Why we should all balance our blood-sugar levels

Pain Management,
Mental Wellbeing,
Weight Management,
Pain management,
Digestive Health

Blood-sugar imbalance is a common issue nowadays and becoming an everyday occurrence for many people. Most of us can relate to the odd times of still feeling hungry after a meal, or craving something sweet, feeling tired, experiencing disturbed sleep, dealing with acne, experiencing hormonal fluctuations and noticing signs of ageing - all these are symptoms of blood-sugar imbalances!

Although we are aware that food can be our medicine, most of us don’t realise the impact that our favourite comfort foods may have on our blood-sugar levels. In addition, stress plays a major part in blood-sugar imbalances, due to the hormones produced by the adrenal glands which can stimulate further increases in blood sugar levels.

When we eat foods high in sugars and processed carbohydrates, the subsequent ‘crash’ after the initial blood-sugar peak causes stress on the body and stimulates the innate flight or fight response (producing cortisol). Caffeine has a similar effect, so if you are already stressed and reach for a sugary snack and a caffeinated drink, it is a triple whammy!  

Top tips for balancing blood-sugar levels

  • Ensure your main meals contain adequate protein and some good fats to sustain you to the next meal, avoiding that blood sugar ‘dip’
  • If you need a snack, choose fresh fruit and nuts, quality oatcakes and cheese or crudités with hummus instead of biscuits and cakes
  • Reduce caffeinated drinks, swap to decaf coffee and experiment with herbal teas

Examples of blood sugar balancing breakfast meals

  • Greek natural yoghurt with walnuts and chopped fresh fruit (peaches are delicious) Soak the nuts in water first (min 15 mins) to activate them for better nutrient absorption
  • Quality wholegrain or sourdough toast with mashed avocado, or sautéed mushrooms, or sugar-free peanut butter with banana slices

Examples of blood sugar balancing lunch meals

  • Salad Niçoise –mixed salad leaves, cold cooked baby potatoes, tomato, cucumber, boiled egg, tuna, olive oil and vinegar dressing
  • Vegetable soup with 1 tablespoons of haricot beans (or other beans, chickpeas or lentils, slice of whole grain or sourdough bread and butter 

Examples of blood sugar balancing dinner meals

  • Chicken stir fry with a wide variety of vegetables (onions, peppers, carrots, bok-choy/spinach)and brown rice
  • Grilled steak, Greek salad, (olives, feta cheese, tomatoes & cucumber) coleslaw (grated carrot and cabbage with mayonnaise), new potatoes

Regular treatments such as reflexology or a massage are very effective in stress management and doing some physical activities such as brisk walking in nature, yoga or swimming. Doing something creative and connecting with friends and loved ones also helps, and we can add some deep breathing, meditation and calming herbal teas to our days to keep that stress at bay, and our blood-sugar levels in check.

Lucy Kelly, Nutritional Therapist