Blood sugar balance is a key factor in maintaining good health, as it affects our energy levels, mood, and overall well-being.
What is blood sugar balance?
Blood sugar balance refers to the regulation of glucose (sugar) levels in the bloodstream, which is essential for energy production and overall health. When you master your blood sugar on a daily basis, you can expect more energy, reduced cravings and stable moods.
How does it impact health?
Maintaining balanced blood sugar levels is important for several reasons, including:
- Energy production: Glucose is the primary source of energy for the body, so balanced blood sugar levels can help to maintain steady energy throughout the day.
- Mood regulation: Fluctuations in blood sugar levels can lead to mood swings and irritability.
- Weight management: High blood sugar levels can lead to insulin resistance and weight gain, while low blood sugar levels can trigger cravings for sugary foods.
Over time, if blood sugar is not managed properly, your body may not be able to lower blood sugar effectively. This can lead to weight gain and type 2 Diabetes. Elevated blood levels of both sugar and insulin can also be destructive to neural tissue and create inflammation, hormone imbalance, and undesirable neurotransmitter shifts.
Nutrition Tips For Balanced Blood Sugar
Complex Carbs & Fiber
Yes, carbs! Carbohydrates are our body’s primary source of fuel, and we need them to live, plus, they give us direct and immediate source of energy. When eating carbohydrates, favor roots and fruits as carbs to balance blood sugar. These carbs do not perpetuate inflammation or intestinal damage like grains might. Nutrient-rich source of healthy carbs include sweet potatoes, carrots, celeriac, beets and other root vegetables. Enjoy fresh fruits in season as well as a variety of frozen fruits.
High fiber foods can slow the absorption of carbohydrates and the release of sugar into the blood. Because fiber slows the speed of digestion, you’ll also feel full for longer because your body is taking its time processing the nutrients in the gut — which is a good thing!
No “Naked” Carbs
Naked carbs are simple carbohydrates eaten without any other foods that aid in slowing down digestion. We dress carbs up by choosing fiber-rich carbohydrates and adding a bit of fat and/or protein. For example, instead of having a solo apple, serve it with some nut butter; have avocado instead of jam on toast; and pair plain pasta with some form of meat, olive oil or cheese.
As you’ll learn below, fat and protein are more complex structures that require more energy and time to digest, resulting in a smaller glucose spike.
Plenty of Healthy Fats
Whenever we eat a source of carbohydrate, it should be accompanied by a quality source of fat. Fat slows down the digestive process resulting in a “delayed” rise in glucose levels as it takes a longer time to digest. Meaning, you have a longer span of energy to run on. This also prevents sugar highs and sugar crashes. Examples of healthy fats include avocado, coconut oil, whole eggs, olives and olive oil, nuts and seeds.
Quality Protein in all Meals
Proteins are the last bit to this puzzle. Quality protein slows down the absorption of glucose into the blood stream, providing satiation and satisfaction. Protein helps pull sugar into the cells so your body can use it for energy.
Protein also supplies the body amino acids. Amino acids are building blocks to help build and repair body tissue. Proteins help us feel fuller for longer, so you can go a few hours between meals. Protein can also provide energy for your body if carbs are not available for fuel.
Everyone is different when it comes to how much and how often to eat. However, if you’re unsure where to start with meal timing, we recommend a baseline of eating every 2-3 hours and expanding or contracting that timeframe depending on your hunger cues.
Part of blood sugar regulation is really about thinking more intuitively about meals and eating: how we feel after we eat, how eating certain things specifically makes us feel, whether we’re taking the time to eat slowly or we’re just rushing through our meals at our desks or standing up at the kitchen counter. If you’re always in a mad rush to eat because you feel like you’re starving, pay attention to that and start to notice when the first pangs of hunger come versus when it’s dire.
1-2 tsp a day of cinnamon has been shown to regulate blood sugar especially if you’re eating carbs at the same time. Also, if you feel like you’ve had a bit too many sweets, cinnamon can help lower your blood sugar by acting similar to insulin and increasing insulin’s ability to move blood sugar in the cells.
Bonus: making a cinnamon beverage before bed can balance out glucose levels while you sleep and help keep you snoozing all night.
Lifestyle Tips for Balanced Blood Sugar
- Exercise regularly: Exercise can help to regulate blood sugar levels by increasing insulin sensitivity.
- Get enough sleep: Lack of sleep can disrupt the body’s natural rhythms and lead to blood sugar imbalances. Plus, getting good sleep will help make some of the other practices on this list easier, like making smart food choices.
- Manage stress: Chronic stress can lead to elevated cortisol levels, which can disrupt blood sugar balance. Try to incorporate stress-management techniques such as meditation or deep breathing into your daily routine.
- Stay Hydrated: When we’re dehydrated, our body produces a hormone called vasopressin. This hormone tells your kidneys to retain fluid and stop the body from flushing out excess sugar in your urine. This, in turn, prompts the liver to make more glucose and can dis-regulate blood sugar levels.
- So, remember that if you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. Stay on top of this by drinking at least 1/2 of your body weight in ounces of water.