Ways to balance blood sugar for better energy and less stress
The blood sugar conversation is a tad nerdy, I know, but so helpful for the women I serve (and men too!)…
Discussing blood sugar is important because:
- If you’re like the women I work with, you care about how you feel and show up in the world. You also have not-so-small goals you want to achieve and need the energy, clarity and focus to do so.⠀
- If you care about feeling more energetic and creative, having more clarity and less confusion, feeling more resilient and less stressed… ⠀
- If you’re thinking where the heck did my sex drive go, why the heck am I so anxious, why can’t I focus, what’s up with my insomnia, this crazy PMS, getting sick all the time, or these dang allergies that won’t go away…⠀
Yep, your blood sugar could be at play.
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Thankfully there’s so much we can do about our blood sugar. Including:
- Stress-balanced movement
Regular exercise and movement can help improve blood sugar control during movement over time. Yet it can also make it worse! This is because not all movement is created equal. Your fitness level, total stress load, timing of the day, menstrual cycle, your hormone status, as well as the intensity and duration of the exercise will all impact your blood sugar levels wisely.
- Get adequate sleep
Research shows that lack of sleep impacts insulin and blood sugar control, which affects other hormones too. One night of bad sleep can impact the next day and days or weeks of poor sleep can lead to chronic blood sugar highs and lows.
- Optimise vitamins and minerals
Blood sugar balance is dependent on key minerals, such as B1, magnesium and chromium. Having adequate minerals helps maintain blood sugar balance.
- Consider alcohol
Alcohol can spike insulin causing blood sugar dips, then hunger or even increased blood sugar and over time reduce insulin sensitivity. It also reduces nutrient absorption and depletes key nutrients for blood sugar balance, such as B vitamins and magnesium.
- Meal timing matters
Ideally, in an otherwise healthy individual, insulin needs a (long) break between meals. Everytime we eat insulin goes to work. Furthermore when insulin is at work, other important hormones take a break, for example our fat burning hormone. Regular meals or snacks can help you find balance until your blood sugar is consistently stable and your body is adapted to going longer between meals.
- Balance or replenish hormones
One hormone influences the other and certain hormones are key for better blood sugar control. Hormones such as estrogen and progesterone can impact insulin sensitivity. Optimising these levels and others when needed can help with better blood sugar control.
- Caution with certain fats and oils
Oxidised oils or fats, found in dried foods, oils heated beyond their smoke point, or rancid oils or fats. These can influence your hormones and especially blood sugar by influencing insulin sensitivity at the cellular level.
- How you combine your food matters
Including protein fat and fiber in every meal or snack helps slow digestion and the release of glucose (sugar) into the bloodstream.
“There are many things we can do to support our blood sugar, because we have control over most of our blood suagr influencers.”
Here are a few other influencers left out from above:⠀
- Food, obviously⠀
- Muscle mass (it works like an endocrine organ and helps insulin sensitivity)⠀
- Sleep (better sleep = better blood sugar balance)⠀
- Environmental toxins (avoiding these can help)⠀
- Breathing patterns (slow, deep breathing over sharp or shallow)⠀
We have control over most of these things and while we can’t control our genetics, we do have control over its environment. Thankfully!⠀
If you’re thinking: Hey, this sounds like me. Could it be influencing my other hormones??⠀
Try my quiz (it’s really more of a thorough hormone self assessment). I think you’ll like it! ⠀⠀
Got strategies you’ve implemented to help tame your blood sugar levels? Got questions? Let me know below.⠀
Vanhorebeek I, Gunst J, Van den Berghe G. Critical Care Management of Stress-Induced Hyperglycemia. Curr Diab Rep. 2018 Feb 26;18(4):17. doi: 10.1007/s11892-018-0988-2. PMID: 29479638.
Holloszy JO, Kohrt WM, Hansen PA. The regulation of carbohydrate and fat metabolism during and after exercise. Front Biosci. 1998 Sep 15;3:D1011-27. doi: 10.2741/a342. PMID: 9740552.
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, manage, or treat disease or serious conditions. Always check with your doctor before making any changes. It’s important to consult a well-informed health practitioner for personal advice about your situation before relying on general information — we’re all wonderfully unique.
Laurie Villarreal, FNLP, CHWC, FNS, LMC, CPT, RYT
Hi, I'm Laurie, a functional nutritionist and health coach, athlete, dog-mom, and biohacking adventure-lover. After having struggled for years to find lasting solutions for my own debilitating hormone-related symptoms, I created my online practice to begin helping other active, driven women get the support they need. I now help women around the world elevate their health, energy, business and life by optimizing their hormones with personalized nutrition and lifestyle tweaks. Together, we discover new tools and strategies that keep you showing up at your best so you can play even bigger in your life and work.
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