How To Balance Your Blood Sugar
Published by Dr. Venn-Watson
Dr. Eric Venn-Watson’s Highlights
We know blood sugar numbers are important, but it’s hard to understand why, especially if you don’t understand what blood sugar is, and how it affects your health. Once you understand blood sugar and how important it is to keep it in healthy range, you can take steps to balance it.
Let’s talk about what blood sugar is, why it matters, and what steps you can take to balance blood sugar and get a healthier A1C reading the next time you visit the doctor.
What Is Blood Sugar and Why Does It Matter?
Your blood sugar level is simply the current measure of glucose in your bloodstream. Your A1C measures your average blood sugar level over the past few months.
Your doctor will perform a fasting blood draw to determine what your blood sugar level is. Regular fasting blood sugar levels should be under 100 mg/dl. If you’ve eaten a meal within the past two hours and your blood sugar levels are checked, that would be a postprandial reading versus a fasting one. Normal postprandial ranges are below 140 mg/dl.
If your fasting blood sugar level is between 100mg/dl and 125 mg/dl, you are said to be prediabetic, which can signal insulin resistance. Above 126 mg/dl or higher for fasting blood sugar may indicate diabetes.
Glucose is the sugar that’s in your blood. It comes from the foods you eat, like fruits, vegetables, grains, and virtually everything, as well as things you drink that have some form of sugars.
Glucose isn’t the bad guy. It plays a crucial role in keeping you mentally focused, eliminating brain fog, and supplying your body with the energy it needs to do its work. Problems arise, however, when we eat foods that cause our blood sugar levels to spike too high too fast. These foods are usually referred to as high glycemic index foods.
Foods with a low glycemic index don’t cause dramatic blood sugar spikes and allow the body’s blood sugar and energy levels to be better balanced.
How It All Works
Glucose enters your bloodstream through the foods you eat. Your pancreas, in response, releases insulin. Insulin helps carry glucose from your bloodstream to the places in your body where it is needed most.
Any glucose that is not currently needed for energy is sent to the liver. The liver stores excess glucose as glycogen. When your blood sugar level wanes, the liver converts glycogen back into glucose. It is then sent back to the bloodstream to be carried to cells that need it.
If you eat too much sugar, or too many high glycemic index carbohydrates, on a regular basis, your cells may become insulin resistant. When too much glucose enters the bloodstream, the pancreas produces a lot of insulin to help remove it.
After time, your cells can become resistant to insulin, which forces your pancreas to produce even more in an effort to keep up. Eventually, the pancreas cannot keep up, which can result in weight gain and lead to type II diabetes.
You might not know if your blood sugar levels are too high unless you get a blood test — the symptoms of high blood sugar levels may be confused as just everyday discomforts such as feeling thirsty, using the bathroom often, or feeling fatigued.
If you do get tested and find out you have high blood sugar, there are some steps you can take to balance your blood sugar and try to maintain better health.
Eight Tips to Balance Your Blood Sugar
Most of the time, insulin resistance can be reversed by changing your diet and exercise habits and focusing more on healthy eating and living.
Here are some of the ways you can balance your blood sugar and reduce your risk of developing blood sugar-related illnesses.
Moving your body and increasing your heart rate can help you produce more balanced blood sugar numbers. Physical exercise increases insulin sensitivity and also helps you maintain a healthy weight.
Exercise also helps move glucose out of your cells, burning it for energy. Physical activity can also help you move stored glycogen out of the liver to be used for energy, which can help support your liver health, too.
2. Monitor Your Carbs
You don’t have to go low carb or start a keto diet to balance your blood sugar. Simply monitoring the types of carbs you eat and the number of carbs you eat can help. Choosing complex carbohydrates with a low glycemic index can help.
These types of foods include:
- Whole grains and oats
- Beans and legumes
- Peas and lentils
- Leafy, green vegetables, and other non-starchy vegetables
A good rule of thumb is to avoid processed foods and starchy vegetables like potatoes.
3. Eat a Balanced Diet
You need more than just carbohydrates to stay healthy. You also need protein, fat, and a plethora of vitamins and nutrients which you can get by eating a range of fruits and vegetables. The more color you can add to your plate in terms of whole foods, the better. A healthy diet can help keep blood sugar levels in a healthy range and prevent spikes.
Eating a balanced diet is also key to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight, which will also help you keep your blood sugar levels within your goal range.
4. Eat More Fiber
Fiber not only helps you stay full between meals but also slows your digestion. Slower digestion helps give insulin more time to break down glucose and deliver it to the cells that need it.
Soluble fiber (found in foods like complete grains and vegetables) can help balance your blood sugar and prevent your blood sugar from spiking and dropping drastically, leaving you feeling tired and sluggish.
5. Drink More Water
Water keeps you hydrated, and helps flush unnecessary toxins and nutrients out of your body.
Drinking enough water also helps keep you full. It’s often thought that oftentimes, the feeling of hunger is actually a sign of dehydration. Drinking a glass of water prior to eating a meal can reduce the amount of food you need to feel full.
6. Manage Your Stress
Stress plays a major role in your blood sugar levels. When you are stressed, your body releases hormones like cortisol to try and manage the stress. Cortisol causes blood sugar levels to rise, so it’s important that you learn to manage your stress to prevent this from happening.
Popular methods for eliminating stress include exercise, meditation, yoga, and therapy. Whatever practice works for you, make sure you are including time in your schedule for it. Keeping stress levels low is important for your mental and physical health, as well as your blood sugar levels.
7. Get Enough Sleep
Making sure you get enough sleep (and quality sleep) is foundational for all of your health. Sleep affects blood sugar levels and can determine how much insulin you produce. Lack of sleep can also cause you to reach for unhealthy foods, and more of them, to get quick bursts of energy to help you make it through the day.
Less sleep can also cause cortisol to be released, which can trigger a spike in your blood sugar levels. If you have trouble getting enough sleep or falling asleep, speak to your doctor about your options.
8. Take Fatty15
While you’re on your journey to healthy, balanced blood sugar, there’s a supplement that can help your cells function properly and support a healthy metabolism.*
Pentadecanoic acid, also known as C15:0, is an odd-chain, saturated fatty acid that a growing body of research shows is the first essential fatty acid to have been discovered in over 90 years.†
Because this acid is only found in trace amounts in whole dairy products and some fish, it would be hard to get the amount you need from food alone. Fatty15 contains the pure, vegan version of pentadecanoic acid, FA15™.
Fatty15 supports your cells in two ways:†*1. Helps strengthen cell walls. Your cells are protected by cell membranes. The membranes of your cells get flimsy and weak with age, leaving them vulnerable to external stressors. Fatty15 digs deep into your cell walls to fortify them and keep them protected.
2. Increases mitochondrial function. The powerhouses inside your cells (their mitochondria) give your cells the energy they need to carry out cellular processes. As you get older, your mitochondria slows down, which can mean your cells don’t function as properly as they should.
Fatty15 also supports functions like metabolism, sleep, mood, and immunity. By binding with special receptors all over your body, called PPARs, that control these activities, fatty15 can help bring these processes back into homeostasis.†*
Balancing your blood sugar isn’t hard, but it does require a few changes to your diet and exercise routine, and getting the support you need when you’re feeling stressed.
Taking fatty15 can help support your healthy lifestyle goals and give your cells the protection they need to function properly.†*
Eric Venn-Watson M.D.
Senior Scientist, Co-Founder
Eric is a physician, U.S. Navy veteran, and Co-founder and COO of Seraphina Therapeutics. Eric served over 25 years as a Navy and Marine Corps physician, working with the special forces community to improve their health and fitness. Seraphina Therapeutics is a health and wellness company dedicated to advancing global health through the discovery of essential fatty acids and micronutrient therapeutics.
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