blood sugar blues

Posted by in Blog, nutrition

Do you ever feel irritable, anxious and dizzy, or suffer from fatigue, poor concentration and food cravings? If you do, chances are that your suffering from low blood sugar.

Low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, literally means low levels of glucose in the blood, one of the most common and least recognized disorders of modern life. As well as the symptoms already mentioned, unstable blood sugars can develop into diabetes, weight gain and immune dysfunction.

Causes of low blood sugars include a diet high in sugar, refined carbohydrates and grains, stress, skipping meals and kick-starting the body with sugar and caffeine.

These food and lifestyle factors release large amounts of glucose rapidly into the blood, causing the release of the hormone insulin, which lowers the levels of blood sugars by transporting glucose into cells to be used as energy, or storing it in the muscles, or as fat.

Having sharp highs and lows of glucose in the blood, is very stressful for the body, causing immediate symptoms such as irritability, dizziness and hunger but over time can lead to more chronic and serious conditions such as impossible weight loss, depression and heart problems.

Ideally we should have a slow release of glucose into the blood stream which moderates the release of insulin if we wish to achieve good physical and emotional health and optimum weight. Nutrition is the key to achieving these goals.

Foods that cause a sharp rise in blood sugars and insulin are generally sugar and refined carbohydrates such a pasta, white rice, bread and sweets. Other foods that convert into glucose very rapidly include, carbohydrates such as cooked sweet vegetables, potatoes, some fruits, juices and dried fruit.

In order to balance blood sugars it’s important to reduce the amount of refined carbohydrate foods in the diet and ensure that adequate amounts of protein, fat and fibre are eaten with every meal, as they slow the rate of digestion and absorption or glucose, which in turn modifies the release of insulin,

The following dietary considerations will also greatly help to address this condition.

Do

Eat little and often. It helps to carry something to snack on when you’re away from home. Almonds and walnuts are abundant in healthy fats and protein, they are also filling and high in beneficial fibre.

Eat small amounts of unrefined carbohydrates in the form of wholegrains such as millet, quinoa and brown rice. These superfoods are high in fiber, iron and b vitamins, and are a great source or protein.

Include quality protein with every meal such as meat, fish, poultry and eggs, pulses including lentils and chickpeas and any nuts and seeds.

Breakfast is an important meal, as our blood sugars are at there lowest in the morning. Try to eat at the same time everyday, ideally within half an hour of getting up.

Include beneficial fats with each meal such as oily fish, nuts, seeds, olive oil and avocados. They will help you to feel satisfied and slow down the release of sugars into your blood stream.

Drink lots of plain water.

Avoid

Eating sugar, which includes natural sweeteners such as honey and maple syrup. The more severe your symptoms the stricter you will have to be.

Avoid consuming refined carbohydrates such as white bread, white rice and pasta.

Dried fruit and fruit juices are a concentrated form of sugar so are best avoided when trying to balance blood sugars.

Drinking alcohol, coffee or tea causes the adrenal glands to release store glucose into the blood stream, causing insulin to be released.

Being late for or skipping meals can exacerbate blood sugar problems

It can be difficult at first to cut down the carbohydrates in our daily diet, as they are highly addictive and comforting, however the benefits of achieving a calm and peaceful mind and body, sustained energy, good concentration and ideal weight are well worth the effort.