free through the online media. As a morning ritual, I recommend following these simple exercises by Qi Gong master Lee Holden:

          5. Drink Hot Water with Lemon

          Simply add a slice of lemon in a glass of hot water and drink one every morning. This is a very simple ritual I follow faithfully every morning.

          Apart from being a good source of vitamin C and a great way of flushing out toxins in the morning, it balances and maintains the PH levels in the body, reduces pain and inflammation in joints and knees and helps nourishing brain and nerve cells. Here are some more benefits of drinking hot water with lemon.

          6. Rise Earlier

          The practical advantages of waking up early are obvious.

          For example, you gain more time for doing exercise such as walking, cycling or Qi Gong as suggested above. You gain more time to be with yourself to reflect, meditate or, more importantly, carry out the other morning rituals.

          So rising early can be seen as a foundation for all the other morning rituals. Many, like myself, find that they are more productive in the early hours of the day.

          Also, various studies have shown that there are many other benefits from waking up an hour or two earlier in the morning. Sleeping early and waking up early helps the body attune with the earth’s circadian rhythms thus, promoting more restorative sleep. Other curious results from such studies show, for instance, that early risers tend to be more optimistic and can anticipate and solve problems more efficiently than the norm.[2]

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          7. Listen to Uplifting Music

          Uplifting music can have a direct impact on our mood, especially in the morning. It charges us emotionally and tunes us into a more positive outlook of the day ahead.

          Most people wake up to music or listen to music as they commute to work. Very often, however, they tune in to a radio or randomly pick a playlist from their device. Being more selective and conscious of the music you listen to in the morning can have a great impact on your day and life in general.

          It’s funny how we try to choose music according to our mood. For example if you are feeling down or disappointed by something, you are more prone to listen to music that reflects that mood – for instance blues, sad songs or downtempo music. This has the effect of reinforcing that mood. What you need to do is the exact opposite and retune your mood by listening to music that beats to a different tune than that mood.

          Try to listen to more uplifting music in the morning even if, or especially if, your mood does not dictate so.

          More About Energetic Habits & Rituals

          Featured photo credit: Carli Jeen via unsplash.com

          Reference

          [1] Live Science: What Is Qi Gong
          [2] Harvard Business Review: Defend Your Research: The Early Bird Really Does Get the Worm

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