Do you only think that blood sugar matters if you have been diagnosed with diabetes or metabolic syndrome??
Well, it actually matters to everyone, not just those with diabetes or inflammation. For example, do you struggle to maintain a healthy weight? Are you eating healthy and exercising, but still don’t have the energy you need to get things done? Then you’ll want to read on to learn more.
What is Blood Sugar?
Blood sugar is the measure of the amount of sugar in your blood. And you need the right balance of sugar in your blood to fuel your brain and muscles.
The thing is, it can fluctuate. A lot.
Your body works to balance it between things that increase it; and things that decrease it. When you eat food with sugars or starches (“carbs”), then your digestive system absorbs sugar into your blood.
When carbs are ingested and broken down into simple sugars, your body then keeps blood sugar levels stable by secreting insulin. Insulin takes excess sugar out of your bloodstream and puts it into your muscle cells and other tissues for energy (or for storage if your body doesn’t need it right away).
Why Does Blood Sugar Level Matter?
Your body aims to keep your blood sugar at an optimal level. High enough, so you’re not light-headed, fatigued, and irritable and low enough that your body doesn’t require excess insulin to remove sugar from the blood.
Prolonged periods of elevated blood sugar levels can lead to “insulin resistance.” This is when your cells are so tired of responding to insulin that they start ignoring (or resisting) it. In the long term, this ultimately leads to diabetes.
Well, when you eat excess sugars or refined starches, your blood sugar rises too much. The result is that your body overreacts with insulin. This causes the subsequent crash in energy (causing fatigue) and cravings (making weight loss challenging).
In this case, your cells aren’t getting the glucose they need at the rate they need it to sustain your hunger and keep up your energy levels. So, let’s look at nutrition and lifestyle factors that will help to keep your blood sugar stable so that you can achieve your goals.
REDUCE REFINED SUGARS AND STARCHES that you eat. You can start by eliminating sweet drinks and having smaller portions of dessert.
INCREASE FIBER to help slow the pace of sugar being absorbed from your meal (i.e. reduce the “spike” in your blood sugar). Fiber is found in plant-based foods (as long as they are eaten in their natural state since food processing removes fiber). Eating nuts, seeds, and whole fruits and veggies (not juiced) is a great way to increase your fiber intake.
CINNAMON has been shown to help cells increase insulin sensitivity. Not to mention it’s a delicious spice that can be used in place of sugar.
Want some inspiration? Sign up to receive my blood sugar balancing dinners recipe book here.
EXERCISE also helps to improve your insulin sensitivity; this means that your cells don’t ignore insulin’s call to get excess sugar out of the blood. Not to mention, when you exercise, your muscles are using up that sugar they absorbed from your blood.
MANAGE STRESS because it also affects your blood sugar levels. If you think about the “fight or flight” stress response, what fuel do your brain and muscles need to “fight” or “flee”? Sugar! When you are stressed, your body uses cortisol to release stored forms of sugar back into the bloodstream, increasing blood sugar levels. This can lead to a similar spike and crash in blood sugar as eating refined starches causes! Simple tips to manage stress are meditation, deep breathing, or gentle movement.
GET ADEQUATE SLEEP since it goes hand-in-hand with stress. If you don’t get enough quality sleep, you tend to release stress hormones, have a higher appetite, and even get sugar cravings. Sleep is a crucial, often overlooked, factor when it comes to keeping your blood sugar stable. Make sleep more of a priority – it will do your blood sugar (and the rest of your physical and mental health) good.
Your body is on a constant 24-hour quest to keep your blood sugar stable. The body has mechanisms in place to do this, but those mechanisms can get tired (resistant). Long-term blood sugar issues can spell trouble.
There are many nutrition and lifestyle factors you can use to help keep your blood sugar stable. Minimizing excessive carbs, eating more fiber, exercising, reducing stress, and improving sleep are all key to having stable blood sugar (and achieving your goals).
Not sure where to begin? That’s perfectly normal! Click here to book a FREE discovery call with Bonnie to learn more about how you can get the help you need.