What Are the Best Ways to Balance Blood Sugar? You probably hear a lot of conflicting advice, but now its more clear that highly refined and processed foods in the forms of carbs or sugars cause blood sugar fluctuations.
Everyone knows regulating your blood sugar is important for people with or who are at risk for diabetes, but it may also increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, hypertension, and cancer! Of course its important to also regulate your blood sugar levels to support appetite control, mood swings and even weight loss practices.
To balance blood sugar naturally, make smart nutrition and lifestyle choices that support normal metabolism function. So how do you do that?
- Eat every 3-l/2-4 hours. Also how you eat these foods actually matters. Anything that slows the absorption of sugar from the digestive tract into the blood stream helps. The slower your body absorbs sugar, the less likely you are to experience unhealthy blood sugar highs and lows. So…by eating a combination of eating three things together at the same you can keep better blood sugar balance. This is whether you are eating a snack or a meal.
- Eat Protein – Add a handful of dried raw, unsalted nuts or seeds, or a hard boiled egg, or l/2 cup of Greek Non-Fat Plain Yogurt, or a couple of slices of low salt turkey breast, or a low-fat mozzarella cheese stick to your snack. If eating a meal, you would use the same combinations of foods as listed in this article but you eat only 1/4 of the portions at snack time. Meal time should be eat breakfast like a “prince”, lunch like a “king” and dinner like a “pauper”. So lunch should be your biggest meal of the day with the most amount of protein at that time and dinner should be the smallest meal of the day. You can also choose other healthy proteins such as beans combined with brown rice, organic Tofu, Fish or Seafood or Chicken.
- Fat – Thats right, healthy fats such as those found in almond butter, coconut oil, fatty fish and olives, avocado or olive oil are the good fats that don’t act to raise cholesterol levels, but yet help to balance blood sugar when combined with protein or unrefined carbs. Unrefined carbs are whole grains, vegetables and quinoa/rice. Portions for fat should be: a handful of nuts to fit in your cupped hand, 1 tablespoon of nut butter or coconut oil, l/4 avocado, l/4 cup of olives sliced or 6-7 whole olives. Hummus is also a healthy fat with protein in it but 2-3 measured tablespoons is the portion!
- Fiber - Eat whole, unprocessed, fiber-rich foods as your first choice, such as an apple or berries of any variety, fresh vegetables and air popped popcorn, steel cut oatmeal instead of “Quaker Oats”, lentils and beans instead of crackers or chips, or nuts/seeds. So if you choose the nuts/seeds option that takes care of the fat portion too since there is natural fat in those.
- Willpower? - Can’t forget good, old fashioned will power. There is always going to be many times of weakness in that area, but I have some ideas to help your sweet tooth when you just feel “I have to have something sweet or I’m going to die” feeling:
- Try some natural jelly beans like the kind you would find at Trader Joe’s near the check-out counter, or at Whole Foods in the bulk bin. They are free of chemicals and colorings. Jelly Beans are only 3 calories for each bean and if you eat them slowly you can have 10 jelly beans for 30 calories – not bad…
- Try making your own natural fruit juice popsicle. They sell popsicle making kits at Whole Foods. Just fill them with sugar free Organic Tart Cherry Juice or Pomegranate Juice and for 45 calories you get a healthy popsicle.
- Have l/2 cup of organic granola or Whole Grain Cereal. Add some cinnamon to add flavor, eat the cereal dry.
- Have some air popped pop corn, which should be organic to avoid GMO corn. 2-l/2 cups popped is only 70 calories.
- Suck on an organic lollipop which they sell at TJ Maxx near the checkout stand. 2 of them are only 50 calories.
- Suck on a couple of peppermint drops. Peppermint is a natural appetite suppressant. You can get the ones they sell in the tin box at Trader Joe’s at the cash register too. Plus you will get fresh breath!
- Drink half your body weight in ounces of water daily. This promotes appetite control and flushes the body of unwanted toxins through the day.
Using your muscles is one of the best ways to keep blood sugar in a good balance as well. The large muscle groups of the body – legs, back, and abdominals—use blood sugar for energy. The more you work them, the more energy they use, which helps keep blood sugar levels stable. Sitting at the computer for hours on end is the worse thing you can do for blood sugar, so even if you can’t fit in exercise that day, set a reminder to stand up, stretch, and move around every half-hour.
Cut off your eating at least 3 hours before bedtime as well as your water drinking. You don’t need the calories when your body will be shutting down to promote sleep instead of digesting food.