It’s important to keep our blood sugar levels balanced - spikes and drops can result in a variety of symptoms like lethargy, brain fog, headaches, craving sugary/starchy foods, clammy/shaky hands and/or anxiousness.
Sugar is introduced into our bloodstream by the consumption of carbohydrates. In a nutshell, it is the primary source of energy for our bodies and we genuinely require them to keep our body running smoothly. The type and amount of carbohydrates we consume along with what they’re paired with during a meal (with proteins, healthy fats, and/or fibre) determines how quickly and how fast sugar is introduced into our bloodstream. Consuming more complex carbohydrates (unprocessed whole grains, beans, fruit) introduces sugar into the bloodstream at a slower, gradual rate in comparison to simple processed carbohydrates.
Now that we understand the importance of blood sugar, here are simple ways to keep our meals balanced-
- Eat healthy fats - nuts, seeds, avocados, or coconut oils are great additions to your meal - it helps slow down the absorption, which prevents a spike in our blood sugar levels
- Make sure you incorporate a lot of fibre - like good fats, fibre also allows for a more gradual rate of absorption of sugar in our bloodstream. Organic and whole foods like vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and fruits are great sources of fibre.
- Eat plenty of protein - proteins are important for a myriad of reasons, but they also leave us feeling full after a meal. Beans, legumes, nuts, paneer, tofu, edamame, lentils, quinoa, hemp seeds, and chickpeas are great examples of plant-based proteins
- Sleep well - When we don’t sleep well, we naturally crave processed and sugary foods! It’s important to give ourselves enough rest!
- Manage your stress - Stress increases our cravings, but also creates an imbalance in our hormones (increased levels of cortisol). When we’re stressed, our body goes into “flight or fight”, and we have the ability to pull in stored glucose to help during a stressful situation. However, chronic, and prolonged stress levels make this too frequent, resulting in long-term high blood sugar
In conclusion, it is not high-calorie foods that can cause spikes in our blood sugar – the type of calories we consume is far more important. Refined carbohydrates, processed foods, and sugars affect blood sugar levels, leaving it completely unbalanced. Carbohydrates form a very important component of a balanced meal, we need energy to function – however, eating the right kind is much more integral to our overall nutrition.
We don’t need to stress and obsess about food - and it’s important to feel happy about what we’re eating - knowing our body and how it functions, helps us do just that.