Two apples and walnuts on a white table cloth | Alex Kotomanov

BY: Lindsey Malone, MS, RD, CSO, RD

What if I were to tell you that I could boost your energy and mood, help you burn fat, improve your memory and shrink your waist line with a new supplement that is 100% free. You’d be the first in line, right? Well, the good news is that its entirely possible to accomplish all of these health improvements. The bad news? There is no supplement that can do that. But, putting in place some completely manageable daily habits to manage your blood sugar can move the needle in your physical and mental health free of charge.

What is blood sugar?

Blood glucose is one of your body’s main sources of fuel. Blood glucose changes based on what you’ve eaten, your stress and activity levels. Blood sugar is the Goldilocks of health – the range has to be just right for you to feel your best. Too low and you may experience emotional instability, energy crashes and muscle loss. Too high and you’ll put on fat, become insulin resistant and you may even irritate other vital organs like your eyes and kidneys.

 

blood sugar chart, chart

To be at the top of your game both mentally and physically, you need to keep your blood sugar in a nice tight range.

So, how do we do that? Well, it turns out simple every day habits can keep our blood sugar in an optimal range.

Daily Habits to Balance your Blood Sugar

  1. Choose Whole, Minimally Processed Foods. Whole foods like vegetables, fish, chicken, avocados, nuts and seeds digest slowly and reduce how quickly carbohydrates turn in to blood sugar. Healthy fat, fiber and protein keep the glycemic impact of meals and snacks low.
  2. Avoid Added Sugar and White Flour. Sugar and flour are digested really quickly and almost immediately increase blood sugar. Choose whole grain products, beverages without added sugars and read labels to steer clear of sneaky sugars found in things like spaghetti sauce, salad dressing and cereal.
  3. Be Active Every Day. Move more and sit less. When you are active your muscles use up a fair bit of your circulating blood sugar. Every ounce of muscle you build and maintain through activity works like an engine burning up sugar even when you’re sitting. So, if you’ve had a carb heavy meal or indulged in a donut or soda, don’t panic – go for a walk!
  4. Rest Up. When you’re tired, your brain is wired to reach for simple carbs that raise your blood sugar. Sleep deprivation can also increase stress hormones that actually tell your liver to make sugar (!!!). So make sure you get 6-8 hours of restful sleep nightly. That may mean skipping your afternoon cup of joe or evening cocktail but, its worth it for a good night’s sleep!
  5. Just like sleep deprivation, stress can increase your blood sugar. When you’re stressed your body produces stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones direct your liver to make sugar so that if you need to run from a burning building or tiger, you have the energy. Practice some form of relaxation every day – knitting, gardening, spending some time outside or with animals can all do the trick.

Progress not Perfection

Don’t worry if these habits seem far from your daily reality. Every step in the right direction helps your blood sugar. Start with small manageable changes and build on your progress one habit at a time.

Need more support? We are here to help – make an appointment with one of our wonderful clinicians to get your blood sugar under control today.

 

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