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How to balance your blood sugar

We all need to manage our blood sugar and it is relatively simple to do

You don’t have to be diabetic to have trouble regulating glucose levels.

What are the health benefits of balanced blood sugar?

When your blood sugar levels are balanced you are likely to notice the following:

  • Consistent energy levels

  • Good mood and emotions

  • Stable weight

What are the symptoms of imbalanced blood sugar?

Symptoms that indicate an imbalance in blood sugar levels include:

  • Irritability, low mood, anxiety

  • Cravings, especially for sugary and fatty foods

  • Headache, migraine, dizziness, blackouts

  • Insomnia

  • Poor concentration/ memory

  • Energy slumps, tiredness

Blood sugar or blood glucose levels fluctuate. It is normal for levels to rise after meals, and they are usually lower before breakfast. Eating too many sugary or starchy carbohydrates can result in high blood sugar levels.

How does insulin regulate blood sugar?

Insulin is the hormone responsible for lowering blood sugar and keeping it within the desired range.

Eating food that is sugary, refined or high in carbohydrates causes a surge in blood sugar and the body releases insulin to lower it again. Too much insulin can lead to sugar being stored as fat and an over-correction of blood sugar levels, which makes you feel hungry again. This can become a vicious cycle, potentially leading to central obesity and associated metabolic disorders like diabetes.

How to optimise your diet for blood sugar regulation

  • Build meals on good quality protein

  • Include some good quality fats and carbohydrates, mainly from vegetables, in each meal

  • When choosing which starches to eat, opt for whole grains, for example whole grain rice or pasta. Quinoa and buckwheat have a lower glycaemic index (i.e. lower effect on blood sugar) than other grains and can be incorporated into soups, stews and salads

  • Add protein to snacks, for example nuts or cheese with a piece of fruit

  • Avoid fizzy drinks

  • Minimise high sugar foods (if eating them try to have them after a meal)

  • Reduce alcohol intake

  • Leave 4-5 hours between meals and 2-3 hours between meals and snacks. In other words, try not to leave long gaps between meals/snacks, but equally avoid grazing

  • Manage stress – blood sugar levels can fall rapidly as a result of excess adrenaline, leading to feelings of anxiety and panic.