Why Care about Blood Sugar Balance
Do you feel irritable, anxious or tired during the day? Do you suffer from depression, mood swings, brain fog or poor concentration? Do you get an afternoon slump?
These symptoms might be the result of a poorly managed blood sugar balance. What we eat and when we eat has a huge impact on our bodies and how we feel. Managing your blood sugar is not just for diabetics, but is important for all of us. Poorly managed blood sugar can have negative long term health effects like diabetes, but can also affect our mood and energy everyday. It can also be the cause of stubborn fat storage around the middle of your body.
Glucose is a sugar that is naturally produced by the body, and it comes from the foods we eat. It circulates in the blood so it can reach the cells, since it is the main source of energy for the body. For the body to function properly you need to have the correct amount of glucose or sugar present in your blood. Our bodies are trying to keep the blood sugar level balanced at all times. If it goes too high, the body will try to bring it down, and when it is too low it will do its best to bring it back to normal levels.
When we consume healthy sources of carbohydrates with plenty of good fat and protein, the glucose from the meal enters our blood slowly, preventing blood sugar to rise too dramatically. If we eat simple carbohydrates like cereal for breakfast, the blood sugar rises fast, and after an hour or so it lowers dramatically: this is the time you will feel tired again and start craving for something sugary to eat. It’s your body telling you that your blood sugar is low. But if you had eaten eggs and avocado (protein and healthy fats) for breakfast, your blood sugar would have risen more slowly and kept you fuller for longer. This is better for your body.
Stable blood sugar levels reduce inflammation and help balance hormones. Because stable blood sugar means no sugar or carb cravings, even stubborn weight starts to melt away with balanced blood sugar levels. The importance here is stable blood sugar during the day. This is managed by your food choices.
The key advice to remember is:
- include protein in every meal
- don’t skip meals – start your day with protein and fats
- include healthy fats in every meal (avocados, oily fish, nuts and seeds, olive oil, coconut oil, butter)
- eat slow releasing carbohydrates (non-starchy vegetables, whole grains, whole fruit)
Marika Walker is a nutritionist on the welldoing directory.