Heart Health and Insulin

Often, when we think of heart issues we never consider insulin and it’s role in heart health. Usually, when we think of insulin the first thing that comes to mind is diabetes. And here in lies a huge problem, most people who are over weight or obese will not think of themselves as having a true health issue with their weight when they have not developed diabetes. This thinking is foolhardy and comes from a lack of knowledge. Besides the effect on your body with insulin and whether you have diabetes or not, the powerful role insulin plays in your body has great effects that can lead to high blood pressure, risk-related blood fat levels, weight gain, atherosclerosis, peripheral vascular disease, and heart disease in a great number of overweight or obese individuals who have never been diagnosed as being diabetic.

Insulin and Glucagon must be in balance!

In a healthy body, insulin does not like to be used up. It has been referred to as the “Saver Hormone”  This miserly nature of insulin is no easy task when you consider how some of us eat and live sedentary lifestyles. Insulin must meet multiple demands by the body such as appeals for energy to enable muscles to maintain their health and viability, to fuel our nervous system, and to keep our organs under constant repair to keep our body’s ability to function normally. Insulin will try to make your body store it’s energy stores, by converting carbohydrates into fat which is then stored inside of your cells, it must give up some of it’s food energy in order to get us through our basic daily living functions.

The second part of this equation which must be kept in balance with insulin is glucagon, or what is referred to as your body’s “Spending Hormone”. Most of us have heard of insulin, but I would guess that many, if not most of you, have never heard of glucagon. The balance between these two are just as insulin directs food energy into our cells, glucagon is what brings it back out of the cells in order to repair and fuel your body in between meals. This balance must be maintained and crappy dietary habits makes this task difficult.

A bad diet that does not meet all of our nutritional needs will quite obviously throw our hormonal balance out of whack. Although, as evident by the rampant obesity in our society, many will destroy their own health when there is a better choice to be made in living healthy with a good clean diet. It does not have to be this way, but many will still choose the lame way out with a diet of junk and fast foods and place their hormonal balance into a tail spin and then complain they cannot lose their weight.

If you choose to make good dietary habits a lifestyle that keeps your hormonal balance on an even keel, insulin and glucagon fully compliment each other and maintain a perfect harmony. Making this harmony occur is fully within your control, it will make you feel so much better. As insulin rises, it makes you want to eat, it helps with fueling your body. What energy is not used gets put away into your fat cells. Later, as your insulin levels fall off, glucagon begins to rise. The glucagon opens the fat cells up and the energy that is released is burned to keep your body running efficiently, as it was designed to do. After a period,  insulin once again begins to rise and the whole cycle repeats itself.

This natural balance is 100% within our control when we make the personal choice to make it so. Do not sell yourself short, ever!

When you make the lame choice for yourself to eat bad every day of your life, no matter your excuses, you are going to put this hormonal balance between insulin and glucagon out of kilter. The reasons why you eat a poor diet are not relevant to this reality. When you manage to get your hormonal balance off, there becomes a battle between the hormones that will put your heart health, or even your life at risk.

Although insulin and glucagon are to be in balance for good health, insulin is a more powerful hormone than it’s counterpart. Insulin will completely take over if you let it. When insulin is released into your blood, glucagon takes a submissive role and diminishes significantly. Glucagon will only rise back up once the insulin levels begin to fall again.

When you subsist on sweet treats and foods with added sugars, you insulin levels will always remain high! You do have control over what you eat! No excuse is going to fix your health. period.

Insulin’s dominance over glucagon is not all bad. In pre-historic times, when our ancestors had a surplus of food, insulin was needed in order to channel as much of the food in the fat cells as possible. Unlike us in the modern world, our ancestors did not always know where their next meal was coming from. And to make matters worse, their foods were not anywhere near as energy rich as our foods of today. Our ancestors had to fatten themselves up because they did not always know where or when their next meal would be coming to them. Insulin would get our ancestors to eat as much as they could so they could get the most out of the foods they were able to consume.

We no longer live in those times folks. Food is now abundant!

Now, on the other hand for our ancestors, food was not always available. In fact, famine can still be rampant in different parts of the world today. When our body requires energy, glucagon opens the fat cells and brings out the energy that has been stored. This energy fuels our muscles, brain and other organs to go out and get more nourishment. For our ancestors, when food was not readily available, insulin’s fat storing ability was not required. Our ancestors were not fat for the most part.

In days past, insulin kept us alive. In our modern world today where we might gorge and junk foods that keep our insulin levels high, this can actually kill us over time or even rapidly. 

Currently, we still have to keep our hormones in balance and we can do this through good dietary habits and exercise. However, many choose to eat bad food choices and to live sedentary lifestyles which causes a tug of war between insulin and glucagon. Insulin is usually winning this battle as we can see by all of the overweight or obese people that surround us. We can make a choice to control the outcome of our health we can choose to live a healthy life. Or we can sell ourselves short and not eat healthy, nor exercise. This can make the difference between a long and healthy life or one plagued by heart problems or cut short by heart disease.

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