But recently I've been plagued with back pain. On and off it comes and rears its ugly head when least expected. One recent epiphany was when I was at the beach. I stood up to walk gingerly to the ocean and was immediately sliced with intense pain as I stood fully erect. It pinched so severely in my lower vertebrates that I stood crooked allowing other muscles in my body to take on my skeletal impact. This pain consumed me for eight days making it difficult to preform my usual duties. To bed I went and stayed there until my spine had a chance to regroup and redirect.
It was the day I returned after being evacuated during the hurricane. I went to the beach for a reprieve. But during our stay at the hotel previously my mother brought her favorite treat, sugar. There were several boxes of Reese's adorning her stand. As you can imagine, the days of preparation reduce one's ability to think correctly when your planning on bringing enough supplies to last for a few days in cramped quarters. I was tired, I ached, I reached for Reese's.
Several Reese's as a matter of fact. In fact over the two days we succumbed to the storm, I was indulging a rounded cup a few times daily. I knew better. My body's cravings weren't helping though, and so I did what any hurricane evacuee would do, I ate sugar and slept a lot.
What I didn't realize is how much this was affecting my back and how much I'd pay in the future week ahead.
We all know that eating a well-balanced diet is important for health and longevity. But did you know that studies have actually linked some forms of back pain with consuming certain types of food? Sugar is one of the major culprits.
Unfortunately, it’s too easy to overdo the sugar intake because it’s added to many everyday processed foods, including bread, yogurt, juices, and sauces. The average American consumes around 19.5 teaspoons (82g) of added sugar every day, which comes out to 66 pounds every year – the recommended daily allowance is about 6 teaspoons (25g) per day for women and 9 teaspoons (38g) for men!
Since it’s so easy to overconsume with our modern lifestyle, it’s important to understand the basics of how sugar affects your body and choices you can make for regulating your blood sugar levels.
Most people are aware that consuming too much sugar contributes to weight gain and a higher risk of diabetes, heart disease, and depression, but in recent years researchers have also found it can contribute to back and joint pain. When we consume too much of it, our body releases insulin and stress hormones. Those, in turn, trigger the inflammation process. Inflammation leads to chronic pain. The places where we have the least amount of blood circulation are at greatest risk of inflammation – that is why our joints and back can be so dramatically impacted by sugar consumption.
Here are 6 simple tips you can follow to help regulate blood sugar and keep painful inflammation at bay:
1. Choose foods with a low glycemic index
Every food item is rated by the percentage that the blood sugar level rises when that food item is consumed. Avoiding things that have a high glycemic index reduces sugar intake and helps stabilizes blood sugar levels.
2. Choose good carbs, avoid bad carbs
Good carbs contain lots of fiber and are absorbed slowly into our systems: whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and beans.
Bad cards spike blood sugar levels: processed foods, white bread, white rice, sugary beverages, and sweets.
3. Drink water
Keeping hydrated helps your kidneys flush out excess blood sugar.
4. Stay active
Maintaining a healthy weight helps to ensure that your body can process insulin effectively. Not to mention that a good walk can reduce stress and help avoid caving in to cravings.
5. Manage your stress
Stress can actually stimulate the release of hormones that cause blood sugar levels to rise. Hang out on your Teeter at least a few minutes a day for some mindful relaxation.
6. Get enough sleep!
Sleep deprivation can also impact your hormones which play an important role in controlling blood sugar, which is just one more reason to hit the hay early.