Improving blood sugar levels can be instrumental in managing hormonal imbalance, reducing symptoms of PMS and maintaining an even weight.
So what affects blood sugar?
It is affected by everything you eat, everything you don't and your energy expenditure each day.
You may notice that you feel grumpy, or 'hangry' when you haven't eaten for a while. This is when your blood sugar has dropped and your body is working hard to power your brain and essential organs on back-up energy stores from muscles and the liver.
On the other hand, you may notice a sense of mania when you eat a sugar ladened snack (think lollies like gummy bears), that quickly provides a burst of energy and restlessness, before plummeting again as your blood sugar crashes.
Another common cause of blood sugar spikes I see in patients is skipping meals or trying to follow a strict calorie reduction. This behaviour can also cause a similar action in the body.
This sensation every once in a while isn't a big deal, your body is designed to manage this occasional stress (thank you insulin!). However, if this occurs on a daily (or even hourly!) basis, it could lead to chronic elevated blood sugar spikes, poor insulin sensitivity and long-term weight gain. It is a significant trigger for long term inflammation and the cause of many chronic disease including diabetes, cardiovascular disease and maybe even Alzheimer's.
Further symptoms of poor blood sugar balancing include a low mood or sense of apathy, lack of energy, intense painful period cramps as well as wreaking havoc on our sex hormones, which are essential for regulating menstrual cycles.
Does this sound like you?
"I need a coffee to function"
Slaving away at the gym at 6am before work, yet still unable to lose weight?
Crashing at your desk at 3pm
Having zero energy, so you find your time off or weekends you just need to "relax" or "have a quiet one"?
Feeling extra sluggish the day after a few drinks?
There's a family history of insulin resistance or diabetes
You may have a blood sugar imbalance, however the best way to be sure is to speak to a professional and get some testing to verify. But before that here are some easy ways to start making positive changes.
How to balance your blood sugar?
Don't skip meals. Oh, and coffee does not count as breakfast!
Avoid processed or sugary foods and soft drinks. This will cause a sharp blood sugar spike, and leave you feeling hungry again soon after.
Focus on including a source of protein and good fats in every meal. This will keep you feeling full for longer and avoid snacking.
Avoid simple carbs like white bread, white rice, crisps and fries. But DO eat complex carbs such as those found in root vegetables, whole grains, beans and lentils.
Now your body is pretty amazing at adapting to change, so introducing the above steps it will quickly love you for it. However keep in mind that sugar, like any other addictive substance, is hard to kick. So be patient with yourself and be kind.
If you drink three cans of soft drink a day, start by reducing to 1 or 2. Going cold turkey is hard for anyone, and will more likely lead to failure, so start to wean yourself off your less desirable habits and the good wholesome food and your body will do the rest.
Can Supplements help?
Yes absolutely. When we work with clients we may also recommend some supplements which can help balance blood sugar which will also help with mood, hormones and energy balance. Sometimes our bodies need a little bit extra support to get the energy into our cells and this is where we can help.
Check out what Aicha had to say once we worked on balancing her blood sugar:
"I felt like rediscovering myself. The person I wanted to be had finally come out of its shell & stepped out into the light. This was my highlight: the food programme was definitely life changing because although I was eating healthily overall prior to our meeting, I discovered with you that I was not eating the right way at the right time."
If you're still stuck, want more practical advice or interested in testing your blood sugar, book in with me or the team here at The Natural Balance for a free 20 minute consultation.
Registered Nutritional Therapist
Kelly is a Registered Nutritional Therapist who focuses on positive physical and mental wellbeing, achieved through diet, lifestyle, sleep and exercise. Having struggled for years with IBS and hormonal imbalance, and increasingly frustrated with the lack of support and helpful advice from her GP, Kelly began her own journey of healing the body from the inside out. After seeing huge improvements she quit her job to study nutrition and focus on harnessing the healing powers of food to help other people in similar situations.