What Can Cause Low Blood Sugar Levels
Some things that can make low blood sugar levels more likely are:
- skipping meals and snacks
- not eating enough food during a meal or snack
- exercising longer or harder than usual without eating some extra food
- getting too much insulin
- not timing the insulin doses properly with meals, snacks, and exercise
Also, some things may increase how quickly insulin gets absorbed into the bloodstream and can make hypoglycemia more likely. These include:
- taking a hot shower or bath right after having an insulin injection increases blood flow through the blood vessels in the skin, which can make the insulin be absorbed more quickly than usual
- injecting the shot into a muscle instead of the fatty layer under the skin
- injecting the insulin into a part of the body used a lot in a particular sport .
All of these situations increase the chances that a person may get hypoglycemia.
What Else Can I Do To Help Manage My Blood Sugar Levels
- Keep track of your blood sugar levels to see what makes them go up or down.
- Eat at regular times, and dont skip meals.
- Choose foods lower in calories, saturated fat, trans fat, sugar, and salt.
- Track your food, drink, and physical activity.
- Drink water instead of juice or soda.
- Limit alcoholic drinks.
- For a sweet treat, choose fruit.
- Control your food portions .
What To Eat When Your Blood Sugar Is High
Usually, you can still eat all the regular fat, fiber, and protein-rich foods youâd typically eat when your blood sugar is elevated. There is no need to restrict food or eliminate carbohydrates in these moments, but it does warrant being more aware of the foods youâre eating and really ensuring weâre filling your plate with complex carbohydrates and nutrient-rich protein sources. Next time your blood sugar is high and youâre wondering what foods help lower blood sugars or what to eat for your next meal try one of these meals:
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How Do Unbalanced Blood Sugars Impact Your Hormones
When your blood sugar levels are out of balance it means your body is using sugars and proteins as a fuel source, rather than fats. This gives your body quick, emergency energy. The body actually interprets high blood sugar levels as a stressor which stimulates the release of cortisol. When too much cortisol is released, your body is in flight or fight mode.
For women, the long-term effect of stress is often hormone imbalance. This is because our sex and stress hormones share the same precursors, which means when your body is constantly in flight or fight mode, it is prioritising survival and not reproduction.
The short of it is, if you cant stabilise your blood sugar levels over a day, it’s very difficult to stabilising your monthly hormones and cycle.
If you cant stabilise your blood sugar levels over a day, it’s very difficult to stabilising your monthly hormones and cycle.
Avoid Eating Large Meals
One way to keep carbs under control is by eating in moderation. I always tell my patients to spread their food out over the day, Weisenberger says. Dont eat small meals to save up for a big dinner. Feeding your body throughout the day helps regulate your blood sugar levels and prevents highs and lows, Crandall Snyder says.
Both Weisenberger and Crandall Snyder say to keep an eye on carbs, even while snacking. Classically, less than 15 g of carbs per snack is a good standard approach, Crandall Snyder says. Thats about whats found in 1 cup of fruit, she says.
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Causes Of High Blood Sugar
The leading causes of high blood sugar or hyperglycemia include:
Diet: Glucose comes from food, so what you are eating causes high blood sugar. Carbohydrates are the most common culprit as they are broken down into glucose very quickly in the body. High-sugar foods, high-fat foods, and processed foods also cause blood glucose spikes and should be replaced with healthier options.
Stress: When you are stressed, more stress hormones and chemicals are released, which drives blood sugar levels up too. If the stress is only temporary, this is not a serious issue, but if you experience chronic stress or an anxiety disorder, you may experience high blood sugar levels more often.
Metabolic Syndrome: These are a collection of conditions that occur at the same time and increase your risk for type 2 diabetes. High blood pressures, excess fat around the waist, and high cholesterol or triglycerides are examples of these conditions. When these occur in the body together, your risk for diabetes increases as does your blood sugar and the risk for potential complications.
Physical Inactivity: A lack of physical activity contributes to elevated blood sugar. When you are physically active each day, insulin works more efficiently, and your blood sugar can be maintained.
How Are Low Blood Sugar Levels Treated
Your diabetes health care team will give you guidelines for treating low blood sugar levels, depending on your symptoms. If you can, try to test your blood sugar levels to make sure that your symptoms are because of hypoglycemia. If you can’t test blood sugar immediately, don’t delay in treating your symptoms you can always check your blood sugar after you’ve taken steps to get your blood sugar back up into the normal range.
When blood sugar levels are low, the goal is to get them back up quickly. To do that, you should take in sugar or sugary foods, which raise the blood sugar level quickly. Your health care team might suggest that you:
- Eat, drink, or take something that contains sugar that can get into the blood quickly. Your doctor may tell you to have really sugary foods or drinks or might give you glucose tablets or gel to take all of these can help to raise your blood sugar level fast, which is what you need to do when it’s low.
- Wait about 10 minutes to let the sugar work.
- Recheck your blood sugar level with a glucose meter to see if blood sugar levels are back to normal.
- Get a glucagon shot , if your symptoms are severe or get worse after you eat, drink, or take glucose.
Sometimes, blood sugar levels can get so low that you may not be awake enough to eat or drink something to get them back up. When this happens, you may need a glucagon shot.
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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.
What If Home Remedies To Lower Blood Sugar Dont Work
When attempting to lower your blood sugar naturally, take the long view. You are talking about a lifestyle change, not a quick fix, says Asterino-McGeean. It may take a few weeks or months to see results.
What if youve been trying home remedies to lower blood sugar for a few months, and your blood sugar levels still wont budge? Asterino-McGeean says you should also schedule an appointment with your doctor. At this point, its time for a conversation with your healthcare provider to see whats going on and discuss your options. Together, you and your doctor can determine the next steps in caring for your health.
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No One Is Perfectly Metabolically Fit
With all of this information in mind, you might be reconsidering the foods you put in your body. That said, remember that no one has perfect blood sugar, and thus, no one is perfectly metabolically fit. Rather than aim for perfection, aim for consistency. For example, try to eat 20-30 grams of protein per meal, two tablespoons of healthy fats, and as many fibrous veggies as youd like. These general guidelines can help maintain consistently balanced blood sugar.
But, what about that glass of wine and crave-worthy pizza? My two cents: Enjoy! Single events, like a glucose spike from a few slices of pizza, have little effect on long-term outcomes. Theyre not worth stressing about. Its the sum of our daily behaviorsdiet, sleep, movement, and stressthat determine our state of health. Our bodies are remarkably adaptable. They know how to use insulin to deal with a glucose spike or antioxidants to fight the not-so-healthy ingredients in a sugary cocktail.
Its when we repeatedly stress our bodies, day after day, that these systems can become overwhelmed. In turn, they start to break down, leading to insulin resistance and chronic inflammation. Moral of the story: Leave wiggle room to enjoy occasional sweets and simple carbs. Along the way, celebrate all youre already doing to support your wellbeing.
Are Bananas Beneficial To Diabetics
Bananas are a healthy and safe fruit for diabetics to consume in moderation as part of a well-balanced, personalized diet plan. The diet of a diabetic individual should contain fresh plant foods, such as fruits and vegetables. Bananas give an abundance of nutrients without contributing many calories.
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How Does Blood Sugar Work
Heres the best way to visualize and think about blood sugar:
Step 1: You eat food.
Lets assume you ate a balanced combination of carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Your digestion breaks down your food. Carbs get broken down into glucose. This your body and your brains primary source of preferred energy.
Step 2: Blood sugar levels rise.
Glucose enters your bloodstream and blood sugar levels naturally increase. How much they increase is dependent largely on the macronutrient breakdown of the meal. More carbs = higher blood sugar. More protein + fat = lower blood sugar spike.
Step 3: Insulin is released.
As soon as your body senses the rise in blood sugar, your pancreas releases insulin. Insulin is an important hormone involved in managing blood sugar levels. We want not too much, but also not too little.
Step 4: Blood sugar lowers.
Insulin acts as the key to open your cells and transport glucose from the bloodstream inside cells. Glucose is either used immediately for energy or stored for later use. Insulin is what keeps blood sugar from getting too high.
Image by Michelle Nash
Learn About The Glycemic Index
Foods low on the glycemic index release energy slowly into the bloodstream and cause only minor changes in blood sugar levels. These include animal protein, nuts and seeds, oils and fats, beans and lentils, whole grains, many vegetables, and some fruits .
A few examples of high glycemic foods are bread, crackers, corn, white rice, white potatoes, muffins, cookies, fruit juices, and sports drinks. Minimize these foods as much as possible, but if you are going to eat them, have them unprocessed in their natural state with their natural fiber intact and pair them with foods high in fiber or protein to slow down the injection of sugar into your bloodstream.
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Top 7 Herbs To Support Healthy Blood Sugar Levels
Over 100 million people in the United States are living with prediabetes or diabetes. Many more are experiencing signs of insulin resistance or hypoglycemia, often without knowing. Yet, supporting healthy blood sugar levels is incredibly important for your health, since chronic blood sugar issues, prediabetes, and diabetes may increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, liver problems, and more. The good news is that through a healthy diet and lifestyle and the use of some powerful herbs, you can support your blood sugar levels and improve your health and well-being.
In this article, I will discuss the importance of healthy blood sugar levels, the damaging effects of advanced glycation end products , and the problems with insulin resistance. I will share the top herbs that can help to support healthy blood sugar levels and offer a supplement that can help to support your blood sugar levels and overall health.
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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You Can Build A Lifestyle That Supports Healthy Blood Sugar Balance
Even though your lifestyle habits may seem impossible to change, having elevated blood sugar can be the motivation you need to make better choices every day. If you have elevated blood sugar, we encourage you to get more information from your doctor about whats right for you.
If you begin shifting your diet away from simple carbs and start getting some exercise every day, you will see a difference in your blood sugar sooner than you think. And with the changes youve made, you might end up loving the way you feel.
Protein Is Essential To Balance Blood Sugar Levels
Quality fats slows down the absorption of glucose into the blood stream, providing satiation and satisfaction. Protein helps pull sugar into the cells so your body can use it for energy. And, of course, carbohydrates provide your body with the preferred source of fuel: glucose.
See how the three macronutrients fat, protein and carbohydrate works together nicely?
We run into problems when we consume poor quality macronutrients and/or consume them out of proportion. Too much protein without healthy fats, for example, can deplete fat soluble vitamins A and D. Consume a healthy source of protein, carbohydrate and fat at each meal to balance your blood sugar.
Remember, protein powders are not healthy options. Even plant-based protein powders provide poor quality protein without the fatty acid co-factors required to properly utilize the protein. One healthy protein addition that I recommend is Grassfed Collagen Hydrolysate, found here, which is gelatin that dissolves instantly in hot or cold beverages. It can supplement your protein intake with healthful amino acids, but should not replace whole-food sources of animal proteins. Take one tablespoon twice daily.
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When Blood Sugar Is Disrupted
However, when you eat a meal with a lot of sugar, or carbohydrates, you end up giving your body more glucose than it actually needs at one given time. In a balanced state, the body should be able to regulate this excess glucose and bring down blood sugar levels within an hour or two, but when sugar or carbohydrate-rich foods are consistently over-consumed, this process becomes stressed.
As you continue to over-consume carbohydrate-rich foods, your body needs more and more and more insulin to manage your blood sugar. Eventually, your body becomes resistant to this insulin response, which means that insulin is no longer able to unlock your cell doors. This creates two problems excess glucose begins to accumulate in the bloodstream , and the cells become starved for energy because insulin is unable to unlock the doors to let glucose into them. This is known as insulin resistance.
Ramp Up Your Movement Each Day
Exercise helps improve blood glucose in people with type 2 diabetes by increasing insulin sensitivity and the bodys ability to use glucose as energy, according to the American Diabetes Association. In type 2, exercise helps improve insulin resistance, says James G. Beckerman, MD, a cardiologist in Portland, Oregon. The end result is lower blood sugars.
Crandall Snyder tells patients that exercise is like spring cleaning for the body. It takes the stored form of glucose and uses it for energy so the next time you eat carbohydrates there’s a place to put it, she says.
Because exercise can immediately reduce blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes, work with your healthcare team to determine the right amount of activity and timing for you. A study published in September 2017 in Frontiers in Endocrinology found exercising 30 minutes after the start of a meal is usually best for maintaining blood sugar controls.
Learn more about managing your blood sugar in Diabetes Daily’s article “HbA1C: Everything You Need to Know.”
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Start With A Truly Balanced Breakfast
A diet that supports balanced blood sugar starts the day in balance. You dont want to start out the day with a blood sugar spike, or it will be downhill from there. Many women start the day with a high sugar breakfast and then wonder what happened, come 10am.Thats probably where the 10am coffee and donut break came from!
Skip the donuts and coffee and instead start your day with what I call a PFF breakfast. PFF stands for Protein, Fat and Fiber. One of my personal favorite PFF breakfasts is the Farmers Wife Sunday Breakfast. You can read more about PFF Breakfasts and get some ideas here.
You can see how to make the Farmers Wife Sunday Breakfast here in this video:
Want more healthy, simple and nutritious breakfast ideas? Download our FREE 15 Breakfasts to Rebalance Your Hormones guide here.