There's a lot of talk about blood sugar nowadays, especially with type II diabetes being as widespread as it is. (By the way, did you know that since 1996, the number of people with diabetes has more than doubled. OR that if we keep on going like we are, it's expected that around 5 million people will have it by 2025? Yikes.)
But what is blood sugar really? Why should we give it the love and attention it needs? And most importantly how do we do it?
What is blood sugar?
It's simple really: blood sugar refers to the amount of glucose in the blood (who knew?). The blood carries sugar (glucose) around the body, so that it can be used by each of your cells (that make up all of your various organs and tissues), to make the energy they need to carry out the jobs they have to do to keep us going. That kind of thing.
Why should I care about blood sugar?
A decent blood sugar level is all about balance. If it's too high or too low, you can find yourself with some pretty rubbish side-effects. Like: in the short-term, low blood sugar can mess with your mood, even affecting your vision, giving you headaches as well as making you feel dizzy, irritable and feeling hungry. (Amongst all sorts of other things). And with high-blood sugar, you might find yourself peeing a lot, feeling thirsty, and feeling super peckish all the time. Keeping either up for too long can lead to complications like type II diabetes and lots of other nasty stuff.
How can I manage my blood sugar?
Avoid skipping meals and try not to rely on quick energy fixes such as sugary snacks, biscuits and crisps. These'll cause your blood sugar to peak and dip quickly, and give you that inevitable sugar crash. Reducing processed food which may contain hidden sugars will help with this too. These will all help to look after your adrenal glands too.
- So, reduce your portion size and enjoy regular meals (3 a day) and 2/3 snacks throughout the day
Try not to have carbohydrate on their own and limit refined grains (white bread, white pasta, white rice, that kind of thing), instead, incorporate complex carbohydrate, protein and essential fats with every meal and snack (only have the snacks if you are finding that you have the crashes and tiredness explained above)
- Reduce stimulants such as caffeine, especially with food, as this may affect the absorption of some nutrients, particularly magnesium - and magnesium is essential in the creation of energy
Incorporate plenty of foods with vitamin C (fresh fruits and vegetables); vitamin C helps your body to absorb iron, helps your cells create energy and supports your adrenal glands, especially in times of increased stress
Increase your intake of iron (liver, eggs, oily fish, dark green leafy vegetables). It's great for your red blood cells, enabling them to carry oxygen efficiently around the body, great for making energy and great for your thyroid gland too
Increase your intake of magnesium and B vitamins (liver, eggs, watercress, wholegrains). Cells need B vitamins and magnesium to create the energy needed to carry out their daily tasks
Increase foods rich in chromium - not such a well known mineral - but chromium, together with vitamin B3, zinc and magnesium are partners for glucose production and insulin production (foods rich in chromium include onions, tomatoes, wholegrain, chicken, oats, nuts, seeds, eggs)
Make time for exercise, relaxation and sleep. Eat slowly and chew well, giving your digestion the best possible start to be able to absorb as many nutrients as it can.
Drink plenty of filtered water; dehydration can lead to all sorts of things, including tiredness. Aim for 6 – 8, 250ml glasses per day - this doesn't have to be just water though, herbal tea, soup, fruit and vegetables all count! Or, if you want to get technical, chat with us on how you can tailor your fluid intake based on your body weight
It might feel like there's a lot to remember, but take things one bullet point at a time, and you'll have a handle on your blood sugar before you know it.
Thanks for reading,
Aprés Food Co.