Level 90: Blood Sugar Manteinance

Maintaining healthy, normal blood sugars is important to your overall health because of the negative impact that high blood sugar levels can cause on the body. It is important to maintain a healthy blood sugar level, especially if you suffer from conditions such as diabetes or pre-diabetes (Syndrome X). Your blood sugar level is determined by how much carbohydrate you eat, how rapidly your body breaks carbohydrates down into simple sugars and absorbs these sugars into the bloodstream and finally, by how rapidly your cells uptake the sugar from the blood.

How To Maintain Blood Sugar Levels

1. Consume "Good" Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are the body's preferred source of energy. We need carbohydrates because they provide us with energy, fiber and select nutrients that are only available from these foods. Carbohydrates are broken down in the intestines to their smaller diosaccharide counterparts, glucose, fructose and galactose. Once broken down, they are absorbed through the intestinal wall into the bloodstream. The rate at which these digested sugars are absorbed into the bloodstream is what determines the rate at which and how high your blood sugar levels rise.

Not all Carbohydrates are Created Equal

There are good carbohydrates and there are carbohydrates that should only be consumed in moderation. Good carbohydrates include fruits, vegetables and whole grain foods because they are loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytochemicals which all promote optimal health. Carbohydrates that should be limited include foods high in simple sugars and low in fiber and nutrients, such as sweets, chips, crackers and other processed foods.

Overall, there are two types of carbohydrates: simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates are absorbed very easily from the intestine into the bloodstream and as a result, have the most rapid effect on blood sugar levels. Foods containing simple carbohydrates include processed items such as cookies, candies, and chips. Fruits contain natural simple and complex carbohydrates.

Complex carbohydrates, which include fiber and starches, take longer to break down in the intestine and thus are absorbed into the bloodstream at a slower rate. Foods containing complex carbs include vegetables, whole grains and beans. The majority of carbohydrate calories that you consume should come from complex carbohydrates.

2. Include Fiber in Your Diet

Fiber is a plant material that is largely resistant to the body's digestive enzymes, so much of it moves through the intestines and is either broken down by the intestinal flora or bacteria in the colon or excreted from the body. A fiber-rich diet helps slow the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream so that high peaks in blood sugar levels are reduced and absorption is slower and more controlled. In addition, fiber helps your body retain water in the intestines, preventing constipation by moving food through the intestine.

3. Exercise Regularly

Exercise is an excellent tool to help maintain healthy blood sugar levels because, similar to insulin, it activates the cells to absorb sugar from the blood. The cells use the sugar they absorb to provide energy, while exercising promotes better blood sugar use and control.

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