Did you know we only really need approx. 1tsp of sugar in our bloodstream at any one time for our normal activities? Think how much sugar most of us eat. Yes it is tasty, but addictive for many. Our bodies and brains are just not built to cope with the amount of sugar we eat today.
Blood sugar is the term used to refer to the amount of sugar or glucose in your blood. Too much or too little glucose can have a profound effect and impact on overall health and mood. You have probably heard about blood sugar in relation to Diabetes, where there is too much sugar in the blood. Overtime too much sugar in the blood and the corresponding insulin excess can also lead to circulatory and heart issues, inflammation, fatigue, ageing, metabolic syndrome, higher risk or PCOS, hormonal imbalance and weight gain. Quite a list!
When we continually eat sugary foods and drinks and processed carbs such as white bread, cakes, cookies, biscuits, crisps, deep fried foods and sugary cereals our blood sugar levels yo yo spiking high and crashing low – giving rise to symptoms such as cravings, low energy, low mood, anxiety, headaches, poor concentration and irritability. Do these symptoms affect you at all? Other factors such as lack of exercise, poor sleep, too much alcohol and caffeine and stress can also negatively effect blood sugar control.
We all have different tolerance levels to sugars and carbs and foods in general. Try to start tuning in to how you feel after food. Try to become more conscious of what you are eating. How do you feel afterwards or an hour or so later. I have blood sugar issues and know when I over indulge and have too much sugar or carbs for me I can feel more anxious and irritable, have mood swings and feel sluggish.
Stable blood sugar can help support stable weight, mood and energy levels. So what can you do to help support your blood sugar levels and health:
• Don’t skip meals and eat breakfast with some protein such as eggs, natural yogurt, nuts or seeds. This helps boost energy and metabolism. Skipping meals can trigger food cravings and has been shown to increase night time eating habits.
• Eat 3 meals per day if you need a snack have a protein rich one such as a boiled egg, veg sticks with hummous, handful of nuts. Don’t continually snack or overeat.
• Protein foods such as lean meat, fish, eggs, dairy, nuts, seeds, beans and lentils can help stabilise blood sugar, reduce cravings and slows down the release of sugars from carbohydrates.
• Focus on slower release carbs such as oats, wild rice, quinoa and sweet potatoes.
• Eat healthy fats such as olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, seeds, olives, oily fish and avocados
• Exercise regularly and reduce stress in anyway (I know easier said than done). The more muscle tissue you have the more your body can regulate blood sugar and insulin levels.
• Make a good nights sleep a priority, go to bed earlier, enjoy a good book or bath instead of using electronic devices – but know this will depend on factors such as young children!
• Eat plenty low carb veg and fruit such as broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, green beans, peppers, tomatoes, cucumber, celery, cherries and berries.
• As much as possible avoid artificial sweeteners
• Focus on the whole or “real” foods not processed foods – none of us are perfect all of the time – its not about perfection but about foods that support your blood sugar and health most of the time
• Try leaving approx. 12 hours without eating overnight ie try not to eat late.
Having good blood sugar control can help you feel better in your day to day life, have more stable energy and reduce the likelihood of developing conditions such as Diabetes. Anne xx