Balancing Blood Sugar – Part I

Good health is all about balance, especially when it comes to blood sugar.

Our brain relies on glucose (sugar) for fuel, and it is important to keep blood sugar balanced to feel good, have energy, and think clearly. Glucose requires insulin, a hormone secreted by the pancreas, to carry it to the cells.

While other factors play a role in stabilizing blood sugar levels, diet is the single most influential factor to consider.

The goal here is to eat in such a way that keeps sugar levels in the blood neither too high nor too low.  Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) produce side effects such as fatigue, sugar cravings, changes in blood pressure, with loss or gain, nerve damage, and nervousness, that are indicative of prediabetes or diabetes.

A diet of low-processed, anti-inflammatory foods is key.

While modest amounts of refined carbohydrate sugary foods may not be harmful, they must be well offset by mostly real, whole, less-processed and raw foods.

Include more of the following foods to keep your blood level sugar in good balance. Remember, too, to keep your body happily hydrated with plenty of water every day.

  • Dark leafy greens. You can’t eat enough of these. My recommendation, of course, is to drink lots of green smoothies. With or without the smoothies, choose large servings of spinach, kale, chard, collard, and even some of the more bitter greens such as turnip, beet, and dandelion. Have some greens at every meal. Click here for a copy of my Green Smoothie Guide Book: Your Best Quickstart to a Healthier, More Vibrant YOU! Also, include plenty of other non-starchy vegetables., such as artichokes, asparagus, brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, leeks, etc.
  • Nuts and seeds – Choose what you like among raw almonds, walnuts, Brazil nuts, pecans, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds for starters. Make some designer trail mix, which keeps well in the refrigerator and is an excellent go-to snack at home, at work, and on the road.
  • Beans, especially those that can be sprouted, like mung beans, garbanzo beans, and lentils are high in fiber, low in fat, and a good source of protein. They keep blood sugar nice and steady.  If you’re not going to sprout them, soak them overnight before eating them. This will ease possible digestion issues.
  • Healthy fats. Virgin coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, hemp, chia, and flax seeds, and avocado help to manage blood glucose levels while they improve the taste and filling quality of your meals.
  • Other foods and drinks that make great additions to a blood-stabilizing diet include raw apple cider vinegar, cinnamon, green tea, herbal teas, and fresh herbs and spices

And….walk away from these foods that spike insulin levels, increase inflammation in the body and lead to unnecessary weight gain.

  • Refined sugar, which is no longer limited to candy, cookies and other baked goods. Salad dressings, yogurt, fruit juice, and almost every packaged food on the grocers’ shelves contain refined sugar, often seen as fructose corn syrup.
  • Processed carbohydrates such as bread, pasta, and crackers. They are the enemy of balanced blood sugar.

As I said, a good healthy diet is the best insurance for maintaining healthy blood sugar levels in the body. Other factors such as regular exercise, stress management, and adequate sleep all play a role as well. I’ll address these in my next newsletter/blog.

Many health issues are triggered by poorly managed blood sugar, are avoidable and can be managed naturally and successfully through healthy eating and lifestyle habits.

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