Saturday, 20 February 2010

It's A Balancing Act!

Our bodies are amazing, so much goes on beneath our skin that we are not aware of and just take for granted.

One of the things our body is doing all the time is maintaining a constant environment – everything from temperature to blood sugar levels are kept within strict limits so that our body can work as it should.

Nearly every cell in our body relies on a consistent supply of glucose (sugar) for energy, but we don’t eat constantly through the day to keep the levels even, so our body does this work for us, monitoring how much glucose is in the blood and either putting some into storage if there is too much or breaking down stores of energy if there isn’t enough.

The problem with our modern diet is that we eat far too many processed carbohydrates, which are quickly digested and released as glucose into the body. The body instantly reacts by releasing insulin which converts the glucose into a form which can be stored and causes the blood glucose levels to dip sharply.

This leads to that familiar feeling of hunger, grumpiness and irritability, lack of concentration and even “the shakes” if it is severe, and so we seek out something to eat to get rid of this feeling – usually something quick and energy rich, which leads to the same thing happening all over again!

But there is a simple solution to this problem, one which can help to keep your mood as well as your blood glucose levels even, and give you a much more constant supply of energy.

Wholegrain foods which take longer to digest release glucose much more slowly, and also keep you feeling full for longer. You may have heard of “low GI” diets – they are referring to the Glycaemic Index, which is a measure of how quickly foods are broken down. Sugar is the highest, with all other foods being compared to it, and any foods that have a low GI are a much better option.

Some supermarkets / brands have even marked some of their products as low GI, so it is worth checking the labels, but basically the more a food has been processed, the higher the GI usually is.

Good foods to look for include brown rice and pasta, oats, bulgar wheat, quinoa, pearl barley and rye – experiment with a few new recipes and ideas and see what you enjoy!

By breaking that yo-yo cycling of blood sugar levels that is so easy to get into, you will find that you have much more energy, can cope better with the demands life throws at you, and will rely less on sugary, fatty foods to give you a boost – which in turn could help you lose weight if you need to!

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