WHAT SUGAR DOES TO THE HUMAN BODY

The truth is that sugar is a drug and you can addicted to it.

By now you know  that sugar is not good for you,yet every time you seem to try to go cold turkey and stay off it you keep coming back unable to let go off what can only be described as an addiction.You cannot have tea or coffee without it and you prefer calling your addiction a sweet tooth.

But do you have a sweet tooth or what exactly is it about sugar that makes life so much sweeter (pun intended) ?

Yet everywhere we look there is something sugary and sweet calling out to us and tea,coffee does not really taste the same without a teaspoon or two or maybe three of sugar.

We cannot tell exactly why tea in our sugar or tea hits such a sweet spot and many people swear that they cannot take tea without sugar .If you have a cup in the morning another at 10 am and another at 4 pm and with each cup you take about 2 teaspoons of sugar that equals to about 6-9 teaspoons of sugar,depending on how much you put in per cup/mug.

If you are a woman a total of 6 teaspoons of sugar daily  is recommended.

Now imagine you take a soda during the day,it is hot ,then you decide to take with you a fruit smoothie of about 4 different fruits as you drive to work,meet a friend for coffee after work and you each order for a slice of the moist carrot cake you were  told  is fresh from the oven,how many teaspoons of sugar do you think that will total to

It will equal to a  lot of teaspoons of sugar.

Sugar occurring naturally in food are  an energy source for the body’s cells .When we consume carbohydrates they get broken down by the enzyme carbohydrase which breaks down the starch in foods into sugars.

It is not just carbohydrates that contain sugar ,fruits  also contain sugar made up of two simple sugars sucrose and fructose.It is why making a habit of drinking fruit smoothies made up of 3-4 fruits daily is not a good idea while trying to mange your wait is not a good idea as in the final end it will get converted to sugar and any extra sugar you do not use your body stores it in the form of fat.

“It is better to eat your fruit rather than drink it.”

When sugars are added to food it is because they play an important role ,they add texture taste and color to baked food products .Sugar is added to yoghurt,to tomato paste and sauce for added as well to  balance flavor, and to o dried fruits as a preservative,to bread  act as an energy source for yeast as well as in tea coffee to add taste to these drinks.

Naturally occurring sugars are beneficial to your body,it is the added sugars that pose are not good.The American Heart Association recommends that you get your sugars from complex carbohydrates starchy  vegetables,whole grain breads, and other cereals because these foods take longer to digest and the release of sugar into your blood gives steadier sugar levels as they take longer to digest.

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends not more than 6 teaspoons of sugar for women and not more than 9 teaspoons for men daily.That is about 100 calories and 150 calories respectively for women and men respectively.

Sugar does play a role  in a healthy diet ,it is the the source of sugar and the over consumption of sugars from other sources that pose a problem to your health.When you over  consume a lot of sugary foods and drinks  your body experiences rapid spikes and falls in blood sugar levels.The rapid rises and falls of your blood sugars drives your pancreas crazy!

Blood sugar levels are regulated by insulin which is released from your pancreas.Insulin is a hormone that prompts your body cells to absorb sugar that the cells need to use  for their cell functions and the excess then gets stored as fat.When your blood sugar falls the pancreas prompts the release of the hormone glucagon that has the liver releasing the stored sugar for use by the body cells.

We live at a time when there has been an increase in the number of people living with Type 2 Diabetes and the onset of diabetes in Type 2 keeps going lower.A major cause of these could be the foods we are taking in,especially  foods high in  added sugars.Type 2 develops over a period of time  when the body is unable to use the  insulin it producees in the correct way.The body then becomes unable to respond to the insulin it produces and this prompts the pancreas to release more  insulin.This over production of insulin wears the insulin producing cells out and eventually the body stops responding to the insulin it produces and that is when Type 2 Diabetes is diagonised.

Type 2 diabetes at the outset can be managed with a healthy diet and physical activity but with time one will need to take tablets and maybe have insulin injections as well.

The reason why the over  consumption of sugary foods is discouraged is mainly because sugar plays havoc with your body’s metabolism. Occasional indulgence in a cookie or a slice of cake is okay but it should not become a daily habit.Management of your weight is  important as excess weight makes your body unresponsive to insulin which will lead to over production of insulin and eventually your pancreas will lose  its insulin producing cells which will lead to pre diabetes,then diabetes type 2 as your body loses the capacity to be able to produce and respond to insulin which is needed to regulate your blood sugar levels.

While it is very easy to avoid soda,cake,cookies,ice cream and other foods where it is obvious sugar has been added,there are other places where we have hidden sugars.

A good habit to start practicing is reading food labels ,as sugar gets hidden in commercially produced foods and the names used may confuse most people .Sugar in the food you buy from the store will be hiding with names like corn syrup,fructose,dextrose,maple syrup,fruit concentrate,caramel,molasses and many other titles.

Having struggled with kicking off sugar in my teens,I finally did so in my early twenties and I know how hard it can be to keep off sugar . Sugar is actually a “drug” and its consumption from other sources other than the naturally occurring ones releases the feel good hormone dopamine into your brain making you cry out more,more ,more.It is why it is so hard to give up sugar because we have already created neural pathways for this  pleasure habit and the reason why it becomes hard to give up. Just like learning a new skill is hard,we have to  create new neural pathways in place of the old ones by replacing our cravings for sugar with healthy ones like eating more fruits,nuts,drinking more water and taking pleasure from these healthier habits.

It can be done,and you can take your tea without sugar and enjoy it,have your coffee without sugar and thoroughly enjoy it and yes even your cereals do not need the sugar as well and the plain yoghurt actually tastes better when you add  fruits real fruits to it.

If you found this  article useful or  helpful,please let us know in the comments section .

TURN UP THE HEAT ON YOUR METABOLISM

Metabolism

“What do you do when you metabolism is slow and you want to increase it ?”

One of the surest way to increase your metabolism is through exercise.

Burn more calories by burning  (pun intended) the soles off your gym shoes is a sure fire way to lose weight.

A slow metabolism may be due to lack of physical activity,genes or hyperthyroidism  which is when your thyroid gland does not produce enough of the thyroid hormone and your metabolism slows down.

The thyroid gland is located at the base of your neck and produces the thyroid hormone which helps regulate your metabolism which is the way your body uses energy.

Th thyroid gland uses iodine from your diet to produce its two main hormones that are important for some very important bodily functions like;

  • Body temperature
  • Cholesterol levels
  • Breathing
  • Body temperature
  • Body weight
  • Menstrual cycle …

The two hormones produced by the thyroid are T3 (Triiodothyronineand) T4 (Thyroxine).

The levels of these two hormones in your body should neither be too high nor too low as they regulate how fast or slow your metabolism is.

These two hormones also work together with insulin which is the hormone that tells the body cells to take up the glucose to be used as energy fuel.

See how a slow metabolism affects your weight ?

If you have no underlying medical conditions, becoming more physically active is a great way to boost your metabolism and now thanks to science there are foods that together with regular physical exercise can help increase your metabolism.

Increasing your metabolism means that you burn more calories as you turn your food into energy that keeps your heart beating, your breathing constant ,your body temperature just right   as well as making sure your body functions as it should.All these things are using up energy which comes from the food you eat.

Thanks to one of the blog’s readers Susan,  who asked about how she could increase her metabolism.I thought about all the other readers who without any underlying medical reason may be having the same question and are wondering how to speed up their metabolism.then I should mention and here.

Exercise should be the first point of callas a means to increasing your metabolism but mother nature does provide means and ways with which we can help her along .

It is worth repeating that while our metabolism is affected by our genes and gender , exercising and eating right will go some way in helping us burn some extra more and who would not want that.

1.Do eat Breakfast

Sounds like a no brainer but you will be surprised by the number of people who do not take breakfast because they do not think it is important or even necessary.

By not eating breakfast you set your body into starvation mode and your metabolism slows and starts crawling at a snails pace to conserve energy.

(Yes,your body is that intelligent)

For breakfast try having foods that are slower to digest and leave you feeling fuller for longer so that you are not craving sugary things.

Try whole wheat bread with a vegetable omelette and a cup of tea or coffee with a fruit as a mid morning snack.

2.Do eat iron rich foods

Every month women  lose some amount of blood through their periods and blood contains the red blood cells that are  responsible for carrying oxygen into your body cells.

Remember the class 6 science lessons on the components of blood?

The red blood cells in your body contain Hemoglobin which  carry 70% of the iron in your body and hemoglobin is responsible for carrying oxygen from your lungs to your tissues.n.

If the levels of iron in your body are low,your muscles do not have enough oxygen,you start feeling lethargic and your  body activity slows down.

What to do ?

Eat foods that will  boost the level of iron in your body and aid in its functions.

Great sources of iron are of course  dark green leafy vegetables like broccoli , spinach,kales,peas and beans as well as lean cuts of meat and poultry.

3.Do take dairy

Dairy products like milk and yoghurt are great sources of calcium ,an adult needs about 1000mgs of calcium daily,pregnant and lactating women as well as those over 50 will need more .You can meet your daily requirement of calcium with your breakfast,having a serving of yoghurt and with your tea or coffee.

A glass of milk is equal to 300 mgs of calcium.

Calcium helps metabolize your fat more efficiently and if you are wary of dairy because of the fat it contains there are now brands of milk with a skim version that will give you the calcium without the fat.

4.Do cut back on alcohol

If you drink at least two glasses of wine in a sitting or 2 beers you slow down the process of fat burning by your body as much as 70 %.Instead of having the liver ,the organ in your body at the center of metabolism  turning  the food you take into nutrients that the body can use it instead turns to the  acetate in alcohol as a fuel source.

5.Do take more protein

When paired with exercise  intake of  protein as part of your daily meals will help increase your muscles and muscles burn more calories than fat.

Having protein in your meals will help curb hunger as well as help you maintain a healthy weight and your body does burn more calories by digesting it.

Great sources of protein are beans,eggs,milk,chicken,fish and peanut butter.

6.Do sleep for at least 8 hours

Sleep deprivation slows down your metabolism and makes your body more sluggish which means you are less likely to engage in any physical activity.A sluggish body equals a slowed metabolism.

Make sure you get at least 7- hours sleep daily and you will wake up hale and hearty ready to tackle the challenges of the day .You will see and find that you are more active after a good nights sleep than otherwise.

Lack of sleep has also been linked to the hunger hormone ghrelin which stimulates appetite,an increased food intake and fat storage.

 

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MAKING YOUR DAY AT THE SPA COUNT

skin care

“One of the secrets to a happy life is giving yourself continuous small treats.”

The other day my  girlfriends  took me out for a treat,a day at some swanky spa at an address in Upperhill. To be honest I have never gone to a spa ,never thought it was necessary but hey there is always a first time for everything and I and my body loved every minute of it.

Getting myself a heady and aromatic coffee scrub , followed by a dead sea wrap that took me back ,way back to what babies must feel like when they are tucked into their mothers wombs had my skin pores absorbing the moisturizing cream and oil that was  used thereafter.A  massage followed  and my skin and body loved every minute of it as my tense muscles responded to the massage therapist  gentle coaxing by relaxing under her touch.

As we sat at the terrace of the restaurant enjoying a view of the garden I thought of the millions   of women who all want glowing skin .How could I be able to talk to them about incorporating nutrition as part of maintaining the glow that followed spa treatments.How would I make it easier for them as well as for myself to maintain the  smooth glowing skin that followed a spa treatment as part of living a healthier lifestyle?

What you eat ,you wear in public and your skin being the largest organ is the first point of call when you want to gauge how healthy your lifestyle is.Making some small changes in your diet can improve the look and feel of your skin and it starts with  what you put on your plate.

1.Eating  5 servings of fruit and vegetables daily

Ensure your fruits and vegetables  come in a variety of colors,make you plate a rainbow of colors .Fruits and vegetables are essential as part of a daily skin care regimen because they help protect your skin from  damage that is caused by free radicals .The vitamins present in abundance  in  fruits and vegetables help boost your immune system making it easy for your skin to heal from blemishes and support growth of collagen which provides your skin with the elasticity needed to prevent formation of fine lines and wrinkles.

2.Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds are great sources of vitamins and especially Vitamin E that is good for your skin and helps support healthy skin growth as well as gives protection from the damage caused as we age.An intake of nuts and seed,you just a need a handful daily will help provide much needed nourishment to your skin.

3.Stop with the  crash diets

Crash diets play havoc on your skin,constantly losing then regaining your weight  will show on your skin with the presence of wrinkled and sagging skin.That is why it is really important to maintain a healthy weight by making healthy eating a lifestyle decision that is not reliant on a diet that you cannot sustain in the long term.

4.Cut out the junk food

We know that junk is bad for your body ,and it is bad on your skin as well.A diet high in carbohydrates and sugar may result in breakouts on your skin .Make sure your plate is filled with the right kinds of foods at every meal.

5.Drink water.

Your skin needs water to stay supple ,drinking your 6-8 glasses of water will help flush out the toxins from your body and aids in nourishing your skin cells and improving circulation .This  will help prevent premature aging and wrinkles.

In addition avoiding excessive alcohol consumption and taking moderate amounts of tea and coffee which all dehydrate your body will help your skin maintain its glow.

If you really do have to take alcohol and love your morning cup of coffee, then make sure you take a glass of water with each serving of alcohol or cup of coffee that you take.

6.Exercise

Surprised exercise is on the list?It had to be.

Exercise is great for your whole body and our skin which covers that body  will benefit greatly when you take up a regular exercise schedule.When your exercise you improve the circulation of blood in your body and your blood carries oxygen,nutrients to the cells in your body.By exercising you are increasing blood flow through out  your body and helping your liver flush out the toxins from your system which can mean nothing but good news to your body and your skin as well.

7.Wearing sunscreen

We live in the tropics and for those that enjoy a day out in the sun  wearing sunscreen  to protect your skin from the harsh rays of the sun is necessary.Yes ,even for us who live in the tropics and think our darker skins can withstand the heat, we do need sun screen.

Making a few changes in your life  can greatly  improve the condition of your skin which when done together with your  spa treatments  can work towards giving you a better and healthier  looking skin for longer.

SKIN CARE:FOODS TO TAKE IN MODERATION

In case of any skin conditions that require treatment be sure to see a qualified dermatologist or medical provider  for treatment.

Does this help?Please let us know in the comments section,see you there.

 

DREAMY BAILEYS COFFEE

Bailey’s Cream…..

My second indulgence after coffee.

Another “sometimes”  and not “all the time” drink like water.

Served with crushed ice,drizzled over vanilla ice cream,in whipped cream so many ways to enjoy this drink.

When paired with coffee it is a dream match!

Tyr it.

If you are going to use whipped cream then it has to be freshly made ,if you do not have the time to do that then by all means go the ice cream route.

Ingredients

1 cup espresso/regular cup of instant coffee

1 shot

Scoop of vanilla ice cream/whipped cream

Chocolate shavings/cocoa powder for garnishing(optional)

Method

1.Add a shot of Bailey’s cream to your coffee, mix it in,then add the scoop of ice cream or whipped cream and garnish with chocolate shavings or a dust with some cocoa powder.

Heavenly!

COFFEE DRINKS 101

Most coffee drinks are espresso based and when you order one in a coffee bar  here is a quick guide to help you  know exactly what you are taking.

Let us first by defining espresso.

Espresso is a coffee based drink made when water is passed under pressure through ground coffee beans.

Here we have a list of the most popular coffee drinks with their definitions.

Americano:Espresso shot with hot water added to make a full cup of coffee,simply a diluted form of  espresso.

Cappuccino:Shots of espresso filled with frothy milk and some steamed milk

Latte:Shots of espresso with steamed milk and an inch of frothy milk

Mocha:This is a latte with chocolate added to it.

Cafe au Lait:Coffee with steamed milk and some foam added.

Source:www.coffee-illuminated.com