You’ve heard it all before about reducing your sugar intake but why is regulating and maintaining a balanced blood sugar important?
Links to Disease
Raised blood sugar has been linked to type 2 diabetes, obesity, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, depression in post-menopausal women, mood changes and fatigue. In addition, insulin-resistance often seen in polycystic ovary syndrome can cause hardening of the arteries, leading to heart attacks or stroke.
Science has also found significant links between sugar intake and accelerating the visible signs of ageing. Essentially, sugar binds to the collagen in the skin, making it less supple and more dry and brittle, which leads to wrinkles. It is not only the visible signs that is worrying but also the internal ageing of the cells of the body, including the brain.
What Can I Do?
For those whose blood sugar is not stable, it can become a vicious circle of low energy resulting in cravings for high sugar fixes, which ultimately causes another drop in blood sugar and so the process continues. What can we do to balance our blood sugar and therefore reduce the incidence of these health conditions and diseases?
The first step is to eliminate all refined foods. These come in the form of white flour, pasta and rice, as well as any biscuits, cakes and food and drinks containing refined sugar – chocolate, soft drinks, sweets etc. Any food that has been heavily processed and taken away from its natural state is refined to a certain extent.
Instead, choose non-starchy vegetables, wholegrains and seed foods, such as quinoa and buckwheat. Choose raw or dark chocolate when you fancy a chocolate fix and make homemade smoothies rather than buying shop-bought juice, which is incredibly high in sugar. If you do drink it, always dilute at least half with water. Instead of squash, squeeze the juice of a lemon, orange or lime into a glass of water for a refreshing and healthy alternative.
If you do have something sweet, always have it with fat or protein or after a meal. Never have it on an empty stomach. As always, avoid stimulants such as coffee, tea, alcohol and cigarettes.
Little and Often
Eat regularly. Ensure you consume your food little and often to avoid that dreaded dip of energy. Also make sure that every meal includes some protein.
Eat Nutritious Food
Ensure the majority of your diet is made up of highly nutritious food, full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Minerals such as magnesium and chromium are required to process sugar and zinc is needed for the production of insulin so these processes can be ineffective when you are deficient. If you think you may be deficient, consult a professional Nutritional Therapist.
I spend a lot of time educating women about blood sugar and hormonal balance but the same thing applies to other aspects of our mental and physical health. Taking action is something that is within our control and we have the ability to make a significant difference to our own health and wellbeing.