Managing Your Diabetes the Healthy Way

Diet is of the utmost importance for diabetics when it comes to managing their insulin levels; however, studies show that regular exercise is just as important in controlling blood glucose levels.

Managing Your Diabetes the Healthy WayTwenty-three studies in total were put together involving 8,538 type 2 diabetic subjects and the effects of regular exercise over 12 weeks.

“Exercise is a cornerstone of diabetes management, along with dietary and pharmacological interventions. Current guidelines recommend that patients with type 2 diabetes should perform at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise and should perform resistance exercise 3 times per week. Regular exercise improves glucose control in diabetes, but the association of different exercise training interventions on glucose control is unclear.” JAMA

The results from these tests showed that subjects were engaged in structured exercise showed a decline in HbA1c levels – a marker of glucose control:

  • Structured exercise = a decline of .67% in HbA1c
  • Structured aerobic exercise = a decline of .73% HbA1c
  • Structured resistance training = a decline of .57% HbA1c
  • Structured aerobic exercise and resistance training = a decline of .51% HbA1c

“Structured exercise durations of more than 150 minutes per week were associated with HbA1c reductions of 0.89 percent, while structured exercise durations of 150 minutes or less per week were associated with HbA1c reductions of 0.36 percent. Overall, interventions of physical activity advice (24 studies) were associated with lower HbA1c levels (-0.43 percent) compared with control participants. Combined physical activity advice and dietary advice was associated with decreased HbA1c (-0.58 percent) as compared with control participants. Physical activity advice alone was not associated with HbA1c changes,” the authors write.

“This systematic review and meta-analysis of RCTs demonstrates important findings regarding the prescription of structured exercise training. First, aerobic, resistance, and combined training are each associated with HbA1c decreases, and the magnitude of this reduction is similar across the 3 exercise modalities. … Second, our findings demonstrate that structured exercise of more than 150 minutes per week is associated with greater declines in HbA1c than structured exercise of 150 minutes or less per week in patients with type 2 diabetes. This finding is important because the current guideline-recommended exercise duration is at least 150 minutes per week. Although high-intensity exercise has been previously shown to have an association with HbA1c reduction, our findings did not demonstrate that more intensive exercise was associated with greater declines in HbA1c.”

Exercise in combination with diet is key to managing diabetes in an effective manner. Supplementing your diet with a high quality whey protein supplement like ISOFLEX with zero carbs and zero sugar can help provide your body with much-needed nutrients without any insulin rush. Protein helps build lean muscle tissue and the more lean muscle you have, the more calories you burn and the less fat you have. With lowered  BMIs comes an improvement in health and this is particularly important for diabetics.

Make sure you talk to your healthcare professional before engaging in any exercise to help you find a program that works with your particular physical abilities. For instance, if your eyesight has suffered from being diabetic, then something like running or team sports may not be ideal, but something like Nordic Walking that uses the aid of walking sticks could just be the perfect aerobic exercise for you. You must also get into the habit of checking your blood glucose before, during and after exercise. Make sure to record these readings, so you become familiar with how your body reacts to exercise. Research shows that it is important not to exercise when your insulin is at its highest. Exercising 1-3 hours after a meal is recommended.

Finally, invest in a good pair of supportive shoes and protect those valuable feet.

Source:

JAMA and Archives Journals. “Structured exercise training associated with improved glycemic control for patients with diabetes.” ScienceDaily, 4 May 2011. Web. 29 May 2011.

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Chromotherapy Painting the Way to Good Health

Chromotherapy is a discipline that dates back to ancient Ayurvedic medicine and the alignment of the chakras or spiritual centers down the spinal column that are located at energy points in the body.

Chromotherapy painting the way to good healthEach chakra is associated with a color and directly connects the systems of the body. Ayurvedic medicine believes that when there is an imbalance in your chakra, the best therapy is chromotherapy. By using the corresponding color for the imbalanced chakra, you can restore balance to your body:

  • Red = gonads, kidneys, spine, sense of smell
  • Orange = urinary tract, circulation, reproduction
  • Yellow = stomach, liver, gall bladder, pancreas
  • Green = heart, lungs, thymus
  • Blue = throat, ears, mouth, hands
  • Indigo = eye, pineal glands
  • Violet = pituitary gland, the central nervous system and cerebral cortex

Even though skeptics call chromotherapy a pseudoscience, there are many studies that prove how color affects our mood and disposition. It is no coincidence that hospitals are painted blue on the inside. From the color of paint on the walls to the color of your drinking glasses, color has a profound affect on your daily lives:

  • Red = stimulating, energizing, healing powers.
  • Orange = stimulating, warms the emotions
  • Pink = soothing, relaxing, inspiring
  • Yellow = wakens the mind, positive, sunny
  • Green = harmonizing, rejuvenating, calming
  • Blue = peaceful, healing, cooling
  • Violet = soothing, tranquilizing, spiritual, meditative

It is no surprise then that the color of the foods you eat also has a profound impact on your life and physiological well-being. If you are feeling a lack of energy, then eating red foods is what you need to pick yourself up. By using the chakras of the body, you can determine which areas are out of whack and eat that color food to help restore balance:

  • Red = beets, black cherries, radishes, red pepper, strawberries, red apples, red plums
  • Orange = yams, apricots, mangoes, peaches, cataloupes, carrots, squash, oranges
  • Pink = pomegranates, raspberries, water melon
  • Yellow = corn, bananas, lemons, pineapples
  • Green = lettuce, cabbage, spinach, broccoli, kale, green beans, peas
  • Blue = blueberries, blackberries, grapes, bilberries, blue plums

So, the next time you eat a meal, take a look at your plate – how colorful is it? Is it mostly grey and brown? Then it’s time to liven things up and start adding the rainbow to your diet.

Originally published @ FITLODE.COM

What’s all the Fuss about MUFAs?

Fat gets a bad rap most of the time, but the right kind of fat can mean all the difference to your diet and weight loss program, not to mention your health.

What's all the fuss about MUFAs?Even the name Monounsaturated Fat sounds like it’s just dripping in fat, but the name comes from its physical makeup. Monounsaturated fats are made up of chains of compounds of carbon and hydrogen particles that fuse together in such a way that at one end there are no hydrogen atoms. So there is one (mono) unsaturated end where only carbon atoms reside.

The thing about monounsaturated fat is that it’s good for you and can be found in items like olive oil, avocados, nuts, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds. Why is it good for you? Because it is exactly the kind of fat the body needs to produce hormones and perform other vital functions of the brain, heart and body that keep your health at its premium. Monounsaturated fats also help in lowering cholesterol levels in the bloodstream and ensure optimum heart health.

Monounsaturated fats or MUFAs help to digest fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E and K. These vitamins are responsible for a number of biological functions like the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, coagulation of the blood, maintenance of eyesight and the reduction of oxidative stress. Monounsaturated fats can help fight cancer and reduce inflammation that can lead to all kinds of diseases, including obesity.

Two other fat-fighting benefits of MUFAs are the regulation of blood glucose levels and acceleration of fat burning. Two studies conducted in 2007, one right after the other, proved that MUFAs accelerate fat burning. The first study was published in the journal Diabetic Care and found that despite most claims stating the opposite, MUFAs were capable of spot reduction as they target the fat cells found in the mid-section, particularly the abdominal area.

A later study that year, found that participants showed signs of burning fat after consuming a meal rich in MUFAs. Not only that, but this fat burning continued long after the meal was consumed. Participants of the study lost most of the weight from their stomachs on diets that consisted of 40% MUFAs.

Another significant finding from a study in 2004 published in the Journal of Nutrition shows that consuming MUFAs helps to maintain lean muscle mass. Two things happen with the increase of lean muscle tissue – one, your body burns more fat, even at rest; and two, you lose abdominal fat and that reduces your risk of developing many life-threatening diseases.

MUFAs are so good at burning fat that one study out of England that was published in the British Journal of Nutrition shows how doing nothing else but increasing the amount of MUFAs to your current diet will cause you to burn fat and lose weight.

One word of caution though, despite this innate power that MUFAs have, fats need to be consumed in moderation and the recommended daily amount of fat is 30% of total calories for optimum health.

Originally published @ FITLODE.COM

Fibre for Weight Loss

When we think of fiber, most people will imagine bran – that dry, tasteless, unpleasant substance.

Fiber for Weight LossBut fiber comes in many forms like whole grains, fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Each of these food sources have a part of them that humans cannot digest and therefore, this component, whether it be cellulose in that of the skins of vegetables and fruits, or the hard exterior shell of seeds and grains, indigestible fiber moves slowly through the system and is hard to digest. Because of this fact, fiber helps to keep you feeling fuller for longer. It’s also very low in calories.

Fiber also helps to keep the system clean and regular and this too can help with weight loss and ridding toxins from the body.

The recommended daily amount of fiber for Americans is 25-35 grams; however, the average American consumes only eight to 11 grams a day – less than half the daily recommendation.

The reason for this is that the average American diet consists of too many processed foods and refined grains high in sugar and low in fiber. Diets of this nature often lead to metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes – two diseases that are increasing at an alarming rate in the States.

One of the first things diabetics learn when assessing how much sugar is in a food is that this number can be significantly lowered by the amount of fiber consumed at the same time. Fiber slows down the digestion and helps keep blood sugars stable, so you don’t spike and crash. This is often the cycle with high sugar, low fiber diets – the spike and crash. It’s a vicious cycle and is the reason why so many people fall off their diets. After eating a regular high carb, low fiber meal your blood sugar spikes and stimulates insulin production. When this spikes, there are certain symptoms that follow like hunger, the jitters, headaches and fatigue. The only cure for this is more carbs and more refined sugars and so the cycle begins and the weight starts creeping back on again.

So, include more fiber in your diet.

There are two kinds of fiber – insoluble and soluble. Insoluble fiber is the one everybody associates with bran. It needs water in order to travel through the system and along the way, picks up carcinogens and toxins, ensuring they don’t stay in your system for too long. Examples of insoluble fiber include:

  • Wheat bran
  • Whole grains
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Beans
  • Grains
  • Nuts

Soluble fiber comes from pectin and gummy substances, which stick to cholesterol and bile acids in the small intestine and removes them from the body. Examples of this type of fiber can be found in:

  • Oats
  • Oat bran
  • Barley
  • Dried Beans
  • Soybeans
  • Apples
  • Nuts
  • Flax seeds
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables

Include more fiber in your diet and reduce your cholesterol, lower you blood sugar and lose weight. It’s that simple!

Originally published @ FITLODE.COM

Using Portion Control to Lose Weight

Portion control is something that most of us do not execute properly and really when you think about it, portion control is the secret to losing weight.

Using Portion Control to Lose WeightKnowing how many carbohydrates or how much protein you should eat and at what time will help keep you on your diet and moving towards your goal that much quicker. First you need to plan and that starts with some kind of list or journal. Start with a list of all the food you like to eat. Then rule out all those low fiber, high sugar, high carb, processed foods and replace them with low carb, healthy options. For example, I love green peas and corn. I could eat them every day, and you’d think because they’re vegetables, that would be okay, but they’re both loaded with carbohydrates. While I think I’m getting two portions of veggies, I’m really getting two portions of starch that I don’t need.

When you’re choosing fruits and vegetables, try to stick with seasonal vegetables – this will be easier on your wallet and ensure that you’re getting the freshest ingredients. Once you’ve decided what foods will appear on your new, healthy and slimmed down menu, plan out a week’s diet using portion control.

Here’s what you need to know about portions:

How to Gauge Your Portions

  • One Serving of Carbs = 1 slice of whole wheat or whole grain bread, 1/3 cup cooked brown rice, ½ cup cooked whole wheat pasta, 1 cup of bran or whole grain cereal
  • One Serving of Protein = 2-3 oz of meat, 1 egg, ½ cup dry beans, 1/3 cup nuts
  • One Serving of Dairy = 1 cup yogurt, 2 dice-sized pieces of cheese

If you’re on a low-calorie diet to lose weight, here is a breakdown of each meal:

Portion Servings per Day

  • Breakfast = 200 to 300 calories = ½ protein, 1 carb, 1 fruit (1 piece or 1 x ½ cup)
  • Snack = 150 to 200 calories = 1 fruit or 1 dairy and unlimited low-starch veggies
  • Lunch = 300 to 400 calories = ½ protein, unlimited low-starch veggies, 1 fat (1 tbsp salad dressing from monounsaturated fats like olive oil)
  • Snack = 150 to 2000 calories = 1 fruit or 1 dairy or 1 serving or nuts (subtract the fat from dinner) and unlimited low-starch veggies
  • Dinner = 400 to 500 calories = 1 protein, unlimited low-starch veggies, one carb and two healthy fats

Once you’ve got your portions down, you can start filling in your menu plan for the week. For instance, for breakfast, you will want ½ protein (1 tbsp peanut butter), 1 carb (1 piece of whole wheat toast) and 1 fruit (½ cup blueberries). When you start filling in the blanks with the correct portions and types of food you can eat, you will find that there are lots of fresh, healthy foods that you enjoy and learning to lead a healthier lifestyle will get easier and easier.

The above is just a guideline and is very restrictive in calories. The best way to gauge how many calories you should consume in a day is to take your ideal weight and multiply it by 10. For example, Ideal Weight = 140 x 10 = 1400 calories a day.

Originally published @ FITLODE.COM