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Diabetes and Exercise

Archive for the Diet & Fitness Category

Plan Your Diabetic-Friendly Exercise Routine

Plan Your Diabetic-Friendly Exercise Routine

Plan Your Diabetic-Friendly Exercise Routine

It’s All in the Mind

We often make promises to ourselves that begin with the purest of intentions to see through to completion, but for one reason or another we often end up not exactly fulfilling or maintain consistency in our plan of action.  A New Year’s resolution would be a prime example of this, usually entailing something along the lines of weight-loss, diet, or increased physical activity.    So why is it that we constantly need to re-affirm these goals so adamantly only to find ourselves coming up short on our intended results?

Well it may sound a bit cliché, but it’s actually all in the mind as it were, specifically perception, the way we look at any given thing can make or break our most ambitious of plans.  The mind is an infinitely complex labyrinth still holding many mysteries, but it can also be your most powerful asset, simply by learning how to shape the way you think about things.  Even the suggestive power of language can help shape our thoughts and merely changing a few words and the images they conjure up can be a great way to begin in your journey into a healthy lifestyle and fitness discipline.

Diabetes-Friendly Exercise

Mix it Up!

There has always been a debate about what is more beneficial, cardio or weight training?  I tend to believe that they both possess great benefits in different aspects for your health, strength, and endurance so a varied approach is optimal.   Studies have shown that normally sedentary people with type 2 diabetes who engaged in a mixture of aerobic (cardio) and resistance training (weight lifting) tended to have lower blood sugar levels after 9 months than those that only focused on one type of training in the same amount of time.

 Resistance Training (Weight Lifting)

Weight Training

While cardio workouts strengthen the heart muscle and all it’s supportive tissues and organs, strength training or weight lifting builds the muscles you utilize during the act of lifting.  These muscles include but are not limited to abdominals, legs, arms, and chest and tend to utilize sugar in the form of glucose more efficiently, which can lead to improved blood sugar control and lowered insulin resistance.  Also, resistance training has been known to control high blood sugars by increasing your metabolic rate (your metabolism) for days after the workout, even while you sleep (which is  just as important for recovery).

So while you don’t need to reach fitness model levels of fitness, consistency and moderation can improve strength and blood sugar over time.  Be mindful of your form while lifting weights as improper techniques can lead to sometimes serious injuries.  If you are just starting out always start slow with low weights to develop proper posture while executing your lifts.  Visit your local gym for classes or even a personal trainer to teach you how to perform some basic moves and work out efficiently with weights.

Cardio Training

Aerobic Training (Cardio)

It is not necessary to utilize a treadmill to get a great cardio workout, so long as you can get your heart-rate up to 60-80% your maximum heart-rate you will usually “work-up a sweat” and reap the benefits of a stronger cardiovascular system.  Remember to always consult your healthcare service provider to determine a safe heart-rate zone to get up to, since endurance levels can vary greatly from person to person based on their medical history.  A general rule of thumb I’ve always used though is to estimate your target heart rate at 220 minus your current age for a basic approximation.  Don’t feel the need to join a gym either, many activities can get your heart-rate going either at home or nearby.  Things like walking the dog, taking the stairs instead of the elevator and parking at the far end of the lot can help promote physical activity throughout the day.

Vigilance

While maintaining your custom fitness regimen, don’t forget to frequently keep your eye on your blood glucose levels as beginning an exercise routine can cause hypoglycemia.  Sometimes adjusting with more frequent snacking and dosage in medication is necessary to compensate for the added energy consumption throughout your day.  Always play it safe, stay healthy!

For more information on this subject read more here.

 

Ways to Stay Healthy with a Desk Job

Ways to Stay Healthy with a Desk Job

Ways to Stay Healthy with a Desk Job.

Physical inactivity, especially sitting for long periods, has been linked to increased mortality rates second only to smoking, according to research from the American College of Sports Medicine.

For those that reported sitting for more than 23 hours per week combined, there was a 64 percent greater chance of dying from cardiovascular disease than those who said less than 11. The American College of Chest Physicians even found a link between sitting at home during leisure time and suffering poorer sleep and decreased attentiveness during work the next day.

Although it is impossible to negate the effects of long hours of sitting entirely, there are many things that the average worker can do to help, according to Lifehack. First, plan to break up the day into 30-to-60 minute chunks, separated by a short walk, stretch, or other activity. Finding ways to walk at work could be as simple as having a walking meeting or bringing in a standing desk or even a cutting-edge treadmill desk. There are simple stretching routines that can be performed unobtrusively in an office that can reduce neck and back pain by 72 percent, according to studies at the Wheeling Jesuit University.

Good practices like parking far away from the office, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or even walking or biking for your commute can add movement to the day. Take care to schedule lunchtime so that you won’t be forced to grab unhealthy food or eat sitting at your desk instead of taking a real break. Drinking plenty of water will not only provide other health benefits, but it will also give you a reason to stand up and move around more often as you go to the restroom and refill your bottle. After work, several health-minded coworkers could even get together for athletics or group workouts as an alternative to sitting at home.

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Probiotics & Diabetes

Probiotics & Diabetes

Probiotics & Diabetes

The Microbiome

The word bacteria conjures up images of creepy crawly organisms scurrying about the inner workings of your body, maybe even give you the shivers.  But to think that as many as 39 trillion are in the human body sounds alarming since that’s more than the number of cells we have.  Now although bacteria can be harmful, there are also helpful kinds that facilitate health and prevention of diseases.

Our digestive tract that houses these bacteria is known as the microbiome or gut flora, comprised of microorganisms which can be viruses, parasites, fungi and bacteria.  As mentioned before some of these microorganisms can be potentially unfavorable, but many are actually able to ward off disease or illness.  All microbiomes are different due to various factors ranging from DNA, date of birth, breast fed versus formula fed to environmental factors and diets can all influence the different types of microorganisms found.  The more variety in the gut, the better chance of good digestion, mineral absorption, and healthier immune system can be expected.  Other factors that affect this balance of the microbiome is the use of antibiotics that eliminates good and bad bacteria, and illnesses.  An unhealthy balance of gut flora can lead to digestive issues, weight gain, skin disorders, infections, colds, and even mental health issues.

How it affects Diabetes

Seemingly probiotics can improve a number of health issues, pending further research.  But as far as diabetes specifically, studies show that probiotics along with a healthy diet, lowered their A1C by 8.9% as compared to healthy diet alone which lowered A1C by 3.4%.  Other studies show that probiotics can also lower glucose and insulin levels with diabetics, as well as better glucose tolerance & hyperglycemia in animals.  Human studies have shown promise as well but have usually been limited to fewer than 20 participants and makes it hard to determine what factors contributed to the improved glycemic control.

While it is too early to recommend diabetics to take probiotic supplements or eat specific foods to reduce blood sugars, there is conclusive evidence that probiotics can support overall health.  In particular, a healthy microbiome promotes heart health which is of upmost importance for people with diabetes.  In the meantime it is best to select foods that are natural sources of probiotics.  But if checking with your health provider and given the approval, probiotic supplements with multiple strains (at least 30 billion Colony Forming Units) is best.  Also look out for a USP Verified seal as well as monitoring your glucose levels for signs of improvement afterwards.

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Vitamin D vs. Diabetes

Vitamin D vs. Diabetes

Vitamin D vs Diabetes

With diabetes on it’s meteoric rise, new innovations are being discovered to help quell it’s rising numbers.  New research is looking into vitamin D as a possible treatment option for the now 30 million people living with type 2 diabetes in the U.S.  Obesity is rising as well, raising type 2 diabetes risk factors that in turn ends up causing deficient beta cells that produce insulin in the pancreas.  These inadequate beta cells produce little or no insulin at all, causing glucose to build up in the blood damaging other cells and muscle tissues.  This new study looks for a new way to protect these beta cells using vitamin D compounds slowing the development of diabetes.

Vitamin D is produced by the skin as a reaction to sunlight exposure.  In the past, connections have been discovered between low vitamin D levels and risk of diabetes, although the details of how exactly they correlate has eluded researchers for some time.  This is partly due to the wide range of uses the body has for vitamin D, including serving as an inflammation reducer which was a critical factor for this study.

The Research

The study required the creation of beta cells utilizing embryonic stem cells to test the effects of different compounds on them.  One compound in particular iBRD9, when combined with vitamin D molecules increased operations of vitamin D receptors.  This in turn protected beta cells needed for proper insulin production thus bringing glucose levels back down to normal in mouse test subjects.  Correlations of high vitamin D in the blood has been found to lower risk of diabetes but it takes more than just vitamin D alone.  The key is in the way genes are decoded for the production of proteins.  When iBRD9 is introduced it causes the decoding of genes with the “protective effect” on beta cells to be decoded at a faster rate, thus protecting beta cells resulting in more efficient insulin production.  This “protection” is actually a reduction in inflammation of beta cells for better survival under strenuous conditions in the body.

The Conclusion

While the evidence is emerging for future possibilities of drugs that boost the effect of vitamin D on diabetics and pancreatic cancer patients, further research is still in order.  While no side-effects were observed on test mice, it must further be tested for safety on humans.

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Child Food Allergies are on the Rise

Child Food Allergies are on the Rise

Child Food Allergies are on the Rise

As modern medicine continues to find ways to treat and prevent illnesses from occurring, at least one issue affecting children is on the rise, allergies.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, food allergies in children have risen by 50 percent over the past couple of decades with peanut or tree nut allergies more than tripling during roughly the same period. Complicating matters further, about 30 percent of children with one food allergy are allergic to more than one type of food.

It’s important to identify food allergies so that steps can be taken to avoid that food and prevent harmful reactions. Food allergies can be cause severe reactions, like anaphylaxis, a serious, fast acting reaction that causes itchy rash, swelling of the throat and tongue, breathing problems, vomiting and light-headedness. A dose of epinephrine is usually required to mediate the symptoms.

About 200,000 people seek medical attention for food allergies each year, and roughly 40 percent of children with allergies will experience a serious incident at some point. Events are most common outside of the home when it is more difficult to determine the ingredients of prepped food and cross-contamination is more likely.

There are a lot of theories for why allergies are on the rise and one idea gaining traction is the hygiene hypothesis. CNBC explains that this theory speculates that a lack of exposure to allergens, bacteria, and other infectious agents early in a child’s life can cause the immune system to register food proteins as a germ in the body. Although not conclusive, the FDA is currently investigating the issue, along with others, to help explain the sudden rise in allergies among American children.

It is possible for many allergies, such as milk, wheat, and eggs, to resolve themselves during childhood but it is uncommon for those to tree nuts, peanuts, shellfish, and fish to go away on their own. As of yet, there is no medical cure for food allergies at any age, and the only real way to avoid issues is to avoid the problem foods.

10 ways to curb overeating

10 ways to curb overeating

10 Ways to Curb Overeating

It is a little known fact that people with type 1 diabetes lose production of what is called Amylin.  Amylin is a hormone secreted by beta cells that are responsible for making us feel full after a meal.  It also impedes the emptying of the stomach along with regulating rising glucose levels.

There are various factors involved that causes one to overeat such as habit, nutritional deficiencies, and food addictions/disorders.  For those with type 1 diabetes the loss of Amilyn can be a compounding issue when it comes to staving off hunger to reduce overeating.

Healthy Solutions

Here are ten things we can do to mitigate the chances of overindulging on meals, although some suggestions might work better for some than others:

  1. Start off by tracking the foods they eat and weather they provide sufficient nutrients, so that those deficiencies don’t contribute to hunger and overeating.
  2. Increasing Protein intake can promote satiety leading to an overall feeling of “fullness” after meals.
  3. During low-carb diets your body excretes more salt which can lead to lower sodium levels which in turn leads to cravings for sodium, usually mistaken for hunger and food cravings.
  4. Regular lab work during checkups can screen out potential Iron-deficiencies such as in Anemia and hormone imbalances such as in Hypothyroidism, which cause the urge to continue eating.
  5. We can often confuse dehydration for hunger, for this reason drinking plenty of water such as a large glass before eating can help you feel more full.
  6. Measuring food intake by pre-storing them into separate containers helps control portions, which can reduce temptations for second servings.
  7. Staying active, especially with outdoor activities, can distract you from wanting to eat unnecessarily.  Avoid the kitchen where it is most  likely  to tempt you to eat more.
  8. Intermittent fasting can help your body feel actual hunger and re-set your body. Just take into account glucose levels if you are diabetic and adjust basal insulin dosage properly.
  9. Eat slowly and pay close attention to what you are eating, notice the details such as color, texture, smell, & taste.  It can be benificial to focus on what exactly are you putting into your body.
  10. There are medications such as Contrave and/or Symlin can help lower appetite, lower blood glucose levels, and in turn lose weight.

 

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Alcohol Consumption & Diabetes

Alcohol Consumption & Diabetes

Alcohol Consumption & Diabetes

Alcohol can be found in many consumables throughout our daily lives, mostly in social settings.  While not everyone drinks alcohol, there are those that do, especially with the holiday season approaching.  For people with diabetes, this can be a difficult time of the year navigating around feasts and alcoholic beverages.  While there is no real reason to drink alcohol, those doubtful should always discuss this matter with their doctor.

A little knowledge on how the human body deals with alcohol can help clear things up a bit.  Alcohol is treated more like a drug rather than a meal, so liver activity increases dramatically reducing over-all functionality.  This is detrimental if the liver must also handle waning blood glucose levels, in which case it will do so poorly as it will prioritize metabolizing alcohol first.  If you normally control blood glucose via healthy diet and exercise exclusively, a little alcohol in moderation should pose no problem.  If you are on any kind of medication things can get complicated though, and you run the risk of losing control of your blood glucose levels, especially on an empty stomach.

Pros & Cons

The unpredictable nature of alcohol can also prove difficult to determine an accurate health risk-assessment with any type of certainty.   Alcohol tolerance levels vary greatly from person to person and depend on many factors, leading to unmanageable blood glucose levels.  One of the factors for this occurrence may be better understood in a study out of Sweden, in where alcohol in rats sent large amounts of blood to beta cells in the pancreas leading to increased insulin secretion and thus lowering blood glucose levels. This is not always a bad thing though, as in the case of Type 2 diabetes where a high-carb meal can be combined with alcohol to mitigate hyperglycemia.  As another study in Israel found that a glass of an alcoholic beverage could be given to people with Type 2 diabetes along with their evening meals to reduce fasting blood glucose levels over a three month period.

Pros:

  • Lowered risk of heart disease
  • Lowered risk of stroke
  • Raise HDL levels (“good”) cholesterol
  • Lowered risk of Type 2 diabetes
  • Prevention of gallstones

Cons:

  • Hypoglycemia
  • Higher risk of Cancer
  • Increased risk of Pancreatitis
  • Cardiomyopathy (weakening of the heart muscle)
  • Cirrhosis
  • High blood pressure
  • Miscarriage
  • Fetal alcohol syndrome
  • Accidents

Some people who should avoid alcoholic beverages altogether include people with a history of alcoholism, out of control diabetes, liver or pancreatic diseases, on medication or pregnant women.  Be responsible when drinking alcohol and and ask your doctor for additional advice if unsure about how much you could consume safely.

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Cinnamon May Help Fight Against Obesity.

Cinnamon May Help Fight Against Obesity.

Cinnamon May Help Fight Against Obesity.

New studies from the University of Michigan found how a common spice—cinnamon—can help fight against obesity.

Researchers had previously noticed that cinnamaldehyde (a basic oil responsible for cinnamon’s flavor) seemed to defend mice against obesity and hyperglycemia, but it was not well comprehended what prompted this effect.  More study on this process was necessary to see if it would carry over to humans with similar results.

According to their more recent findings, cinnamaldehyde promotes metabolic health by inducing fat cells (adipocytes) to start burning energy utilizing thermogenesis (the process of heat production in organisms).

When donated human fat cells were treated with cinnamaldehyde, some changes in the genes and enzymes improved lipid metabolism (the breaking down of fats in a cell).  An increase in some key proteins that affect thermogenesis was also observed.

Fat cells store energy in the form of lipids, a long-term storage strategy beneficial to our ancestors, as foods high in fat were hard to come by in those times.  These lipids could then be utilized during times of food scarcity or extreme conditions, by converting this stored energy into heat.  It’s in these fairly recent modern times that energy surplus has become problematic, whereas energy deficiency has always been the main problem.  This drastic change has caused our fat-burning process to turn off, so scientists are looking for ways to activate them again.

Research like this is important because the possibility of fighting obesity with cinnamon-based treatments is much easier and better received than traditional drugs.  Further studies are necessary though, to determine how to efficiently control cinnamaldehyde’s benefits and mitigate any side-effects.

Obesity as a major health risk for Diabetes.

Obesity (especially childhood obesity) is also one of the major risk-factors associated with type 2 diabetes and usually begins with insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is a condition in where muscle, liver, and fat cells do not process insulin well.  Because of this resistance to insulin, the pancreas must compensate with even more insulin to keep glucose levels in check.  Over some time though, the Pancreas is not able to meet the body’s demand causing glucose levels to rise.

Other risk-factors include sedentary lifestyles, increasing age, bad diet, and even genetics in where genes can increase tendencies to become overweight.

Treatments for people with diabetes involve low carb / low calorie diets, regular blood glucose testing, insulin injections/pumps, and medication that helps improve response to insulin.

 

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Low-Sugar Fruits for Diabetic Diets

Low-Sugar Fruits for Diabetic Diets

Low-Sugar Fruits for Diabetic Diets

Naturally occurring sugar can be found in all fruits, although some may contain more than others.  Those trying keep sugar consumption under control usually give up a lot of the usual culprits such as soda pop and candy, but quite often overlook fruit.  Although a healthier way of satisfying a “sweet-fix” fruits such as watermelon have a greater amount of sugar than others.  Here are some examples of low-sugar fruits suitable for diabetics to consume:

 

  • Strawberries 1 gram of sugar per strawberry of medium size, high in fiber and vitamin C as well.

 

  • Blackberries For every 100 grams you get 5 grams of sugar, 5 grams of fiber, and 1.40 grams of protein.

 

  • Peaches One peach of medium size contains approximately 13 grams of sugar.

 

  • Oranges – 14 grams of digestible sugar and excellent source of vitamin C.  Steer clear of fruit juices with added sugars and go for the actual fruit instead.

 

  • Lemons / Limes Not the most intuitive snack to reach for, but with rich levels of vitamin C and only 2 grams of sugar, it can be a great part of a person’s diet.

 

  • Grapefruit – Half a grapefruit can have 11 grams of sugar.  Some honey or Stevia on top of this fruit may mitigate tartness.

 

  • Honeydew Melon – Contains 11 grams of digestible sugar, along with potassium, vitamin C, and iron.

 

  • Avocados – Virtually no sugar found in avocados, but has good fats and fiber.

 

Adding low-sugar fruits into you diet

 

Some benefits of having daily fruit in your diet include things such as weight loss, healthy skin, increased energy levels, and reduced risk of diseases such as cancer. The American Cancer Society suggests at least 2 1/2 cups of fruits and vegetables daily.  You can implement them into any meal of the day in a variety of ways to keep things fresh and appealing for consumption.  For example, during breakfast some yogurt or non-sweetened cereal can be topped with peaches or chopped berries.   Snacks can be easily made by cutting up fruit into smaller edible-sized chunks and refrigerated for later consumption.  Lunch and dinner can include fruits as well, fruits and berries make perfect salad toppings and lemon or lime juice as dressing.  Desserts can be healthier with whole fruits and combined into a fruit salad topped with honey to sweeten the deal.

 

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