Do you know of any friends or family who has diabetes or pre-diabetes? I bet most people reading this know of at least one because that is how prevalent it is.
Today, one in ten U.S. adults has diabetes, and if trends continue, one in five will have it by 2025. An additional 96 million U.S. adults, (that is 1 in 3 people), have pre-diabetes, which means their blood sugar is higher than normal, but not high enough to be considered type 2 diabetes.
Often these diagnoses relate to other chronic diseases which is why diet and lifestyle play such a big role in the prevention and treatment of pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes.
The body works very hard to maintain blood sugar, (glucose), levels within a tight range. If the level goes to low, it is called hypoglycemia. Who here has ever experienced being hangry? Low blood sugar is why we feel this way. Common symptoms include irritability, foggy thinking, dizziness, fatigue, and in extreme cases, fainting or loss of consciousness.
On the other hand, the body can experience hyperglycemia, or elevated blood sugar levels. This is known as the silent killer because it is harder to feel symptoms when we have high blood sugars. The dangers of this can last days, months, and years with no symptoms, but can lead to metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and heart disease.
Blood sugar dysregulation affects every part of the body, and did you know that stress also affects our blood sugars? The three main hormones that are affected by blood sugar are insulin, glucagon, and cortisol. Let’s talk about what we know as the stress hormone, cortisol. When we experience any kind of stress (whether physical, mental, or emotional), cortisol gets released in the body. This release of cortisol causes a rise in blood sugar, which leads to an insulin response. When we experience too much chronic stress in the body this can lead to insulin resistance causing weight gain and blood sugar dysregulation. It really comes down to the fact that hormones are influenced by our lifestyle choices, foods we eat, and behavior.
The great thing about having this knowledge around the importance of blood sugar regulation is that we do have the power to take control of our health. Below are some strategies to help support balanced blood sugars and hormone regulation.
- Do not skip breakfast: A balanced breakfast sets you up for a full and successful day
- Don’t skip meals: Skipping meals adds stress to the body and affects blood sugars
- Protein, Fat and Fiber: Helps to slow down digestion and is the best way to balance blood sugar. They allow our body more time to slowly process and break down the glucose.
- Practice stress management techniques: such as meditation, yoga, walking, deep breathing, gratitude journal, playing with your pet, or gardening. (Anything you like to do that you know makes you feel good.)
- Move every day: Improves insulin sensitivity (even if it is just walking for 10 minutes)
- Get plenty of sleep: Hormone balance depends on a healthy sleep routine. Getting a good 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night.
- Simple vs Complex carbohydrates: Bring in more complex carbohydrates rather than simple carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates are found in whole, unprocessed foods, including fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. Simple Carbohydrates are sugars and starches that have been refined and stripped of their natural fiber and nutrients.
One last thing I would like to say is that it is important to know the difference between Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes. You cannot prevent type 1 diabetes; it can happen without warning to you or your loved ones, no matter what body type or diet. It is an autoimmune disease. However, Type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes is preventable through healthy diet and lifestyle. Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90-95% of all diabetes cases.
When it comes to blood sugars and hormone balancing it can feel as though you are walking on that path alone trying to navigate the ins and the outs. But here at Radiate Wellness we recognize that no one is perfect and we are all just trying to do our best. If this is a topic that you want to talk more about, than please schedule a Strategy Session with one of our team members and we can walk on that path with you to ease some of the frustrations that can felt. No one should be confused when it comes to their health, and we are here to ease that confusion.