We reveal our top tips on how you can control your blood sugar levels, naturally…
Glucose is essential for energy production throughout the body and particularly in the brain. However, it is important to keep blood sugar levels balanced opposed to highs and dips.
“After a sugary snack we may experience a rush of energy,” explains nutritional therapist Natalie Lamb, technical advisor at ADM Protexin, manufacturers of Bio-Kult and Lepicol. “Our pancreas will be working hard to produce lots of insulin to get the glucose into our cells. If not used immediately as an energy source the body will store the excess sugar in the liver, our muscles or as fat around our middle. Glucose storage worked well when we were hunter-gatherers but these days food shortage is rarely a problem. When blood sugar gets low we can experience symptoms such as tiredness, low energy, irritability, dizziness, headaches, poor concentration and subsequent sugar cravings and the cycle starts again.”
Both high and low blood sugar levels can lead to complications, so it’s important to help support blood sugar levels to stay balanced.
High blood sugar can have a negative impact on our weight, energy, mood, brain function and hormones. If blood sugar levels are too high in the short-term it can lead to type 2 diabetes, which can lead to serious health complications in the long-term, including cardiovascular disease, kidney disease and eye, nerve and muscle disorders.
Low blood sugar levels can lead to hypoglycemia, with long-term symptoms including confusion, abnormal behaviour, visual disturbances (including blurred vision), seizures and loss of consciousness.
“Over time, these peaks and troths of blood sugar and insulin production can lead to cells becoming resistant to insulin and the pancreas no longer able to keep up production, leading to a condition called ‘insulin resistance’,” advises Lamb. “We are seeing increasing rates of obesity, hypertension, the metabolic syndrome, type-2 diabetes, and kidney disease. It is thought that sugar, particularly excessive fructose intake, has a critical role to play in the epidemic. Insulin resistance is commonly observed in these conditions.”
How can we naturally control our blood sugar levels?
- Have protein with every meal: “Be sure to consume a good quality protein source with each meal or snack helping to satisfy hunger and sustain fullness for longer and reduce subsequent sweet cravings later in the afternoon,” comments Lamb.
- Focus on a healthy diet: “Swap processed foods high in sugar or refined carbs for ‘real foods’ such as colourful seasonal vegetables, salads and fruits supplying you with a wide range of energising nutrients the body needs to function optimally throughout the day,” advises Lamb.
- Increase your omega-3: “Enjoy some omega-3 fats such as oily fish, flaxseeds and walnuts or saturated fat such as coconut oil, butter or ghee from grass fed cows, helping to ensure fullness after eating, reduce sugar cravings, inflammation and burn stored body fat,” explains Lamb.
- Create a routine and stick to it: “Stick to a regular routine so your body can regulate hunger hormones and mood fluctuations,” said Lamb. “Keep focused and calm when eating to improve digestion and to notice when you’re full!”
- Exercise regularly: “Introduce some form of gentle daily exercise such as walking, cycling, dancing or yoga and increase regular movement in your daily routine such as taking the stairs instead of the lift, parking your car further from work or getting off the train a stop early. Remember more muscle mass means more storage capacity for glucose so it won’t get stored as fat,” explains Lamb.