Eating foods that release energy quickly can cause feelings of fatigue, hunger and irritation.
Processed foods and those full of refined sugar cause a spike in your blood sugars — they release their glucose in a sudden rush. Blood sugar spikes rapidly, but it quickly crashes back to earth!
We have a lovely hormone that comes to the rescue: insulin. Insulin helps the body absorb and process sugar effectively, but the excess is stored as fat!
When this cycle happens over and over again, our cells become tired and stop listening to insulin, which leads to insulin resistance, an early warning sign of diabetes and high insulin can increase your blood pressure.
High insulin increases blood pressure by 4 ways:
Hyperinsulinemia- insulin causes excess sodium and water to be held by your body and directly vasocontricts your blood vessels (like squeezing a water hose).
Insulin resistance- prevents magnesium from entering the cell which is important for relaxing your blood vessels, without it we get vasoconstriction.
Nitric Oxide- Fructose sugar, specifically, elevates uric acid, which drives up blood pressure by inhibiting the nitric oxide (NO) in blood vessels. NO is regarded as the most important vasodilator and helps blood vessels maintain their elasticity. NO suppression leads to increases in blood pressure.
Advanced Glycation- Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) are the direct result of exposure to sugars. They cause vascular stiffening and narrowing of blood vessels aka more pressure out of the hose.
So if you're moody, irritable, hungry, have cravings, experience poor concentration or gain weight? You need to balance your blood sugar!
Below are a few natural, diet-based methods to do just that:
1. Eat foods low on the glycemic index.
These foods release energy SLOWLY into the bloodstream. You can probably guess what they may be: vegetables, legumes, some fruits (berries and stone fruits are best), whole grains, nuts and seeds.
2. Include a snack in between main meals.
This will allow you to stay nice and stable throughout the day. I always encourage a protein-rich snack.
3. Eat protein with each meal.
This is especially important to do when you eat carbohydrates, in order to slow down the release of energy. Protein is the most satiating macronutrient, meaning it releases energy slowly, which helps signal to the brain that you are full!
4. Eat breakfast.
Make sure it includes a protein and a healthy fat. These satiating macronutrients are sure to keep your blood sugars stable.
5. Avoid sugar and refined carbohydrates.
They're the main culprits of blood sugar spikes.
6. Avoid sodas and sweet drinks.
They're filled with sugars, artificial sweeteners and preservatives that will inevitably lead to hormonal imbalance and a blood sugar spike.
7. Avoid artificial sweeteners.
Even though artificial sweeteners contain no glucose, they can have the same effect on the blood sugar that sugar does.
8. Reduce stimulants.
Caffeine, nicotine, and even alcohol (though it's not a stimulant) all cause our blood sugar to rise due to a spike in adrenaline aka spiked BP.
What can you get started with today to help balance your blood sugar and keep you off the hangry roller coaster? Let us know in the group what you choose or if you've had any 'a ha' moments!