Halloween can be a fantastic holiday. It brings together families for trick or treating and friends for parties or other get-togethers. It’s a time when we can be someone (or something!) else for a single evening before returning to our regular lives. We may even choose to indulge our sweet tooth either by picking up some on sale candy the day after, “borrowing” some of junior’s hard earned treasure, or just finishing off the leftovers meant for trick-or-treaters.
For those of us that do enjoy the sweet rewards of All Hallows’ Eve, it can be helpful to have a recovery plan for the weeks following up. Consider some of these tips to save room for Thanksgiving and keep your blood from turning to syrup.
Helpful Herbs and Minerals
Our bodies crave sugar—and for good reason. Simple sugars convert to energy almost immediately and can be utilized by the brain. For the purpose of survival, we’re wired to want sugar whenever we can get it. Unfortunately simple sugars in modern foods are abundant and lead to sudden spikes in blood sugar that result in similar spikes in insulin production (and the accompanying crash along with its good friends, fatigue and headaches).
But there are some herbs to help fight the physiologic craving. Gymnema sylvestre is a relatively inexpensive Ayurvedic herb that can be found as a supplement in a variety of health food stores, sometimes even at your local grocer. Some studies show benefit to the pancreas, the organ in which insulin is produced.
Chromium (usually found as chromium picolinate) is another useful supplement for blood sugar handling as it improves the function of insulin and allows us to absorb sugars more effectively. Its presence in our body declines with age, so taking it as a supplement or part of a multivitamin increases in value as we get older.
Berberine also aids with blood sugar control but has the added benefit of helping break down and metabolize fats.
Adding a pinch of cinnamon to sweets is also advisable as it has been shown to help regulate sugars in the blood.
While it may not be necessary to dead lift or bench press your way to health, weight based activities that require explosive strength are excellent for mediating blood sugar levels and keeping sugars from becoming fats. Unlike exercises such as walking which utilize lipids for energy, heavy lifting requires sugar in the form of glucose.
The other benefits of weight training include strong bone structure (and prevention of osteoporosis), increase in muscle mass, and generally better everyday function. Weight training also typically takes less time than cadiovascular exercises and may be easier to squeeze into the schedule.
Easily the most efficient workout with the largest impact on blood sugar, Tabata exercises are activities that involve explosive cardiovascular exercises such as sprinting for extremely brief periods of time (usually around 4 minutes per workout). The idea behind a Tabata exercise is to push yourself to the limit for around 20 seconds followed by a brief 10 second rest period before starting again.
Besides being a fantastic way to burn off excess sugar, Tabata exercises have the benefit of working at all levels of fitness because they require you to run, pedal, or move at your absolute maximum power.
With that being said, Tabata exercises should always be started under the advice or supervision of a physician with proper training. The exercise puts a lot of stress on the heart and lungs and may not be safe for people with health conditions such as asthma or other types of COPD. Consult your doctor before starting any form of stressful exercise program.
Next Up: Thanksgiving
With Thanksgiving right around the corner and the Christmas season hot on its heels, there’s no better time to start preparing. Make use of some of the above tips and steel yourself for the turkey onslaught (or whatever your chosen meal items may be).
If you’re interested in a more detailed nutritional consult or improving your health, give us a call at (321) 972-2008. Our doctors are trained to utilize specialized nutritional testing in addition to techniques such as Nutrition Response Testing.