Living with Diabetes

Get healthy through the Holiday Season

The Holiday Season – Thanksgiving, Advent and Hanukkah – is just around the corner. Supermarkets have already been selling gingerbread, cinnamon stars, and other sweet allurements for weeks, and the Christmas markets with their aroma of freshly roasted almonds and mulled wine are nearing. Sweet, fatty and carbohydrate-rich foods tempt us everywhere and are supposed to get us through the cold, dark season with pleasure – a great challenge for those who want to keep their body shape or do not want to overstress it, but also especially for those people who should not mindlessly feast for health reasons.

Every Holiday Season diabetics, who should keep an eye on their blood sugar and insulin levels, face this challenge.

With a few tricks and a bit of planning, however, the Holiday Season can be fully enjoyed even with a diagnosis of “diabetes”.

Enjoyment is welcome – it’s the quantity that matters

For everyone – but for diabetics especially – the following is true: “The dose makes the poison.“

When snacking on sweets such as special holiday cake or pie, cookies and the like, enjoying the holiday menu and alcohol, it is important to watch the quantity or switch to tasty, healthier alternatives from the start.

When baking cakes or cookies, it is easy to reduce the amount of sugar and fat without forfeit the taste.

Carbohydrate-rich side dishes such as pasta, dumplings, rice, etc. are also a must on festive days. However, it is worth using these sparingly and preferring a larger portion of vegetables such as red cabbage, root vegetables, or lettuce. Gravy and sauces for roasts can also be thickened excellently with pureed vegetables or rye bread – therefore we can forgo processed starch as well as fatty sauces can be skipped.

In order to maintain a healthy body and metabolism, it is worthwhile to rely on light meals such as protein with vegetables or salad in the evening and to avoid a dessert. This keeps the rise in blood sugar moderate and allows the body to rest adequately overnight.

Alternative enjoyment

For example, instead of a cake, you can prepare a baked apple with raisins and cinnamon. You can easily avoid sugar and fat in this way, and at the same time increase the intake of fiber. Sautéed pears with goat cheese, for example, are also a perfect low-sugar dessert.

Instead of the usual Holiday Treats made with white flour, you can bake cookies made from oatmeal and sweeten them with pureed apple. Pralines made from nuts, dates and cocoa powder also offer wonderful alternatives without fat, white flour and refined sugar. 

Sugarcoated, roasted almonds for example can be wonderfully replaced by roasted chestnuts, which bring their very own sweetness.

Exercise lowers blood sugar

Even if the dark, cold season invites you to cuddle up on the sofa and so many suitable excuses against physical activities are quickly found, you should still incorporate exercise into your everyday life and especially during the holidays. A long walk with friends and family should definitely be a valuable activity following feasting or sitting for long periods of time. This not only burns more calories, but also lowers blood sugar.

Caution with alcohol

For most people, alcoholic beverages such as mulled wine, hot caipirinha as well as (sparkling) wine are part of a felicitous and, cozy Holiday Season. But alcohol also affects blood sugar levels. The extent to which it causes blood sugar to rise however cannot be said in general terms and varies greatly from person to person. Therefore, it is advisable to use alcoholic beverages as sparingly as possible and to measure blood sugar levels more often.

With this in mind, we wish you a joyous and healthy Holiday Season!

Diabetes and Immune System

How blood sugar goes into a tailspin during infections

Welcome to the flu season! Many are now plagued by flu, colds and sore throat. The change from wetness, coldness and dry heating air causes problems for our mucous membranes. The cold viruses are wreaking havoc – whether at work, on public transportation, the subway or while shopping. It doesn’t take long to catch a cold.

For healthy people with a strong immune system, a cold is usually just a trifle. But not for diabetics and people who have already developed insulin resistance. In this case, flu infections can have unpleasant consequences.

Whether cold, flu or gastrointestinal infection – for diabetics this means additional stress. In addition to the “fight” against bacteria and viruses, blood sugar also gets into the mix.

High blood sugar values block the immune system

Increased blood glucose levels, as scientists have been able to demonstrate, have a strong influence on the functioning of the immune system. For example, the scavenger cells are restricted in their work, i.e. unwanted viruses and bacteria cannot be trapped and eliminated by the scavenger cells with the usual speed. The migration of the defense cells to the affected tissues or to the lymph nodes, which also support the defense, is also impeded with high sugar levels.

High blood sugar levels are also responsible for the skin and mucous membranes being drier and often poorly supplied with blood. As a result, the skin barriers are weakened and pathogens can overcome them more easily and penetrate the body, where they multiply quickly.

Blood sugar fluctuations due to infections

When the immune system is fighting viruses or bacteria, fever often occurs as an accompanying symptom, which leads to an increased need for insulin. What is the connection here? Well, once the body has recognized a foreign body such as a virus, it tries to fight it off with all its might.

The metabolism really revs up and releases stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. At the same time, other endogenous substances are formed to fight against unwelcome bacteria and viruses. These processes cause the body temperature to rise. Fever develops and viruses and bacteria, which consist of protein, can be killed by the heat. 

To generate the heat, the body mobilizes its energy reserves, which are stored in the liver and muscle cells in the form of glycogen. In this process, the stress hormones and the hormone glucagon are instrumental in stimulating the liver to release glucose, which causes the blood glucose level to rise. As a result, insulin levels also rise, because insulin is needed to open the door to the cells so that blood glucose can be absorbed and burnt in the cells. As body temperature increases, so does the need for insulin, which is not a problem for an otherwise healthy organism. For a diabetic, however, this means that blood glucose must be monitored closely in order to be able to react quickly to fluctuations. If insulin resistance already exists, but diabetes has not yet been diagnosed, this can also seriously upset the metabolism.

Although infections generally raise blood sugar levels, there is a risk of drops in the case of a gastrointestinal flu. Vomiting or diarrhea compromises the absorption of carbohydrates. If there is too much insulin, but the person does not eat or vomits the food eaten, hypoglycemia can result. The severity of this depends on insulin sensitivity.

Prevention and strengthening the immune system

Unfortunately, you cannot prevent a cold completely, but you can strengthen your immune system. Those who exercise a lot and are also in the fresh air, who also observe hygienic rules of behavior such as keeping their distance, washing hands, etc., are already doing a lot for their health.

Nutrition is also crucial for physical well-being and a strong immune system. A predominantly alkaline diet provides true nutrient boosters to strengthen the immune system. It consists of lots of vegetables, herbs, legumes and nuts and is rich in antioxidant vital substances. Numerous studies show that especially vitamins A, C, D, E and beta-carotene, but also the trace elements zinc, iron and selenium as well as secondary plant compounds are essential for an active and strong immune system. These micronutrients activate the immune cells, stimulate antibody formation and also influence the production of natural killer cells.

Therefore, the Metabolic Balance nutrition plan is ideal. It provides a portion of alkaline foods three times a day, thus supplying the body with sufficient amounts of all vital nutrients. In addition, spices such as ginger, turmeric and chili with their essential oils strengthen the immune-stimulating effect.

Unfavorable food combinations or overeating can harm the body’s defenses, as necessary nutrients for an intact immune system are missing.

It is undisputed that we need sugar for our metabolism – but the guiding principle “the dose makes the poison” applies more than ever. When selecting carbohydrates and thus also the available sugars, be sure to choose natural products with long-chain carbohydrates and a high fiber content to achieve a slow rise in blood glucose levels. These foods are richer in vital nutrients compared to refined and highly processed foods, keep blood sugar at a healthy level, and provide long-lasting satiety and fullness.

Plenty of exercise and sufficient sleep

In addition to a diet rich in vital substances, moderate endurance activity such as long walks, hiking or cycling are suitable for supplying the body with sufficient oxygen and with that also strengthening of the immune system. Another guarantee for a healthy, strong immune system is restful sleep. When we feel unwell, a flu is on the way or we are simply tired, the need for sleep often increases significantly. The advice “sleep yourself well” does not come by chance. During sleep, the immune system works at full speed. Studies show that natural killer cells and phagocytes are more active during sleep and thereby protect the body. Stress hormone levels also drop during sleep, which also has a positive effect on blood sugar levels. A lack of sleep can therefore impair the functioning of the immune system and is partly responsible for blood sugar fluctuations.

The metabolism in balance

Diabetes is a metabolic disease that you do not necessarily have to be defenseless against. Many people do not even know that they are already in the early stages of diabetes. “Pre-diabetes” is on the rise worldwide. But with the right diet you can do a lot for your own health. A Metabolic Balance diet enables the body to produce the correct quantities of the enzymes and hormones that are important for its metabolic functions, and thus influence insulin secretion in a natural way – without having to sacrifice taste and enjoyment. With the help of nutrition according to Metabolic Balance guidelines, it is possible to keep the insulin level in the body constantly low and at the same time strengthen the immune system in a natural way.

Sources:

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