26 Sep Addictions…
‘I can resist anything but temptation’ Oscar Wilde.
When does a habit become an addiction? Perhaps when our sole focus falls on that one desire for: caffeine…alcohol…sugar…
Are you concerned about your energy levels, mood, mental clarity, weight?
Blood sugar control is the key to long-term weight control and energy but this can never be achieved with regular consumption of caffeine, alcohol and refined sugars. This band of stimulants cause the blood sugar to rise. Excess sugar is toxic so unless needed (imminent exercise) it has to be stored away; excess sugar is stored as fat.
The power of stimulants.
To understand this more the age old ‘fight or flight’ syndrome needs to be understood. This is the body’s innate response to stress, adrenalin is released, digestion shuts down, sugar is released which prepares the body for exertion, blood thickens and then you run!
Today there is no Sabre Tooth Tiger to escape from, the triggers are caffeine, sugars, alcohol, but the response is the same. Adrenalin is released, but due to its toxicity caffeine causes another hormonal dance. The hormone, which normally breaks down the adrenalin after the event becomes blocked, due to the caffeine. So even after one cup of coffee tea or caffeinated drink you end up with more adrenalin, which leads to feeling more motivated and more stimulated. The body to cope with the extra adrenalin ‘blocks its ears’ so to speak, to the adrenalin, so you end up needing more adrenalin and hence more caffeine. Here lies the vicious circle. The more you have the more you want!
The liver meanwhile works hard to detoxify the caffeine, and to assist in blood sugar handling therefore is unable to detoxify other toxins present in the body. Excess toxins need to be stored and so they are put into fat cells. Combine this with dairy, a Latte or Cappuccino, you are increasing your blood fats as much as if you were having a mid morning steak!
Caffeine is also dehydrating and makes your body more stressed and tired. Caffeine affects your sleep patterns by depressing the hormone Melatonin responsible for your sleep. This affect can last up to 10hrs so it’s wise to avoid caffeine drinks after midday!
Caffeine also causes inflammation in the body and an acidic environment, which has a negative impact on our health increasing risk of chronic degenerative disease, such as cancers, arthritis and cardiovascular disease.
Hidden sugars in alcohol add to the roller-coaster ride of blood sugar hence increasing weight gain. To reduce this affect it is best to avoid drinking on an empty stomach, this also helps prevent damage to the fragile digestive lining. The more alcohol you consume the more anti-oxidants your body needs.
For the body to detoxify, it requires an abundance of B Vitamins found in dark green leafy vegetables. Other nutrients depleted by alcohol, include Vitamin C, Magnesium and Zinc. Deficiency in these vitamins and minerals reduce your immunity, your front line defence against disease; affects your mood, your ability to have good blood sugar control and cope with stress.
The Liver needs time to regenerate. Be kind to your liver and leave at least two days a week alcohol free allowing the liver time to recover. It is important to look after your liver as it has such an impact on your health. Not just breaking down and eliminating toxins, but removing excess hormones, involved in the balance of blood sugar, breaking down fats, removal of cholesterol and also the storage of nutrients. So you can see if the liver is not functioning properly what an impact it has on your daily health!
Alcohol like caffeine is dehydrating. So in Singapore especially ensure you drink enough water.
It’s not all bad! Red wine has health benefits for the heart, rich in resveratrol, which has been found to be anti-aging, and anti-cancer.
To combat the affects of alcohol remember to go green! Consume more dark green leafy vegetables. Arm yourself with anti-oxidants that help fight against the toxins, think colour on a plate! Keep hydrated and use oils from raw nuts, seeds and oily fish to reduce inflammation. Remembering moderation in all stimulants is key for long-term health.