Everybody agrees that to be able to function well and live a long life, we need good blood circulation. This necessitates a healthy vascular system.
Your vascular system is especially important for your heart, brain, and the rest of your body because the blood delivers nutrients and oxygen. Without a supply of nutrients, the tissue will degenerate. So what can you do to keep your vascular system healthy?
Books can be written on that topic, but here is a simple strategy you can implement that can make a big difference.
First, since most of us eat several meals daily and the after effect of a meal can have a pronounced effect on your blood vessels, think about how the meal will affect your blood glucose level.
The reason you should be concerned with this is that high glucose levels after a meal and insulin resistance cause damage to the endothelium–the inner layer of the blood vessel wall (Shi Y, Vanhoutte PM, 2017).
Endothelial dysfunction is characterized by decreased release of nitric oxide, increased oxidative stress, increased production of inflammatory factors, and impaired endothelial repair.
This is one of the reasons you can end up with atherosclerosis and reduced blood circulation.
Since one of the reasons for endothelial function can be that the blood glucose level after a meal is too high, many are now recommending low carbohydrate meals. This is done as an attempt to lower the blood glucose.
This, however, may not be the the best strategy.
Research to date suggests that diets that are low in carbohydrates may negatively impact vascular endothelial function (Jovanovski E, et.al., 2015).
It appears that it is more favourable to maintain the carbohydrate intake and instead use low glycemic index foods. This generates more benefits for the vascular system.
An easy way to do that is to add some beans or lentils to the meal and reduce the amount of a higher glycemic index item.
Shi Y, Vanhoutte PM.Macro- and microvascular endothelial dysfunction in diabetes.J Diabetes. 2017 May;9(5):434-449.
Jovanovski E, Zurbau A, Vuksan V, Carbohydrates and endothelial function: is a low-carbohydrate diet or a low-glycemic index diet favourable for vascular health?Clin Nutr Res. 2015 Apr;4(2):69-75.
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