Blood Sugar Basics

Balance is key when it comes to creating optimal health in the body, and blood sugar is a great place to start. Factors such as diet, stress, illness, being sedentary, sleeping poorly, and the time of day can all influence blood sugar levels.

High blood sugar, (also called hyperglycemia), occurs when the body doesn’t produce sufficient insulin or develops insulin resistance, a condition in which cells in the body can’t easily take in glucose from the blood. Low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, occurs when levels of blood glucose fall too low.

Blood sugar levels will typically fluctuate during the day, which is completely normal. As long as your general levels remain within an acceptable range, you likely won’t even notice. However, a blood sugar imbalance can lead to numerous health complications.

Thankfully, there are a number of ways, through lifestyle and diet – to help manage blood sugar and prevent insulin resistance from developing.

Here are some strategies for keeping blood sugar in balance that encompass BOTH lifestyle and diet modification:

1| Get a good night’s sleep.

There are connections between balanced blood sugar levels and quality sleep. Loss of sleep and many sleep conditions, such as sleep apnea, are associated with an increase in blood glucose levels.

2| Build gratifying social connections.

Loneliness has been associated with insulin resistance and an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Staying in touch with family, friends or getting involved in your community are all great ways to do this!

3| Take a stroll after eating.

While regular physical activity is beneficial for improving insulin sensitivity, it’s also helpful to engage in light activity after eating a meal. Walking after eating has been shown to support healthy post-meal blood glucose levels.

4| Choose macronutrient balanced meals and snacks.

Avoid eating carbohydrates alone and try pairing them with foods that incorporate protein, fiber and fat. For example, instead of simply eating crackers – try pairing them with peanut butter, celery sticks and a hard boiled egg.

5| Consume omega-3 fatty acids.

Some studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids can help with glucose control. Some food sources include eggs, flaxseed, oily fish and walnuts

6| Consume foods that contain magnesium.

Magnesium rich foods have numerous benefits and blood sugar regulation is one of them. Some food sources of magnesium include avocados, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sea vegetables, dark leafy greens, bananas and black beans

7| Support a healthy gut microbiome.

Gut bacteria play an important role in blood sugar balance. As we consume food, glucose is released into the blood, which triggers insulin production. If too much insulin is released, it can affect your gut bacteria. That gut bacteria can trigger inflammation, which can affect microbiota regulation. An altered microbiota can increase intestinal permeability, which can lead to an increase in insulin resistance and even food sensitivities. We want to feed our gut with whole foods that nourish the gut and keep our microbiota happy and strong.

8| Establish and maintain a consistent eating routine (if possible).

I know some work nights or irregular hours, but if it’s possible – creating a consistent routine can help regulate blood sugar levels.

I hope these strategies help.

Let me know in the comments what you plan to work on today!

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Meghan Mosakowski

lifestyle + wellness coach