Tired? Irritable? Food Cravings? You *may* need to use my tips to help keep your blood sugar stable. Read more below on how we can help.
How Do I Keep My Blood Sugar Stable?
Diabetes, especially Type 2, is a major health epidemic. With an estimate of over 366 million people world wide diagnosed and that number is on the rise. Type 2 diabetes involves a chronic high blood sugar levels that leads to the body becoming insulin resistant. This is a huge health issue! Therefore, knowing about how to regulate and control blood sugar is critical for health and prevention of diabetes!
Let’s dive in.
What exactly is it?
Blood sugar is the measure of the amount of sugar in your blood. You need the right balance of sugar in your blood to fuel your brain and muscles.
The thing is, it can fluctuate. A lot.
This fluctuation is the natural balance between things that increase it; and things that decrease it. When you eat food with sugars or starches (“carbs”), then your digestive system absorbs sugar into your blood. When carbs are ingested and broken down into simple sugars, your body keeps your levels stable by secreting insulin. Insulin allows excess sugar to get it out of your bloodstream and into your muscle cells and other tissues for energy.
Why keep my levels stable?
Your body wants your blood sugar to be at an optimal level. It should be high enough, so you’re not light-headed, fatigued, and irritable. It should be low enough that your body isn’t scrambling to remove excess from the blood.
When levels are too low, this is referred to as “hypoglycemia.”
When the level is too high, it is referred to as hyperglycemia. Prolonged periods of elevated sugar levels (chronic hyperglycemia) can lead to “insulin resistance.”
Insulin resistance is when your cells are just so bored of the excess insulin that they start ignoring (resisting) it, and that keeps your blood sugar levels too high.
Insulin resistance and chronic hyperglycemia can eventually lead to diabetes.
So let’s look at how you can optimize your food and lifestyle to keep your blood sugar stable.
What specific foods can help?
The simplest thing to do to balance your blood sugar is to reduce the number of refined sugars and starches you eat. To do this, you can start by dumping sweet drinks and having smaller portions of dessert.
Eating more fiber is helpful too. Fiber helps to slow down the amount of sugar absorbed from your meal; it reduces the “spike” in your blood sugar level. Fiber is found in plant-based foods (as long as they are eaten in their natural state, processing foods removed fiber). Eating nuts, seeds, and whole fruits and veggies (not juiced) is a great way to increase your fiber intake.
FUN FACT: Cinnamon has been shown to help cells increase insulin sensitivity. Not to mention it’s a delicious spice that can be used in place of sugar. (HINT: It’s in the recipe below)
Lifestyle Tips for Optimal Glycemic Control
Exercise also helps to improve your insulin sensitivity; this means that your cells don’t ignore insulin’s call to get excess sugar out of the blood. Not to mention, when you exercise, your muscles are using up that sugar they absorbed from your blood. But you already knew that exercise is healthy, didn’t you?
Would you believe that stress affects your blood sugar levels?
Yup! Stress hormones increase your sugar levels. If you think about the “fight or flight” stress response, what fuel do your brain and muscles need to “fight” or “flee”? Sugar!
When you are stressed signals are sent to release stored forms of sugar back into the bloodstream, increasing blood sugar levels. So, try to reduce the stress you’re under and manage it more effectively.
Simple tips are meditation, deep breathing, or gentle movement.
How does sleep fit into the picture?
Sleep goes hand-in-hand with stress.
When you don’t get enough quality sleep, you tend to release stress hormones, have a higher appetite, and even get sugar cravings.
Sleep is crucial, often overlooked, factor when it comes to keeping your levels stable. Make sleep more of a priority – it will do your blood sugar (and the rest of your physical and mental health) good.
Can acupuncture help?
You know we cant write a post without talking about acupuncture! The answer is yes! Acupuncture has been shown to help patients with type 2 diabetes. In a recent study, looking at specific acupuncture points and their functions. The researchers looked specifically at a point “Ren12” which had been shown in previous studies to regulate blood sugar levels. They found in this particular study that after needling Ren12, random blood sugar levels dropped. In addition, along with other key acupuncture points, patients had more stable readings!
It’s time to get your acupuncture on!
Your body is on a constant 24-hour quest to keep your blood sugar stable. The body has mechanisms in place to do this, but those mechanisms can get tired (resistant). Long-term sugar issues can spell trouble. There are many nutrition and lifestyle approaches you can take to help keep your levels stable. Minimizing excessive carbs, and eating more fiber, exercising, reducing stress, and improving sleep, and getting regular acupuncture, are all key to having stable blood sugar (and overall good health).
Recipe: Cinnamon Apples
2 apples, chopped
1 tbsp coconut oil
½ tsp ground cinnamon
⅛ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp vanilla extract
Place chopped apples into a small saucepan with 2 tbsp water. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally. After about 5 minutes the apples will become slightly soft, and water will be absorbed.
Add 1 tbsp coconut oil. Stir apples and oil together.
Cook for another 5 minutes, stirring every minute or so.
Add cinnamon, salt, and vanilla. Stir well.
Cook for another few minutes, stirring until the apples reach your desired softness!
Serve and enjoy!
Tip: Keeping the peel on increases the fiber, which is even better for stabilizing your blood sugar.
If you suffer from chronic pain, please give our office a call today, (425) 686-4498 to see how we can help!
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Dr. Ellie Heintze, ND, LAc, is a naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist in Bothell, WA at her practice Starting Point Acupuncture. She is a pain specialist, seeing people who suffer from chronic pain, migraines, as well as digestive issues. Offering pain relief injections, acupuncture, facial rejuvenation, and nutrition consults. Most insurances accepted. Dr. Ellie Heintze is also the author of the book, A Starting Point Guide to Going Gluten-Free on Amazon.
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Dr. Ellie Heintze, ND, LAc
- Master’s Degree in Acupuncture
- Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine
- Master’s Degree in Chemistry
Northern Arizona University
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