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5 Important Facts About High Blood Sugar And The Best Foods To Eat To Prevent It

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5 Important Facts About High Blood Sugar And The Best Foods To Eat To Prevent It
5 Important Facts About Blood Sugar Levels graphic © naturalhealthzone.org.
Food images – Wikipedia lic. under CC (see foot of article for full license info)

The nitty-gritty of how a burger fuels a person for several hours after eating it is not really regarded as a “must-know” for the majority of the population. But that is something that needs to be changed: With diabetes plaguing ten percent of the American population (that’s almost 30 million people) [1], knowing how the body produces energy from food should be important to everyone – because it could ultimately be that knowledge that keeps you alive… here are 5 important facts about blood sugar levels:

1) Blood Sugar Is Actually Blood Glucose

The term “blood sugar” is often heard when talking about diabetes. The correct medical term is actual blood glucose levels – which refers to the amount of glucose found in the blood. But hold up, what’s glucose? Glucose is a simple sugar. It is a type of carbohydrate that comes from the food a person eats which is digested and absorbed by the body. Glucose is very important to the cells; in order to produce energy for life functions, glucose is absorbed by the cell, broken down, and turned into ATP, the unit of energy used by body.

2) Insulin and Glucose Work Together

While high levels of blood sugar contribute to the development of diabetes, the problem actually lies in the body’s ability to produce another substance – a hormone called insulin. When a healthy person eats too much and there is too much glucose circulating in the blood, the pancreas releases insulin. Insulin is responsible for stimulating our cells to absorb glucose, thereby lowering blood sugar levels to normal.

3) High Blood Glucose Causes Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes Type 1 is characterized by a failure of the pancreas to produce insulin. This is the only type that affects children, hence the condition’s other name, juvenile diabetes. [2]

Diabetes Type 2 is a problem that begins with insulin sensitivity. When the cells of the body are consistently exposed to high levels of glucose, the cells can become less sensitive to insulin. Think of this in a similar way to your sense of smell. People who are consistently exposed to a particular odor become less sensitive to it – like living on a farm and finding that the smell of animals is barely noticeable after several weeks.

When there is too much glucose in the blood in a diabetic person, the cells don’t respond to the normal level of insulin needed to absorb the glucose – this is decreased sensitivity, which is seen in Diabetes Type II. With too much insulin in the blood, the pancreas then produces less insulin – contributing to even higher levels of blood glucose and creating a spiral into Diabetes Type 2.

4) Some Of The Symptoms of Low Blood Sugar and High Blood Sugar Can Be Similar

Hyperglycemia has a blood glucose level greater than 110 mg/dl after fasting or greater than 140 mg/dl two hours after a meal. Hypoglycemia has a blood glucose level lower than 60 mg/dl. [2]

5) Grains And Fiber In The Diet May Help Lower Blood Glucose

The primary factors for prevention and treatment of diabetes involve a healthy diet, physical exercise, not smoking and maintaining a normal body weight. [3]

Avoidance of sweets and high-carbohydrate food is an essential part of the diabetic diet. Pastries and soda have high sugar content, which is dangerous for a diabetic person. White bread is converted rapidly to blood sugar and causes a significant spike. However, food that is high in soluble fiber like oatmeal (unsweetened!) and barley – basically food that takes longer to digest – is a better option because it does not elevate levels of blood glucose as high or as fast. [4]

Note – this article is a general knowledge report based on scientific studies and as with the rest of this site, is not medical advice. Please see full disclaimer at foot of page.

References:

[1] American Diabetes Association (2014). National Diabetes Statistics Report. http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/statistics/

[2] Smeltzer, et. al. (2010). Brunner and Suddarth’s Textbook of Medical-Surgical Nursing p.1197-1199.

[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diabetes_mellitus

[4] Kam, K. Diabetic Diet: 6 Foods That May Help Control Blood Sugar. http://www.webmd.com/diabetes/features/diabetic-diet-6-foods-control-blood-sugar


This Is INCREDIBLE: Bees Can Be Trained To Detect Early Stage Cancer In Ten Minutes!

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Bees Can Be Trained To Detect Cancer In 10 Minutes
Bees Can Be Trained To Detect Early Stage Cancer In Ten Minutes photo – susanasoares.com

One of the most astounding discoveries we’ve ever reported on: An experimental art/science project by Susana Soares has demonstrated the potential for honey bees to be used in early stage cancer detection – and more.

As if we didn’t already have enough to thank bees for….

Bees have an odor perception that is on a level of acuity many leagues beyond ours, with their being able to detect infinitesimal quantities of certain molecules. Their odor perception is even more acute than sniffer dogs and is reported to be in the parts per trillion range!

It has been discovered that the bees can be trained using a simple Pavlovian reward system to select and move towards specific odor sources.

This gives potential for them to be used to detect pregnancy and diseases including cancer – which can be indicated by specific odor markers in the breath: Bees can be trained to respond to the presence of various chemicals, including biomarkers associated with early stages of diseases such as tuberculosis and various types of cancer. [1]

Special glass devices (as pictured) have been devised by Portuguese designer Susana Soares in order to facilitate such tests. The subject breathes into the curious glass apparatus, which at first glance seems somewhat reminiscent of a kind of strange hashish smoking contraption. The pre-trained bees make a “bee line” (couldn’t resist it) for the diagnosis chamber if the target odor is present.



Early detection is mission critical to saving lives from cancer as the chances of turning it around are often greater if it is discovered sooner. Regular health checks and screening are essential but could this become a new tool in the fight against the world’s worst disease? Let’s hope so.

Bees may also have potential to be used in other applications requiring detection of minute quantities of chemicals, for example detecting explosives in security operations. [2]

What else could we use them for? Detecting fake or adulterated foods or essential oils? How about the obvious: Detecting fake honey. Sounds feasible to me.

The glassware project depicted was originally exhibited at MOMA back in 2007. [3]

Important – Bees are under threat: Indiscriminate pesticide use is wiping out bee habitats in vast numbers – we really do need to protect these treasures of nature. This is no joke. In addition to NOT spraying pesticides (PLEASE don’t do it!), something simple you can do to help bees is to plant flowers that bees love. Here’s a great list: Top 10 Plants To Encourage Bees To Your Garden

The fact that we cannot live without bees might just have become more true than ever before. They have such astonishing gifts for us. Isn’t nature incredible?

References / sources:

[1] http://www.susanasoares.com/index.php?id=56 (artist’s personal website)

[2] http://www.dezeen.com/2013/11/20/honey-bees-can-be-trained-to-detect-cancer-in-ten-minutes-says-designer-susana-soares/

[3] http://www.moma.org/interactives/exhibitions/2008/elasticmind/#/77/


Amazing Health Benefits Of Nuts

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Amazing Health Benefits Of Nuts
Amazing Health Benefits of Nuts graphic © herbs-info.com
Nut images – Wikipedia lic. under CC (see foot of article for full license info)

Nuts Are Energy-Dense Foods
Nuts are rich in protein, dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants, and phytoesterols – all of which have great health benefits for the prevention of cardiac disease and diabetes type 2. A study in 2014 by Jackson and Hu actually suggest eating handful of nuts each day to replace less healthy snacks, like junkfood and sodas, because they are much healthier. [1]

Nuts have come under criticism by some because of high fat content, but research has shown that the fats they contain can be considered as “good fats” – which do not cause weight gain because their high calorie intake is easily absorbed and metabolized by the body into energy. [2]

Note that peanuts are not “true” nuts and often considered less healthy. True nuts grow on trees whereas peanuts grow in the soil; according to Salas-Salvado (2014), tree nuts have been found to be cardioprotective – they regulate inflammation, reduce postprandial blood glucose and improve insulin resistance. [3]

• Pistachio
Pistachios have been reported to have preventative and treatment effects on diabetes, primarily because of their richness in mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids, substances which reduce blood sugar (blood glucose) levels and improve the body’s metabolism. [4] Another study revealed how pistachios were able to significantly lower LDL levels and increase functional HDL particles (a.k.a. “good cholesterol”). [5]

• Macadamia
Popularly eaten together with chocolate, macadamia nut studies have revealed its potential medicinal effect improving the lipid profile of humans. A study in 2014 was performed on rats, wherein macadamia oil was supplemented along with a high fat diet. The use of macadamia was able to reduce inflammation and adipocyte hypertrophy in obese mice. [6]

• Cashew
A recent study in the first quarter of 2015 revealed cashew nuts’ antimicrobial and cytotoxic effects through an in vitro study. Ethanol extracts from cashew leaves were used for oral care in the study and proved to be more effective than traditional mouth rinses/washes. The extract was also used on cultures of gingival and lung fibroblasts, which revealed cashew’s cytotoxic property. [7]

• Almond
According to Ruisinger, et. al. (2015), almonds are able to significantly lower low density lipoprotein (a.k.a LDL or ìbad cholesterolî) and trigylcerides when added to statin therapy. Lower LDLs equals to improved cardiovascular health. [8]

• Brazil nuts
Sourced from a South American tree, Brazil nuts have potent anti-inflammatory properties, seen in a study in 2014. Single doses of Brazil nuts in varying portions were given to volunteers followed by blood samples being taken. The study showed that the nuts were able to decrease inflammatory markers, specifically IL-1, IL-6, TNF-alpha, and IFN-gamma. [9]

These different kinds of nuts have great medicinal value, which can improve a person’s health if they are included in the daily diet. Nuts that have anti-inflammatory properties can be used for a variety of dieses such as problems with the heart, lungs, and gastrointestinal systems. Those that have antimicrobial and antibacterial properties can be used to manage infections. Can you imagine all these benefits can come from a single handful of nuts?

References:

[1] Jackson, C. & Hu, F. (2014). Long-term associations of nut consumption with body weight and obesity. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24898229

[2] Vaidvel, V., Kunyanga, C, and Biesalski, H. (2012). Health benefits of nut consumption with special reference to body weight

[3] Salas-Salvado, J. (2014). Tree nuts: effects on health, obesity and metabolic syndrome. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25617532

[4] Parham, M., et. al. (2014). Effects of pistachio nut supplementation on blood glucose in patients with type 2 diabetes: a randomized crossover trial. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25396407

[5] Holligan, S., et. al. (2014). A moderate-fat diet containing pistachios improves emerging markers of cardiometabolic syndrome in healthy adults with elevated LDL levels. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25008473

[6] Lima, E., et. al. (2014). Macadamia Oil Supplementation Attenuates Inflammation and Adipocyte Hypertrophy in Obese Mice. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4190113/

[7] Anand, G., et. al. (2014). In vitro antimicrobial and cytotoxic effects of Anacardium occidentale and Mangifera indica in oral care. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25709341

[8] Ruisinger, J., et. al. (2015) Statins and almonds to lower lipoproteins (the STALL Study). Retrieved http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25670361

[9] Colpo, E., et. al. (2014) Brazilian nut consumption by healthy volunteers improves inflammatory parameters. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24607303

Infographic Image Sources (lic. under Creative Commons)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Pistachio_macro_whitebackground_NS.jpg

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Macadamia_nuts_on_tree.JPG

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Brazil_nuts.jpg

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Chestnuts02.jpg

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Owoce_Orzech_laskowy.jpg

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Mandorle_sgusciate.jpg

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:3_walnuts.jpg

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Brokencoconut.jpg

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Carya_illinoinensis_MHNT.BOT.2011.3.85.jpg

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:CashewSnack.jpg

Inforgraphic Additional Info Sources

http://www.besthealthmag.ca/best-eats/nutrition/the-health-benefits-of-walnuts

http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/pecans.html

http://www.stylecraze.com/articles/benefits-of-cashew-nuts/

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