If you’re not familiar with the effects that blood sugar levels have on your existence then maybe you just haven’t yet made the connection. Ever been “hangry”? Ever felt the high after a sugar intake? Or the low when said sugar starts to wear off? Our energy levels spike when our blood sugar does and vice versa. We can also be left craving more sugar, feeling like an addict needing a fix. This can be equally as mild as it can be serious, so it’s something we must all keep a proverbial eye on.
Irregular blood sugar levels can lead to long-term health issues. If you suffer from diabetes, you may by now have an innate knowledge of the do’s and don’ts of blood sugar levels and how to manage them, however there are constantly new studies in process and developments in medicine which point to new methods, so it’s good to keep up with the times. And those of us with assumedly regular blood sugar may be surprised to know that many people are not recognising the signs. A quick check to see if you are in fact at a healthy level is a sensible idea.
How to tell if your blood sugar is irregular
Even those of us with a super healthy lifestyle can be affected by blood sugar levels being out of sync and not even realise. It is learning to spot the warning signs that is imperative to keeping your levels in check. Most people suffering from ‘pre-diabetes’ (yes that is a thing), have absolutely no idea. This is when blood sugar levels are above normal but not up to the point of being considered Type 2 diabetes.
If we don’t manage our sugar levels we may suffer from headaches, blurred vision, dry skin conditions, thirst, mood swings, anxiety, weight gain, sugar cravings, fatigue, difficulty concentrating and frequent urinating. All of these symptoms can be caused by a multitude of reasons and so it is difficult, and uncommon, to assume it is our blood sugar levels crying out for some regulation. However, it is in fact one of the most common causes and if managed correctly can be eradicated. How to do it? It really is not that complicated, we don’t need medication, and we can do it all by ourselves, naturally! All we need (if the case is not serious of course) are a few lifestyle and diet changes to level us out.
How to balance your own blood sugar naturally
Avoid processed foods
For me this is a given for a lifestyle choice. Processed foods are the worst thing we can do to our bodies. That pink plastic ham, those frankfurters, candy, ready-made anything – it’s all a no-no in my book. Most processed foods are high in sugar, refined grains and carbs, plus artificial ingredients and flavourings, and on top of all that negativity they are also low in fibre and protein. So overall, they’re just really, really bad for us, full-stop. Eat real food. Eat whole food. Eat a wide range of organic fruits and vegetables, daily. Not just an apple a day, that’s not going to cut it. We need variation and abundance of fresh, whole foods – fruits, vegetables (yes I am saying it again), whole grains, beans, nuts, greens, legumes, seeds, and quality meats and fish (if you are not vegan or vegetarian of course).
And that means water, fresh juices, herbal teas, etc. not fizzy or sugary drinks.
Imperative to our health in general are a decent, uninterrupted eight hours of slumber. This will keep your stress levels low, and if that doesn’t work for you incorporate some yoga, meditation and any other de-stressing tools you may have under your belt.
Magnesium, cinnamon and probiotics as well as a shot of apple cider vinegar each morning can all contribute to a healthy blood sugar level.
This should be a given, but so many of us are guilty of letting daily exercise fall by the wayside. This absolutely should not get left out, ever! It is vital.
Fibre and protein
Make sure you get plenty of fibre and protein in your diet; even if you don’t eat meat there are plenty of ways to achieve protein in your foods. And you want to aim for quality over anything. Fibre and protein both help to slow down our digestion rate when it comes to carbohydrates, and therefore the absorption of sugar, this allows our blood sugar to rise gradually rather than spiking.
Stock up on good carbohydrates
You can avoid starchy white pasta, rice, breads, potatoes, etc. and opt for high-fibre whole-grain seeded breads, brown rice and pasta, sweet potato, etc.
Get plenty of good fats
Because bad fat causes blood sugar spikes; steer clear of trans-fats and opt for healthy oils; try nuts, olive oil, ghee, coconut oil, avocado, and fatty fish like salmon.
All these guidelines are great but you need to make sure you moderate and monitor intake. You need some of everything at each meal, not an overload of one or the other; if you ate too much in the way of fruit for example you’d probably get a spike in blood sugar which is the opposite of the desired effect. So finding the correctly balanced diet incorporating all of the above is the way to go. If you can’t achieve this then good quality dietary supplements are an option.
Bottom line: keep an eye on how you feel, make a daily journal if it helps, noting when you feel a slump in energy or have particularly good energy. Alter your lifestyle and diet to incorporate all the above and see if you find a difference in your overall wellbeing.
Online distance learning diploma courses in nutrition
Here at the School of Natural Health Sciences we offer a great selection of courses in all types of nutrition – perfect for anyone wanting to become a Nutritional Therapist, or simply an individual who wants to use the knowledge to help themselves and their friends and family. Click on any of the courses below to find out more information and how to enrol.
- Child & Adolescent Nutrition
- Ethical & Sustainable Eating
- Clinical Nutrition
- Advanced Nutrition
- Nutrition for Age 50 Plus
- Plant-Based Nutrition
- Sport & Exercise Nutrition
- Vegetarian & Vegan Nutrition
If you have any questions about these courses, don’t hesitate to contact us.