Balancing Blood Sugar
Blood sugar is a term most people might think of in association with diabetes risk and management. But it is actually crucial for our energy levels, moods, and focus. As the holiday season approaches, we are around more tempting foods that are high in sugar and low in nutrients. Increasing our intake of these treats will make managing our blood sugar seem like an impossible task, but with a little planning, we can keep our bodies balanced.
Has anyone ever came into the gym, feeling energetic and ready to go, only to start the WOD, and 2 minutes later feel like light-headed, lethargic, and weak? To understand why this sometimes happens, lets first look at how blood sugar effects you body. Blood sugar is simply the concentration of glucose in the blood. Since we all are not walking around with a glucose monitor, what are the signs to tell you when your blood sugar is too low or high? When our blood sugar is low, we feel hungry, sweaty, shaky, or irritable. And if our blood pressure drops too low we can have pale skin, get light headed, and even experience heart palpitations. When our blood sugar is high, we may feel thirsty and tired. We also might get a headache, feel nauseous, and fatigued.
What can you do to balance your blood sugar out?
When we eat carbs, our blood sugar rises. Eating protein and fat with carbohydrates slows down the digestive process. Trying to eat a balance of these three macronutrients in appropriate portions will slow down the breakdown of carbs and your blood sugar will stay balanced. This will help you avoid the spikes and crashes that commonly occur with a unbalanced meal. If you experience symptoms of high or low blood sugar, here are some ways you can naturally balance out your blood sugar;
TO LOWER BLOOD SUGAR
- Increase your fiber intake – this will slow down the digestion of carbs and sugar absorption
- Hydrate – another reason to keep that water bottle within reach throughout the day. Staying hydrated helps your kidneys flush out excess blood sugar through urine
- Watching portions – trying to eat a balance of carbs, fats, and protein at every meal or snack will help keep your blood sugar in a healthy range
- Eat carbohydrates with a low glycemic index – This refers to foods and how they effect your blood glucose levels. Look for foods that have a low GI ranking. Some of the foods include oats, beans, sweet potatoes, most fruits, and legumes
TO RAISE BLOOD SUGAR
This is usually an easy fix. If you start to feel symptoms of low blood sugar, eating a small snack can usually help. Look for foods that have some easily digestible carbs, then add a little fat and/or protein. Some quick ideas are
- PB and some crackers or banana
- Fruit such as grapes, apples, or pineapple
- Fruit juice
Just get something into your system to feel better
One way to balance blood sugar is to start each day with a healthy and balanced breakfast first thing in the morning. Here is a quick and delicious recipe for some Pumpkin Pie Protein Oats.
PUMPKIN PIE PROTEIN OATMEAL
- 1 cup oats
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup milk of your choice
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 Tbsp pumpkin spice
- 2 scoop collagen protein
- 1/2 cup egg whites
- maple syrup to taste
- Add the oats to a large saucepan. Add the water and milk. Cook over medium heat stirring frequently, until almost all the liquid is absorbed. When most of the liquid is absorbed, quickly add egg whites and continue stirring constantly, so the eggs are fully incorporated, untill the oats are finished cooking.
- Turn heat off and add in puree, spice, and collagen. Mix together.
- Add maple syrup to taste.
Makes 2 servings. Per serving made with almond milk and 2 Tbsp of maple syrup C - 50 P - 16.3 F - 3.8