Clearing up after dinner can be good for you

As I am sure some will appreciate, when I arrive home after work all I want to do is catch up with my family’s day, have dinner, get comfy on the sofa and pop the telly on.

My wife Gaby does most of the cooking as firstly she’s a great cook and secondly I take too long and use twice the pans! I know, not an excuse, I need more practice… agreed!

I do however do all the clearing up. I quite enjoy it really. I stick a little music through the headphones, pop on my rubber gloves and away I go.

To add to the rewards of returning the kitchen to some semblance of order, I have discovered that just 15 to 20 minutes of mild activity after eating has a positive effect on reducing blood sugar spikes and stabilising blood glucose levels.

Blood glucose is one of the fundamental markers for good health. Consistently high blood glucose can cause insulin resistance which has been linked to diabetes, heart disease, cancer and Alzheimers. Doing some form of mild exercise after eating like clearing up the kitchen or going for a walk around the block is a great way of using some of the glucose created in the blood after a meal.

When we eat carbohydrates our bodies absorb the sugar (glucose), depositing some into our muscle cells for immediate energy. Our muscles don’t hold a lot and therefore the pancreas releases a hormone called insulin which transports unused glucose back to the liver where it is converted into stored energy (fat) for later use. How clever!

The challenge with our modern lifestyle is we often consume more carbohydrates (energy) than we are using, causing more stored energy (fat) and thus we are often carrying more around our middles than we would ideally like or is good for us. Type 2 diabetes is where we are wearing out this clever system, causing the body to become resistant to insulin production.

Personally, I would advocate a diet low in sugar and also to try to avoid too many processed foods which often contain sugar. In addition, incorporating some movement after we have eaten is a great way for the body to use the glucose as an immediate energy source and reduce the necessity for the body to initiate too much insulin and therefore fat storage.

After clearing up, my wife and I take our dog Rocky around the block for a 15 minute walk, returning to a clean and tidy kitchen, having reduced my blood sugar and then time for a little TV. Win win!

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