According to the National Diabetes Statistics Report, published by the Center for Disease Control in 2020, diabetes affects more than one out of every ten Americans. Even more shocking are the figures for prediabetes, a serious high blood sugar condition that affects one in every three people… but over 80% are unaware they have it. Because Prediabetes puts you at a significant chance of acquiring diabetes (as well as heart disease and stroke), all of this adds up to the so-called “Diabetes Epidemic.”
Thankfully, lifestyle variables such as diet and physical activity can help you regain control over your blood sugar levels. Prevention is important, and adopting a preventive lifestyle is possibly the most single essential activity we can all do to help reduce our chance of developing chronic illness in the future.
Type 1 Diabetes, also known as insulin-dependent or juvenile diabetes, is an auto-immune disease in which the pancreas is attacked by the body’s immune system, stopping it from generating adequate insulin. High blood sugar levels can damage blood vessels and cause major health concerns. It’s vital to have constant monitoring and insulin therapy for the rest of one’s life.
Type 2 diabetes, also known as adult-onset or non-insulin-dependent diabetes, occurs as the body develops a resistance to insulin after so many years of unbalanced blood sugar levels. When your cells stop reacting to the insulin, you won’t be able to absorb glucose from your blood as easily. As a result, the pancreas creates more insulin in an attempt to compel the cells to absorb the glucose, until it can no longer keep up.
As we become older, type 2 diabetes becomes increasingly widespread, and it is more prevalent beyond 45 years of age. Unfortunately, type 2 diabetes is currently being diagnosed in younger people than ever before. Type 2 diabetes symptoms are greatly influenced by lifestyle factors, and insulin isn’t always required if patients can keep their blood sugar levels under control.
Highs and lows in blood glucose aren’t just a problem for diabetics. In reality, while eating, our glucose levels change during the day. Our bodies keep blood sugar levels in check by saving glucose in our cells for later use as energy.
It is very simple to stay satiated and avoid temptation when we eat a nutritious, whole-food diet that is low in sugar and has lots of fiber. However, we rapidly run into issues if we rely on sugar and coffee to get us through the afternoon.
If you are a “hangry” person, the following list of Reactive Hypoglycemia will not shock you:
- A sugary snack is consumed (candy bar, pastry, sweet cereal).
- When blood sugar levels rise quickly, the pancreas releases a flood of insulin to get the glucose out of the bloodstream and into the muscles.
- Because of the surge of insulin, your blood glucose lowers quickly, making you hungry again, with a strong desire for a sweet delight.
- To satisfy the urge, you go for another high-sugar snack, accidentally restarting the roller coaster ride.
Caffeine intake boosts the stress hormone cortisol, comparable to a high-sugar snack. When the body is overwhelmed with cortisol, the pancreas is activated to generate insulin, which lowers blood sugar immediately and triggers food cravings.
Caffeine has been found in studies to raise insulin levels and lower insulin sensitivity, making afternoon coffee, even without the associated sweet treat, is a bad idea if you are managing your insulin levels.
Tell-Tale Signs of a Blood Sugar imbalance
Some common symptoms which are commonly attributed to stress or age may be the result of long-term high blood sugar problems. These are some of them:
Do you find yourself “crashing” after a heavy carb meal or sugary snack on a nearly daily basis? When you haven’t eaten in a while, do you get jittery, restless, and “hangry”? Mood swings, which include spurts of energy followed by fast depletion, are frequently due to blood sugar variations.
Another aggravating irony is that elevated blood sugar causes cravings for more carbohydrate and sugar-rich foods, perpetuating the insulin loop.
When your body detects high glucose levels, it produces more insulin in an attempt to get your cells to absorb the sugar. Insulin, on the other hand, promotes fat storage, particularly around the abdomen.
Female hormones and blood sugar levels are tightly linked. Excess insulin leads the body to create more testosterone, which is converted into estrogen by the adipose tissue in the abdomen. This scenario can result in an estrogen-progesterone imbalance, which can cause symptoms including anxiety, depression, sleeplessness, fertility difficulties, and more.
As previously stated, blood sugar highs and lows, as well as the risk of type 2 diabetes, are strongly linked to one’s lifestyle choices, and some lifestyle decisions can have a significant impact on how well one’s body maintains blood glucose. Here are some of our/my favorite blood sugar-control strategies:
Fiber consumption has been related to enhanced insulin sensitivity due to its numerous health advantages for the stomach and digestion. High-fiber foods can assist in lowering blood sugar increases by including them in all meals. Oats, beans, and many berries contain soluble fiber.
Spinach, kale, broccoli, and cauliflower have all been studied for their potential role in lowering the incidence of type 2 diabetes, owing to their high fiber content and trace minerals, as well as antioxidant polyphenols and vitamin C.
Low Glycemic Foods
The glycemic index (GI) was established to determine how food affects blood sugar levels. Meals with a higher glycemic index increase blood sugar quickly, whereas foods with a lower glycemic index digest and absorb more slowly. It’s worth noting that the glycemic index only applies to carbohydrate-containing foods. A low glycemic diet has been shown in several studies to reduce the risk of acquiring type 2 diabetes.
A low-glycemic diet does not have to be hard to follow, and lists may easily be accessed on Google. Replace high-GI white bread with a lower-GI option, such as 100% rye bread. Stick to apples, cherries, and grapefruit instead of tropical fruits like mangoes and bananas when it comes to fruit.
Sweet beverages can be heavy in sugar, and one study revealed that people who drank at least one sweet drink each day had a 26% increased risk of developing diabetes!
Fruits are naturally high in sugar, and juicing them might lead to you downing many portions in one sitting, resulting in a sugar spike (this is equally true of unsweetened fruit juice). Focus on juices made entirely of vegetables, such as carrots, beets, celery, and kale, if you want to include a nutritious juice in your diet.
When you blend fruit into a smoothie, you maintain the fiber, which is healthy, but it’s easy to go overboard on the sugar. Reduce the sweet ingredients (i.e. restrict yourself to a banana) and experiment with avocado and nut butter as substitutes. Because the greater fat contents serve to improve fullness, a smaller smoothie can be had more frequently.
Tea & Coffee
We have talked about how coffee affects blood sugar and insulin levels. In the afternoon, instead of coffee, try an herbal tea like rooibos or peppermint, or a coffee substitute like dandelion or chicory.
Let’s not ignore the value of fresh, filtered water when it comes to blood sugar management. It aids hydration, digestion, and cell health, as well as intercellular communication. Not to consider the fact that water has been called “the biggest catalyst for weight loss”.
High blood glucose levels might make it difficult to obtain a good night’s sleep, yet sleep is an important part of regulating your blood sugar. Sleep deprivation has been linked to an increased risk of pre-diabetes. Turning off all electronics an hour before bed, sleeping in a cool, dark environment, and restricting liquids of any type before bedtime are all examples of excellent sleep hygiene.
Exercise improves insulin sensitivity and makes your muscles more efficient at absorbing glucose, which helps you sustain a healthy blood sugar level. High-intensity interval training has been shown to be the most efficient in burning sugar in studies, but any sort of cardio that you can maintain over time, along with some weight training, is a fantastic and sustainable technique. Yoga and Pilates provide an excellent balance of strength, cardio, and relaxation, and have been studied for their ability to help diabetics control their blood sugar levels.
Taking a stroll around the block after dinner every night is a good practice which helps your body to burn off some glucose so that you sleep much better, and, as contentious as it may be in some families, being the one who washes the dishes and tidies up before bed may be just as helpful.
When choosing supplements, it is critical to always consult with a healthcare practitioner because many criteria must be examined to determine what is the best for you. For a full list of blood sugar balance supplements, click here.
The following supplements have been researched for their ability to lower blood glucose levels:
This berry-derived supplement is quickly becoming a metabolic illness and weight loss powerhouse. It is being studied for its effect on many major causes of chronic disease:
- Lowering blood sugar and bad cholesterol (LDL) as efficiently as regularly recommended medications.
- Decreasing blood fats (triglycerides) and blood pressure.
- Reducing insulin resistance and inflammation.
- Balancing metabolic hormones and the microbiome.
- Supporting a healthy metabolism by stimulating a major metabolic regulator (AMPK).
- Promoting weight loss, decreasing BMI, and reducing waist size.
Before using Berberine, consult with your health practitioner because it might cause gastric discomfort.
Cinnamon has been researched for its capacity to increase cellular responsiveness to insulin, lowering fasting blood glucose levels by around 10% in test individuals with diabetes and insulin resistance. An extract of Ceylon cinnamon is the most beneficial form to take.
Check with your health practitioner to determine the correct dosage for you.
Vitamin D insufficiency is highly frequent and dangerous. When we go outside in the sun, our bodies produce vitamin D. However, even the sunshine states have an alarming 40% prevalence of vitamin D deficiency.
This fat-soluble vitamin has been demonstrated to boost the function of pancreatic cells that create insulin and raise your body’s reactivity to insulin, in addition to supporting the immune system.
To get a better understanding of how much vitamin D your body requires, talk to our practitioner about having your vitamin D level tested.
When we don’t effectively manage our blood glucose over time, significant issues can occur. Damage to the heart, blood vessels, and nerves, as well as kidney illness and eye damage, are all possibilities. Taking control of the necessary lifestyle elements, on the other hand, can yield excellent outcomes in a short period.
Give us a call if you are ready to learn more about your blood sugar levels and how you can take control of your future health.
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