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To balance the glucose levels by reading the blood tests results
 

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Blood tests are an important tool to understand the status of our health. Blood testing can help us detect and treat health problems. In many cases, early detection combined with changes in lifestyle habits (nutrition, diet, exercise, etc.), can improve health and combat disease. In the current article, I will focus on the topic of blood glucose levels and our ability to prevent the development of diabetes by changing aspects of our lifestyles.

Blood tests:
Glucose (Glu) – A blood glucose values test is performed in a fasting state (overnight fast), and checks the body's ability to balance blood glucose levels. In good health, the body should maintain a constant level of fasting blood glucose, ranging between 70-100mg / dl. When there is a problem in balancing blood glucose levels, values will start to rise. The normal upper range was previously defined as -126 mg / dl, however in recent years the upper threshold was lowered (100mg / dl) in order to begin the identification and treatment of high levels of blood Glucose at an earlier stage. Fasting blood glucose tests detect the current glucose level, and do not necessarily represent the situation for a long time.
Note: A glucose test can be influenced by stress, mood, emotion and other factors related to the test itself, and not necessarily a state of health.
Slight increases in glucose values, above the normal range, do not necessarily indicate diabetes, but could indicate that there is a problem in balancing glucose metabolism in the body. In those situations it is recommended to change lifestyle habits to prevent the development of diabetes. If high values of glucose are obtained from the blood test results, it is recommended to test again and to do also a test called "HBG A1C", in order to understand whether this is a chronic condition that requires treatment.

Hemoglobin A1C ( Hgb A1C) – The test is to check the average blood glucose levels over the past 3 months. The normal range of values is 4-6. Above the level of 6, the health condition is defined as "Diabetes". It is important to know that if you have result above 5.7, you may be considered being in a "pro-diabetic" state. This means that you could be in the preliminary stages before developing diabetes. High values in the test may indicate that the average glucose levels over the course of 3 months were higher than desired. Based on the values obtained from the blood test, the doctor may try to figure out if there is a health problem in the field of body glucose metabolism and what the severity is.

Nutritional recommendations
Carbohydrates in our food are the source of glucose in the bloodstream. When receiving high values of blood glucose levels it is necessary to make a change in carbohydrate intake.
 The carbohydrates in the food are usually divided into two types:

Simple carbohydrates-
In this group are foods that mostly combine monosaccharide or disaccharides and are generally low in dietary fibers. After eating foods that contain simple carbohydrates, we will see a fast sharp rise in blood glucose levels. This sharp increase in blood glucose, makes it difficult for the body to control the amount of glucose in the bloodstream, and will encourages the accumulation of glucose in the body as fats (especially abdominal obesity). In addition, eating simple carbohydrates can cause quick rises and falls in blood glucose levels. These sharp changes in blood glucose levels are unhealthy and can be dangerous.
Examples of simple carbohydrates: sugar (sucrose), honey, white bread, rice, pasta, fruits, fresh juices (including fruit juice), candy, cookies, cakes, popsicles, ice cream, sweets, chocolates, etc.

Complex carbohydrates- In this group are foods that contain long chains of carbohydrates in combination with dietary fiber. The complex carbohydrates are absorbed slowly in the digestive system. Rises in blood glucose levels after eating this type of carbohydrate will be slow and allow your body to better control the utilization of glucose coming from the food. In addition, eating complex carbohydrates will create a longer feeling of satiety and prevents glucose falls shortly after a meal. This type of carbohydrate is considered to be the "healthy kind" of carbohydrate in our nutrition.  
For examples: whole wheat bread, rye bread, whole pasta, brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, oatmeal, whole wheat tortilla, brown rice flour tortillas, cereal rich in dietary fiber, crackers rich in fibers, beans.

Alcohol- When your glucose levels are unbalanced, drinking alcohol can also lead to impaired glucose levels post-drinking. If your blood glucose levels are high, pay attention to reduce the amount of alcohol you drink, including red wine that considered to be healthy, but must be appropriate to your health situation.

In addition, proper selection of the type of complex carbohydrate in the diet and avoiding simple carbohydrates and alcohol, it is important to maintain 3 dietary rules:
1) Eating 3-4 hours- Spared your meals throughout the day every 3-4 hours, rather than creating large gaps of fasting between 2-3 big meals a day. Many hours without eating could lower your blood glucose levels and create an opposite reaction (decrease glucose immediately followed by sharp rises).
2) Small meals, limit amount of carbs- Very important to reduce the amount of carbohydrates you eat at each meal. It important to adjust the amount of carbohydrate in every meal to the recommended serving size of carbohydrate that the body is capable to absorbed and control.
3) Don't avoid carbohydrate- Avoiding carbohydrate in your daily menu can also take the glucose metabolism in the body out of balance and lead to higher/lower levels of blood glucose.

Losing weight- If you suffer from obesity or/and are overweight, weight loss is an important tool to improve glycemic control. However, it is very important to know to avoid a fast weight decrease and / or extreme diets. Rapid changes in body weight may lead to an increase in blood glucose levels rather than improve health status. According to researches, even a 10% reduction of body weight could improve health markers and improve blood glucose values. This is also true when you need to lose a larger amount of pounds to reach your normal weight. Your first goal will be to lose 10% of your weight. It is important to start treating our body with respect; eat right and lose weight at a moderate rate.

Recommendations for physical activity
Regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight are an integral part of maintaining the normal blood glucose levels.  Minimum of 150 minutes per week, are the recommend time frame for exercise in order to maintain balanced blood glucose. It should be done over 5 days, with at least 30-minutes of activity each day. Aerobic exercise is recommended at a moderate-to-moderate intensity. Not necessarily strong and intense exercise is needed. The level of physical activity must be adapted to the degree of fitness of each person’s limitations. Some say they need a greater amount of weekly activity, but if you are not in good shape, it is important to at least reach a basic level of 150 minutes per week.

When to repeat the blood tests?

After you making the changes in your eating habits and physical activity, in order to improve your blood glucose values, you need to be patient. You may not always see an improvement in values within a week or two. Maintain your health and repeat the blood glucose test and the A1C test at least 3 months later. If your glucose levels will improve, then you will know the changes that you made were the right ones. However, you still need to keep watching your diet and exercise routine in the long term.





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