Whole Food-Based Nutrition Helps Balance Blood Sugar
Becoming hungry or angry for seemingly no reason at 10 a.m. or 3 p.m. may be signs that our blood sugar isn’t balanced throughout the day, and we may be headed toward dangerous blood sugar dysregulation.
The three main organs responsible for blood sugar regulation are the pancreas, liver and adrenal glands. The pancreas secretes insulin when blood sugar levels reach the upper limit to bring it down. Insulin takes this sugar out of the blood and stores it in the liver and muscles for later use. Then when blood sugar gets to the lower limit, the pancreas secretes glucagon, which puts stored blood sugar back into the blood.
The body is smart and will store sugar when too much is consumed. The adrenal glands help rescue continual low blood sugar crashes with cortisol, but too much cortisol will cause fat storage. When the adrenals are constantly rescuing blood sugar, they are not available to help decrease inflammation and bolster the immune system throughout the body.
With just a few tweaks in our diet, we can straighten the path to blood sugar balance. Starting with breakfast, eat more foods with fat and protein. This will help make it through the 10 a.m. dip and sail toward lunch. The egg is the perfect breakfast food. Having a few hard boiled on hand can make for a quick grab-and-go breakfast. Couple the eggs with some raw veggies, such as carrots and peppers, will add some fiber to keep satisfied longer.
If we feel hungry, snacks such as fruit and nuts are a good choice because they are in their most natural state and have many nutrients to satisfy hunger. A great on-the-go snack a mix of nuts such as almonds, pecans and walnuts, coconut chips and some carob (no sugar) chips. Eat this with a banana and apple to feel energized until the next meal.
Keeping meals well-rounded with carbohydrates in the form of vegetables, proteins and fats will help keep blood sugar stable. Fat is often overlooked as an important nutrient, but it keeps us satisfied longer, helps absorb important vitamins A, D, E and K and doesn’t cause a raise in blood sugar like carbohydrates. Healthy fats include butter, olive oil, avocados and those from grass-fed animals. Cooking vegetables in these fats will help the absorption of the nutrients and make them more delicious.
Eliminating foods with added sugar will also help to stop blood sugar dips. Reading food labels and choosing those with minimal ingredients will help keep added sugar out of the diet. By choosing mostly whole foods in our diet, blood sugar can be regulated, which allows for the body to function properly and decrease the chance of chronic disease.
Erin B. Donley is a nutritional therapy practitioner and co-owner of Faith and Hope Wellness Associates, LLC, located at 100 Winding Creek Blvd., in Mechanicsburg. For more information, email Erin@FaithAndHopeWellness.com or visit FaithAndHopeWellness.com.