Food Affects Your Brain
The various natural substances in food have a profound affect on the way you feel.
Proper variety and "food pairings" make a big difference in your overall health and longevity. Unbalanced eating habits can either leave you with depleted or excess blood glucose (sugar in the blood) something your brain does not like. When excess blood sugar is present, the pancreas must produce higher levels of insulin to move the excess sugar into your cells.
The Risks to Your Health
In theory, it is these higher levels of insulin and sugar in your blood that are implicated in an increased risk to your health. Over time, your cells no longer respond normally to the insulin circulating in the blood. This is called insulin resistance. When your cells no longer respond to insulin, sugar cannot move into the cell to be used for energy. High circulation blood sugar is what we refer to as Type 2 diabetes. High insulin levels can also contribute to other key metabolic problems such as obesity, high blood pressure and elevated blood cholesterol, predisposing to heart disease, strokes and other health problems.
Stable is Better
Either way, your body likes blood glucose levels to remain stable. Unstable blood glucose negatively affects your concentration, mood, athletic ability, hormone balance, energy levels and the ability to maintain a healthy weight. Unstable blood glucose will also alter your hunger levels. High levels of insulin in your blood stimulate the hunger mechanisms and make you over eat. The easiest way to keep your blood glucose levels stable is to eat a healthy balance of foods that have a medium to low glycemic index. Does this mean having to get obsessive about how and what you eat? Definitely not! Following the glycemic index is much easier and more effective than counting calories!
What is the Glycemic Index?
Simply, the glycemic index or GI is a food ranking system from 0 to 100 first invented to help diabetics control their blood sugar levels. When a food, specifically one containing carbohydrates, is eaten and digested, the speed with which the food raises your blood sugar is called its glycemic index. Low GI foods (less than 55) produce a gradual rise in blood sugar that's easy on the body. Foods between 55 and 70 are intermediate GI foods. High GI foods (more than 70) cause unhealthy spikes in blood sugar and insulin. In 1995, Barry Sears, in his book, The Zone, went on to popularize the glycemic index as a weight loss tool in his diet plan, The Zone.
The GI in Practical Application
The simple rule, especially for higher carbohydrate foods, is to choose less refined foods like whole grain breads, cereals with a low GI, beans, lentils, brown rice instead of white and plenty of fruit and vegetables. These foods will keep your blood sugar stable and in the healthy range. Avoiding large amounts of high GI foods can help you lose weight more easily. High GI foods can cause a rapid spike in blood sugar making you feel hungry sooner after eating a meal. Studies of volunteers at buffets show people eating higher GI meals consume more calories at the next meal.
Benefits of Eating a Low GI Meal
-Helps control body weight
-Increases the body's sensitivity to insulin
-Improves diabetic control
-Reduces the risk of heart disease
-Reduces blood cholesterol levels
-Reduces hunger and keeps you feeling fuller for longer
-Prolongs physical endurance (man alert!!!)
For a good Glycemic Index tool and food check, go to http://www.glycemicindex.com/
and click on GI Database.