What does it take to form the discipline to reach your goals? This article delves into what it means to be consistent in what you want - and how to achieve the targets you set for yourself.Read More
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This is a guest post courtesy of Needak Rebounder for Flabs to Fitness.
The Glycemic Index is a valuable tool that has become a staple concept within health and fitness circles. When used intelligently and responsibly, the glycemic index can be used as a powerful mechanism for improving health, reducing the risk of certain diseases and reaching healthy weight goals.
What is the Glycemic Index?
The Glycemic Index - commonly referred to as “GI” - is a scale that ranks the way different carbohydrate foods affect your blood glucose (also known as “blood sugar”). The GI is represented as a number, with the highest value being 100 which is equivalent to pure glucose and corresponds to the effect pure glucose would have on blood glucose levels. So, if you were to consume a tablespoon of glucose, or sugar, you can imagine the effect it would have on your body: your blood sugar level would rise very fast seeing as glucose does not need to be broken down by your digestive system. You might feel hyperactive, jittery or a suddenly energetic. The glucose would cause a very rapid and high rise to your blood glucose level.
The higher the GI of a particular food, the more rapidly it is digested and absorbed by your body and the more dramatically it increases your blood sugar. Foods that are low GI foods take longer to digest and absorb, which creates a gradual increase to blood sugar.
In other words, low GI foods release the energy content of food slowly and steadily over a longer period of time unlike high GI foods, which provide quick-release energy within a shorter time span.
Can low GI diets help with weight loss?
One of the most significant and noticeable effects of low GI foods is their effect on appetite. Due to their slow digestion, low GI foods last longer in your system and therefore keep you satiated for a greater period of time. By steadily releasing energy to your body, you feel full for longer and experience hunger pangs less often than on high GI foods. Therefore, when it comes to weight loss and weight management, the natural hunger-suppressing quality of low GI foods means you can stick to a healthy diet more easily and focus on feeding your body only as much as it needs.
Research also shows that low GI foods encourage your body to burn stored fat and assists in lowering cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol levels.
What are examples of low GI foods?
Generally, carbohydrate foods are divided into three GI categories:
Low GI: 1 to 55
Medium GI: 56 to 69
High GI: 70 and higher
When we talk about low GI foods, we refer to foods that are within the 1-55 GI range. Below are some examples of low GI foods – as you will see, there are plenty of different foods that fall within the low GI range. Creating your own low GI diet is not difficult when you know what to choose from!
Cereals: oat bran; rolled oats; natural muesli; porridge.
Breads: soya and linseed; wholegrain pumpernickel; heavy mixed grain; whole wheat; sourdough rye; sourdough wheat.
Vegetables: frozen green peas; frozen sweet corn; carrots; eggplant/aubergine; broccoli; cauliflower; cabbage; mushrooms; tomatoes; chillies; lettuce; green beans; red peppers; onions; yams; sweet potatoes.
Fruits: cherries; plums; grapefruit; peaches; apples; pears; dried apricots; grapes; coconut; coconut milk; kiwi fruit; oranges; strawberries; prunes.
Legumes (Beans): kidney beans (canned); butter beans; chick peas; haricot/navy beans; red lentils; green lentils; pinto beans; black eyed beans; yellow split peas.
Grains: brown rice; pearl barley; buckwheat; white long grain rice; spaghetti.
Eating low GI foods does not mean you need to forego your tastebuds or flavourful foods. There are plenty of delicious low GI recipes easily found through Google. The Glycemic Index Foundation is a good place to start – they provide breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack recipes that all look tantalizing and many of them take less that 20 minutes to whip up!
Are there any benefits to consuming high and medium GI foods?
High/medium GI whole foods such as bananas, pineapples, watermelon and dates are advantageous sources of quick energy for times when your body requires rapid fuel replenishment. For example, after performing a rigorous workout it’s important to refuel your body so that your muscles can properly recover and rebuild. In such instances, eating a natural high/medium GI food in order to provide your body some immediate sustenance until your next meal can assist with muscle recovery.
Other health benefits of low GI diets:
There is a significant body of clinical research which describe various health benefits of maintaining a low GI diet. One of the most notable areas of research is the effect low GI diets can have in reducing the risk of diabetes. High GI diets create unhealthy surges to insulin levels. If you maintain a high GI diet for long enough, your body develops insulin resistance, which is a precursor to Type 2 Diabetes. Conversely, low GI foods do not spike your insulin levels and assists your body in maintain proper regulation of insulin and blood glucose levels. Proper Low GI diets can also help with managing and improving diabetes symptoms by improving blood glucose levels, reducing insulin resistance and improving blood cholesterol levels.
Given all the evidence supporting the benefits of low GI foods, it makes a great deal of sense to switch to a predominantly low GI diet. Low GI diets can markedly assist with reaching and maintaining healthy weight and significantly lessen the the risk of developing serious diseases. Furthermore, combining regular exercise activities with a predominantly low GI diet can maximise weight loss and promote overall well-being. And you don’t need to overwhelm yourself with strenuous high impact or heavy duty exercises or heavy duty exercise to maintain good health. There are numerous low impact options such as walking, rebounding, swimming, strength training which you can tailor to fit your individual needs and requirements.
Needak Rebounder is an official retailer of the bestselling rebounder in the world. Their fitness device is focused on alternate forms of in-home cardiovascular health, and their blog features many articles which focus on this and how it relates to the sport of rebounding. Visit Needak.com if you are interested in exploring the Needak Rebounder and the revolutionary sport of rebounding.
Anyone catch the "Paradise" by Coldplay reference in the title? Don't hate me. I had to. It was either this or another pun, so you're welcome that it wasn't worse.
So you're really here to hear about what collagen has to offer, yes? Or maybe somehow your Reddit rabbit hole pulled you this way? Either way, I'm glad you're here. Stay a while and learn something useful.
I recently wrote a review for Vital Proteins, but I felt like I couldn't really go into huge detail on why collagen is so important to add to your regular diet. Beauty gurus have been talking about it for years to women who want thicker/shinier hair, better nails, and clearer skin. But I think everyone should try using it to see what it can do for them, because the benefits of this stuff aren't just skin-deep.
So what's in it for me?
Basically, a comprehensive list of things I've been able to find about collagen benefits is as follows:
- Prevention of osteoarthritis (the most common form of arthritis)
- Increased joint mobility
- Reduced wrinkles & overall healthier skin
- Increased hair thickness & strength
- Prebiotic factors (your gut bacteria likes to munch on it!)
Uhm, yes please to ALL the things!! If you're me and you want more info, here's some stuff to back me up on this.
Prevention of Osteoarthritis & Increased Joint Mobility
According to a study published by Bello & Oessner in 2006 (1), collagen supplementation has the potential to prevent the onset of osteoarthritis. This form of arthritis is the most common type, and it's basically the kind that you get when the padding on your joints is worn out from use. I hate to call it "aging arthritis," but if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck... :)
Anyway, collagen is the building block protein of the "padding" in your joints. So it seems pretty straightforward to me that it would help you out by eating some to supply your body with extra for when you need it down the road!
Along the same vein (or joint?), Dr. Josh Axe (2) uses the analogy of a creaky door hinge needing oil. Think of your tight joints and tendons as the hinge, and the collagen as the oil! Improved body elasticity and decreased joint soreness have been noted in multiple studies on collagen benefits (3, 4).
Reduced Wrinkles & Overall Healthier Skin
This was a big pull for me to start using collagen regularly. Not so much the wrinkles (yet!) but I've always had acne issues. Many a study has shown the benefits of reduced wrinkles with the use of collagen (5), but the connection of collagen to acne clearing is harder. Studies are currently ongoing as to how exactly stress causes acne, though one article claims that the release of more oil from stress clogs your pores more readily, thus causing the nasty little buggers (6).
That being said, I dug around to see if the stress/leaky gut connection has anything to do with it, and it appears to do just that: stress can cause leaky gut, leaky gut can put you into a cycle of greater stress on the body (7), leaky gut can begin to be healed with collagen (1). So I'm not crazy in observing fewer breakouts from stress and from food since supplementing with collagen!
Increased Hair Thickness & Strength (8)
Here's the beauty section of the article: does collagen really make hair more luxurious? Well, according to a study by Wickett et. al. (8), it does. This study showed a significant increase in both tensility (strength) and thickness in the hair of subjects who were given collagen for a period of time, versus those not given collagen.
As for myself, I've always had thin hair but I've noticed a big decrease in breakage and I even stretch out my hairbands now. I credit this to a combination of eating better since going paleo and the added collagen to my diet.
Prebiotic Factors (9)
And since I'm a big pusher for gut health, I need to let y'all know that collagen is great for improving those little bacteria living in there. While a probiotic is something you injest that adds bacteria to your large intestine, a prebiotic is something that feeds the bacteria already there. Most traditionally-recognized prebiotics are carbohydtate-based, usually starchy. But some new studies have recently been published that prove collagen's benefit as a prebiotic in its own right - even though it's a protein (9). For me, that just proved my method of mixing some collagen into full-fat organic yogurt once in a while even more justifiable. Getting in those pro- AND prebiotics at once, ya feel?
So, what's the final word?
Based on this blossoming research and my own n=1 self experimentation with collagen, I think it's definitely worth trying to incorporate to your life for a few months to see what it can do for you. When combined with healthy eating, exercise, and stress reduction, I think it could work wonders for you. Keep in mind that this is one of those things, like other lifestyle changes, that takes a bit of time. But if you grant it that, you could set yourself up to reap any or all of the benefits discussed here.
If you'd like to purchase some top-of-the-line collagen, click here.
(1) Bello, A. E., Oesser S. (October 10, 2006). Collagen hydrolysate for the treatment of osteoarthritis and other joint disorders: a review of the literature. Taylor & Francis Online. Retrieved from http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1185/030079906x148373
(2) Axe, J. (2016). What is collagen? 7 ways collagen can boost your health. Dr. Axe. Retrieved from https://draxe.com/what-is-collagen/
(3) Bruyère, O. et. al. (January 20, 2012). Effect of collagen hydrolysate in articular pain: a 6-month randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled study. PubMed. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22500661
(4) Clark, K. L. et. al. (April 15, 2008). 24-week study on the use of collagen hydrolysate as a dietary supplement in athletes with activity-related joint pain. PubMed. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18416885
(5) De Luca, C. et. al. (January 19, 2016). Skin antiageing and systemic redox effects of supplementation with marine collagen peptides and plant-derived antioxidants: a single-blond case-control clinical study. PubMed. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26904164
(6) Kam, K. (2016). Stress and acne. WebMD. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/acne/features/stress-and-acne#1
(7) Kresser, C. (March 23, 2012). How stress wreaks havoc on your gut - and what to do about it. Chris Kresser. Retrieved from https://chriskresser.com/how-stress-wreaks-havoc-on-your-gut/
(8) Wickett, R. R. et. al. (December 2007). Effect of oral intake of choline-stabilized orthosilicic acid on hair tensile strength and morphology in women with fine hair. Springer Link. Retrieved from http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00403-007-0796-z
(9) Sheveleva, S. A., Batishcheva S. (n.d.). Characteristics of collagen's material bifidogenic properties. PubMed. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22642160
(10) n.a. (2016). Foods for healthy skin. Health & Eating Food. Retrieved from http://healtheatingfood.com/foods-for-healthy-skin/
(11) Horton, D. (n.d.). Kickback ent. Retrieved from fhttp://dantehortonphotography.com
(12) n.a. (n.d.). Welcome! River Oaks Wellness Center. Retrieved from http://riveroakswellnesscenter.com/
In planning for my trip to Florence for the summer (the term "planning" being used very loosely here) I knew one thing for sure: I did NOT want to deal with jet lag. Even though my stay there was long enough for me to consider myself living there for a bit, I didn't want to miss even a few days of the excitement due to a whack sleep schedule. Yes, I just said "whack." It's hip. Whack.
Luckily for me, I happened to see one of Ben Greenfield's talks at Paleo f(x) 2016 a week before I was supposed to leave. If you aren't familiar with him, Greenfield is essentially the definition of a "biohacker". This basically means he likes to find ways to enhance his health and athletic performance using the things available in this era, without disregarding evolution. Self-proclaimed biohackers tend to have a few things in common, including: an interest in paleo or pseudo-paleo diets for optimal food intake, alternative workouts that promote fitness AND wellbeing, mental health practices like meditation, all-natural products for body care. But they still tend to include breaking-edge technology to track their health statistics to see which variations of all of the above are really helping improve their health.
I can dig it.
So when Greenfield gave us his top 10 latest methods he's been using to biohack his performance, my ears perked up. One of the items included on the list was hot-cold therapy. This can be done in cold chambers and saunas if you have access to them like he does, but it works just as well in a shower that can change temperatures quickly. Greenfield claimed this was the way he beats his jet lag every time he travels... which is a lot of the time.
That same weekend, I also finally got to meet Sarah and the other lovely people of Vital Proteins. While chatting it up with them, I asked if they thought any of their products would potentially help with jet lag. Sarah immediately handed me a bottle of their Beef Liver Capsules. I didn't know it at the time, but the B-vitamins in beef liver are actually great at easing digestive issues, like...
Travel constipation (1). I know, TMI, but I always have to deal with this. It's apparently not uncommon, either (2).
From personal experience, I know the way I feel is also hugely influenced by how well I treat my gut. If I'm not eating pre- and probiotics regularly, I feel it. And as it turns out, I'm not wrong in drawing the connection between that and feeling less-than-stellar while traveling. Sitting for long periods of time can apparently cause clogging in the large intestine, where most of your gut bacteria lives. A normal amount of daily activity moves you around enough to prevent it, but you can't exactly get in 10,000 steps on a 10-hour flight (3). So I decided to pack the Primal Probiotics that I won a while back from Primal Blueprint Publishing, since I wasn't sure what the situation with those would be like in Italy.
And lastly, my dad is a seasoned overseas traveler. Upon his advice, I was to try and sleep as much as possible on the way to Europe, and try to keep myself awake for the even-longer trek back to the states, when the time came. So with my knowledge from Greenfield, a bottle of beef liver, a container of Primal Probiotics, and Woj's best words, I set foot on my first 20-hour journey across the big pond.
Sleeping on the plane over was easy enough with the free wine offered on the ride. Sorry not sorry about that. It was still strange stepping off in Munich to see that it was somehow morning again, but I can get on board with a time warp here and there. Once I made it to Florence, I made sure that the first few things I unpacked were the beef liver capsules and probiotics. I took a serving of each and was #blessed to avoid the travel constipation that evening.
I didn't shower until the next morning, because my luggage had been lost on the flight over so I didn't have a change of clothes. Luckily, my rockstar roommate (s/o to you, Hannah!) let me borrow the essentials to wash the world off my body. I tried the hot/cold therapy tips recommended by Greenfield: 30 seconds of cold water, 10 of hot. Switch back and forth like this for several minutes and your nervous system will be hopping so much, your body clock suddenly decides you're fully awake. And it worked just as promised! I faced a day full of the labyrinth that is Florence without much of an issue. That morning and the following few began this way, plus a serving of beef liver right after the shower. The probiotic capsules helped me out each night, as I took one right before bed until finding some yogurt I trusted enough to ease me off those capsules.
On my return trip, I knew things would be trickier. Staying awake for 24 hours is never a good idea when you're me. Mama needs her 8 hours. I'm basically the worst college student ever.
However, I took a dose each of the beef liver and probiotics again before bidding "ciao!" to my home for the summer, and managed to stay awake with lots of coffee help until I made it back to Austin. I passed out for the night, and made myself take another hot/cold shower the next morning. I was tired that next day from the travel, and I let myself be lazy but avoided napping. I managed to make it through a full day back on Texas time awake and my body clock was reset by the second day after I returned home!
So, the list of things to do (which is probably the only thing you came to this article to read anyway, yes?):
- If you're traveling to a time zone later than yours (east on a map with the Atlantic ocean at the center), sleep on the way there and stay awake on the way home. If you're traveling to a time zone earlier than yours (west on a map with the Atlantic ocean at the center), do the opposite.
- Utilize hot/cold shower therapy to wake yourself up when you want to be awake in the new time zone.
- Supplement with Vital Proteins Beef Liver capsules & quality probiotics, like Primal Probiotics, to avoid travel constipation.
Oh, and remember to ENJOY your trip! :)
(1) Holland, K., Carter, A. (March 25, 2016). 5 vitamins that can relieve constipation. Healthline. Retrieved from http://www.healthline.com/health/digestive-health/vitamins-for-constipation#1
(2) Monastersky, Konstantin. (2016). What causes traveler's constipation?. Gut Sense. Retrieved from https://www.gutsense.org/constipation/travel.html
(3) Bloudoff-Indelicato, M. (December 28, 2015). The science behind vacation constipation. The Atlantic. Retrieved from http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/12/all-i-got-for-christmas-was-constipation/422046/
(4) St. Pierre, B. (n.d.) Eliminating jeg lag: strategies to reduce, even avoid, symptoms. Precision Nutrition. Retrieved from http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-jet-lag
(5) n.a. (n.d.) Setting up your shower valve: a smart solution for your bathroom. Delta Monitor Shower Faucet. Retrieved from http://deltamonitorshowerfaucet.net/setting-up-your-shower-valve-a-smart-solution-for-your-bathroom
(6) Elizabeth, H. (June 15, 2016). #STOP. Facebook.