Most of us have heard the term “insulin resistance” and “high blood sugar”, but what does this mean? Think of insulin as a key – it unlocks the cell and allows glucose into that cell to prevent blood sugar levels from rising in the blood. If we consistently have a diet high in sugar, unhealthy fats and processed foods, our pancreas can start to overproduce insulin and we can run the risk of not being able to lower blood sugar levels.
Balancing our blood sugar levels is important not only to help prevent diabetes, but many other diseases can be related to blood sugar imbalances. Metabolic Syndrome, for example, is a growing concern around the world but in Canada the statistics show that 1 in 5 people meet this diagnosis (1). And what is the root cause of Metabolic Syndrome? You might have guessed it, insulin resistance.
While pharmaceuticals might help treat the underlying conditions, the only way to reverse this condition is through lifestyle, exercise, and diet (2).
So if you are struggling first and foremost, you are not alone. Secondly, it is not your fault! Sugar, processed oils/foods, and other chemicals are designed to keep your cravings high making it nearly impossible for you to have the will power to say no. But there is good news! Making small changes can have a huge positive impact on balancing your blood sugar. Below are some tips you can incorporate throughout the day to help you manage.
Eat a Balanced Breakfast
Your breakfast, as every meal, should contain some protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Getting enough of each helps reduce cravings and keeps you feeling satiated. Important note: Have your breakfast before you’re your cup of joe and try to eat within 30 minutes of waking.
Add Fiber to Your Diet
Eat foods rich in fiber like coconut, pears, and legumes/vegetables. If you cant get enough fiber through your diet or are sensitive to high-fiber foods, try a powdered supplement. Fiber helps slow down digestion which prevent spikes in blood sugar.
Eat Every 3 – 4 Hours
Eating more frequent meals throughout the day can help improve your metabolism. You also need to feed your metabolism, so it’s crucial that you are getting enough calories. In saying that, it is important that you determine the right amount of calories for you.
Get Moving and Meditate
Yoga and meditation are a great tools to reduce stress and stabilize cortisol levels in the body, therefore; help balance your blood sugar. Try doing less cardio and more weightlifting – high intense workouts can further stress the body whole lifting weights helps speed up your metabolism.
Eat Whole Foods and Supplement When Necessary
Eat a variety of plant-based and animal foods to get an assortment of nutrients. Avoid processed foods and those high in sugar. Tip: try adding in a chromium and magnesium supplement if you struggle with sugar cravings and/or a greens powder for extra energy and nutrients.
Drink 8 cups of water per day and add in electrolytes if you are active or sweating frequently. Getting sufficient amounts of water helps increase your metabolic rate.
Have a Snack Before Bed
Eating before bed, especially a snack high in protein like low fat cottage cheese with some honey or fruit, can help improve your metabolic rate throughout the night and even into the morning. Quality sleep is also important for maintaining blood sugar balance throughout the day.
A short walk after meals
Just 15 minutes of easy-to-moderate walking after meals (especially with carbohydrates) can help curb blood sugar spikes all day. This is a great, simple tool for anyone looking to keep their blood sugar balanced throughout the day.