Balance Blood Sugar For Optimal Health
Keeping our blood sugar balanced is a key factor in achieving optimal health and is associated with longevity. Compromised blood sugar management is associated with a whole range of conditions including: food cravings, weight gain, inflammation, diabetes, fatigue, mood swings, heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s to name just a few.
Glucose is the form of sugar carried in our bloodstream. When we eat highly refined carbohydrates, our blood sugar spikes very high. This results in rapid and excessive release of insulin causing blood sugar to drop too low. To compensate, the adrenal glands release cortisol to stimulate production of glucose. Cravings are triggered to raise blood sugar levels. High refined carbs are eaten, and the cycle begins again.
Eventually the adrenals burn out from overuse and this can also lead to insulin resistance or even diabetes. Metabolism slows down as the body breaks down proteins in muscle to use for fuel. In addition, too much insulin causes the excess glucose to be stored as fat. Chronic high blood sugar is linked to inflammation leading to atherosclerosis and other severe health issues.
Fortunately, insulin resistance can be reversed with a proper diet that balances blood sugar levels. When healthy carbohydrates or foods with protein, fiber, and healthy fats are eaten, glucose enters our blood slowly and there are no spikes in blood sugar. Follow these general diet guidelines to help manage blood sugar levels:
1. Limit consumption of refined sugars and carbohydrates.
2. Ensure every meal and snack has some protein in it.
3. Eat vegetables and fruits.
4. Include healthy fats and oils with every meal.
5. Cinnamon helps to control blood sugar
6. Vinegar lowers blood sugar spikes after eating
7. Include fibre with meals to slow down digestion and reduce absorption.
Consider the proportions on your plate to help you visualize a blood sugar balancing meal.
The ideal meal proportions would consist of a plate made up with 3/4th of non-starchy vegetables, 1/8th of protein, and 1/8th of starches along with 1 tablespoon of a healthy fat.
Finally, don’t forget the importance of regular exercise and getting enough sleep. Exercise allows the body to remove sugar from the blood stream and helps manage your weight. Sleep deprivation is associated with imbalanced hormones and inconsistent blood sugar levels. For more information and ideas on how to ensure balanced blood sugar levels, talk to your nutritionist.
Challem, Jack. “Dietary Modulation of insulin and glucose.” The Orthomolecular Medicine Today Conference, Montreal May 2009. Lecture
Holford, Patrick. The Optimum Nutrition Bible. London: Piatkus, 2014.