Blood sugar rollercoasters...they aren’t as fun as they sound. The ups and downs are often accompanied by irritability, anxiety, inability to concentrate, brain fog, fatigue, and cravings for sugar and other pick-me-ups among other frustrating symptoms. I’m sure we’ve all been hangry and experienced this from time to time.
When you are dealing with a lot of stressors in your life, you are likely taking frequent rides on this rollercoaster. This is because our stress hormone, cortisol, is responsible for managing blood sugar, so whenever you have a surge of stress, it will be paired with a surge of sugar in your bloodstream.
Thankfully, there is lots we can do to balance our blood sugar to counteract the effects of stress on our body. The keys are being mindful of:
When you eat so you aren’t letting your blood sugar get too low between meals.
What you eat so your food isn’t broken down and absorbed into the blood stream too quickly, causing a spike in blood sugar.
In order to achieve these, try out the following guidelines for balancing blood sugar:
Eat within 60-90 minutes of waking. This makes sure we are fueling our body so that our blood sugar does not crash while we are getting after the day.
Eat every 2.5 - 3 hours, whether it be a snack or meal. Again it’s all about constantly fueling our body to prevent major blood sugar dips.
Ensure every meal and snack contains fat, protein and carbs. Having all three macronutrients slows down the breakdown and absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, so our blood sugar doesn’t spike as drastically.
When choosing carbs, aim for whole grain options. Whole grain options contain more fibre, which slows down the break down and absorption. These options, such as brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat and farro.
When choosing sugars, aim for for less refined/less processed natural sweeteners. By refining sugar, you are essentially making it easier for our body to break down and absorb, this is going to lead to a big spike in blood sugar. Instead of refined sugar, opt for options like maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, or date sugar.
Other tips for balancing blood sugar:
The standard diet typically is higher in carbs and lower in fat and protein. I find an easy way of adding fat and proteins is by adding seeds and nuts to a meal or snack. My favourite are brazil nuts, almonds, pecans, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds and chia seeds.
When thinking of snacks, focus on balancing fat, protein and carbs. Think veggies or rice crackers with hummus and guacamole, a dried fruit, nut and seed concoction, plain yogurt with nuts, celery and nut butter, roasted chickpeas or hard-boiled eggs.
If you are ready to feel full of energy, have better focus, have stable moods, and to no longer be fueled by caffeine and sugar, start to incorporate these tips into your diet. Once you start to notice the changes in how you feel, you won’t go back to your old way of eating.
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