Blood sugar levels can have a huge impact on your energy and mood. We’ve all experienced imbalanced blood sugar and we all know it’s not so fun. A sugar high can quickly turn into a severe crash, leaving you tired, moody and craving more sugar. Not only that, imbalanced blood sugar can lead to more serious health problems down the road, such as diabetes and heart disease. If you’re worried about your blood sugar levels, we’ve compiled a list of ways to balance blood sugar naturally. We hope it helps!
Why Is It Important to Have Balanced Blood Sugar?
There are numerous reasons why it’s important to your health to have balanced blood sugar. Balanced blood sugar helps keep your brain healthy, your energy levels stable and your mood balanced.
Normal blood sugar levels are an important part of avoiding long-term health issues, managing your weight and feeling good overall. However, when your blood sugar levels are unbalanced, it can lead to increased sugar cravings, irritability, poor sleep, brain fog, low energy and weight gain, and potentially diabetes or other severe health issues down the road.
Blood sugar levels measure the amount of glucose present in your bloodstream. Glucose is the building block of the carbohydrates you eat and is your body’s primary source of energy. When you eat carbs, glucose enters your bloodstream and a hormone called insulin is released, which encourages your cells to absorb glucose as fuel.
If your diet is consistently high in carbs and sugars, your body can become insensitive to insulin and the glucose isn’t properly absorbed, so it remains circulating in your bloodstream. High blood sugar is known as hyperglycemia and it can lead to other health issues in the future, such as cardiovascular disease, nerve damage and kidney failure.
Low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, often occurs in people with diabetes who take medications that increase insulin levels in the body. Low blood sugar in these individuals can occur due to taking too much medication, skipping meals, eating less than normal or exercising more than normal.
11 Symptoms of Low Blood Sugar
- Sweating (especially at the back of your neck on your hairline)
- Nervousness, shakiness and weakness
- Blurry vision
- Rapid heartbeat
- Extreme hunger and slight nausea
- Dizziness and headache
- Unexplained fatigue
- Difficulty sleeping
- Pale skin
- Trouble thinking clearly or concentrating
- Loss of consciousness, or even seizure or coma in extreme cases
11 Symptoms of High Blood Sugar
- Increased hunger and thirst
- Lack of energy, feeling lethargic
- Lack of concentration
- Frequent urination
- Shortness of breath
- Stomach pain
- Weight loss (but feeling hungrier than usual)
- Blurry vision and frequent headaches
- Sores that heal more slowly than usual
- Tingling and numbness in hands and feet
- Swollen or bleeding gums
8 Ways to Balance Blood Sugar Naturally
1. Minimize Processed Carbohydrates
Monitoring your carbohydrate intake is very important when you’re trying to balance your blood sugar. Steer clear of processed carbohydrates such as bread, pasta, baked goods, crackers, granola bars and sugary drinks as they can cause spikes in blood sugar levels. Opt for whole food carbs such as whole grains, beans, lentils, fruits and vegetables. These foods are high in fibre and nutrients, and will help stabilize blood sugar levels.
2. Eat More Fibre
Fibre is a great nutrient for blood sugar management. It slows carb digestion and sugar absorption, resulting in a more gradual rise in blood sugar levels. Soluble fibre has specifically been shown to improve blood sugar management. You can find it in foods such as black beans, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, broccoli, apples, oats and flaxseeds.
3. Get Adequate Sleep
Lack of sleep can cause cells to be less sensitive to insulin, so getting a good night’s sleep is super important. Poor sleep can also increase appetite and lead to weight gain. Sleep deprivation decreases the release of growth hormones and increases cortisol levels, both of which play a key role in blood sugar management.
4. Exercise Regularly
Regular exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight and increase insulin sensitivity. Increased insulin sensitivity means your cells are better able to use the available sugar in your bloodstream. Exercise also helps encourage glucose to go into your muscle cells, which helps manage glucose levels. Try to get some sort of exercise in everyday, whether it’s walking, jogging, weight training, swimming or cycling.
5. Manage Your Stress
When you’re stressed, your blood sugar tends to rise. Hormones such as glucagon and cortisol are emitted during periods of stress, and they can make your blood sugar levels higher. Yoga and meditation are both incredibly helpful for stress reduction, as is deep breathing and reducing your caffeine intake.
6. Always Eat Breakfast
It’s true what they say – breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Eating breakfast is especially important for those at risk of developing hypoglycemia. Focus on a high-protein breakfast rather than a breakfast high in carbohydrates. A meal high in protein can lead to lower post-meal glucose spikes.
7. Focus on Portion Control
Portion control helps regular calorie intake and can help maintain a moderate weight. Weight management promotes healthy blood sugar levels and can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Portion controlling your serving sizes can reduce blood sugar spikes due to lower calorie intake. To manage your portion sizes, use smaller plates, eat slowly, don’t eat while you’re distracted (watching TV or on your phone), and avoid all-you-can-eat restaurants.
8. Drink More Water
Drinking water and staying hydrated can help manage your blood sugar levels. Water helps flush glucose out of the body. It can help dilute your blood sugar and lower it in a healthy way. Aim to drink eight 8-ounce glasses per day and stay away from sugar-filled drinks that can raise blood glucose, boost weight gain and increase diabetes risk.
If you’re struggling to balance your blood sugar levels, we hope this post gives you insight into how to balance blood sugar naturally and efficiently.