Sunday, April 29, 2012

Natural Sugar Blockers

Did you know you can slow the absorption of sugar just by using the natural power of food? Believe it or not, this doesn’t involve any extreme or gimmicky diets, just some basic tips of what to eat and when to eat it. Here are 7 sugar-blocking tips:
  1. Eat a fatty snack up to 30 minutes before a meal. A teaspoon of nuts or seeds will trigger the pyloric valve between your stomach and small intestine. This valve regulates the flow of food to help slow down digestion. This helps you reduce sugar spikes and keeps you feeling fuller longer.
  2. Begin a meal with a salad. The soluble fiber in plants, beans, carrots and even some fruit helps absorb starch and sugar. As soluble fiber passes through your intestines, it expands and traps sugar.  This fiber eventually dissolves, but this slower rate of absorption helps reduce the amount of insulin your body needs to handle it.
  3. Use vinegar on that salad. The high acetic acid content of vinegar helps deactivate amylase, the enzyme that turns starch into sugar, which helps slow down the digestive process. Vinegar also increases the body’s sensitivity to insulin, so your pancreas won’t need to produce as much.
  4. Don’t overcook vegetables. Lightly cooked vegetables take longer to digest, so you’ll feel fuller longer.  Roasted vegetables are a tasty alternative to starchy sides.
  5. Add some protein to your meal, so you won’t need as much insulin to process starches. In fact, a serving of protein eaten with starch “can reduce the subsequent blood sugar surge by 44%.” Eat an egg with your oats in the morning or have a turkey meatball with your favorite gluten-free pasta!
  6. Although not for everyone, a glass of vino with a meal actually temporarily stops your liver’s production of glucose.  This means the blood sugar load of a typical serving of starch can be reduced by up to 25% when accompanied by a glass of wine! Something to keep in mind when ordering a starch-heavy meal at your favorite ristorante.

Friday, April 27, 2012

6 Natural Ways to Balance Blood Sugar

If current nutrition and exercise trends persist, up to 75% of men and 52% of women will have Type II diabetes or prediabetes by 2020, according to researchers at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. Here are 6 ways to help prevent becoming part of that statistic:
  • Hit the gym and boost your lean muscle mass. Do 30 minutes of cardio 5 times a week and incorporate resistance training into your weekly exercise routine.  This can help reduce your insulin resistance.
  • Get at least 7 hours of sleep each night. A University of Chicago study found that people who slept for less than 6 hours each night were at a higher risk of diabetes, especially for those who were genetically predisposed to it.
  • Relax. Listen to calming music, get a massage or meditate to reduce the long term effects of stress, including overworked stress hormones and damaged blood vessels.
  • Eat fish weekly. EPA and DHA in wild salmon or sardines can help improve insulin sensitivity.
  • Don’t forget to get enough of the sunshine vitamin. Scientists note that the people with high levels of vitamin D are less likely to develop type II diabetes. Experts recommend a daily intake of 1,000 to 2,000 IUs per day.
  • Add cinnamon to your oatmeal or tea. Cinnamon may help insulin do its job more effectively in the body.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Fall Asleep Faster!

Have you had difficulty falling asleep any night this week? If so, you’re not alone. Here are three strategies you can use to get to sleep faster each night:

* Prime the Melatonin Switch with a Dimmer Switch
Your body naturally produces melatonin, the natural sleep chemical that helps prepare your body for healthy sleep. The real trick is giving your body the signal to start producing melatonin. One way to do that is with dim lighting (mimicking a sunset). So pick up a dimmer switch, or simply spend time in the early-to-late evening in a room with lowered lighting.

* Keep Your Hands and Feet Warm
This may seem a bit strange at first, but try wearing socks to bed... Extra layers on your extremities can help boost circulation, keeping your body warmer and more ready for sleep.

* Exercise
It’s so simple. Research shows that the single most helpful factor in getting a good night’s sleep is getting regular exercise. When you exercise, your body not only gets stronger, but it also resets its internal clock. This helps get your circadian rhythm (sleep-wake cycle) back to normal.