Healthy Guide to Managing Blood Sugar
Posted on October 12th, 2016
As someone who struggles with blood sugar issues, I’ve become acutely aware of the impact low or high blood sugar has on me both physically and emotionally. Dealing with blood sugar problems made me realize that as clever as our minds are, they don’t always correctly diagnose our problems. When my blood sugar is low, I feel lethargic, anxious, depressed and unmotivated. There were times when my blood sugar would be low but because I didn’t have any of the shaky or rapid heartbeat symptoms, I thought it meant there was some underlying mental issue causing my anxiety. Of course, the reason for my anxiety was because my blood sugar was low and not because of my thoughts or experiences. Our minds are powerful but they don’t always come up with the best self-diagnosis! We can change that, however, by educating ourselves about blood sugar, what the signs of low or high blood sugar are, and tips to keep it stable and balanced.
Blood sugar 101:
Blood sugar or blood glucose is sugar that is carried in our blood stream to our cells to create energy. A hormone called insulin is released so that glucose can be absorbed by the cells. Our blood sugar naturally fluctuates but is regulated by our body to maintain stability. There are cases, however, when the body doesn’t properly maintain the stability.
To save going into too much detail, there is hyperglycemia (higher than normal blood sugar) and hypoglycemia (lower than normal blood sugar). If you’re having any symptoms like dry mouth, tingling, shaking, poor concentration, weight gain, irritability, anxiety and confusion, it’s time to balance your blood sugar. If you are having any serious problems with your blood sugar, please talk to your doctor as medication might be required.
Here are some of the things I do to keep my blood sugar happy, thereby keeping me happy:
1. Stay hydrated:
Higher than normal blood sugar depletes water. The kidneys will still need water to excrete the excess glucose so if you aren’t hydrated, fluid is taken from other parts of the body, leaving your poor cells parched. So don’t forget to drink up especially if you think you might have high blood sugar! Besides, drinking water is a habit you should do because of how important it is for your health!
2. Small regular meals
Instead of eating one big lunch and then waiting until dinner, break up the day with regular small meals. Also make sure to have plenty of protein and don’t skip breakfast!
3. Skip or cut back on the sugar
Sugar and refined carbs will spike your glucose levels. Not what you need when the goal is to maintain a stable level. It’s a good idea to avoid sodas and other artificial sugary drinks. I think the first step is just being aware of how much sugar you’re consuming daily. It doesn’t mean cutting out that piece of chocolate that you love, but observing your sugar intake will make you aware when you probably shouldn’t reach for that extra candy bar.
4. Ayurvedic natural herbs
Ayurveda is all about achieving balance, so high or low blood sugar is no bueno. When we’re physically, mentally or emotionally out of balance, our bodies go into overdrive trying to correct the problem to the best of its ability. If we don’t have a harmonious relationship between our minds and our bodies, we continue to abuse our bodies which eventually will affect our outlook on life. My philosophy is that we are all warriors but if we don’t give our bodies the proper fuel, we won’t perform to our best potential. Ayurvedic herbs are wonderful to replenish your body in a healthy natural way. Before you start taking a new herb, do you research and make sure it won’t interfere with any current medications.
Here are some Ayurvedic herbs I incorporate into my diet:
- According to Allison Aubrey in a NPR article, cinnamon can help to lower blood sugar. Cinnamon, which comes from the bark of trees, has long been considered a medicinal plant. Recent studies show that cinnamon can not only help to reduce blood sugar by lowering fasting blood glucose but that it might also lower lipid levels, including unhealthy LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. So it might be time to sprinkle some cinnamon on your morning oatmeal, or perhaps even invest in cinnamon capsules! If you’re a true cinnamon lover, ceylon cinnamon, a milder (also pricier $$) relative of cassia might be worth looking into. The reason for the substitute is that ceylon cinnamon reduces the risk of consuming excess coumarin. Coumarin can be bad for your health, especially if taken for prolonged amounts of time. Ayurvedically, cinnamon is also known for helping congestion and indigestion.
- In a MindBodyGreen article, Dr. Isaac Eliaz recommends Gymnema Leaf, know in Hindi as the “destroyer of sugar”. Studies show it could help decrease sugar absorption in the intestine, as well as potentially increase the amount of insulin in the body and enhance pancreatic cell growth, further benefiting insulin production.
- Not only does fenugreek promote longevity, strengthen the nerves and improve luster of the hair and skin, but it also can reduce fasting blood glucose levels, improve glucose tolerance and support healthy insulin levels.
I hope these diet tips help to regulate your blood sugar so that you can feel your absolute best. Learn to be in tune with your bodies signals so you can more easily identify when actions needed to be taken to return you back to full warrior mode.
Coles, Terri. “10 Reasons To Add Chia To Your Diet.” The Huffington Post. N.p., 03 June 2013. Web. 28 Sept. 2016.
“Department of Health.” The Importance of Controlling Blood Sugar. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Sept. 2016.
RN, By David Spero BSN. “Drink More Water – Diabetes Self-Management.”Diabetes SelfManagement. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Sept. 2016.
Aubrey, Allison. “Cinnamon Can Help Lower Blood Sugar, But One Variety May Be Best.” NPR. NPR, 13 Dec. 2013. Web. 07 Oct. 2016.
Eliaz, Issac. “4 Top Ayurvedic Herbs for Balancing Blood Sugar.”Mindbodygreen. N.p., 30 Nov. 2011. Web. 07 Oct. 2016.
“Fenugreek and Diabetes.” – Blood Sugar Levels Effects & Metabolism. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Oct. 2016.
Digestion, By Improving. “Natural Ingredients For Blood Sugar Issues.”DrEliazorg Your Guide to Wellness RSS. N.p., 3 Nov. 2011. Web. 07 Oct. 2016.