It probably brings up thoughts of eating restrictions, medications for diabetes and insulin shots.
But simply put, blood sugar is the amount of sugar in your blood and how it measures up against the right balance you need to fuel your muscles and brain.
However, blood sugar fluctuates quite a bit. And that fluctuation is the natural balancing act of the things that cause it to increase and those that cause it decrease.
Consuming foods with sugars or starches (carbs/carbohydrates) causes your digestive system to absorb sugar into your blood. After the carbs have been ingested and broken down into simple sugars, your body then stabilizes blood sugar by secreting Insulin. This hormone, Insulin, then allows excess sugar to get out of your bloodstream and into your muscle cells and other tissues for energy usage.
Why do I need to keep my blood sugar stable?
Your body needs your blood sugar level optimized. It needs it high enough to where you’re not experiencing light-headedness, fatigue or irritability. And it should be low enough to where your system isn’t going haywire to get rid of excess sugar from your blood.
Now the term “hypoglycemia” refers to when blood sugar is too low, and the term “hyperglycemia” refers to when it’s too high. Overextended periods of elevated blood sugar levels (known as chronic hyperglycemia) could cause “insulin resistance.”
Insulin resistance occurs when cells are so burdened with the excess insulin that they get desensitized and stop responding (ignore/resist) to it, and that causes blood sugar levels to remain too high.
Both of these, Insulin resistance and chronic hyperglycemia, can eventually cause diabetes.
Let’s take a look at how you can optimize your lifestyle and revive your diet to maintain your blood sugar stability
Food for stabilizing blood sugar
The simplest way to blood sugar balance is for you to reduce the amount of refined sugars and starches you eat. You can pick out the culprits quickly by ridding yourself of sweet drinks (“diet” drinks included); and eating smaller portions of desserts and sweet snacks.
The next great way is by consuming more fiber. Fiber is helpful in slowing down the absorption of sugar from your meal. It reduces that “spike” you may have heard of or experienced in blood sugar levels. You’ll find plenty of fiber in plant based foods like whole (complete and raw; not broken down or processed) fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds.
FUN SCOOP: It has been shown that the spice, Cinnamon, helps your cells increase insulin sensitivity. In addition, it’s a yummy spice that can be used in place of sugar. And yes, it’s included in the recipe below.
The Ultimate Lifestyle for stabilizing blood sugar
Enjoy exercise, rest from stress and sleep!
Exercise helps to improve insulin sensitivity; training your cells not to ignore insulin’s order to remove excess sugar from the blood. Additionally, your muscles use up the sugar they absorbed from your blood when you exercise. Hopefully this intentional movement/good exercise is something you’re already convinced about.
It may not be news to you that stress also affects your blood sugar levels, or is it? Stress hormones increase your blood sugar levels with the “fight or flight” stress response. And if that is the case, guess what fuel your brain and muscles use to “fight” or “flee”? Exactly! Under stress, signals send for a release of stored forms of sugar to be sent back into the bloodstream, increasing blood sugar levels.
So, reduce stress, manage it and/or your response to it more effectively. Simple tips are prayer, reflection/meditation, deep breathing, gentle movement, nature walks, and simply adding more of what you enjoy to your schedule.
Sleep is a crucial, but often overlooked matter when it comes to maintaing good blood sugar levels. Sleep also goes right along with stress, because when you don’t get enough quality sleep, you’re likely to release stress hormones, experience an increase in appetite, and also get sugar cravings.
Make quality and length of sleep priority – it will do your blood sugar, along with the rest of your physical and mental health, a whole lot of good.
Your body is like a system on a continuous 24-hour duty to keep your blood sugar stable. It has the mechanisms in place to do this, however those can get tired (resistant). Prolonged blood sugar issues can cause trouble, but there are plenty of nutrition and lifestyle strategies you can make to help maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Minimize excess carbs in your diet; eat more fiber; exercise, reduce stress, and improve your sleep quality. These are all key to your health overall and blood sugar stability.
RECIPE: Apple Cinnamon Yum
(Blood sugar balancer)
2 Apples, chopped
1 Tbsp coconut oil
½ Tsp ground cinnamon
⅛ Tsp sea salt
¼ Tsp vanilla extract
1. Place chopped apples into a small saucepan with 2 tbsp water. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally. After about 5 minutes the apples will become slightly soft, and water will be absorbed.
2. Add 1 tbsp coconut oil. Stir apples and oil together.
3. Cook for another 5 minutes, stirring every minute or so.
4. Add cinnamon, salt, and vanilla. Stir well.
5. Cook for another few minutes, stirring until the apples reach your desired softness!
Serve and enjoy!
Keep the apple peel on! It keeps the fiber content higher, which is even better for stabilizing your blood sugar.
B.T.Dubs. If you haven’t had a chance to try our Passion Barre classes yet, we’d love to host you! Freedom and the sweet after burn has been spreading like a wildfire since we introduced Rancho Cucamonga to the barre! You have the option to try 3 Classes for $33 or 2 weeks of unlimited classes for $49! We match attendance points with donations to our partners who rescue women and children from human trafficking, so click here to reserve!
In Southern California, we serve Rancho Cucamonga, Upland, Fontana, Ontario, Claremont, Montclair, Corona, Eastvale, Mira Loma, Riverside, Pomona and other surrounding cities. See you at the Barre 😉