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New and Noteworthy: What I Read This Week—Edition 156

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Research of the Week

Asexual identifying people in both romantic and platonic relationships.

(again).

Exercising as you enter a fast can .

Whether you went to college can (but not cause) long term brain health and function.

Your circadian rhythm .

New Primal Kitchen Podcasts

: The former NBA Director of Performance discusses his new optimized sports drink, Barcode.

: Dr. Shamini Jain on why we are our best healers.

Media, Schmedia

I’m not so sure on .

. The world and its past are far stranger than you could ever realize.

Interesting Blog Posts

.

Males aren’t supposed to , folks.

Social Notes

Now an open letter: one imploring a region in India to start providing eggs to children in poverty.

.

Everything Else

got straight As in school.

Don’t do (with yours or anyone else’s).

how fish schools work, or why.

.

Things I’m Up to and Interested In

Interesting: .

New study: “.”

Well-deserved: .

Overrated: .

Underrated: .

Question I’m Asking

What is your dream charity?

Recipe Corner

  • .
  • More than you’ll ever need.

Time Capsule

One year ago (Nov 27 – Dec 3a)

  • — How to do it.
  • — What to buy.

Comment of the Week

“Regarding growth issues. Males may need much more zinc to grow to their full potential. Eating zinc-rich foods like liver might not be enough. First there is type-II zinc deficiencies, which can be caused by something as insidious as delayed hypersensitivities to foods, or spores or mycotoxins in the air breathed while sleeping. Second, males who discover the joys of masturbation can lose zinc in ejaculate. Another observation by a colleague was that “catch-up growth” frequently occurred when a zinc insufficiency was corrected. One boy grew six inches in less than a year. So maybe a trial of zinc for a month would be worth it? Maybe medical monitoring of copper status during the month for optimizing safety?”

-One of many great .

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{This|The above} {article|post}[/wpts_spin] New and Noteworthy: What I Read This Week—Edition 156 was [wpts_spin]{first |}{provided|published} {here|on this site}.

{I|We} {hope|trust} {that |}you found the {above|{post|article} above} {useful|of help} {and/or|or|and} {interesting|of interest}. {You can find similar content|Similar content can be found} {on our {blog|main {site|website}website}|here} {Thai Massage Greenock|thaimassagegreenock.co.uk|}.
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Ask a Health Coach: Why You’re Confused About What (and When) to Eat

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{Tutorials|Some self-help training} {and|&} {helpful|useful|interesting|important} {updates|up-dates|posts|tips|info|information} on {staying healthy|being healthy|healthy living} {with|through} {Thai Massage|Thai Oil Massage}.

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Woman eating vegetable salad at home.Hi everyone, this week Erin is back to answer more of your health and wellness questions. If you’re confused about carb intake, curious if you should really eat breakfast, or wondering how to stay on track during the holidays, read on for this week’s edition of Ask a Health Coach. Got a question for Erin? Post it in the comments below or over in the .

 

Melissa asked:
“I’ve been hearing a lot about carbs now being good for you, especially if you have adrenal issues. I thought carbs were supposed to be bad. What’s the straight answer?”

 

There’s nothing I love more than to rehash the old “good foods/bad foods” debate that diet culture continually smothers us with. Internet influencers try to demonize whole food groups and steer us in the all-or-nothing camp so often, it’s no wonder people are confused about what they should be eating.

The truth is, many foods, good and bad, contain carbohydrates (cookies, cakes, kale, carrots, green beans, bagels, beets…the list goes on). And when you consume those foods, your digestive system breaks the carbs down into glucose, aka sugar, which enters the bloodstream. As blood sugar levels rise, the hormone insulin is released, prompting your cells to absorb sugar from the blood. When blood sugar starts to get low, another hormone, called glucagon, takes that absorbed sugar and uses it for energy. Our bodies are seriously miraculous, aren’t they?

Managing Adrenal Fatigue with Food

The thinking behind recommending more carbs for those with adrenal issues, is that it can be more difficult for your body to metabolize protein and fat for energy. That being said, when you consume more carbohydrates than your body needs, or highly processed, sugary foods, your blood sugar rises higher and crashes lower (going beyond normal the insulin-glucagon response) and causes a spike in the stress hormone, cortisol. You’re inadvertently causing more stress in your body — not something you want to do if you’re trying to manage adrenal dysfunction.

Do this on a regular basis and you’ll be on a metabolic rollercoaster that makes your adrenals work even harder. Even conventional medicine agrees that processed foods and refined sugars increase cortisol and can lead to unhealthy crashes.

The goal, really for everyone, is to keep your blood sugar stable. And the best way to do that is to eat nutrient dense foods at every meal. Notice I said “meal” and not “snack” since under-eating is another form of stress on the body. Focus on consuming protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates like sweet potatoes, root veggies, and leafy greens.

Eating a ton of carbs and still feel like crap? Eat fewer. And if you’re loading up on processed energy bars, assuming that they’re healthy, swap them out for whole foods for a few weeks.

As a parting thought, what if you forgot all the food rules for a minute and leaned into listening and trusting your body’s signals? No one knows your body better than you do.

 

Lee asked:
“I’ve been following Primal for a good part of a year and don’t think I can commit to staying on track during the holidays. We’re having a lot of family in town and I won’t be able to do all my usual shopping, meal prep, and workouts. How do I survive the holidays and not totally derail my progress?”

Sure, the holidays are a busy time of year. But honestly, when isn’t life busy? If it’s not the holidays, it’s the school year, or summer break, or you’re starting a new job or relationship or whatever.

I hear this with my clients all the time. When life gets busy, they decide they need to take a break on the “health stuff.” Instead of dialing it back, they do nothing. At all.

How to Stay on Track During the Holidays

If I could share one piece of advice with you today, it’s that your health doesn’t need to have an on/off switch.

Think of your health like an adjustable dial. Can’t crank it all the way up to 10 right now because you’re hosting the holidays at your place? Great, how about a 7 or a 5? Heck, even a 2 is better than nothing. Maybe you can’t do all your usually shopping, meal prep, and workouts, but I bet you could:

  • Eat at least one healthy meal per day
  • Put a few veggies on your plate
  • Go for a walk
  • Eat some protein
  • Drink a glass of water
  • Go to bed early once or twice
  • Have a fresh piece of fruit
  • Do a 1-minute meditation
  • Breathe

The goal is to you’ve got going so that if/when life does slow down, you can ramp it back up. It’s way easier to dial things up from a 2 than to completely abandon all the healthy habits you’ve established and start from scratch.

Also, remember that just like one healthy meal won’t make you fit, one unhealthy meal or missed workout won’t derail your progress. Some sort of consistency is your best bet. During the holidays and all year long.

 

Joon asked:
“I wake up in the morning with a growling stomach. I read in Mark’s book you’re supposed to wait until you’re hungry, yet it’s best to put off eating in the morning if you can. Should I eat? I feel like I might harm someone if I didn’t, lol.”

I’m going to make this really simple for you, Joon. If you’re hungry, eat. The first rule I teach my clients is “Always answer hunger with a meal.” (Please note: I’m not an IF coach)

I mean, how much easier does it get than that? — a gift a lot of folks out there would gladly take off your hands. Your body is telling you it’s hungry and all you have to do is respond by giving it food.

The Benefits of Eating Breakfast

Yes, there are benefits to . But there are also benefits to eating in the morning, especially if you’re feeling hungry. Maybe you saw from University of Alabama at Birmingham about early time-restricted feeding (eTRF). Participants were put into two groups: one ate from 8am to 2pm; the other ate from 8am to 8pm. Both groups ate the same foods and same number of calories, but researchers found that the meal-timing strategy of the first group reduced swings in hunger and altered fat and carbohydrate burning patterns.

Or where 93 participants between the ages of 30 and 57 were put into two isocaloric weight loss groups: one had their largest meal of the day at breakfast; the other had their largest meal at dinner. Over the course of 12 weeks, the group who consumed the most calories at breakfast lost two and a half times more weight than those who had a light breakfast — or skipped it altogether. They also had significantly reduced fasting glucose, insulin, ghrelin, and triglyceride levels.

If your natural rhythm is to eat earlier in the day, there’s no reason to fight that. There’s no reason to white knuckle it through the first few (or several) hours, just because some people have success with that.

The Number One Rule of Hunger

Here’s what not to do when your stomach growls: ignore it. We’ve been programmed to believe that hunger is a sign of weakness — something we should push through. Or even better, that if we feel hungry, we’re actually thirsty and that we should go have a glass of water instead of sitting down for a meal.

If you’re hungry, eat. If you’re new to fasting, or recently switched from Standard American fare, you might start to notice a change over time and can push back your first meal if desired. But don’t feel compelled to exhibit great feats of willpower and ignore your hunger because you think you’re supposed to. That’s no way to live. #mytwocents

Got more questions? Ask ‘em below. Or check out the new where you can work 1-on-1 with your own health coach.

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{This|The above} {article|post}[/wpts_spin] Ask a Health Coach: Why You’re Confused About What (and When) to Eat was [wpts_spin]{first |}{provided|published} {here|on this site}.

{I|We} {hope|trust} {that |}you found the {above|{post|article} above} {useful|of help} {and/or|or|and} {interesting|of interest}. {You can find similar content|Similar content can be found} {on our {blog|main {site|website}website}|here} {Thai Massage Greenock|thaimassagegreenock.co.uk|}.
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Are Protein Powders Healthy?! Weight Loss & Health Tips with Corrina | Rootz Protein & Collagen

Thai Massage tutorials and tips.

This video was provided by PsycheTruth.

I hope that you found the above useful or interesting. You can find similar content on our blog: https://thaimassagegreenock.co.uk/blog/

Please let me have your feedback below in the comments section.

Let us know what topics we should cover in future.

The Definitive Guide to Sleep

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man and dog sleeping on the sofa
man’s best friend

Sleep is the grand mystery of life. You get sleepy, you yawn, you lay your head down, and then you wake up. At some point, you drifted off to sleep and were unconscious, helpless, completely out of it for the better part of the night. Maybe faint glimmers of the moment before you fell asleep remain in your memory. If you remember your dreams, you’ve got those to fall back on—but they fade fast. No, for the most part we have no idea what happens when we sleep.

We do know what happens when we don’t. The list of maladies caused by and/or linked to sleep deprivation is long and exhausting.

What Happens When You Don’t Get Enough Sleep?

The best way to understand why sleep is so important is to learn what goes wrong when you don’t get enough it.

  • Alzheimer’s, dementia, and cognitive dysfunction
  • Insulin resistance and diabetes
  • Low testosterone
  • Junk food cravings
  • Fat gain
  • Premature aging
  • Poor immune function
  • Worsened stress resilience
  • Impaired antioxidant status
  • Poor performance and results in the gym

Cognitive dysfunction 

Sleep is when the brain does its “house cleaning,” where it floods with cerebrospinal fluid to flush out toxins and damaged proteins through channels that widen during sleep. If you don’t get enough sleep, or you fail to reach the “deep sleep” phase of your normal sleep cycle, your brain can’t clear the damage. One night might not be a big deal, but weeks, months, and years of poor sleep where you fail to attain deep sleep will increase your chances of Alzheimer’s disease and general cognitive dysfunction.

Insulin resistance and diabetes

One of the most reliable effects of a single night’s bad sleep is an increase in insulin resistance. It’s such a reliable effect that researchers are always looking for supplements, nutrients, and interventions to counter the insulin resistance induced by bad sleep. Part of this is caused by a reduced ability of the sleepy liver to process fat; if a sleepy liver can’t process fat as well, it will accumulate it and turn insulin resistant.

Low testosterone

A sneaky hack to get a doctor to sign off on TRT for younger guys is to sleep 4 hours a night for a month leading up to your test. Your testosterone will plummet and the doctor is more likely to sign off on hormone replacement. I don’t advise anyone try this, but the fact remains that poor sleep is a great way to lower your testosterone levels.

Junk food cravings

A single night of bad sleep causes people to find junk food more rewarding. Patients on no sleep derived more pleasure from food, desired more food, and reported more hunger than patients who had slept. And that was just a single night. Just imagine the effects of days, weeks, or even years of chronic poor sleep.

Fat gain

Sleep restriction increases food intake, particularly snack intake. Moreover, it increases food intake without a concomitant increase in energy output. You eat more without moving more—and it happens spontaneously. Over time, an imbalanced energy intake/output will lead to body fat gain, particularly if you’re eating the kind of junk food that poor sleep compels most people to consume.

Premature aging

The worse you sleep, the worse your skin ages. Sleep restriction is linked to an increase in facial aging and a decrease in skin barrier function. Since several studies indicate that the perceived “age of the face” is a better predictor of mortality risk than objective health markers, actual age, or cognitive function, sleep induced facial aging will reflect real mortality effects.

Poor immune function

When you sleep poorly, you get sick more often. This is true in teens and in adults. In one paper, melatonin—the sleep hormone your body produces to prepare for bedtime—was one of the only supplements shown to be effective against COVID-19. That’s no coincidence.

Worsened stress resilience

We’ve all had a bad night’s sleep and then spent the following day trying to fend off stressors that’d usually bounce off us. When you haven’t slept much, you’re more likely to get into arguments with your spouse and kids, get angry while driving, and snap at co-workers (or total strangers). In short, you are less stress-resilient. That’s not just a subjective impression. Objective measurements of stress resilience suffer after sleep restriction.

Impaired antioxidant status

A single night of sleep deprivation reduces levels of glutathione, the body’s premier antioxidant that we use to combat oxidative stress and metabolize and nullify toxins. If you’ve ever had a bad night’s sleep, the worst thing you can do is subject yourself to an oxidatively stressful event, like binge drinking.

Poor performance and results in the gym

If you don’t get enough sleep, . Your postural control and balance get worse, leaving you vulnerable to injury. Your actual performance suffers—you don’t run as fast or lift as much weight or have as much stamina. And your results aren’t as impressive. You don’t gain as much muscle or lose as much body fat.

What Are the Benefits of Good Sleep?

A good night’s sleep is the foundation for a healthy, happy, productive existence. Good sleep staves off many of the bad things listed above. And without good, regular sleep, we just go through life in a scattered daze, everything foggy, slightly confusing, and less enjoyable. We’re not really ourselves if we haven’t slept. We desperately need a good night’s sleep, every night.

But good sleep isn’t just about avoiding the negative effects of not sleeping. Sleep is an incredibly active time for our bodies and brains when we undergo all manner of growth and repair processes through a dynamic biochemical orchestration. Sleep is key, essential, absolutely downright necessary for our basic physiological operations.

For one, you wouldn’t be the person you are without sleep. I mean that literally, since sleep spurs the release of (HGH), an essential player in cellular regeneration (and fat burning).

A full night of sleep won’t just reduce the risk of brain degeneration, it will and creative problem solving skills the next day, not to mention make you a better person to be around by helping you see the positive in your interactions.

A good night’s sleep will further boost your athletic performance, including speed, accuracy, mood and overall energy. College athletes who sleep two extra hours per night have more accuracy and faster sprint times.

Good sleep means you dream, and dreams are the way your brain deals with issues your conscious self cannot or will not. That’s hard to pin down as “objectively beneficial,” as you can’t really measure a dream, but the fact that we do dream means it’s important—and we should create situations (sleep) that allow us to dream.

How to Get Great Sleep

Great sleep starts in the morning.

As soon as you’re awake, go outside and greet the sun. Get natural sunlight onto your body and into your eyes in order to “tell” your circadian clocks that the day has begun and you are awake. The more natural light you get in the daytime, the better you sleep at night.

Stand barefoot on the earth. is controversial, but I think there’s something to it and studies suggest that connecting to the earth with your bare skin can improve subsequent sleep.

Get some physical activity. Sex, exercise, a little light movement, a barefoot walk outside (which is efficient because it’s both light and movement and connection to the earth). The point is to move your body to give your circadian clock the message that you’re ready to live the day.

If you eat breakfast, eat plenty of animal protein. You don’t have to eat breakfast, although some people find it really helps them get better sleep. But if you do, make sure you’re eating protein, as meat-rich breakfasts have been shown to improve sleep.

Stop caffeine before noon. Caffeine taken after noon has the potential to impact your sleep.

Stop alcohol before 6 PM. The best thing for sleep is to , but if you’re going to drink, having your last one before 6 PM will reduce the chances of any sleep impairment.

Use blue blocking goggles after the sun goes down and/or eliminate the use of screens after dark. and makes it much harder to get to sleep.

Take magnesium or apply magnesium oil to your body before bed. Magnesium is one of the most important minerals for optimal sleep and few people get enough in the diet.

Take collagen or drink bone broth before bed. The glycine in both improve sleep quality and really knock you out (in a good, healthy way).

Keep your room cool. 60-65 degrees is ideal. If you get hot in bed, stick a leg out from under the blanket.

If you want a more thorough treatment of my prescriptions for better sleep, .

Are Naps Healthy?

A nap is a great way to recover from a poor night’s sleep. A nap taken after sleep deprivation is full of REM sleep, more so than the equivalent amount of regular nighttime sleep. Furthermore, there are many proven benefits to napping, particularly if you’ve been skipping sleep:

  • Napping has been shown to help stave off jet lag.
  • A quick nap can be enough to overcome the negative effects of sleep deprivation on learning and memory.
  • A study in Greek adults found that  was associated with improved heart health and reduced cardiovascular events.
  • A mere %.
  • An afternoon nap improves post lunch “cognitive flexibility,” or the ability to multi-task.
  • Napping reduces stress, particularly the  caused by sleep restriction.
  • Napping restores immune function impaired by sleep restriction.

For a truly effective power nap, have a cup of coffee right before you lie down to sleep. You’ll wake up with the caffeine in full effect and stave off any sleep inertia.

How Much Sleep Do We Need?

It depends on several variables.

Genetics: Though seven to eight hours is optimal for most people, some genuinely require nine or ten hours. A few lucky ones among us hit our optimum with only six or so hours of shut eye. (These folks are honest to goodness mutants, as .)

Age: However, the majority of our sleep differentiation is determined by age. Babies, no surprises here, need the most (however patchy it is), while adults require the least. The notion that older adults need less sleep is actually hogwash. Although sleep patterns become more fragmented as we age, we still need the same good old average. Sleep still fosters critical hormonal secretion (like growth hormone) necessary for healthy aging. One study in particular linked solid sleep with higher levels of testosterone in older men.

Children, however, are especially susceptible to the ravages of sleep deprivation. Sleep is essential for babies to learn and retain new information. Sleep deficits have been long been linked to an increased risk of ADHD, depression and behavioral problems in children.

Exercise: The more and harder you train, the more sleep you need—not only to reap the benefits of your training, but to recover from it. Anyone who demands more from their body will require more sleep.

In today’s world rife with responsibilities, early wake-ups, late night disasters, electronic temptations, notifications, work emails, blaring televisions, and glaring lights, sleep can feel like a luxury—or a burden. But sleep is one of the I talk about so much. If you can focus and nail your sleep, make it a sacred component of your lifestyle that you simply do not compromise on, you will reap untold benefits and avoid terrible maladies.

Good night.

Thanks for reading. Be sure to send along your thoughts. I’ll look forward to reading your comments!

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{This|The above} {article|post}[/wpts_spin] The Definitive Guide to Sleep was [wpts_spin]{first |}{provided|published} {here|on this site}.

{I|We} {hope|trust} {that |}you found the {above|{post|article} above} {useful|of help} {and/or|or|and} {interesting|of interest}. {You can find similar content|Similar content can be found} {on our {blog|main {site|website}website}|here} {Thai Massage Greenock|thaimassagegreenock.co.uk|}.
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Let us know {what|which} {topics|subjects} we should {cover|write about} for you {in future|in the future|next}.

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Is Honey a Safe(r) Sweetener?

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Honey in jar and bunch of dry lavenderI pride myself on making the Primal Blueprint an easy-to-follow lifestyle. If you were just starting out, I could give you a one-page handout with the , the , and the PB Fitness Pyramid, and it would be pretty easy for you to get the gist of everything we’re trying to do here. 

That said, once you get past the basics, sometimes things get a little murky. Like with honey.

See, as a general rule, I am against the consumption of refined sugars, especially sucrose and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Check out my on the subject to understand why. But what about the preeminent unrefined natural sweetener, the rich amber nectar that’s been available to humans from the very start (albeit protected by barbed, flying suicide stingers)? 

People have been using honey for thousands of years not only as a culinary ingredient but also for its supposed medicinal properties. Must we eschew honey simply because it is sweet, even if it has numerous (potential) benefits? Are some of the harmful effects of the sugar mitigated by the presence of bioactive compounds?

Personally, I enjoy some honey now and then. Let’s find out if you’ll come down on the pro-honey or anti-honey side of the debate after reviewing some evidence.

Is Honey Good for You?

I get asked this from time to time, and I always respond, “Define ‘good.’” 

Better, and more interesting, questions are:

  • Does honey have any beneficial effects that make it worth consuming?
  • Is honey better for you than other sweeteners?
  • Is honey a “health food” that you should make a concerted effort to include in your diet?

I’ll save you time by telling you that I think the answers are probably, maybe, and probably not, respectively. If you want more detail, keep reading.

Types of Honey

Before getting into the question of benefits, you must understand that there are many different types of honey. The attributes of any particular batch —flavor, color, consistency, and nutrient and antioxidant profile—depend on what plants the honeybees pollinated. There’s buckwheat honey, wildflower honey, clover honey, and tupelo honey, to name a few. Don’t forget about the darling of the alt-health world, manuka honey, which comes from bees in Australia and New Zealand that pollinate the Leptospermum scoparium bush. (Fun fact: Australia and New Zealand are locked in a heated battle over whether Australian-sourced manuka honey is the real deal.) Honey aficionados will want to seek out the rare purple honey and black honey varieties, which, as the names suggest, do not have the characteristic golden hue. 

Beyond the assorted varieties, the honey you pick up at your local grocery store or farmer’s market may be raw or refined. Raw honey is only lightly strained to remove debris, typically. It will still contain small pieces of honeycomb as well as bee propolis (aka “bee glue”), pollen, and royal jelly. Propolis and royal jelly are prized in their own right for their supposed health benefits. Raw honey often looks cloudy or crystallized. 

In contrast, honey not labeled as raw has almost certainly undergone additional filtration plus pasteurization, which can remove or destroy the very compounds that make honey so desirable. Worse, the inexpensive honey you find at the store may not be pure honey at all but a mix of other sweet, viscous liquids like rice syrup or high-fructose corn syrup. Gross. 

All things being equal, I’m always partial to less processed versions of any food. I want access to all the compounds that nature included, and honey is no exception. I also opt for darker honey because it is typically higher in bioactive compounds and has greater antioxidant activity. It also tastes better, if you ask me. 

Potential Health Benefits of Honey

I’m hesitant to make any sweeping claims about the health benefits of honey because there are so many types. Also, honeybees don’t exactly have strict manufacturing standards. The characteristics of a given batch of honey vary based on region, season, and probably other factors I’m not aware of. 

That said, there’s quite a lot of evidence that honey and its constituents have antiinflammatory, antioxidant, antibacterial, antifungal, anticancer, and immune-boosting properties, to name a few. However, if you’re hoping for something specific, you can’t necessarily grab any jar off the shelf and expect it to deliver the desired effects. You’re going to need to dig into the research yourself and see what types may or may not be the most helpful. 

Here, I’ll briefly cover some of the most common uses and purported benefits.

Honey for Sore Throat, Cough, and Respiratory Infections

When I was a kid, my mom would have me swallowing big glugs of honey at the first sign of a sore throat or tightness in my chest. I rarely get sick anymore, but when I do, one of the first signs I’m coming down with something is that I crave hot tea with honey.

It makes sense that honey would be able to knock out a sore throat thanks to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, but there aren’t a lot of studies to back up this folk wisdom. 

With regards to cough, the (limited) research suggests that my mom was on to something. A 2018 Cochrane review, which included nine randomized controlled trials and more than 1,000 study participants—all kids—concluded that honey seems to be equivalent to or better than standard pharmaceutical treatments. However, the authors noted that the majority of the studies only followed the patients for one night. 

Another meta-analysis of studies looking at upper respiratory tract infections in kids concluded, “Honey was superior to usual care… It provides a widely available and cheap alternative to antibiotics.” Good news for those of us who are leery about rushing to at the first sign of illness. Even the CDC recommends using honey for chest colds with cough in adults and kids older than one.

I’ll stick with my honey tea next time my chest starts to feel tight, although I might try honey in coffee instead. One obscure study found that honey with coffee was more effective than honey or coffee alone and more effective than prednisone for alleviating coughs in adults following upper respiratory tract infections.

Honey for Cancer

There’s quite a bit of promising data that suggests honey could be useful in fighting various forms of cancer. Much of the current research aims to understand how, exactly, honey exerts antitumor and cytotoxic (cell-killing) effects. Proposed mechanisms include reducing oxidative stress, preventing the proliferation of cancer cells, inhibiting cancer-causing genetic mutations, and promoting apoptosis (programmed cell death).

While the research is fascinating, almost all the relevant studies have been done in vitro, meaning that they looked at cancer cells in petri dishes. It remains to be seen how this might translate into actual cancer therapies in humans. How great would it be if we could just eat fistfuls of honey, Winnie the Pooh style, and solve the cancer epidemic? Alas, that’s too good to be true. Far more likely, scientists will isolate specific bioactive compounds within honey and find ways to harness their effects. 

Honey for Skincare

Honey turns out to be great for your skin. It can help with everything from diaper rash to dandruff to wrinkles, again thanks in large part to its anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties.

Honey has long been used in dressings for burns, boils, surgical incisions, ulcers, and other types of skin afflictions. The consensus seems to be that while more research is needed, honey shows significant promise as a topical wound treatment. Honey produces hydrogen peroxide, which seems to account for much of its infection-fighting capability. Certain honeys are even effective against drug-resistant bacteria like MRSA. It seems to stimulate the immune system to speed up the natural healing process and helps the body’s own enzymes break down dead tissues around the wound that can lead to infection, a process known as autolytic debridement.

You can get over-the-counter honey dressings—bandaids infused with honey, essentially—if you want to see what all the fuss is about for yourself.

(Local) Honey for Allergies

Any hayfever or seasonal allergy sufferer has heard that the best natural treatment is honey. But it has to be local honey, because you need the honeybees to have been collecting nectar from the same plants that are causing your sneezing and itchy eyes. So the logic goes anyway. It’s all very homeopathic, but does it work?

I found three studies that speak to this question, and the results are inconsistent:

  • Forty individuals with allergic rhinitis (hayfever) took an antihistamine for four weeks along with a daily dose of either honey or honey-flavored corn syrup. At the end of the four weeks, both groups’ symptoms had improved, but the group who ate the honey reported feeling significantly better four weeks after that. In other words, the positive effects seemed to persist only in the honey group. It’s worth noting, though, that the participants were consuming huge amounts of honey—1 gram per kilogram of bodyweight, which equates to more than three tablespoons per day for someone who weighs 150 pounds!
  • In another study, 36 patients with allergic rhinoconjunctivitis took one tablespoon of unpasteurized, unfiltered local honey; filtered, pasteurized, non-local honey; or honey-flavored corn syrup. The study lasted for 30 weeks, but a third of the participants ended up dropping out, presumably because they couldn’t stand the sweet regimen. At the end of the study, neither honey group reported being any better off symptom-wise than the control group. 
  • Finnish researchers recruited 44 people with birch pollen allergies. They all received unpasteurized, unfiltered local honey that either was or was not fortified with birch pollen. Over two months, both groups had more symptom-free days compared to a control group who got no honey. However, the pollen-enhanced group had significantly fewer total symptoms, and they were less likely to need antihistamines during the study period.

That’s hardly a slam dunk. The Finnish study is promising, but I’m not convinced that eating jars of honey for months at a time is a great trade-off for a modicum of allergy relief, especially if the outcome isn’t assured. 

What about the Fructose in Honey? Isn’t Fructose Bad for You?

Honey is 40 percent fructose and 30 percent glucose. The remaining 30 percent comprises water, pollen, and over a hundred other compounds, including enzymes, minerals, amino acids, and vitamins. Table sugar, which is sucrose, contains half fructose, half glucose, and none of the good stuff. So right off the bat, it doesn’t make much sense to uniquely worry about the fructose in honey.

That aside, the ancestral community has long accepted as fact that fructose is the most harmful form of sugar because of the way it is metabolized in the . Some folks—members of the community, in particular—are challenging that notion. They argue (correctly) that honey is an animal product that has long been a part of the human diet. It continues to be a staple for modern hunter-gatherers like the Hadza, who derive between 15 and 50 percent of their calories from honey—or, more precisely, . Yet the Hadza remain largely free of so-called diseases of civilization, including diseases linked to excess fructose consumption, such as metabolic syndrome and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.  

This gets into some thorny science (par for the course in the nutrition world), but when it comes to fructose, it seems the poison is in the dose and the delivery method. There’s no doubt in my mind that consuming large quantities of fructose, especially in the context of a high-sugar, hypercaloric diet, poses significant health risks. High-fructose corn syrup, especially beverages sweetened with HFCS, should be strictly avoided. Nothing about our evolutionary history has prepared our genes for large boluses of highly concentrated, liquid fructose.

I’m far less concerned about relatively small amounts of fructose consumed in the context of low-to-moderate-carb, eucaloric or hypocaloric Primal diets, where the fructose comes packaged in whole foods like fruit and honey. Presumably, you aren’t eating multiple tablespoons of honey at a time day in and day out (unless you’re Paul Saladino, maybe). 

I’m not saying anyone needs to consume honey (or fruit, for that matter). People who already struggle with metabolic syndrome or type 2 diabetes should be mindful of how much they’re eating. (I should note here that some scientists believe that honey may actually be antidiabetic, though the jury is still out.) Likewise, anyone who suffers from fructose malabsorption and intolerance, which can lead to IBS-like symptoms, should tread lightly with fruit and honey. 

The Verdict: Is Honey Good for You?

Let’s return to the three questions I posed at the beginning of this post:

Does honey have any beneficial effects that make it worth consuming?

Overall, I think the answer is yes, but with a significant caveat. 

Honey isn’t a panacea that is going to solve all the world’s major health problems. Still, honey (as well as bee propolis and royal jelly) is clearly anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial, and it seems to have various antitumor and anticancer properties. Another benefit I haven’t mentioned yet is that honey acts as a prebiotic, meaning it can promote gut health by stimulating the growth of beneficial microbes.

While that’s all fantastic, I wouldn’t venture to make specific recommendations regarding what types of honey, or how much, might be optimal for you. That depends on your goals and your current metabolic health.

Is honey better for you than other sweeteners?

I’d say yes, particularly if we’re talking about honey compared to table sugar or pure glucose or fructose. 

Overall, honey doesn’t seem to have the same downsides as other sweeteners. For example, one set of studies compared the effects of honey, sham-honey (a mix of fructose and glucose), dextrose (which is just glucose), and sucrose on several health markers in various groups of people. There’s a lot to wade through, but the gist is that honey performed well. Honey resulted in smaller blood glucose spikes (+14%) than dextrose (+53%). Sham honey increased triglycerides, while real honey lowered them (along with boosting HDL and lowering LDL). After fifteen days of honey feeding, CRP and LDL dropped. Overall, honey improved blood lipids, lowered inflammatory markers, and had minimal effect on blood glucose levels.

That said, it surely depends on the context. It’s safe to say that honey is better than table sugar across the board, especially, it seems, for diabetics. However, someone trying to maintain a strict caloric deficit may prefer a low-calorie or noncaloric sweetener like stevia, monk fruit, or erythritol. By the same token, the carbohydrates in honey might offset any potential upsides for folks following a ketogenic diet.

Is honey a “health food” that you should make a concerted effort to include in your diet?

I’m not sure “should” is the right word here. I’ll continue to use honey as a home remedy for sore throats and coughs, and I’ll enjoy the occasional honey-sweetened dessert. But will I go out of my way to consume honey to ward off health problems or otherwise stay healthy? No, I don’t think the available evidence justifies that. 

Bottom line: Can you eat it? Sure. Should you eat it? It depends. There’s no doubt in my mind that honey is an ancestral food, meaning that our long-ago ancestors enjoyed honey when it was available. So if that’s the criteria you use to decide whether a particular food deserves a place in your kitchen, the answer is yes, go for it.

At the end of the day, I prefer to minimize my intake of all sweeteners, mostly because I choose to prioritize savory foods (mmm, ). If you’re going to consume honey, which is fine in my book, go for the raw, unfiltered stuff, as dark as you can get. 

What do you think? Does honey fit into your way of eating? Is it Primal? Let me know what you think.

FAQs About Honey

Is honey allowed on a vegan diet? What about a carnivore diet?

This is a heated debate within both the vegan and carnivore communities. Many, but not all, vegans say no because harvesting honey potentially exploits or harms honeybees. Some carnivores do eat honey, arguing that it qualifies as an “animal product” since it is produced by bees. Most still do not. 

Can honey be organic?

The U.S. has no official standard for certifying honey as organic. Small-scale producers may label their honey as organic, but any certified organic honey must be imported. Nevertheless, in practice, it is difficult to impossible to ensure that honeybees are only collecting nectar from organic plants. 

Can you eat honey on a keto diet?

Ketogenic diets allow up to 50 grams of carbohydrates per day. A teaspoon of honey only contains 6 grams of carbohydrates, and it seems to provoke a smaller blood glucose response than pure glucose. Therefore, honey can probably be enjoyed in moderation on keto.

Can I substitute honey for sugar in Primal, Paleo, or Keto recipes?

Yes, though you may need to adjust the recipe. Honey is sweeter than refined sugar, so start with half as much honey as sugar. In baked goods, you will also need to reduce the other liquids in the recipe and add baking soda to counteract honey’s natural acidity.

If you’re using honey in keto recipes, keep in mind that honey is not a low-calorie or low-carb sweetener. You’ll need to count those carbs toward your daily total, and even moderate amounts will add up quickly.

Is raw honey better for you than refined or processed honey?

Raw honey contains pollen, bee propolis, and royal jelly, which have a host of beneficial properties in their own right. Refined honey removes those compounds via filtration and pasteurization. Pasteurization may also damage enzymes and other components you want in your honey. Opt for raw whenever possible.

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Mark’s Big-Ass Keto Salad

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Inline_Final Fat Bomb SaladFor years now, all those who know me (including readers of the blog) have heard me talk about my daily “big-ass salad.” It’s been my lunch of choice for a couple of decades at least, and I don’t see that ever changing. Over the years I’ve adapted it to my personal tastes, nutritional experiments, and—lately—.

Some people minimize vegetable intake when they’re eating keto. I’ve never found that necessary or beneficial. In fact, I highly recommend plenty of above-ground vegetables and even berries for an optimally varied, nutrient-dense keto diet. That’s my Primal take because personally I practice keto with an eye toward .

So, what about the fat? With fat comprising up to 75% of keto energy sourcing, you can bet we’re talking about more than lettuce. This salad is no side dish for sure. I get a large portion of my fat intake from it every day—keto weeks included. With a whole avocado, a generous chunk of Emmental cheese (my favorite cheese when I’m in ketosis), and a hefty (i.e. jaw-dropping) dose of my own with all the rich goodness of , I literally call this my fat bomb salad. See if it won’t make you a keto salad believer.

Ingredients:

Ingredients_Keto_Salad

  • Lettuce (I prefer a mix of romaine and dark leafy greens.)
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Chopped Avocado
  • Broccolini
  • Shaved Emmental Cheese

Instructions:

Instructions_Keto_Salad

Toss together the cut vegetables with mixed greens. Shave my favorite cheese, Emmental, over the entire salad. Smother with PRIMAL KITCHEN® Caesar Dressing (no skimping allowed). Then enjoy.

Final Fat Bomb Salad

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These 10-Minutes-A-Day Exercises Can Help You Live Longer

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Written by Patricia Sheahan

Did you know that muscle strength is an indicator for a long and healthier life? Research shows that people with greater muscle strength have a 54% lower mortality strength than those with less muscle strength—and that muscle strength, not muscle mass, is the key indicator.

What’s more, the link between low strength and increased mortality risk is higher in women—up to 84%—than among men (up to 51%). Both muscle strength and mass decline significantly during perimenopause and menopause, and that process continues as women age, according to Jackson Fyfe, postdoctoral research fellow within the Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition at Deakin University in Australia.

“The loss of muscle mass, from peak levels at about the age of 30, is about 4% a decade for women and 5% a decade for men,” says Dr Fyfe. The upside is that you can fight the process. “Bones and muscles begin to decline at 30, but we can slow that down,” he says. “Studies show even people in their 90s can respond positively to exercise in terms of improving muscle strength and bone density. It’s never too late to start.”

Best of all, you don’t have to spend hours a day lifting weights. Dr Fyfe’s research has identified that small grabs of activity, known as strength snacks or exercise snacks, can improve muscle strength. These are simple, time-efficient bodyweight exercises that require no equipment.

Bones and muscles begin to decline at 30, but we can slow that down. Studies show even people in their 90s can respond positively to exercise in terms of improving muscle strength and bone density.

Jackson Fyfe, Deakin University

“Our study was with 40 people aged 65-plus who completed home-based daily strength snacks such as sit-to-stands. They performed five exercises, each one for one minute continuously, with one minute of rest in between,” Dr Fyfe says.

“Each session had a total time commitment of 10 minutes. Participants performed the strength snacks once, twice, or three times a day for four weeks.”

The study found significant changes in physical performance, balance, mental health as well as general wellbeing. “Even performing strength snacks once a day is effective for improving your strength, muscle mass and physical ability,” Dr Fyfe says.

Importantly, the program was shown to be both effective and sustainable, with 87 per cent of participants sticking with it.  “The participants said the strength snacking was easy, practical and time efficient.”

Six Easy Strength Snacks to Increase Longevity

Hands-Free Sit to Stand

Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Cross your arms in front of your chest so you are not tempted to use them to push off. Stand up, then slowly sit back down and repeat a number of times. Perform as many repetitions as you can in 1 minute. Rest for 1 minute before the next exercise.

Single-Leg Squat

Stand behind a chair and place both hands on the back rest. Move one foot backwards slightly with your toe just above the floor—your rear leg is there to stabilize you. Keep your gaze straight ahead, your back straight, and carefully lower yourself on the front leg, as far as you can comfortably bend the knee, and then rise back up. Keep repeating this movement for 30 seconds, then switch legs and do another 30 seconds. Rest for 1 minute before the next exercise.

Side Lunges

Start in a standing position, perhaps with a wall (or another type of support) to one side. Take a comfortable step out to one side with one leg, bend the other knee over your ankle. Hold this position briefly and then return to a standing position. Repeat as often and you can in 30 seconds, then repeat on the other leg for 30 seconds. Rest for 1 minute before the next exercise.

Calf-Raise

Stand with both legs straight and hip-width apart. Hold onto a support for balance if necessary. Rise up onto your toes, keeping your legs straight, and slowly lower yourself back down to the start position. Repeat for 1 minute, then rest for 1 minute before the next exercise.

Marching Squat

Stand up straight with your arms raised in front of you. Bend elbows to 90 degrees, palms facing each other, and lower yourself into a squat position. Push upward from your heels, and as you reach the top of the squat, simultaneously lift one knee and lower your opposite elbow until they meet. Return to the squat position and repeat, leading with your other leg and elbow. Repeat as often as you can in 1 minute, alternating the knee that you raise each time. Rest for 1 minute before the next exercise.

Rapid Stepper

Stand up straight facing a step. Step up onto it, leading with your left leg, then back down. Keep repeating this, leading with the same leg, for 30 seconds. Switch to your right leg and continue stepping up and back down for another 30 second. Now rest.

Before You Start

If you are new to muscle strengthening activity, Dr. Fyfe suggests the following.

Start with one or two exercises and build to four to six exercises a session.Focus first on good technique more than speed or number of repetitions. For example, keep your back straight during squats, keep your knees in line with your toes during squats or lunges, and always engage your core to support your lower back.Once you have the technique down, increase the intensity by performing more repetitions or by adding some weight during squats or lunges.Increase the difficulty over time. For example, focus on your balance by adding a knee-to-elbow movement at the top of your squats, or doing some single-leg squats without support.

This article was originally published in Tonic Magazine.

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Shoes that Massage Your Feet! Pain Relief & Reflexology, Kenkoh Sandal Review, HappyFeet

Thai Massage tutorials and tips.

This video was provided by PsycheTruth.

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Shoes that Massage Your Feet- Yes Please! Kenkoh Reflexology Sandal Review

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The Definitive Guide to Blood Sugar

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blood sugarWhat’s sweet, red, sticky, and deadly?

Blood sugar. (I’m sure there are other things that qualify, but most of them contain sugar of some sort so I’m sticking with it.)

Too little of it, and you go into hypoglycemic shock. That can kill you if left untreated.

Too much of it, and you waste away slowly. Chronic overexposure to sugar will degenerate your tissues and organs.

Yes, getting blood sugar right is extremely important. Vital, even.

Today, I’m going to explain how and why we measure blood sugar, what the numbers mean, why we need to control it, and how to maintain that control.

What is Blood Sugar?

First, blood sugar is tightly controlled in the body. The average person has between 4-7 grams of sugar circulating throughout their body in a fasted state—that’s around a teaspoon’s worth. How does that work when the average person consumes dozens of teaspoons in a single day?

Again, it’s tightly controlled.

The majority of the sugar “in our system” is quickly whisked away for safekeeping, burning, or conversion. We store as much of it as glycogen in our liver and muscle as we can. We burn some for energy. And, if there’s any left over, we can convert it to fat in the liver.

But sometimes, sugar lingers. In diabetics, for example, blood sugar runs higher than normal. That’s actually how you identify and diagnose a person with diabetes: they have elevated blood sugar.

How to Measure Blood Sugar

There are several ways to measure blood sugar.

  • The basic finger prick: Prick your finger, produce a few drops of blood, place blood on test insert, test blood sugar level. It’s the most common method.
  • Fasting blood sugar: Your blood sugar level when fasted. These tests are usually taken first thing in the morning, because that’s the only time most people haven’t eaten in the last few hours. “Normal” is under 100.
  • Postprandial blood sugar: Your blood sugar after eating. These tests measure your blood sugar response to food; they also measure your ability to dispose of blood glucose.
  • HbA1C: Average blood sugar over 2/3 months. HbA1c measures the degree of glycation of your red blood cells’ hemoglobin; this is an indirect measure of how much blood sugar your cells are exposed to over time, since a red blood cell that’s exposed to more sugar in the blood over its life cycle—2-3 months—will have more glycation. Thus, A1c seeks to establish the average level of circulating through your body over the red blood cell’s life cycle, rather than track blood sugar numbers that rapidly fluctuate through the day, week, and month. It’s a measurement of chronic blood sugar levels, not acute.
  • The continuous glucose monitor: A wearable device that measures your blood sugar at regular intervals throughout the day and night. This is becoming more common. The beauty of the CGM is that you get a visual display of blood sugar’s rise and fall throughout the day in response to meals, workouts, fasts, stress, etc. Since elevated blood sugar does its damage over the long term, seeing the entire daily trend is more illuminating than taking single snapshots with a finger prick. It’s similar in power to HbA1c, only with greater accuracy.

What’s “Normal” Blood Sugar?

According to the American Diabetes Association, any fasting blood sugar (FBG) under 100 mg/dl is completely normal. It’s safe. It’s fine. Don’t worry, just keep eating your regular diet, and did you get a chance to try the donuts in the waiting room? They only start to worry at 110-125 (pre-diabetic) and above 125 (diabetic).

This may be unwise. Healthy people subjected to continuous glucose monitoring have much lower average blood glucose—. A 2008 study found that people with a FBG of 95-99—still “normal”—were 2.33 times more likely to develop diabetes in the future than people on the low-normal end of the scale.

As for postprandial blood glucose, the ADA likes anything under 140 mg/dl.

How about HbA1c? A “normal” HbA1c is anything under 5.7. And 6.0 is diabetic. That’s what the reference ranges, which mostly focuses on diabetes. What does the research say? In this study, under 5 was best for heart disease. In this study, anything over 4.6 was associated with an increased risk of heart disease.

That 5.7 HbA1c isn’t looking so great.

Why Normal isn’t Necessarily Normal

What’s “normal” also depends on your baseline state.

Healthy FBG depends on your BMI. At higher FBG levels, higher BMIs are protective. A recent study showed that optimal fasting blood glucose for mortality gradually increased with bodyweight. Low-normal BMIs had the lowest mortality at normal FBG (under 100), moderately overweight BMIs had the lowest mortality at somewhat impaired FBG (100-125), and the highest BMIs had the lowest mortality at diabetic FBG levels (over 125).

If you’re very low-carb, postprandial blood glucose will be elevated after a meal containing carbs. This is because very low-carb, high-fat diets produce  to preserve what little glucose you have for the tissues that depend on it, like certain parts of the brain. The more resistant you are to insulin, the higher your blood glucose response to dietary glucose.

HbA1c depends on a static red blood cell lifespan. A1c seeks to establish the average level of  circulating through your body over the red blood cell’s life cycle, rather than track blood sugar numbers that rapidly fluctuate through the day, week, and month. If we know how long a red blood cell lives, we have an accurate measurement of chronic blood sugar levels. The clinical consensus assumes the lifespan is three months. Is it?

Not always. The life cycle of an actual red blood cell differs between and even within individuals, and it’s enough to .

Ironically, people with healthy blood sugar control might have inflated HbA1c levels. One study found that folks with normal blood sugar had red blood cells that lived up to 146 days, and RBCs in folks with high blood sugar had life cycles as low as 81 days. For every 1% rise in blood sugar, red blood cell lifespan fell by 6.9 days.

What does this mean?

  • In those with better blood sugar control, RBCs lived longer and thus had more time to accumulate sugar and give a “worse” HbA1c reading.
  • In people with poorer blood sugar control, red blood cells live shorter lives and have less time to accumulate sugar, potentially giving them “better” HbA1c numbers.

Anemia can inflate HbA1c. Anemia depresses the production of red blood cells. If you have fewer red blood cells in circulation, the ones you do have accumulate more sugar since there are fewer cells “competing” for it. Anemia isn’t anything to sniff at, but it does throw off HbA1c.

Health Effects of High Blood Sugar

Okay, is hyperglycemia actually a problem? I’ve heard some suggest that hyperglycemia is a marker of poor metabolic health, but it’s not actually causing anything bad itself. I agree with the first part—hyperglycemia indicates poor metabolic health and is a risk factor for things like heart disease and —but not the last. Indeed, hyperglycemia is both an effect and direct cause of multiple health issues.

Most cell types, when faced with systemic , have mechanisms in place to regulate the passage of glucose through their membranes. They can avoid hyperglycemic toxicity by keeping excess sugar out. Other cell types, namely pancreatic beta-cells, neurons, and the cells lining the blood and lymphatic vessels, do not have these mechanisms. In the presence of high blood sugar, they’re unable to keep excess sugar out. It’s to these three types of cells that hyperglycemia is especially dangerous.

Unfortunately, these are all pretty important cells.

What happens when too much glucose makes it into one of these cells?

 (ROS) generation is a normal byproduct of glucose metabolism by the cell’s mitochondria. If the stream of glucose into the cell is unregulated, bad things begin to happen: excessive ROS, a mediator of increased oxidative stress; depletion of glutathione, the prime antioxidant in our bodies; advanced glycation endproduct (AGE) formation; and activation of protein kinase C, a family of enzymes involved in many diabetes-related complications. It’s messy stuff.

How does this play out in the specific cell types that are susceptible, and what does it mean for you?

Pancreatic beta-cells: These cells are responsible for secreting insulin in response to blood glucose. They essentially are the first line of defense against hyperglycemia. If maintained for too long or too often, hyperglycemia inhibits the ability of pancreatic beta-cells to do their job. For instance, type 2 diabetics have reduced pancreatic beta-cell mass; smaller cells have lower functionality. Mitochondrial ROS (often caused by hyperglycemia) also reduce the insulin secreted by the cells, thereby reducing their ability to deal with the hyperglycemia and compounding the initial problem.

Neurons: The brain’s unique affinity for glucose makes its glucose receptor-laden neuronal cells susceptible to hyperglycemia. It simply soaks up glucose, and if there’s excessive amounts floating around, problems arise. Hyperglycemia is consistently linked to cognitive impairment, causes the shrinking of neurons and the inducement of spatial memory loss, and induces neuronal oxidative stress. It also impairs the production of nitric oxide, which is involved in the hippocampus’ regulation of food intake.

Endothelial cells: Flow mediated dilation (FMD) is the measure of a blood vessels’ ability to dilate in response to increased flow demands. Under normal conditions, the endothelial cells release nitric oxide, a vasodilator, in response to increased shear stress. Under hyperglycemic conditions, nitric oxide release is inhibited and FMD reduced. Lower FMD means your endothelial function is compromised and may cause atherosclerosis.

Electrolyte depletion: Persistent hyperglycemia can cause the body to shed glucose by urinating it out. In doing so, you also end up shedding electrolytes.

Okay, okay. Controlling your blood sugar is important. Avoiding hyperglycemia is one of the most important things you can do for your health and longevity. How do I do it?

How to Improve Blood Sugar

  • Go for a walk. A short walk after eating will reduce blood sugar. Fifteen minutes is probably enough (although more is always better).
  • Eat vinegar before. Eating vinegar before a meal that contains carbohydrates will improve the blood glucose response to that meal.
  • Exercise. Exercise depletes muscle glycogen, which opens up storage depots for incoming glucose. If glucose is converted to glycogen and deposited in your muscles, your blood glucose will normalize. Pretty much any kind of exercise works.
    • Sprint and/or intervals. A review looked at the blood glucose responses of diabetics (type 1 and type 2) to “brief high intensity exercise,” as which sprinting definitely qualifies, finding that although glucose was elevated immediately post workout, blood glucose control is improved for one to three days following a sprint session. Research finds that endurance training works, too, but sprinting may work faster and better.
    • Steady state endurance. Then again, steady state endurance training was just as effective as sprinting at reducing glucose variability and improving glucose spikes in overweight women. There was no difference between the two—both beat doing nothing.
    • Resistance training.
    • All of the above. As different types of training target different tissues, deplete glycogen at different rates, and induce different metabolic effects, doing sprints, weights, and low level aerobic activity is your best bet for improving glucose control.

When I take a bird’s eye view of all this, the best glucose-lowering exercise is the one you’ll do on a regular basis. It’s all good.

  • Avoid unnecessary carbohydrates. Carbs you earn through glycogen-depleting exercise will not contribute to hyperglycemia. Those are “necessary,” or at least “earned.” Carbs you didn’t earn will contribute to hyperglycemia. A surefire way to avoid hyperglycemia is to avoid the foods that induce it—carbs.
  • Eat more protein and fat, fewer carbs. This is a simple one for most of you guys, but many people never consider it. A basic swap of whole eggs (or egg whites) for carbs reduces not just postprandial glycemia but also endothelial dysfunction.
  • Get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation increases blood glucose variability and impairs regulation.
  • Eat fermented dairy. Kefir improves glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes. Yogurt does too. Cheese is also associated with better glucose control.
  • Use spices. Spices can have profound anti-hyperglycemic effects.

If you’re low-carb or keto and need to pass a glucose tolerance test, eat 150-250 grams of carbs per day in the week leading up to the test. This will give you a chance to shift back into sugar-burning mode.

For long-term glucose control, consistency is everything. Consistently doing all the little tips and hacks we just went over that lower blood sugar in the moment will lead to long term blood sugar control. If you take vinegar before and walk after every single meal for the rest of your life, you will control postprandial blood sugar for life. If you avoid excess carbohydrates, you will exert long-term control over blood sugar levels. If you exercise 3-4 times a week and get plenty of low-level activity, you’ll be much less likely to have hyperglycemia.

Thus concludes the Definitive Guide to Blood Sugar. If you have any questions or comments, drop them in down below. Thanks for reading!

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