4 Tips to Improve Blood Sugar Regulation
4 Tips to Improve Blood Sugar Regulation
Do you ever feel like your blood sugar levels could be better managed? You’re not alone. Many people struggle with the short and and long-term impacts of dysregulated blood sugar. Fortunately, there are some key lifestyle changes that can help to improve your blood sugar regulation.
What is blood sugar?
Blood sugar, or known as blood glucose, is a sugar molecule that is circulated in the bloodstream and is used by cells in the body for energy. Our blood sugar levels blood naturally rise and fall throughout the day. Factors that can affect blood sugar levels include meal type, timing of last meal, exercise, stress, etc. Glucose can come from the breakdown of carbohydrate-based foods, but can also be produced in the body when needed. Blood sugar regulation is a vital function within our bodies and we wouldn’t be able to survive without it.
Why is healthy blood sugar regulation important?
Although we naturally experience rise and falls in blood glucose levels throughout the day, our blood glucose pattern can become dysregulated overtime due to a variety of factors. When we can’t regulate blood glucose levels as effectively, we can experience short and long-term consequences. In the short-term, we may experience symptoms like low energy, cravings, mood changes, poor concentration, and disrupted sleep. In the long-term, we become more at risk for developing insulin resistance, weight gain, Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, and more. In order to assess your blood sugar regulation, different tests can be completed. Common assessments include a fasting blood sugar test, a fasting insulin, Hemoglobin A1c, and a glucose tolerance test. Additionally, a continuous glucose monitor can also be used for blood sugar readings and assessment.
Supporting healthy blood sugar patterns
The goal with any recommendations to support healthy blood glucose levels is to create a more stable glucose curve (no big spikes and falls), to improve insulin sensitivity, and to allow for cells to utilize glucose more effectively. Here are 4 blood sugar management tips that you can incorporate today to help improve your blood sugar control.
Tip 1: Add fibre
Adding fibre, especially from non-starchy vegetables, can slow the absorption of glucose from the digestive system into the blood stream. Fibre slows gastric emptying meaning that food moves more slowly through the digestive system. It also creates a viscous mesh that slows the amount of glucose entering into the bloodstream. By slowing how much glucose is entering the blood stream at once, this creates a lower and more stabilized rise and fall of blood sugar. Think of including fibre-rich vegetables like spinach, kale, bok choy cauliflower, brussel sprouts, cabbage, asparagus, etc.
Tip 2: Add protein and healthy fats
Similar to fibre, protein and healthy fats can support a more balanced blood glucose curve after eating by slowing gastric emptying. In terms of protein, consider adding meat, seafood, eggs, legumes, nuts/seeds, and protein powder to your meals. As for healthy fats, consider adding in nuts, seeds, avocado, cold pressed olive oil, and wild salmon to your meals.
Tip 3: Try to not skip meals
Another tip I recommend is to try and not skip meals, especially breakfast. Skipping meals for some people can create dysregulated blood sugar patterns that can lead to unwanted symptoms. Some people may experience low energy (e.g. mid-afternoon crash), sugar cravings, anxiousness, irritability, poor concentration, disrupted sleep, etc.
Tip 4: Movement after meals
Movement or light exercise after a meal can help lower elevations in blood glucose. When we move, our muscle cells require energy to contract. Glucose is a fuel source that muscle cells use for energy. By incorporating movement within 75 minutes of eating, this can help lower high blood sugar levels by allowing for more glucose to be efficiently used by cells. Even just walking for 15 minutes after a meal can be beneficial! Pick something that you enjoy whether that’s walking, yoga, lifting weights, etc.
Improving blood sugar levels can be done in a variety of ways, all of which should be discussed with a qualified healthcare professional. Naturopathic doctors are well-equipped to help patients identify the root cause of their high or low blood sugar and provide natural treatment options that work holistically with the body to improve overall health. From nutrition, lifestyle counselling, botanical medicine, and supplements, naturopathic doctors are well trained to tailor a program for you.
This post is intended for educational purposes only. Please speak to your licensed health care provider before implementing any health recommendations or treatments.
I’m Dr. Sam Bowen, a licensed naturopathic doctor practicing in the Vancouver area. From a young age, I have always aspired to work in the field of health and medicine. Growing up on Salt Spring Island, BC, I developed a strong curiosity to better understand the various factors that influence our health. I truly believed that the path to optimal health was more complex than just treating our presenting symptoms.
College of Naturopathic Physicians of British Columbia (CNPBC)
British Columbia Naturopathic Association (BCNA)
Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors (CAND)
Acupuncture – CNPBC certified
Intravenous Therapies – CNPBC certified
Prescriptive Authority in BC – CNPBC certified
Naturopathic Advanced Life Support – OHM Medical
B.Sc. Honours in Health Promotion – Dalhousie University
Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine – Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine
Holistic Nutrition Certificate Program – Pacific Rim College