Taking care of your blood sugar is important for many reasons you might not know, but without being aware of certain facts about your blood sugar levels, it’s hard to take care of it properly. As women, we deal with stress, extreme hormone fluctuations, and other lifestyle factors that can all affect our blood sugar. To make sure you make healthy decisions to take care of yourself the best way possible, be sure you’re aware of these facts about your blood sugar. You’ll feel better, have more energy, fewer cravings and be well on your way to a healthy weight for life.
1. What You Eat Matters
One of the first facts about your blood sugar levels that you should know is that what you eat matters more than anything else. The foods you eat can either support healthy blood sugar levels, or hurt them to a point that’s pretty alarming. Eating a low glycemic diet that is rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and whole foods, is the best way to control your blood sugar. Avoiding all refined grains, sugars, and foods low in fiber will help ensure your blood sugar stays within an optimal range. You should also be sure to get enough protein and healthy fats in your diet.
If you’re constantly anxious and always on edge, it could be your blood sugar to blame. Constant anxiety is often a sign of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. Not eating enough, skipping meals, or leaving it too long between meals, not eating regularly, drinking alcohol instead of meals, eating too many high sugar foods, along with eating too many low calorie foods, can cause extreme hypoyglycemia. Shaking, moodiness, sweating, light-headedness, weakness, dizziness, being constantly hungry, being mentally foggy and constant irritability are all signs of low blood sugar. If you suffer from this issue, be sure to eat regular meals, eat a protein-based meal with vegetables and a little healthy fat, exercise moderately, and practice a low stress lifestyle as much as possible. Never go 4 hours or more without eating to prevent anxiety from not eating. I don’t know about you, but I’m more moody than ever if I don’t eat! Carry something in your purse at all times that’s low glycemic like nuts or seeds, or even a green apple with some nuts that can be eaten to help stabilize your blood sugar on the go, if you can’t sit down to a meal when you need to.
If you find yourself constantly thirsty, constantly going to the restroom to urinate, being nauseous, or vomiting, unexplained weight loss, slow healing, frequent infections, fatigue, blurry vision, you could be suffering hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar. Overeating, less activity than usual, illness from the cold or flu, or emotional and physical stress can all cause hyperglycemia. To remedy this situation, be sure you eat smaller, more frequent meals comprised of clean, healthy foods, exercise each day for at least 45-60 minutes, and also moderate your stress levels as much as possible.
4. Caffeine Affects It All
Caffeine in small amounts is actually just fine to have each day, but too much will affect your blood sugar levels in major ways. For starters, caffeine increases adrenaline, and though coffee has actually been found to help promote healthy insulin levels, it does so in very small amounts, such as 1-2 small cups a day. Decaf coffee can be consumed throughout the day, but caffeinated coffee should be restricted to 1-2 cups. Coffee, energy drinks, and other sources of quick caffeine should be moderated to prevent intense rise and fall in your blood sugar levels. Enjoy healthy sources of caffeine like green tea, black tea, white tea, oolong tea, and dark chocolate. A little goes a long way with all healthy sources of caffeine, but too much can make you jittery and make you crave carbs because your blood sugar rises and falls after caffeine intake, the same as it does wit sugar.
5. Protein’s Powerful Punch
One amazing thing about your blood sugar is there are specific nutrients that can make a huge difference in how your levels fluctuate each day. For instance, some foods send your blood sugar up and down like a rollercoaster, while others send them into a streamlined, balanced effect. The best food choices to eat for that streamlined effect are essentially lean proteins. Though vegetables are amazing for you, and should be eaten daily, they only hold you over for so long before you’re hungry again. Protein can satiate you for hours at a time, because they take longer to metabolize than any other source of food. This isn’t only great for your body’s metabolism and hunger levels, but also for your blood sugar. Be sure to include lean protein with every meal and snack, of at least 10 grams per serving.
6. Your Cravings Are a Sign
Pay attention to what kind of foods you crave. If most of them are sweets, starches, caffeine, or processed carbs like chips, soda, and crackers, then these constant cravings might be a sign you have low blood sugar, due to eating too many of these foods. Add more leafy greens, lean proteins, low sugar fruits, healthy fats and plenty of vegetables to your diet. In about two weeks, your cravings should disappear, and you’ll likely have more energy, better blood sugar levels, and a healthier appetite as well.
7. Fiber is Key
I’m sure you’ve all heard how important fiber is for many things, but did you know how amazing it is for your blood sugar? Fiber can help promote healthy bowel movements, as well as help slow the rate at which carbohydrates enter and leave the bloodstream. This is key to helping your levels not bottom out too quickly. Add at least 5-10 grams of fiber per meal for the best benefits. If you have a hard time digesting fibers, stick to easier to digest fibers like oatmeal, sweet potatoes, ground flaxseed, wild rice, quinoa, berries and leafy greens instead of beans, cruciferous veggies, and wheat products, which can all cause gas and bloating in sensitive individuals.