If you suffer mood swings, bouts of fatigue and ongoing cravings, the culprit could be your blood sugar, so try to implement some lesser known ways to control your blood sugar to offset this problem. Many of us know that reducing refined sugars, refined carbs and eating a clean diet can help us control our blood sugar, but these aren’t the only things that can help. If you suffer high levels of stress, lack of sleep, hormone fluctuations, and inactivity, these may be reasons your your blood sugar levels are off. Or, it could be possible you're not eating the right balance of foods, which can alter your insulin output, the blood sugar hormone, which affects your blood sugar levels. Incorporate the following proven ways to control your blood sugar and see if you notice a difference. I found that once I used the following tips on a regular basis, my blood sugar is never out of whack anymore. Just remember to eat regularly. Skipping meals will mess up your blood sugar levels more than anything will. Plus, when your blood sugar is low, you're cranky and no one likes a cranky person, so eat up and take care!
1. Take a Walk
Sometimes, just getting up to move a little can be one of the best ways to control your blood sugar. Sometimes when we’re bored, stiff, or inactive, our bodies get confused and make us think we need to eat for stimulation and energy. In reality, we don’t need to eat, but move! Take a 20 minute walk and more than likely your craving for that donut or cookie will be gone and you’ll feel more energized. Walking has been proven to reduce insulin production, fat storage and reduce blood sugar levels throughout various studies and the beauty is, most anyone can do it!
2. Go for a Run
Exercise, like regular movement, is one of the best ways to reduce your blood sugar. Running actually increases the production of endorphins in the brain. Endorphins are the body's natural drug, which act like an opiate that enhances your mood and reduces cravings. You’ll notice that after intense exercise like running, you aren’t really that hungry and this is why. Running, lifting weights and high intensity exercise that produce opiates in the brain, aid in reducing blood sugar levels significantly. Now, lace up your shoes and get going, girly!
3. Eat Some Healthy Fats
If you’re not eating enough healthy fat, which is probably more than you think, then you’ll suffer from low blood sugar, leaving you tired, depressed and hungry! If most of us would increase our healthy fats and decrease our starchy carbohydrate intake, we would almost immediately see our blood sugar levels and cravings reduced. I make sure to get my daily dose of healthy fats through three servings a day each of chia seeds, hemp seeds and flax seeds. I also eat nutritious wild fish, raw coconut shreds and even raw cacao and unsweetened chocolate. By eating healthy fats, you’re providing your body with the fuel it needs and powerful medicinal therapy. Eating healthy fats has been proven to reduce sugar cravings and won’t cause weight gain when you avoid added sugars and starches.
4. Supplement with Magnesium
Did you know the important mineral magnesium can drastically reduce your sugar cravings, lower your blood sugar and reduce insulin output in the body? Most women, and most people in general, are magnesium deficient due to the tap water we drink that depletes natural levels, toxins we encounter, stress we encounter, exercises we perform, and other environmental factors. Low magnesium will result in low energy, poor mood, headaches, PMS symptoms, constipation and out of whack blood sugar. Magnesium can even help you sleep better and aid in muscle repair after exercise. I recommend supplementing with about 400-800 mg a day if you’re not taking a multivitamin and then starting with a 400 mg supplement if you are taking a multivitamin. If you have concerns, talk with a medical professional you trust first.
5. Drink More Water
Sometimes we think we’re hungry when our blood sugar drops, but we’re actually just thirsty! In fact, not drinking enough water can increase your blood sugar levels and create cravings. Be sure you’re drinking enough and try to sip at least a little water each hour. Also, start each morning out with some water, and if you want, add the famous lemon water into your routine.
6. Try Green Juice
I know many people are skeptical of juicing, but I’m a firm believer in the benefits of rich and nutritious vegetable juice for reducing blood sugar levels. Green juice that is made when juicing raw greens is the most alkalizing way on the planet to reduce your blood sugar. I drink one glass each morning and one glass each afternoon when I can, and it greatly reduces sugar cravings, gives me energy, and balances my blood sugar on a regular basis due to the high nutrient composition green juice gives the body. I personally love it for getting rid of a headache in minutes! Green smoothies are a wonderful second alternative, and something I eat twice a day as well.
7. Eat the Right Fiber
There are two types of fiber found in different foods: soluble fiber and insoluble fiber. Both forms are important, but soluble fiber is actually better at reducing your blood sugar levels than insoluble fiber is. Why so? Soluble fiber is soaked up with water in the intestines, and slows down digestion. In the long run, it helps excrete wastes from the body, just like insoluble fiber, but does so on a much slower basis, keeping your insulin stable for longer. Insoluble sources of fiber such as coconut, nuts, leafy greens and raw vegetables should always be eaten and can be great for aiding constipation, but they literally shoot right through you, which can cause your stomach to empty sooner and leave your blood sugar to rise again quicker. Incorporate soluble fiber more into your routine, which comes from winter squash like pumpkin, butternut and acorn squash, sweet potatoes, oats, wild rice, quinoa, chia seeds, flax seeds, apples, pears, carrots, figs and prunes. I prefer to eat a soluble source of fiber with an insoluble source of fiber for the most filling benefit and the most digestive friendly option. A perfect example? Chia seed pudding with some coconut shreds and some walnuts tossed in. Or, how about a spinach salad with some tomatoes and roasted butternut squash? These are both great examples of a healthy mix of soluble and insoluble sources of fiber to balance blood sugar levels longer.
8. Ease up on the Coffee Refills
Excess caffeine, especially through coffee and energy drinks, can make your blood sugar levels worse. Even though they may give you a boost of energy, once the caffeine leaves your system, your blood sugar will drop and you’ll crave sugar to pick it back up again, or more coffee, which can create vicious cycle. One or two cups of coffee or tea in the morning have been proven to reduce insulin, so you don’t need to cut it out, but you do need to reduce the amount you drink all day. My rule is I don’t have any extra coffee after breakfast, unless I’m out for coffee with a friend, when I always order decaf instead of regular. Whatever you do, don’t use sugar in your coffee either. Go for stevia and unsweetened almond milk or skim milk.
9. Eat a Balanced Plate
Most importantly, when you eat, be sure you’re eating a balanced plate. Get your carbs from healthy sources like non-starchy vegetables or small amounts of starchy veggies, lean protein from quality sources, a little healthy fat, and tons of leafy greens and green vegetables. Eating this way will keep your blood sugar levels stable, even and increase your mood health too.
I’ve been down the road of suffering low blood sugar and it is no fun! I can tell you that these tips will make a huge difference in your overall sense of well-being and your blood sugar levels. I rarely ever get cravings anymore, and if I do, I know something is out of balance and needs to be corrected. Do you suffer low blood sugar? If so, what do you think you could try to make it better?