Lowering Blood Sugar
24 Sep 2021
5 Ways You Can Control Your Blood Sugar.
From energy slumps to brain fog, sugar cravings and trouble shifting weight, many of us will have experienced problems triggered by the blood sugar rollercoaster.
Yet, what does this mean for our health, for our bodies, and what can we do about it?
Whenever we eat sugary foods, we trigger a cascade of natural processes that are designed to help our body cope with the sudden surge. In healthy people, the hormone insulin is released by the pancreas to help our cells use the glucose (sugar) in our bloodstream for energy.
However, when this happens too often over long periods of time, our cells can become less sensitive to insulin, meaning we can’t take glucose from the blood as easily. Ultimately, this can lead to insulin resistance, triggering all kinds of health problems - think pre-diabetes, Type II Diabetes, chronic inflammation and much more.
While we all have high blood sugar from time to time (life is for living, after all!) it can be a problem when your body’s sugars are repeatedly high.
Signs you may be riding the blood sugar rollercoaster - and that you may need to seek medical advice - include:
- Brain fog or trouble concentrating
- Mood swings
- Weight gain (particularly around the middle)
- Cravings for sugar or carbs
- Excessive thirst
- A frequent need to urinate
Of course, if you’re experiencing these symptoms and are worried that you may have problems with your blood sugars, then always seek support from a GP.
However, there are lots of things we can do to avoid hopping on the blood sugar rollercoaster - and, to keep our bodies happier and healthier as a result!
TIPS FOR BALANCING BLOOD SUGARS
Ditch the Processed CarbsWhile they may seem tempting, when we reach for the cookie jar or eat meals high in processed carbs (think all things white and fluffy), we can trigger that all-too familiar blood sugar battle.Most of our favourite processed foods are packed with sugar and refined grains or carbs, which can trigger the insulin response. These same foods also happen to be low in fibre and protein, both of which help to balance blood sugars.Of course, that isn’t to say that we should never eat these foods! It’s OK to eat them with enjoyment from time-to-time. However, wherever you can, aim to embrace whole foods when it comes to your carbs - quinoa, brown rice, whole fruits and vegetables and sweet potatoes are just some of our favourites.
Gluten free, organic and more natural alternatives always do the trick! Dhow's organic and natural gluten free collection includes some amazing supplements for carbohydrates! From sweet potato flour, to cassava and even breadfruit flour, all perfect for an absolutely healthy, balanced diet!
Protein and Fats are Your FriendProteins and healthy fats are crucial for balancing blood sugars. They help to keep us feeling fuller for longer, and they also provide the building blocks for healthy, happy hormones. In fact, unsaturated fats have actually been linked to improving insulin resistance in studies!With that in mind, aim to eat protein and healthy fats with your meals whenever you can. If this isn’t always possible, why not start the day with a protein-rich breakfast with a portion of healthy fats within an hour of waking? This is especially good for blood sugar balance, which will also mean your energy levels stay on an even keel too!
It’s important to point out that quality of protein and fats matter. Wherever possible, reach for high quality protein (think legumes, organic tofu and tempeh, or grass-fed and hormone-free meats), as well as healthy fats such as nuts, seeds, extra virgin olive oil and avocado.An example of a high quality legume is the bambara nut. A Native African Legume much like a peanut that is incredibly high in protein, found in our Bam-choco latte!But don't be deceived, greens like our organic Moringa powder can be an incredible source of protein too!
Fill Up on FibreIt’s well-known that many Western diets are lacking in fibre. Yet, upping our fibre intake isn’t just good for digestion - it also helps to slow down our body’s absorption of sugars and carbs, meaning you’ll experience fewer blood sugar spikes (and therefore crashes).Some of our favourite fibrous foods to fill up on include our organic chia seeds, organic baobab powder, avocados, raspberries and other whole foods. You may also like to try baking with higher fibre flours like our organic sweet potato flour or green banana flour.
De-Stress - and Get Some Sleep!All too often, we spend our lives frantically dashing around. Always rushing, always doing. Always busy. However, this means that many of us are chronically stressed - and chronically sleep deprived.Sadly for our health and for our waistlines, a lack of sleep and soaring stress also cause high levels of Cortisol (AKA the stress hormone). High cortisol levels are linked to high blood sugars and, long-term, this can cause all sorts of problems.Lack of sleep can also raise levels of the hunger hormone, Ghrelin, causing us to crave more food - and making us more likely to binge on sugary treats. A vicious cycle, when you think about it!Try our golden milk mix, the Turmeric Latte for better sleep!
A Sprinkling of Cinnamon
Some studies have shown that our favourite warming spice, cinnamon, may help to stabilise blood sugars. Cinnamon also works to sweeten foods naturally, so it means we’re also less likely to drizzle endless maple syrup over our breakfasts!
Want to enjoy the benefits? Try adding a pinch of our organic cinnamon powder to your morning smoothies, oats and even homemade curries and stews!
Overall if you consistently struggle with high blood sugar, lowering it with a healthy diet and following some of the ideas above will contribute to maintaining blood sugar.
Dhow X Samantha Hadadi
Sam is a health coach, specialising in women’s health and hormones. She helps frazzled, busy women to love their bodies, enjoy PMS-free lives and to feel energised. She is also a plant-based cook and has four boys. In this piece she talks about the 5 main foods best for female hormonal health.