24 Mar Is Imbalanced Blood Sugar Causing Your Health Problems?
If you’ve ever felt “hangry” or gotten “food coma” after a meal, you’re likely experiencing imbalanced blood sugar. Truth be told, blood sugar imbalances are rocking our nation, but not in a good way. Imbalanced blood sugar is the root of many chronic diseases, such as Type 2 Diabetes, and it’s time to stop it in its tracks.
The Importance of Blood Sugar Balance
Blood sugar balance is essentially the foundation of your health. Your blood sugar levels, whether balanced or imbalanced, affect every functioning part of the body, including: energy production, hormonal balance, organ function, cognitive function, mood, and so much more. When blood sugar levels excessively dip or spike, the body has to work harder to maintain homeostasis. This can mean the difference between a productive afternoon at work or snapping at your co-worker for no good reason. Yes, achieving balanced blood sugar is critical for our health, but also for our relationships, happiness, and overall well-being. This is especially true for those who are Empaths or Highly Sensitive People.
There are five main players in the game of blood sugar balance. Let me introduce to you the MVP’s:
- Adrenal Glands
- Adipose Tissue
Together, these players work to produce hormones that regulate your blood sugar levels: insulin, glucagon, epinephrine, norepinephrine, and cortisol. This entire blood-sugar-balancing process is called the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis. Or, for short: the HPA-Axis.
Common Symptoms of Imbalanced Blood Sugar
Symptoms of blood sugar imbalance occur when levels drastically increase or decrease. Picture the biggest roller coaster at your favorite amusement park. With spikes and dives on repeat, this is the perfect example of your imbalanced blood sugar. Symptoms of blood sugar imbalance can be chronic or acute. These are the two most common types:
Hypoglycemia arises when blood sugar levels are too low. This can lead to the following symptoms:
- Feeling hangry
- Craving sweets during the day
- Being irritable if meals are missed
- Depending on coffee to keep going/get started
- Feeling light-headed if meals are missed
- Increased energy after eating
- Feeling shaky, jittery, or have tremors
- Feeling agitated, easily upset, nervous
- Experiencing poor memory/forgetful
- Having blurred vision
- Anxiety or moodiness
Blood sugar levels that are consistently high can lead to insulin resistance. In this case, our MVP’s (pancreas, adrenals, tissue, liver, and muscle) no longer respond to insulin, as they should. This is a necessary relationship for optimal blood sugar balance. Common symptoms of insulin resistance are:
- Experiencing a “food coma” or fatigue after meals
- Craving sweets during the day or after meals
- Experiencing insatiable sugar cravings
- Having a waist girth that is equal to or larger than hip girth
- Needing to urinate frequently
- Feeling excessively thirsty and hungry
- Having difficulty losing weight
It’s important to work with a practitioner, who can help you identify the presence of hypoglycemia or insulin resistance. Catching these imbalances early can help prevent chronic diseases, such as Type 2 Diabetes, Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease, and/or Obesity. Ask for the following blood tests to monitor your blood sugar levels:
- Fasting Glucose
- Post-prandial blood glucose (1-2 hours after a meal)
- Fasting Insulin
Cause of Imbalanced Blood Sugar
Blood sugar is most frequently influenced by your nutrition and lifestyle habits. Unfortunately, in America, many of our daily habits inhibit healthy blood sugar balance. In many cases, blood sugar imbalances are the result of the following common nutrition habits: over-eating, under-eating, consuming a diet full of processed foods, over-consuming carbohydrates, or frequently fasting. In addition, poor lifestyle choices can also influence blood sugar imbalance, including being sedentary, experiencing extreme stress, dehydration, and sleep deprivation.
The good news is: it is possible to improve your blood sugar levels with simple, at-home practices and habits.
How to Balance Your Blood Sugar
Given the dire consequences of chronic blood sugar imbalance, it’s critical to take the necessary measures to re-balance blood sugar levels. There are four primary ways to do so:
Meal Timing– Eat breakfast within 30 minutes of waking up. Throughout the day, eat a small meal or snack every 2-3 hours. If you feel “hangry,” you’ve waited too long to eat your next meal. Also, aim to eat your meals at approximately the same time every day. If you are a Highly Sensitive Person, your blood sugar might be extra sensitive, too. I recommend keeping snacks on hand wherever you go to prevent blood sugar crashes.
Balanced Meals– Foods are composed of three macronutrients: protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Carbs eaten alone naturally spikes blood sugar levels. So, it’s necessary to eat protein, carbs, and fat together at every meal and snack for optimal blood sugar balance. In general, it’s best to avoid high-sugar, high-carb, and processed foods. Including apple cider vinegar with meals or drinks, as well as Ceylon cinnamon, can increase insulin response and reduce blood sugar spikes. Other blood-sugar-stabilizing-foods include: fish oils, chia seeds, and garlic.
Regular Movement and Exercise- Regular exercise has been shown to improve insulin resistance and balance blood sugar levels. To reap the blood-sugar-balancing benefits, make it a goal to move your body every day. Incorporate a variety of exercises, such as outside walks, yoga, stretching, weight lifting, cycling, etc. For sensitive individuals, opt for low-intensity exercises. Find what you enjoy and be consistent with it!
Adequate and Quality Sleep- Sleep, or lack of it, is directly linked to blood sugar balance. In fact, those who are chronically sleep deprived are at greater risk of developing chronic disease, due to chronic blood sugar imbalance. If you have difficulty falling asleep, try including more complex carbs with your dinner, such as sweet potato. Waking in the middle of the night is likely due to a blood sugar crash. Try eating a high-fat, high-protein snack before bed.
Maintaining balanced blood sugar levels is necessary for a healthy body. Without blood sugar balance, hormones, digestion, mood, and sleep can all take a big hit. If you’re teetering on the edge of chronic disease, balancing your blood sugar is an essential first step. Use these practices to start making immediate improvements on your blood sugar levels.