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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

      Freelance Writer

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      Last Updated on May 22, 2019

      10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

      10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

      There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

      One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

      In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

      Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

      1. Cat Camel Stretch

      Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

      Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

      Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

      Here’s a video to guide you through:

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      2. Go for a Walk or a Run

      This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

      Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

      The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

      Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

      Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

      3. Jumping Jacks

      Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

      Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

      4. Abductor Side Lifts

      Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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      Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

      5. Balancing Table Pose

      This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

      Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

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        6. Leg Squats

        Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

        Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

        The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

        7. Push Ups

        You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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        An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

        Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

        This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

        8. Bicycle Crunches

        There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

        Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

        9. Lunges

        Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

        Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

        This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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        10. Bicep Curls

        You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

        Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

        Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

        Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

        Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

        These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

        You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

        Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

        More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

        Reference

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