Tuesday, 23 June 2020

10 Foods That Can Help Lower Blood Sugar Levels and Help Manage Diabetes

High blood sugar levels can lead to diabetes and other health concerns. There is a large majority of people that suffer from diabetes and are not always aware of this. I’d like to chat about foods that will help to lower and improve blood sugar levels. At the same time, chat a bit more about the illness.


What is diabetes?

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The body needs glucose to perform. Glucose serves as energy and this energy is burned when any physical action takes place. Insulin is the hormone produced by the pancreas that helps to break down blood sugar to form glucose.

Once someone has diabetes, their body is no longer able to produce insulin, and thus manual insulin medication is injected. Insulin allows the body to store fat as energy reserves but when the body becomes resistant to this hormone it can no longer perform this function. Insulin resistance also means that the body can’t break down the sugar levels inside the blood. 

Diabetes is a disease that can develop over time or can be part of a person’s life from a young age. While it isn’t exactly hereditary, oftentimes families with a history of diabetes would end up more likely to develop it.  


How to identify diabetes

Diabetes can present in many ways at different levels but most commonly these are some of the symptoms:

  • Lethargy
  • Increased thirst
  • A frequent need to urinate
  • Increased hunger
  • Problems with vision
  • Wounds that take long to heal


The following are some foods that can help to lower blood sugar levels

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To maintain sugar levels it’s important that foods have a low glycemic index (GI) . Foods that fall in the middle 55 and less are okay but also to eat with caution.

1. Legumes

Foods in the legumes class include grains like beans, chickpeas and lentils. With a low glycemic index, these foods won’t spike your blood sugar levels.

2. Fish rich in omega 3

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Omega 3 is an essential fat found in certain fish like salmon and tuna. They are a more healthy form of fat as opposed to processed fats (fried foods) or red meats.

3. Blueberries

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These delicious picks of nature will not only give you a boost in antioxidants but also has low glycaemic index levels which are good news for keeping blood sager under control.

4. Cinnamon

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For centauries people hailed cinnamon and other spices for their medicinal properties. Some pharmaceuticals manufacture cinnamon supplements which can help manage blood sugar levels. You can also add cinnamon to your foods or sprinkle over your oats.

5. Mangoes

Mangos are rich in vitamins A and C and this is good news for people with type 2 diabetes because it falls in the low GI bracket of 51. But, since it has a GI of 51, it should still be eaten with care as mentioned earlier in this post.

6. Tumeric

Tumeric similar to ginger, cinnamon and garlic have a long history of medicinal properties throughout the ages. Tumeric has anti-inflammatory benefits which are excellent for your body’s well-being. It is also said to help with the way the body absorbs glucose.

7. Oats

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Oats is a good food source to help reduce and manage blood sugar. It has a low glycemic index and is both nutritious and good for you.

Oats also contains something called “B-glutans” which is a natural compound, a sugar-like substance found in certain algae, fungi, and plants like barley.  This compound can help to improve insulin levels in the body.

8. Nuts

Some nuts are very nutritious and contain low GI. These include walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews and peanuts to name a few. Having a bit of nuts everyday isn’t a bad staple for your diet as they are also high sources of fibre and good oil/fat.  

9. Green veggies

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Remember how your parents or grand parents always said that you should eat your vegetables when you were a kid? This is because vegetables are packed with goodness and nourishment that will help to keep your body healthy.

Veggies such as lettuce, cucumber, radish, celery, tomatoes, parsley, asparagus, cabbage, and kale are just to name a few.


10. Plain yogurt

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While not everyone may enjoy plain yogurt, it is a healthier choice compared to sweetened versions. It also contains natural probiotics and is excellent for the environment of your gut. Good bacteria is essential for a strong immune system and by eating plain yogurt, you also lower the blood sugar levels.


Foods that contain higher glycemic levels

  • 100% Fruit juice (undiluted)
  • Honey, jam, marmalade
  • Sweet fruit (grapes, pineapples, pears)
  • Cakes and pastries
  • Dried fruit



Foods that contain a high sugar content will spike blood sugar levels and make it hard for the insulin to break this down. It will also help if you lower stress levels and adapt to a different lifestyle that has less of the “stress factor” in it.

If you’re leading a sedentary life, try to implement more exercise into your daily routine. Changing your lifestyle could help you to manage diabetes and lower the risk of developing it. It would be good to quit smoking as soon as possible since smoking increases the risk of developing diabetes.  


Monday, 8 June 2020

Don't let insomnia ruin your life, start fighting back today!

Insomnia is no stranger to the world. According to the Sleep Foundation 30% of the population suffer from sleep disorders. This is one of the many reasons some people wake up feeling unrested the next day. If we’re not able to get a good night’s rest, it puts our immune system in a vulnerable state.

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Sleep disorder types

·         Insomnia (can’t sleep for the whole night)
·         Sleep apnea (not breathing properly while asleep)
·         Parasomnias (causes movement and behaviour whilst asleep)

While there are various types of sleep disorders but today’s post will focus on insomnia. Here are some of its symptoms:
  • Struggling to fall asleep
  • Are unable to fall asleep and stay asleep for the duration of the night
  • Waking up early and cannot fall back asleep
  • After waking up the next day you don’t feel rested
  • Inability to focus during the day
  • These can continue for several days in a week and can carry on unless it is treated.

Why do people experience insomnia?  

There are various reasons people suffer from insomnia and it’s frequently related to their lifestyle.


Most people dealing with depression will agree that getting a good night’s rest is virtually impossible. It can deprive you of sleep leaving you feeling even more exhausted.


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Work and aspects of our personal lives can put us under immense pressure. As a result this could lead to a lack of sleep because just like in the case of depression. The chemicals in the brain thus changes and this could lead to emotional outbursts and irrational behaviour.

NB: Stress along with depression is bad because one acts as a catalyst for the other causing the body to increase stress hormones, elevating feelings of anxiety and depression. This would need to be managed as soon as possible because it can be detrimental in the long run for your overall mental well-being and health. 


Similar to leading a stressful life, anxiety and anxious feelings and worry can stimulate stress hormones leading to the reduced ability to sleep. Life can bring many challenges and it’s normal to feel anxious now and again, but being anxious all the time is no good.


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All medications have side effects and some can cause sleep deprivation. This is common with certain antidepressants, contraceptives, high blood pressure beta blockers, diet pills, and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) pills to name a few.


Oftentimes, older people struggle with sleep and insomnia is one of the most frequented sleep disorder amongst the middle-aged and senior generation.

Learn to manage insomnia and get better sleep

Invest in vitamin D

The body can naturally produce a certain amount of vitamin D when exposed to the sun. Receiving enough sunlight in the morning can help with that. Getting sun in the cooler hours of the morning will minimise UV damage, but will help your body adjust to the sun’s goodness.

Read before bed or do something to distract your mind

Sometimes when you can’t get sleep, your mind may be working “overtime.” This leads to more anxiety and thus the inability to sleep. Reading could help your brain to wind down as the eyes move to and fro.
When keeping yourself preoccupied before bed, make sure that you’re not doing something that overexerts your body? The lights shouldn’t be bright and you should refrain from screens emitting “blue light” right before bedtime. Not only does the blue light contribute to eye strain, but it also tricks the brain into thinking that it’s daytime leaving you alert and awake.

Have a morning exercise routine

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Exercising in the morning isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and I get that. But, light stretches and low impact exercise can help your body get into a better sleep routine.

Practice good sleep hygiene

Sleep hygiene is very important for a healthy rest at night time. This includes cutting out late heavy suppers, sweet treats and drinks right before bed. You can also improve your sleep by limiting your naps during the day.

Eat a balanced diet

It’s amazing how what we eat can have an effect on our health. Eating healthy will help your body perform better and that along with exercise is an excellent combination for better wellness.
There are certain foods that can help improve your sleep because it helps to boost melatonin the sleep hormone. These foods are also packed with antioxidants and other nourishing nutrients:
  • Almonds
  • Kiwi
  • Fatty fish
  • Milk
  • Bananas
  • Chamomile tea
  • Honey

Stop looking at the time

It’s normal to want to look at the time if you’ve woken up in the middle of the night, but looking at the clock will make you feel more anxious.

Change your lifestyle

  • Breathe
  • Yoga
  • Meditation

Add a relaxing breathing exercise into your day. Taking deeper breathes can help reduce stress hormones such as cortisol.
Another form of relaxation and healing for your mental wellness and body comes in the form of meditation. The benefits of meditation are plentiful and worth every moment. It can help reduce stress and depression. Meditation not only helps you to relax, but also helps you become more mindful and instils a sense of awareness.
With regular breathing exercise, yoga and meditation, you could find yourself enjoying a better night’s sleep more regularly.


If you’re battling insomnia, know that you’re not alone. It’s great to know that there are so many natural ways to help cope with this sleeping disorder. 
Natural healing doesn’t pose the risks of medication and thus it is good for your well-being. However, don’t stop taking any of your medication without your doctor authorising it.
Are you getting a good night’s sleep every night?

Monday, 1 June 2020

What is acupuncture and how could it benefit health and wellness?

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Acupuncture is an ancient practice said to help the body engage in its inherent ability to heal itself. Yes, the body is able to heal itself and is wondrously created with this ability.

Sometimes injuries and underlying chronic health conditions can inhibit these performances. Thus results in an increase of inflammation leading to various complications. Acupuncture is an alternative form of medicine widely practiced in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) and versatile to help treat various conditions.

Whilst it may have only been popular in the East some several decades ago, many people of the “Western worlds” are appreciating the benefits of acupuncture.

Delving deeper into the specs of acupuncture

It is believed that acupuncture helps to target energy throughout dedicated pathways of the body. “Qi” the word for energy in Chinese is one of the body’s many vital sources. Once qi is flowing, it encourages the body to engage in healing.

Despite being an old health practice, many people are still going back to ancient healing methods such as acupuncture for healing and wellness.

Are there different types of acupuncture?

There are different types of acupuncture and also while with needles for the most part, certain techniques vary among Asian countries.

In other words, you’ll find Japanese acupuncture, Korean acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Acupuncture. These are performed with needles “manual acupuncture” because the needles are manually inserted.

Apart from those mentioned, there is also electroacupuncture. Electroacupuncture uses a machine to help complete the process. This is a specially designed machine that delivers electric currents from a needle to the meridian point.

What are the core benefits of receiving acupuncture?

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Acupuncture can help you with many health conditions including but not limited to:

·         Treating insomnia
·         Headaches
·         Arthritis pain
·         Helps to reduce pain related to inflammation
·         It is calming and relaxing thus may help to reduce stress
·         Helps manage allergies

What are the side effects of getting acupuncture?

In recent years more people choose the availability of alternative medicine because it has fewer side-effects. But not everyone is a fan of needles and some practices experienced in alternative medicines.

Acupuncture may result in bruising on the points pierced by the needles. Some people have experienced nausea and vomiting, but this is also a rare side-effect. Some studies have observed severer effects as a result of acupuncture, but as with any medical procedure there are always the risks involved.  

What are the safety measures for acupuncture?

Safety is of utmost importance when it comes to acupuncture and most health procedures. The practitioner uses sterile needles to prevent the spread of other infectious diseases.

Seeking professional help

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It’s of crucial importance to use a certified practitioner in acupuncture. You cannot leave it to an untrained person because as mentioned there are side effects.
Most certified practitioners are affiliated with groups like The SAACMA (SA Association Of Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture) and the Allied Health Professions Council of South Africa.


Acupuncture is a good alternative to taking pain killers. Once you’ve found the professional to help you, they will be able to give a proper consultation. The practitioner will also discuss the process and what is expected during the process as well as the pricing. At the same time they will answer any of your questions and concerns.
Have you had acupuncture?