Tips To Balance Blood Sugar Between Meals
Including five delicious & nourishing snack ideas.
Ever experience bouts of hanger? Or feel your energy levels plummet, resulting in fatigue or an inability to focus? Or, maybe youve gone too long without a snack and felt like you just werent functioning as you should? These are just a couple of signs that your bodys blood sugar could be off. Blood sugar imbalance can wreak havoc on numerous health factors such as mood and energy levels, cravings, and overall health just to name a few.
Ahead, were sharing simple diet and lifestyle hacks to help you maintain optimal balance and achieve your health goals.
Get The Sweet Taste From Vegetables And Fruits
We all crave the sweet taste every once and a while. Rather than bombarding your body with processed sugar and inflammatory refined grains, add naturally sweet whole vegetables and fruits to your diet to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Sweet vegetables include sweet potatoes, yams, parsnips, beets, carrots, onions, and winter squashes. And the fruitswell, you know its pretty much all of them!
These are excellent and nutritious sources of complex carbohydrates to eat as part of a balanced meal. When eaten in their whole form , their high fiber levels slow down the digestion process, keeping your bodys insulin needs balanced because there are no sugar spikes .
Other beneficial effects on diabetes risk from including more plant foods in the diet include weight loss and appetite suppression .
Are You Riding The Blood Sugar Roller Coaster
- Depend on coffee for energy?
- Get hangry or irritable when meals are missed or delayed?
- Feel light-headed, get shaky or the jitters, have brain fog if meals are missed or delayed?
If yes, then your blood sugar levels are likely imbalanced going through a series of unhealthy spikes and crashes.
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Be Cautious With Carbohydrates
While it’s important to eat complex carbohydrates for energy and fuel, carbohydrates are more readily digested and can elevate blood sugar levels and potentially lead to a surge, said endocrinologist Joseph Aloi, MD in an interview with Everyday Health. Be mindful of portion sizes and pair with protein for a slower digestion. “Use fruit as your carb choice to balance blood sugar,” says holistic health coach and personal trainer Jen Bruno with J.B. Fitness and Nutrition, to Bustle over email.
What Causes Blood Sugar To Be High
Many things can cause high blood sugar , including being sick, being stressed, eating more than planned, and not giving yourself enough insulin. Over time, high blood sugar can lead to long-term, serious health problems. Symptoms of high blood sugar include:
- Feeling very tired.
- Having blurry vision.
- Needing to urinate more often.
If you get sick, your blood sugar can be hard to manage. You may not be able to eat or drink as much as usual, which can affect blood sugar levels. If youre ill and your blood sugar is 240 mg/dL or above, use an over-the-counter ketone test kit to check your urine for ketones and call your doctor if your ketones are high. High ketones can be an early sign of diabetic ketoacidosis, which is a medical emergency and needs to be treated immediately.
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How Do Unbalanced Blood Sugars Impact Our Weight
If you eat food that your body cant use or find a home for in your cells or glycogen stores, it will be stored as body fat. Essentially when the body cant find a home for it, this requires more insulin to be released. The more insulin your body needs to produce, the more body fat you will store.
The more insulin your body needs to produce, the more body fat you will store.
Here are some natural ways that you can balance your blood sugar levels:
Why Does Blood Sugar Go Up In The Morning What Is The Dawn Phenomenon
There are a few main reasons why your glucose levels may be higher in the morning. One of these is known as the dawn phenomenon.
The dawn phenomenon occurs early in the morning between 3 am and 8 am while you are still asleep. As morning approaches, the body naturally signals your liver to produce glucose, giving your body the energy it needs for the start of the day. Caused by changes in hormonal levels, the dawn phenomenon happens to all people, with or without diabetes. However, for those without diabetes, insulin levels increase and they do not experience hyperglycemia.
Another reason you may experience higher morning glucose levels is because your injected insulin wears off. If your body has insufficient insulin during the night, your glucose levels may start to rise. To combat this, you may consider trying a new basal insulin, adjusting the timing and amount of your basal dose , or changing your nighttime basal rates .
The last reason you may experience higher morning glucose levels is known as the Somogyi effect. This occurs if your glucose levels fall too low during the night, caused by too much insulin or medication. To respond, your liver produces more glucose to try to maintain your glucose levels, which may result in hyperglycemia. The Somogyi effect is not as common as the other reasons described.
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Blood Sugar Spikes & Crashes
When you eat something that has a lot of sugar in it, like a cookie, your blood sugar levels quickly go up. The higher your blood sugar levels go, the more insulin your pancreas releases. When a rush of insulin goes into your blood, it quickly carries the sugar out and, as a result, your blood sugar level drops dramatically, sometimes to the point of low blood sugar This is very stressful for your body, causing the symptoms mentioned above.
When you get a blood sugar spike and then crash, its because there is a surge of insulin transporting the excess sugar out of your bloodstream very quickly. As your blood sugar drops quickly you crave chocolate or cake to restore balance. Then when you eat it, your blood sugar shoots right back up.
Over time, this can lead to a constant rollercoaster of spikes and drops, which is hard on your body.
Spice Up Your Life With Cinnamon
A meta-analysis published in the Journal of Medicinal Food that concluded that cinnamon lowers fasting blood glucose by a 3-5%. This is a modest amount, but it is still very interesting and can be helpful!
But dont go too crazy with this spice cinnamon contains coumarin, which can damage the liver when consumed in excessive amounts. According to the daily tolerable intake set by the European Food Safety Authority, the limit for an adult who is sensitive to coumarin is about a teaspoon a day. But if you have liver issues, its best to only use cinnamon sparsely.
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Consider How Active You Are
Exercise burns glucose and helps your body use insulin. That means it can help control your blood sugar. But it also can affect how much you should eat and how much medicine you need. Talk with your doctor about what your levels should be when you exercise and how often to check them. Your doctor can also help you figure out how to time your meds and meals around your workouts.
What Is Blood Sugar
Sugar, or glucose, is the bodys main source of energy, and the term blood sugar refers to the amount of energy present in our bloodstream at one given time. Sugar is produced when we break down any form of carbohydrate, from oatmeal to candy, and is absorbed from our digestive tract into our bloodstream to be used as a source of energy for the body. So, the term blood sugar simply refers to the amount of sugar in your blood at a given time.
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Find The Right Balance
With diabetes, your diet should be high in nutrients and low in fat and calories. There are many ways to do that, like going low-carb, low-fat, or vegetarian. Shoot for a 50-25-25 split, with the largest section filled with non-starchy vegetables , and a section of protein, and one of grains and starches . A daily serving of fruit or dairy and small amounts of healthy fats are OK, too.
The Benefits Of Having Stable Blood Sugar Levels
Imagine just having come back from your trip to the supermarket. You stuck to your diet all week, exercised regularly and now, it’s time for a treat. A couple of donuts, maybe chocolates or some other treat of your choice. A while later, you’re super high on energy, feeling thirsty, possibly having a headache etc. This is the urban legend of Sugar High. While you might not have developed superhuman abilities after your sugary treat, carbohydrate rich food items can often cause a spike in a person’s blood sugar, leading to an overall instability in our blood glucose levels.
We, the team at Veri are often asked, “Why should we track our Blood Sugar?”, “What are the benefits of having Stable Blood Sugar?”, etc. In this post we shall provide a brief insight into some of the benefits of Stable Blood Sugar and how it correlates to our day to day lives. The information has been derived mostly from scientific research which focused on the relationship between blood sugar and human metabolic functions.
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Sweet Potatoes And Yams
Regular potatoes have a high GI score, but sweet potatoes and yams have low scores and are very nutritious.
Reporting the findings of an animal study, the researchers also note that sweet potato consumption may lower some markers of diabetes.
Although there is still no conclusive evidence to suggest that sweet potatoes can help stabilize or lower blood sugar levels in humans, they are undoubtedly a nutritious food with a low GI score.
People can substitute sweet potatoes or yams for potatoes in a variety of dishes, from fries to casseroles.
Eat 3 Ounces Of Protein Before Every Cheat
We all cheat on our healthy diet now and then with carbs but theres a right way and a wrong way to do so. Before indulging in alcohol, fries, cake, or a chocolate bar, eat 3 ounces of protein first. You might go with 3 ounces of turkey breast, 3 ounces of cottage cheese, or 3 ounces of Greek yogurt. No matter what form you consume it in, protein is your friend when indulging in heavy carbs, as it helps slow digestion. Remember, dont cheat more than two or three times a week, with only one cheat per day, so your blood sugar stays balanced.
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Blood Sugar Balance In Plain English
Before we get started with tips to balance your blood sugar, I want to cover some basic blood sugar terms that I will be using in this discussion.
Blood sugar/blood glucose Glucose is the form of sugar that is in our bloodstream. Glucose is the bodys preferred source of fuel.
Insulin the pancreas secretes insulin, a hormone that shuttles glucose from the blood into body cells. It knocks on the cell and says, Open up, Ive got some glucose that I need to get out of the bloodstream so take it and use it for energy.
Insulin resistance When we consume a large amount of refined carbs with very little fat and protein, our blood sugar spikes very high and the pancreas frantically overcompensates with insulin release. This overcompensation of insulin eventually causes insulin resistance, which leads to Type 2 Diabetes if poor dietary practices are continued. The good news, however, is that it can an be reversed through a healthy diet that balances your blood sugar.
Glycogen Glucose that doesnt enter body cells is taken to the liver where it is converted to glycogen. This is a form of stored sugar that is broken down to stabilize low blood sugar levels between meals and during the night. It is healthful for the body store of glycogen, but stress and hormone dysfunction deplete our ability to store glycogen and this can contribute to blood sugar imbalance.
Oatmeal With Berries & Cinnamon
This snack is wholesome, budget-friendly, and packs a triple punch with ingredients good for your blood sugar. Oats are a complex carb, so theyll keep you full, with balanced blood sugar levels between meals. Antioxidant-loaded berries are sweet, yes, but with natural sugars and powerful antioxidants, they make a great oatmeal topper. Enjoying cinnamon is anothernatural way to help support blood sugar, so go ahead and sprinkle some over your daily bowl of oats.
No time to enjoy a warm bowl at home? Whip up an easy-prep overnight oats recipe!
- ½ cup milk of choice
- ½ cup old fashioned oats
- ¼ cup unsweetened vanilla yogurt
- ¼ cup mixed berries
- 1 teaspoon chia seeds
Step #1: In a small jar with a lid, combine all ingredients and stir.
Step #2: Cover with lid and refrigerate overnight .
Step #3: Before eating, add any additional toppings such as nut butter or fresh fruit. Enjoy!
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Pair Protein With Carbohydrates
The number one way to lower high blood sugar quickly is to eat protein with carbohydrates. Any time you are consuming something with carbohydrates it is important to eat it with a good protein source. Preferably an animal protein source that is more bio available in our bodies.
Some snack options include:
- Organic Fruit Juice
The Top 12 Foods To Balance Blood Sugar
As a society, we love our carbs, processed foods, and sugar. As a result, metabolic disorders are prominent and heart disease remains the number one killer in the US. This style of eating throws off our ability to have stable blood sugar levels which drives up inflammation, throws off hormones, and reduces our health and vitality. Taking steps to balance blood sugar is one of the first things I focus on when working with people to improve their health.
This strategy alone has a tremendous impact on overall health and certain foods are fantastic for this purpose. Incorporating the foods and herbs from this article into your daily nutrition plan is a great place to start.
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Fenugreek Is Great For Blood Sugar
When you use the spice, Fenugreek, to add flavor to food, youll be helping your blood sugar, too. Fenugreek leaves and seeds are utilized in many South Asian dishes. The seeds of Fenugreek are used in many different supplement blends. Fenugreek is proven to decrease blood sugar in those who have both forms of Diabetes. As well, they help people with pre-diabetes to normalize their blood glucose levels.
Fenugreek works because it slows the pace of carbohydrate digestion. This is probably the reason why it impacts blood sugar levels in a positive way. As well, this spice is rich in healthy nutrients. If youve never tried Fenugreek, looking up South Asian recipes which contain this spice will be a great way to try it. Many of these recipes are wonderful, and a lot of them are very healthy, too.
How To Balance Blood Sugar With Food
Good news is, insulin resistance can be corrected with changes in diet and lifestyle habits. Below are five way to balance blood sugar with food.
Choose complex Carbs
On a regular basis, choose complex forms of carbohydrates. Rather than processed or refined ones. For example, low-glycemic fruit , beans, legumes, sweet potatoes, squash, steel-cut or rolled oats, brown rice, quinoa, and spelt, and 100% whole wheat flour.
Fiberparticularly soluble fibercan slow the absorption of sugar and help improve blood sugar levels. Nuts, seeds, vegetables , and 100% whole grains are all wonderful sources of fiber. My daily go-to sources of fiber are chia and ground flaxseed.
build a balanced plate
Here are examples! When making your meals, you want all of these key players: Complex carbs, protein, healthy fat, and fiber. Doing so is imperative to balancing blood sugar. Protein helps to balance blood sugar levels, and fat helps to slow the absorption of glucose to the bloodstream. A balanced plate could look like a filet of roasted salmon with a side of sautéed spinach and jasmine rice topped with a drizzle of tahini.
eat in regular intervals
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Women: How Controlling Blood Sugar Benefits Your Heart
Controlling your blood sugar is one of the best things for womens heart health, along with maintaining healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
In many patients with diabetes who have no symptoms, diabetes, particularly when poorly controlled, is already harming their blood vessels and leading to hardening of the arteries, a precursor to heart disease. People may not even realize that they have diabetes until the disease progresses to the point where they have a heart attack.
Thats why its important to be aware of your blood glucose numbers, along with monitoring your overall weight and body fat.
How To Balance Your Blood Sugar Naturally
Balancing blood sugar is important for so many aspects of your health. It helps you to cope with stress, to help prevent type 2 diabetes, it improves your physical and mental performance and helps you lose weight. So, what exactly is your blood sugar balance
At any one time you have 1 teaspoon of sugar dissolved in your blood and your body will do just about anything to keep it that way. When you eat a meal, food is broken down to produce glucose and that enters the bloodstream. Different types of food result in more or less glucose entering the bloodstream. In order to maintain glucose levels within the healthy range your body release insulin which moves glucose out of the blood into the cells that need it. However, when you eat a meal high in sugar your glucose levels rise far higher than you need in your cells and so insulin stores the excess in your liver and as fat. If you have a meal with more protein or fat and less sugar, you get less of a spike of sugar released into the bloodstream and if it doesnt go above the healthy range then no glucose is stored as fat.
So, how do you balance blood sugar levels?
Balancing blood sugar isnt just important for people wanting to lose weight. When blood sugar levels are too high it hinders the ability of the pancreas to produce insulin so can lead to diabetes and it damages arteries leading to a number of very serious conditions such as kidney disease, stroke, heart attack, nerve damage and slow wound healing.
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