Tag Archives: blood sugar levels

Importance of High Fiber Foods in Your Diet

Fiber is a substance found in plant and the dietary fiber that you eat is found in fruits, vegetables and grains. It’s very important part of a healthy diet. Eat more fiber to get maximum benefits. High fiber foods can provide other health benefits as well, such as helping to maintain a healthy weight and lowering your risk of diabetes and heart disease other than its main function of bowel stability and strength.

There are broadly two categories of fiber and we need to eat both in our daily diets for a better health and functioning of our body.

Soluble fiber – Includes pectins, gums and mucilage, which are found mainly in plant cells. One of its major roles is to lower blood cholesterol levels. Good sources of soluble fiber include fruits, vegetables, oat bran, barley, seed husks, flax-seed, psyllium, dried beans, lentils, peas, soy milk and soy products. Soluble fiber can also help with constipation.

Insoluble fiber – Includes cellulose, hemicelluloses and lignin, which make up the structural parts of plant cell walls. A major role of insoluble fiber is to add bulk to faeces and to prevent constipation and associated problems such as haemorrhoids. Good sources include wheat bran, corn bran, rice bran, the skins of fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, dried beans and wholegrain foods.

Most plant-based foods, such as oatmeal and beans, contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. However, the amount of each type varies in different plant foods. To receive the greatest health benefit, eat a wide variety of high-fiber foods.

Health Benefits of high fiber foods.

Aids in achieving healthy weight: High fiber foods generally require more chewing time, which gives your body time to register when you’re no longer hungry, so you’re less likely to overeat. Also, a high-fiber diet tends to make a meal feel larger and linger longer, so you stay full for a greater amount of time. And high-fiber diets also tend to be less “energy dense,” which means they have fewer calories for the same volume of food.

Lowers cholesterol levels : High fiber foods like soluble fiber found in beans, oats, flax-seed and oat bran may help lower total blood cholesterol levels by lowering low-density lipo-protein, or “bad,” cholesterol levels. Studies also have shown that fiber may have other heart-health benefits, such as reducing blood pressure and inflammation.

Helps maintain bowel health: A high fiber food may lower your risk of developing hemorrhoids and small pouches in your colon (diverticular disease). Some fiber is fermented in the colon. Researchers are looking at how this may play a role in preventing diseases of the colon.

Helps control blood sugar levels: In people with diabetes, fiber particularly soluble fiber can slow the absorption of sugar and help improve blood sugar levels. A healthy diet that includes insoluble fiber may also reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Normalizes bowel movements: Dietary fiber increases the weight and size of your stool and softens it. A bulky stool is easier to pass, decreasing your chance of constipation. If you have loose, watery stools, fiber may also help to solidify the stool because it absorbs water and adds bulk to stool.

Fiber and ageing : Fiber is even more important for older people. The digestive system slows down with age, so a high fiber foods becomes even more important.

High-fiber foods are good for your health. But adding too much fiber too quickly can promote intestinal gas, abdominal bloating and cramping. Increase fiber in your diet gradually over a period of a few weeks. This allows the natural bacteria in your digestive system to adjust to the change.

Also, drink plenty of water. Fiber works best when it absorbs water, making your stool soft and bulky.

So bulk up your daily diet with high fiber foods for satiety, wholesome meal experience and a route to a healthy you!

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo
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Healthy Blood Sugar Level

Blood sugar, also referred as Blood Glucose is believed to be an important parameter for good health of an individual. Glucose level refers to the amount of glucose present in the blood. Glucose mainly comes from carbohydrate containing food. It’s the main source of energy used by the body. Normally blood sugar level increases quickly after we eat. This increase causes our pancreas to release insulin, so that blood glucose levels do not get too high and are utilized or stored as per requirement. High Blood glucose levels can damage eyes, kidneys, nerves and Blood Vessels. So, maintaining healthy blood sugar level is very important for human body and it’s also very important for the body’s performance.

A Healthy range of Blood Glucose in human Body is considered to be 70-120 mg/dl. Too high and too low blood sugar levels in human cause some serious problems to the health. So, it’s very important to control and maintain your blood sugar level.

To maintain your Blood Sugar Level you need to check the Blood Sugar Level in your Body. The Blood Sugar Test is Based on Several Factors:

Type and severity of diabetes:  The difference is the Severity and in the amount of time that symptoms are present before treatment is sought. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in childhood and most people who are in their 20’s. In this case body makes little or no insulin.Type 2 diabetes is more common and makes most diabetes cases. In this pancreas doesn’t make enough insulin to keep blood sugar level normal. There is another type called Gestational Diabetes, in which high blood glucose levels develop anytime during pregnancy in women, who don’t have diabetes.

Risk Factors of Diabetes

Age over 45 years

Gestational diabetes or delivering a baby weighing more than 9 pounds

Heart disease

High blood cholesterol level

Obesity

Not getting enough exercise

Polycystic ovary or PCOS disease (in women)

Previous impaired glucose tolerance

Apart from Diabetes, Hypoglycemia and Hyperglycemia are two main medical conditions that arise due to blood sugar level imbalance.

Hypoglycemia: Hypoglycemia is caused when blood sugar levels are low. If Blood Sugar levels drop below 70 mg/dl, the condition is called hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia is common in people with diabetes due to taking too much insulin or any other diabetes medicines. Hypoglycemia may also have other lifestyle based causes like alcohol, stomach problems, surgery, disease of pancreas, kidney etc.

Symptoms of Hypoglycemia:

Hunger

Fatigue

Nervousness

Headache

Heart Problem

Dizziness

 

Reasons of Hypoglycemia:

Skipping meals

Taking too much insulin or diabetes Medicine

Too much Workload and other activities

Drinking too much Alcohol

If you have symptoms of low blood sugar, you need expert advice to maintain a healthy and balanced diet, without any long gaps between meals. Regular blood sugar level monitoring is also advised.

Hyperglycemia:

Hyperglycemia is a condition when an excessive amount of blood glucose Circulate in the body. It’s the first sign of Diabetes. There are two types of Hyperglycemia.

1. Fasting Hyperglycemia:  Fasting Hyperglycemia is blood sugar levels greater than 90-130 mg/dl.

2. Post Meal Hyperglycemia: Post Meal Hyperglycemia is blood sugar levels usually greater than 180 mg/dl. A healthy person’s post meal blood sugar usually measures 130-140 mg/dl.

Symptoms of Hyperglycemia:

Thirst

Headache

Poor Concentration

Blurred Vision

Frequent Urinating

Fatigue

Weight Loss

 

Reason of Hyperglycemia:

Skipping medicine

Eating too much Carbohydrates and too much Calories

Increased in Stress Level

Drinking Too Much Alcohol

Hyperglycemia can damage the vessels that supply blood to vital organs, which can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke, kidney disease, vision problems, and nerve problems in people with diabetes.

To reduce levels in Hyperglycemia all you need to do is to control your blood sugar level. You can reduce your blood sugar level by:

1. Drink more water. Excess amount of water will remove extra glucose from your body.

2. Exercise: Regular exercise is also good in maintaining your sugar level. And also helps you in keeping fit.

3. Change in your eating Habit:  You need a proper and healthy diet. A healthy diet and exercise is also good for maintaining blood sugar level.

4. Take your medicine on time and Consult your Doctor.

5. Go for regular monitoring of blood sugar levels.

Maintained healthy Blood sugar level is very important for human health. Too high and too low sugar levels can lead to several medical conditions but by monitoring it and controlling the imbalanced sugar levels, you can maintain a healthy balance free from getting risk of such conditions. So, try to keep your blood sugar levels in normal range and Stay Healthy!

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Is Flavored Yogurt Healthy

We require 2 teaspoons of sugar in a day if you are looking to lose weight and  about 4 teaspoons if you just want to manage your current weight. But don’t just count the sugar consumption in your tea and coffee but all the other sources that you might consuming sugar indirectlylike your sweetened soda’s, colas, candies, sweetened cornflakes and flavoured yogurt. Often diet programs and nutritionist brag about eating yogurt in the diet as it has probiotics, vitamins and minerals, protein etc which promote better health and is low in calories as well. But is flavored yogurt as healthy as non-flavored yogurt?

Plain Yogurt (Cr/freedigital)

Flavored yogurt which come in a variety of mouth watering flavors don’t contain the real fruit in it but conatins the pureed form which is high in sugar content. Compare the ingredients of regular yogurt and flavored yogurt to understand the difference in  calorie intake. Around 200 gms of flavored yogurt contains 25 grams of added sugar. The extra sugar gets stored in the body as fat and over a period of time this continuous weight gain can cause health complications. The sugar in the flavored yogurt increases the calorie intake by 100 calories for a 200 gm serving.

We are not saying that flavored yogurt is the main reason behind your weight gain. What we mean is that foods like flavoured yogurt are often marketed as health foods. They might be relatively more healthy than the other processed foods but they still are hidden source of high calorie food that are often misunderstood as fat free.

When talking about weight loss it is not just important to eat healthy foods but manage calories either by portion control or choosing healthier options. Sugar provides instant energy and no nutrition. People who have blood sugar problems could experience a sudden increase in sugar levels with flavored yogurt. Instead flavor your yogurt seperately with fruits that you want. Flavored yogurt is also high in sodium content causing water retention in the body and resulting in bloating. (more…)

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

How to Control Sugar Cravings

Need to eat sugar is triggered by our body. This is body’s naturally tendency to tell you that blood sugar levels are dropping and need to be replenished. Over a period of time this physiological reaction becomes psychological and we start to mistake this desire as need. This is when most of the trouble begins that traditionally transforms into weight gain and then eventually lifestyle diseases like high blood sugar & diabetes type 2.  Sugar cravings can be controlled and managed  with some effort.

Sugar is a carbohydrate and quickly breaks down in our body providing energy and releases happy hormone serotonin which makes us feel good and reduces stress and anxiety. The sweet taste of sugar is liked by most people from birth and indulge in eating them for sugar cravings. Sugar is also known to release endorphins also known as “happy hormones” that is the reason why we also crave them when we are sad or generally stressed.

How do we control this urge? First we should start with understanding what is your daily sugar intake and what are the main sources of it. Let us explain this through an example of the common sugar foods consumed by us on a daily basis like a cup of tea/coffee,  sweetened cereals like cornflakes, musselli aerated drinks or sweetened drinks like packaged juices & lemonade along with one or two desserts/chocolates through the day.

Here is a quick list of a calories per serving:

Sugar coated cereals- 127 kcal (3/4 cup)

Tea spn of sugar- 20 kcal

100 ml aerated drink/soda- 37 kcal

1 chocolate- (plain Bar , 49 g of chocolate) 250 Kcal

Packaged juice-110 kcal (250 ml)

Energy drinks-152 Kcal (350 ml/one can)

All this roughly mounts upto 700 calories if you have one of each of these things listed. Incase you are looking to lose weight than you just require 2 tea spoons of sugar in a day. Besides processed sugar doesnt have any health benefits . Read here to know how it affects our health. (more…)

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Are Dates Healthy?

There are lots of speculations if dates are healthy or not? Calling it healthy or not so healthy depends on whether you should include it in your diet for its health benefits or you can use it as a substitute for sugar incase you are trying to lose weight. Dates are the fruits of the date palm which can be eaten fresh or dried though both the forms are nutritious. It helps in lowering cholesterol and and has anti-oxidation properties that protect the body against free radicals.

Dried Date fruit (Cr/freedigital)

Dates are high in fiber which relieves constipation and the high amount of carbohydrates in it provides high calories. The one drawback with dates is that it is high in glycemic index and contains a lot of sugar which can increase blood sugar levels. It is often substituted for sweets, candies or to control sweet craving as it is healthier than processed sugar and carries a lots of minerals and vitamins for the body to nourish with health benefits. But due to its high glycemic properties dates are associated with foods that can result in weight gain.

Dates have an average gylcemic index (GI) of 103, which is very high and not recommended for people on a weight loss program or suffering from high sugar levels. More and more health experts promote food that have low GI as the secret to long-term health reducing your risk of heart disease and diabetes and also beneficial for sustainable weight loss.Foods with GI index less than 55 are considered Low Glycemic Index food (GI < 55). Foods with GI index between 55 and 70 are considered intermediate (55< GI <70). High Glycemic Index foods are with GI index more than 70 (GI >70).

Besides its single but important drawback dates have many other health benefits. They are high in potassium which maintains blood pressure and maintains nerves and muscles.The magnesium in dates help relive muscles, fatigue, nerves and reduces tension. Dates are rich in calcium, iron, copper and manganese with B vitamins to better enzyme activity. All the nutrition of the dried fruit promote better health.

You can eat the fruit raw or use your culinary skills in making delicious combinations with in in your diet. You could include it with milk, fruits, salads or bread. Its sweet and can be eaten when we are overburdened with work and mind seems wandering as it relives stress and anxiety with instant energy. (more…)

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Improve Immunity with Exercise

women Exercising (Cr/freedigital)

Research is trying to figure out if better immunity can be achieved through exercise. As there are many factors involved in immunity like age, diet exercise etc. Exercise is vital in life as it keeps one active, maintain blood sugar levels, increases absorption of nutrients and for various other purposes. Diet and exercise form a great combination to increase immunity and keep us healthier and fit.

We eat foods that boost immunity but if the metabolism of the body is slow then the absorption of vitamins and minerals important to boost immunity will slow. Exercises help increase metabolism, so improving metabolism through exercise will help improve immunity through increased absorption of essential nutrients. Improved blood flow through exercise will help the immunizing nutrients to transport faster in the diseased area helping fight the infection, germs and bacteria and flushing toxins out of the body.
(more…)

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Diet for Diabetics

Dealing with a therapeutic condition can be difficult. Managing the diet is of utmost important but it mostly comes at a cost of either following a very difficult routine or being given options that are unappetizing making it difficult to manage the condition through diet.

Vegetables(Cr/freedigital)

Diabetes is one such therapeutic condition where managing the diet is critical to ensuring that the insulin levels are in control. Diabetes is relatively easy to control with a help of correct diet and exercise program.

The rise in blood sugar is seen due to eating unhealthy, not exercising and consuming fattening foods. This can be managed or controlled by eating foods that slowly breakdown in the body and slowly release the glucose in the body preventing the blood sugar levels to rise quickly. These particular kind of foods are also known to have a low-glycemic index. Every diet program also needs to be customized your body type and physical needs. People that are more active require different calorie intake versus people who are not so active.

Some of the foods highly recommended for diabetic patients are vegetables like green peas, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, bitter gourd, garlic etc are some of the healthy options. Eat beans, green vegetables, chickpeas, dals etc which will keep you fuller and maintain blood sugar levels. Include fengureek, Basel leaves and some quantity of lean meat and fish.

Diet alone will not be as effective. Exercise fit for your physical ability and body type is essential to show results. If you find it difficult to get started then condition your self slowly to set a routine. Tell yourself everyday in the evening you will go for a walk, water your plants or just engage in mid intensity household chores. Slowly increase the intensity and explore activities that will keep this routine going. Better still you can even get together with your friends or family to play a light sport or go for a walk /jog in the evenings or early mornings.

Lastly maintain a strict routine for your meal timings. Even if you watch what you eat and exercise regularly but don’t care about your meal timings it can completely harm the momentum. Make sure you dont skip your meals and eat them at recommended intervals so that the body is able to function normally.

In case you find it difficult to get started on your own then you can get professional help. This can help you atleast get started on a routine and get you on track before you can independently take charge of your health  and adopt a healthy lifestyle for good.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Diabetes Diet

Diabetes is a condition where your body cannot manage the blood sugar/glucose levels. Blood glucose levels are managed

Blood Sugar Test Diabetes Management

by the hormone, insulin. Lower levels of insulin or insulin insensitivity, can lead to diabetes. Due to the lack of control over blood glucose levels, diabetics tend to vary between having hyper-glycemic (high blood sugar) & hypoglycemic (low blood sugar). So, the key to control type-2 diabetes naturally is to manage your lifestyle. Read on for more information.

Diabetes is a growing health problem in India. Various studies have shown the high incidence of diabetes mellitus type 2 in India is mainly because of sedentary lifestyle, lack of physical activity, obesity, stress and a diet rich in simple carbohydrates. India expected to a diabetic capital by 2050. New England Journal of Medicine stated that dietary changes, coupled with an increase in physical activity, can reduce the risk diabetes by more than half. The Medical Journal of Armed Forces reported that oral medication pills only reduces blood glucose levels by maximum of 50 mg/dl.
To manage your diabetes, or to prevent diabetes, the changes are not drastic. Read on for tips that can help you manage your diabetes:

Your Weight- Excess fat actually decreases the number of insulin receptors present in the body, thus increasing the risk of Type 2 diabetes or aggravating it further.

Food Habits- It’s not just what you eat that affects your blood sugar level but how much you eat and when you eat matters, too.
– Eat small, frequent meals.
– Eating complex carbohydrate (low/medium GI foods) and managing the amount of carbohydrates at each meal or snack will help keep your blood sugar level steady throughout the day.
– Here’s a list of surprising food diabetics should avoid.
– Some studies reported that omega-3 fish oil improves glucose tolerance, high triglycerides, and cholesterol levels in diabetics.
– Eat more fruits, vegetables, seeds, oats, and whole-grain products improve glucose tolerance.

Exercise- Regular exercise promotes cardiovascular fitness and weight loss, lowers high blood pressure, improves lipid profiles, improves blood sugar control and leads to an overall sense of well-being. The more strenuous your workout, the longer the effect lasts.

Alcohol- Alcohol worsens glucose tolerance, increases risk for eye damage and possibly hypoglycemia. So, its best to refrain from alcohol if you have a tendency of diabetes.

Smoking- Diabetics who smoke are at a higher risk for kidney damage and heart disease.

Sleep- Latest research indicates that not getting a minimum of 6 hour sleep may impair insulin use and increase the risk for obesity.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo