Balancing blood sugar levels
Sugar itself is not a food group although it is naturally present in certain foods such as fruits. Excess sugar consumption can lead to inflammation, hormone disruption (which can affect fertility), continued stimulation of the adrenal glands, yeast infections, lowered immunity, (may contribute to) leptin resistance, along with increasing bad cholesterol and triglycerides in the body.
Blood sugar means the amount of sugar in the blood, also known as serum glucose, it is usually written in mmol/l which means millimoles per litre.
Excessive consumption of refined carbohydrates erratically throughout the day will cause blood sugar levels to rise and fall and insulin levels to peak and trough, which eventually may lead to insulin resistance and after time – diabetes.
Some of the Symptoms of poor blood sugar control (also known as poor glucose tolerance) are:
• Shaky after a few hours of no food
• Poor concentration
• Mood swings
• High Blood pressure
• Weight gain especially around the middle
Ideal blood sugar is:
• 4-7 mmol/l before eating
• Less than 10mmol/l one and a half hours after eating
• Around 8 mmol/l when going to bed
Your GP can check your serum glucose if you are concerned and a simple dip stick urine test can tell you whether you should follow this up.
Some of the reasons for poor blood sugar control are:
• Diet high in refined carbohydrates and insufficient nutrients
• Lack of exercise
• Excess alcohol intake
• Chronic stress and anxiety
• Diabetes (type 1 or 2)
• Being overweight
• May also be associated with hormonal imbalances due to polycystic ovaries
Top tips to help control blood sugar levels:
Try to consume more:
• Nuts and seeds
• Foods with a low Glycemic Load
• Complex carbohydrates – porridge, wholemeal bread
• Oily fish
• Chromium rich foods – romaine lettuce, onions, raw tomatoes, oysters, whole grains, potatoes, broccoli, turkey, green beans
• Most vegetables especially root vegetables/leafy green vegetables
• Legumes e.g beans, peas, lentils, kidney beans
• Apples and pears
• Try to eat 3 distinct meals per day, and if you need to have a snack try a handful of nuts/seeds or a banana rather than chocolate or crisps!
Try to avoid:
• Saturated fats (butter, cream, fatty meat, pork)
• Hydrogenated fats (found in cakes, biscuits and pastries)
• Potato crisps
• Simple carbohydrates such as white rice, white pasta, white bread, chocolate (unless high cocoa low sugar), sweets, refined breakfast cereals
Exercise (regularly do at least 30 mins x 4 per week)
A couple of breakfast ideas to start your day in the right way!
Delicious granola with walnuts, almonds, pecans, raisins and oats.
• 3 cups porridge oats
• 1/2 cup walnuts
• 1/2 cup raisins
• 1/2 cup maple syrup
• 1/4 tsp cinnamon
• 1/2 cup almonds
• 1/2 cup halves pecans
Pre-heat oven to 350 °F (175 °C).
Lightly coat a baking sheet with olive oil.
Combine all ingredients.
Bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes
Refrigerate. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
Organic free range eggs on granary toast
Poach or boil the egg/s and eat with granary toast
Organic Porridge Oats with Organic semi skimmed milk
Try sprinkling some blueberries and raspberries on top with some local honey