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Who doesn't like sweet stuff? Commonly found in desserts, drinks and other types of snacks, sugar is a common occurence in the culinary world. However, do you know that the amount of refined sugar contained in our daily food intake can be detrimental for health? As a continuation of last week's journal, this week we are going to give you simple steps to balance your blood sugar levels for a better livelihood.
1. Focus on eating complex carbohydrates
It's important to realize that carbs aren't bad as they give you energy. Since your brain operates with glucose, it's important to have some in your system readily available for energy conversion. There are two types of carbohydrates--complex and simple carbohydrates. However, opt for complex carbohydrates as they are full of fiber and break down more slowly in your body, which in turn balances out your energy levels and leaves you feeling satisfied longer. Examples of complex carbs include brown rice, quinoa, and other whole grains, beans, as well as root vegetables like sweet potatoes and butternut squash.
2. Increase your protein intake
When you eat a high-carbohydrate meal, your digestive tract quickly and easily converts those carbs into glucose. The resulting blood-sugar spike triggers the pancreas to flood your system with insulin in order to flush all of that excess glucose out of your blood stream. The easiest way to avoid this blood-sugar roller coaster ride is to cut back on carbohydrates and eat more lean protein. Protein slows down the digestion and uptake of sugar into the blood stream, meaning that your blood-sugar will remain balanced for several hours instead of rapidly rising and falling right after every meal. Fish, poultry, eggs, tofu and tempeh, nuts and seeds are all examples of excellent sources of protein.
3. Don't leave out the good fats
The pancreas balances blood-sugar levels using two hormones: insulin and glucagon. Insulin signals cells throughout the body to absorb excess glucose from the blood stream and store it as glycogen for future use. Between meals, when blood-sugar levels are lower, the pancreas produces glucagon which triggers cells to release stored glycogen back into the blood stream.
Like all hormones, insulin and glucagon require dietary fats in order to be built. Therefore, it is crucial to include natural sources of “good” fats such as butter, olive oil and avocado as part of your daily diet in order to keep blood-sugar stable.
4. Choose low glycemic foods
Foods with low glycemic index (GI) category means that they have a minimal impact on blood-sugar levels. These fiber-rich foods digest slowly, release glucose at a slower rate and provide the body with carbohydrates and energy without causing a sugar-spike. Examples of low GI foods include sweet potatoes, green apples, berries, beans, and oats.
5. Never skip breakfast
The idea of skipping breakfast to burn fat and lose weight is totally off-base. Without the kick-start of calories provided by a healthy breakfast, your body will burn off existing muscle tissues to get your blood-sugar levels within the required range. Try to start your day with a healthy breakfast. This will stabilize your blood-sugar naturally without putting unnecessary strain on your pancreas and liver.
6. Consume cinnamon
Traditionally used herb by the Chinese and Ayurvedic health systems, cinnamon is helpful to reduce fasting blood sugar levels. Real cinnamon contains polyphenols that help maintain insulin sensitivity. Aside from blood glucose, a few studies have also indicated that cinnamon minimally improves triglyceride and cholesterol levels in people with type 2 diabetes.
Herbana's Relief Sari line also endorses the use of Cinnamon (Kayu Manis) to keep your blood sugar level in check. Made from natural herb extracts, this supplement might as well be the answer to your support your healthy lifestyle
7. Discipline yourself to exercise
Make it a habit to exercise for a total of at least three hours every week. Try to include a combination of equal parts cardiovascular and resistance activities. An active lifestyle will not only have a positive influence on your blood sugar, but also will improve your overall health.
8. Get enough rest at night
Getting an adequate amount of good, quality sleep plays an important role in many aspects of maintaining good health; balancing blood sugar is no exception. The recommended amount of how much sleep a person needs each night may vary, however, adults are usually recommended to get between 7 – 9 hours of sleep.