Previously we discussed what it means when you have elevated blood sugar and how it affects your body. You can find the link here: http://growingtheseed.com/elevated-blood-sugar/
Once you know this, it is important to know that for many, your choices in day to day life can lead you away from elevated blood sugar and possible diabetes, or they can get you there faster. We are going to discuss some easy and healthy ways to lower blood sugar and maintain improved glucose levels on a regular basis.
Let’s remember that food, stress, and environment all play a role in our health. Eating, exercising, social interactions… they all cause our body to respond chemically. This means our body is releasing hormones (cortisol, adrenaline, insulin…) as it feels it necessary. Our body is in a constant state of awareness- it is primed and ready should it need to switch from relaxed mode to go mode. Foods that are good for our individual bodies will have little impact, but when we eat something that is not right for our body, it creates a larger insulin response. This is true for exercise and environmental exposures, too.
For someone who is in otherwise good health, these little episodes of fluctuating blood sugar can be corrected nicely and we are back on track to regular programming. Eating the wrong foods, having the wrong timing of eating, temporary illness, or undergoing stress are common triggers for blood sugar alterations. But if you are not at optimal health, it is harder for your body to navigate these changes. Weight gain, lack of exercise, poor food choices and unregulated stress are risk factors for high blood sugar that eventually leads to diabetes.
If you fall in this second category and are experiencing high blood sugar levels (pre-diabetes), you are in luck! Unless there is an underlying medical condition, your situation is reversible. So let’s talk about what you can do.
First off, let’s talk about food. Did you know there is an easy way to tell if a food is good for you? This is not an allergy or sensitivity test. This is simply a way to tell if “your” body handles a particular food well.
- On an empty stomach, take your pulse. Write it down on a piece of paper. http://www.wikihow.com/Check-Your-Pulse
- Eat the food in question. Only eat that food, do no eat anything else with it.
- Wait thirty minutes, retake your pulse. Write this second number down on the piece of paper.
- After sixty minutes has gone by, check your pulse a third time. Write it down.
- Check it a fourth time after ninety minutes and write it down.
- Now compare the four numbers. If your heart rate has risen significantly at any point in this ninety minutes, this food is not right for you. Any increase six beats or more is considered an indication of intolerance of that food.
These foods may or may not be off limits for you permanently. Sometimes it is just a temporary sensitivity and is a response to an underlying issue. Resolving this underlying issue can sometimes result in returned tolerance of the offending food. Sometimes, however, it is a permanent sensitivity.
In addition to knowing what foods are good for your body, you can begin to design your eating plan around what will give you the maximum benefit. You may have heard some mention of glycemic index. This is a listing, a rating if you will, of foods and how they affect your blood sugar levels. Starches, especially refined and processed ones, are your biggest offenders. Breads, rices, pastas, sugars, treats (cookies, cakes, candies), dairy, white potatoes and some fruits can be trouble spots. This does not mean you cannot eat them ever. It means you need to monitor your intake of them. Get to know how they affect you personally, and go from there. Again, what spikes your friend’s blood sugar may or may not spike yours. Each person is unique.
Next, starting your day off with breakfast is good for your thyroid, your metabolism, and contributes to steady energy levels throughout the day. After a long night’s sleep, try starting your day with some healthy protein and fats. Eggs, avocados, and greens are great options to get you going. If you have no appetite right away, listen to your body and ease gently in to breakfast. Some of us need to eat immediately, and some of us need to give it an hour or two. Pay attention to how you feel when you eat versus when you don’t, and take notes in a journal if necessary. Watch for patterns among your foods, behaviors, and mood or how your body feels.
In the meantime, here is a great breakfast idea for you to try:
If you normally eat sandwiches or pastas for lunch, consider swapping them out for a salad. Replace the grains with crunchy nuts and seeds full of omega threes and protein, and swap pastas for lower starch foods like sweet potatoes and squashes. Packing a lunch for school or work? No problem. Check out these awesome Mason Jar Salads, complete with dressing!
Dinners that offer a quality protein source, healthy fat, and nutritionally dense sides are your best bet. If you are craving pasta, try the popular vegetable noodle recipes that are swarming the internet right now. They’re delicious, and had my kids downing whole zucchinis in one meal!
Looking for a sweet treat? Replace your desserts with fresh or frozen berries. Berries have a lower impact on blood sugar levels than melons and tropical fruits, such as papayas, mangos and even pineapples. Whip up a little coconut cream and place a dollop on top. Or better yet, eat with a spoonful of almond butter and cinnamon! Here are some more dessert ideas that are low on sugars.
So now we understand what elevated blood sugar means, and we have some good dietary ideas on how to combat this. Give these recipes a try and see what you think and how you feel. Coming soon, we will talk about making some other easy (yet impactful) changes in our lifestyles that can further build your good health and prevent elevated blood sugar.