How Blood Sugar Spikes Work
Blood sugar is essentially the sugar found in the bloodstream which gives energy to the cells it is transported to. It gets into the bloodstream through the absorption of the nutrients in the foods we eat, and is how energy is transported through the body.
Our bodies naturally regulate our levels of blood sugar, however if you have diabetes, your body doesn’t do this as effectively meaning your blood sugar levels can spike or dip which can be dangerous.
Generally speaking, the higher the sugar content of the meal (or if there are a lot of carbs which the body turns into sugar) the greater the spike and the following crash. Some of the negative effects of these spikes in the short term include tiredness, blurred vision, and generally feeling unwell. Long-term, repeated blood sugar spikes could lead a person to have a greater risk of developing complications such as heart disease. It is, therefore, critical that you take the necessary steps to prevent these spikes.
7 Ways to Balance Blood Sugar
Here are 7 ways that you can make sure your blood sugar levels will remain stable, or at the very least avoid seeing them spike. By targeting the meals you’re eating you will have the most direct impact possible on blood sugar levels. In addition, following these tips will help prevent weight gain, and chronic fatigue, and if you don’t already have diabetes it can help prevent that too.
1) Get enough fiber
Be sure to include plenty of fiber in your meals, not only does this help the general digestion process, moving digested food through your gut, but it can help lower cholesterol and improve blood glucose control. You should aim for around half of your plate to be made up of vegetables as these will provide plenty of fiber.
The best vegetables you can be eating for fiber are peas, potatoes, Brussels sprouts, parsnips, and spinach.
2) Eat the right amount of protein
Research from the University of Missouri shows that an increased protein intake can actually help prevent blood sugar spikes in people with type-2 diabetes.
Otherwise, protein is neutral food for blood sugar levels so you can use it to replace at least some of the carbohydrates in your diet for a better overall blood sugar response.
You want around a palm-sized portion of protein on your plate and can look to eggs, seafood, and meats like chicken or turkey as the best sources of protein, especially if you’d prefer to avoid dairy and soy products.
3) Get good fats in your diet
Good fats, like monounsaturated fats are definitely an essential part of the diet. Just like protein, they have significantly less effect on your blood sugar levels than carbs.
However, saturated fats like those found in greasy and processed foods can have an adverse affect on your blood sugar levels, so consume these in moderation.
Aim for a portion that’s around the size of your thumb, bearing in mind that good fats are still fats, so should be eaten sparingly. You can find these good fats (such as monounsaturated fat) in foods like avocados and olives, as well as in olive oils.
4) Avoid condiments with added sugar
These are super tricky to avoid these days, there is sugar hidden away in so many common sauces you’ll find in the store! Take a look at the label on your ketchup and you’ll see just how much sugar it actually contains.
Consuming sugar is certainly not the way to avoid a spike in blood sugar levels! Make this a priority across all of your meals and cut out sugar-loaded sauces and condiments from your diet entirely.
5) Drink only water with your meals
It is easy to forget how much of an impact the beverages we drink can have on our diet. People don’t always think of it as a main contributor, but flavored drinks and even natural fruit juices are loaded with sugars.
Water is the safest beverage for you take with your meals if you want to avoid any blood sugar spikes. With added flavor, comes added sugar and you don’t want to undo all your hard work with something so simple to avoid!
6) Take a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar before a meal
Apple cider vinegar has a huge amount of health benefits, and making it a part of your daily mealtime routine will help you avoid blood sugar spikes. Due to its low pH balance, apple cider vinegar increases the acidity of your stomach acid, which prepares it for the food you are about to consume. This in turn ensures that you are properly digesting all of the various components so you can fully benefit from each of them.
On top of this, studies have indicated that even consuming apple cider vinegar as part of your meal, for example in a salad dressing, will also result in a dramatic reduction in the spike in blood sugars that can follow a meal for those with type 2 diabetes, though it still isn’t completely clear as to why this is the case.
7) Drink green tea after your meals
Following every meal with a cup of green tea is another effective way of reducing the amount of glucose in the blood following a meal. This is thanks to the antioxidant content of the tea. Specifically, the polyphenol group of green tea catechins. Researchers, in fact, found that these catechin polyphenols influenced the primary way in which glucose is absorbed into the body. This direct impact means that you can further reduce the impact that any sugars absorbed during the preceding meal might have.
Start taking these steps with each meal you consume and not only will you notice the immediate effects these have on your day-to-day health, but you will reap the benefits in the long run.
Do you have any favorite recipes or tips on how to introduce these guidelines into a routine? Let us know in the comments section below!