Are You Confused About Carbs?

Diets come and go, but the need for a healthy Active Wellness regimen never ends. One of the ongoing trends is to cut down on carbohydrates or in some diets, to eliminate them. Those who have lost a lot of weight by focusing on protein and fats often commit to a low- or no-carb diet. Vegans are on the opposite end of the spectrum and are committed to staying away from animal protein and fats, while focusing on plants. The truth of the matter is, you know your body best. You need to pay attention to what your body tells you, especially if you are pre-diabetic or diabetic.

Since everyone’s body is different, there are no absolutes; however, the Center for Disease Control gives general guidelines on carb intake. On average, people with diabetes should get about 45% of their calories from carbs, with each serving measured as approximately 15 grams. Translated, this means three to four carb servings (45-60 grams) per meal for women and four to five carb servings (60-75 grams) for men.1 What also needs to be taken into consideration is age, weight, activity level and whether or not you are on diabetes medications. A certified dietician or medical practitioner can help with carb intake, especially if you take insulin—the carbs plus the amount of insulin you have in your body determine your blood sugar levels and impact how you feel.2

Since the role of carbs is to provide the body with a source of energy, the rule of thumb is to eat the “good” carbs and stay away from the “bad” ones. Carbohydrates are generally divided into three categories: starches, sugars and fibers.

  • Starches—or complex carbohydrates—include starchy vegetables, such as potato, corn, yam, beans, lentils, peas and whole grains. For example, whole-grain bread, oatmeal, and brown rice are high in fiber and rich in B vitamins, which are nutritional essentials. These carbs serve as important sources of energy for the body and are considered “good” carbs.
  • Sugars include those naturally occurring (as in milk and fruit) and added (as in baked desserts). They’re best when kept to the naturally occurring kind taken in small amounts. All types of added sugar are considered “bad” carbs.
  • Fiber comes from plants and is often from the same category as starchy vegetables. Non-starchy vegetables, such as asparagus, broccoli, carrots, celery, green beans, lettuce, and other salad greens, mushrooms, radishes, spinach, tomatoes, and zucchini, have fewer carbs than starchy vegetables and contain lots of fiber. Fiber is also abundant in some fruit, nuts and seeds.

There are two types of fiber, soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber absorbs water and turns into gel, which slows down digestion. Insoluble fiber adds bulk, which enables food to pass more quickly through the stomach and intestines and produces an effect similar to a broom, sweeping out waste. Eating a lot of fiber keeps your digestive tract happy and helps you feel full, making fiber an effective tool for weight management.

Since complex carbohydrates and fiber contribute to overall Active Wellness, they are needed in most healthy dietary regimens. Since not everyone has the discipline to eliminate sugar, the key is portion control. One easy way to control portions is called the “plate method.” Start with a 9-inch dinner plate:

  • Fill half with non-starchy vegetables, such as salad, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and carrots.
  • Fill one quarter with a lean protein, such as chicken, beans, tofu, or eggs.
  • Fill a quarter with a grain or starchy food, such as potatoes, brown rice, or whole wheat pasta (or skip the starch altogether and double up on non-starchy veggies).Screen Shot 2019-11-01 at 12.31.18 PM

Diabetic or not, it is prudent to choose foods with a low glycemic index. Low GI foods are more slowly digested and absorbed by your body, so you stay full longer, and they don’t have a big impact on your blood sugar. Examples of carbs with low GI are beans, brown rice, tomatoes, yogurt, apples, and milk.3

Be sure to take advantage of the Nikken November Special: Get three Kenzen Ten4® Energy Drink Mix for the price of two through November 24! Made with superior quality matcha green tea, brown rice solids, kiwi fruit and stevia leaf extract, you get good carbs and none of the bad, with only eight calories per serving.

 

 

1 https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/managing/eat-well/diabetes-and-carbohydrates.html

2 https://www.diabetes.org/nutrition/understanding-carbs

3 https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/managing/eat-well/meal-plan-method.html

 

 

Fight Seasonal Allergies without Drugs

This is the time of year when the sounds of sneezing, sniffling and nose-blowing reverberate in far too many households throughout the world. Allergies are not contagious, but they are definitely irritating, with reactions ranging from wheezing, runny nose, watery or itchy eyes and more. Many depend on antihistamines, but that may actually aggravate them further or produce side effects of lethargy, drowsiness and other discomforts. Instead of just addressing the symptoms, getting to the root of the allergies may help decrease or get rid of them.

Understanding the cause of allergies is the first step in committing to an Active Wellness regimen that eschews allergy medications. Allergic reactions begin in the immune system. When something like dust, mold or pollen produces an allergic reaction in people, it’s because their immune systems are overreacting to the foreign substance. Those with strong immune systems may not react at all, while others may be mildly to severely irritated. Here are some ways to fortify the immune system and possibly minimize allergies in the long run:

  • Massage: The lymphatic system is the main carrier of the immune system and functions similarly to a sewer system by helping the body drain clogging fluids such as mucous. One way to open up the lymphatic system and to keep it flowing smoothly is through massage.1 The body can then rid itself of excess mucous produced from the allergic response.
  • Turmeric: Lymphatic drainage is blocked when the adrenal gland manufactures too much cortisol, known as the stress hormone. Turmeric is an adaptogenic herb that addresses the stress-lymph connection by helping to naturally lower cortisol levels while increasing antioxidant stress-fighting activity and boosting lymphatic circulation.2
  • Gut health: The connection between a strong immune system and a healthy gut is becoming common knowledge. More than 80% of the body’s immune function is stored in the GI tract, so research continues to link gut health with the reduced risk of allergies.3 When taken together, lactoferrin and probiotics provide a synergistic effect to the immune system by working together to help prevent chronic inflammation, help limit the spread of harmful microbes and help stabilize colonies of friendly bacteria.4
  • Healthy diet: Eating an anti-inflammatory diet can help reduce the risk of allergies and many other health problems. Nutrient-dense foods give the immune system the ability to repair itself, bringing it back into balance so it can help fight off common allergies in the environment.5 Beneficial foods include garlic, green leafy vegetables, lemons, fermented foods rich in probiotics (kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, natto, kombucha, etc.), gluten-free grains (flours made from coconut, almond, spelt, oat and rice, etc.), and seeds (flax, chia, pumpkin and sunflower).

Take advantage of the Father’s Day Promotion and get a super deal when you purchase a Limitless Energy Pack. The KenkoTouch® enables you to give and have a portable massage to help keep the lymphatic system humming.

 

1 http://www.navacenter.com/community/blogs/how-to-prevent-allergies-the-holistic-approach

2 https://lifespa.com/rescue-lymph-stress-late/

3 https://draxe.com/8-natural-allergy-relief-remedies/

4 https://www.naturopathic.org/content.asp?contentid=526

5 https://draxe.com/8-natural-allergy-relief-remedies/

Support and Be Supported in Your Exercise Routine

For those of us who love spending time outdoors under the warmth of the sun, now is the time to go barefoot and ground ourselves naturally! It’s also time to take advantage of the weather to exercise and practice Active Wellness outside! Many water sports come to mind—swimming, kayaking, canoeing, surfing, paddleboarding and windsurfing to name a few. Some exercises that are done inside a gym or studio can now be performed comfortably outdoors: walking, biking, yoga, tai chi and chi gung.

According to the American Heart Association, being more active can help us lower our blood pressure, boost levels of good cholesterol, improve blood flow (circulation), keep weight under control and prevent bone loss that can lead to osteoporosis.1 At least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity is recommended for each week.2 This can be broken down to 30 minutes a day, five days a week. Since every minute of moderate to vigorous activity counts, adding two or three short walks a day would help reach that goal.

Being a couch potato can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. One study showed that adults who watch more than four hours of television a day had an 80% higher risk of death from cardiovascular disease.3 If you’re not naturally active or need some motivation to get started, here are a few ways to become more active:

• Seek out people who will help keep you motivated and accountable for your Active Wellness regimen. Many communities have local workout events for you to attend. There are also local hiking groups, Silver Sneakers classes, kayaking circles, and many others for you to join.

• Get a workout buddy who is at about the same physical shape you’re in. You can help each other stay on course and progress together. Make it a social time, not just an exercise time.

• Choose activities you enjoy. For example, if you hate running, don’t try to become a jogger. Zumba, Pilates or yoga might suit you better. Not everyone has the same sense of balance—if you have sensitive joints, swimming may be your best choice.

• Don’t limit yourself to just one exercise activity. Mix it up to keep from getting bored or burned out.

• Although many people like to get their exercise out of the way first thing in the morning, you should choose your own best time. If you’re not a morning person, getting up earlier to exercise will only demotivate you.

Nikken has the perfect exercise support products to help you achieve Active Wellness. KenkoTherm® Support Wraps help secure your muscles and joints, so you feel confident during strenuous activities. They provide added support when your muscles feel achy or strained. KenkoTherm® wraps are crafted of soft yet durable material that provide the ideal amount of stretch. KenkoTherm DUK® tape is 100% cotton with hypoallergenic adhesive and water–resistant. It comes in black and peach, and when you purchase a 6-pack, you receive 10% off.

1,2, 3 https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/fitness-basics/why-is-physical-activity-so-important-for-health-and-wellbeing