Do you know how important your blood sugar is to your body? When you ignore your blood sugar, you run the risk of serious health consequences. Give your blood sugar the attention it deserves, and find foods that stabilize your blood sugar today. After all, It’s never too late to start eating with your health in mind.
Why Blood Sugar Matters
Our bodies are constantly dealing with swings in blood sugar, and blood sugar problems are not simply reserved for those dealing with conditions like diabetes. When we keep our blood sugar in check, we keep our body operating properly.
The blood in our system drives our bodies, and when our blood sugars are all out of whack we run the risk of those areas (like our brain, for instance) not working properly. In the past, I’ve shared some tips of my own to get the conversation started (1). Today, we’re going to talk even more about eating with your blood sugar in mind.
First, let’s pay attention to what a “normal” blood sugar level looks like. This means that we also need to understand the difference between normal and optimal. Normal is where your blood sugar should be, and optimal is where you want your blood sugar to be.
For your morning fasting glucose level…
- Normal: <99 mg/dl
- Optimal: 75 – 85 mg/dl
For your post-prandial glucose level (which is 1 – 2 hours after a meal)…
- Normal: >200 mg/dl
- Optimal: >120 mg/dl
How do you test this at home? When you have a glucometer (2), it’s easy to keep a close eye on your blood sugar levels. If you feel like you need a glucometer, talk to a medical professional to figure out which is right for you.
Common Symptoms of Low Blood Sugar
There are a number of symptoms like you might deal with when your blood sugar is low. These might include:
- Energy crashes
There are also less common, but just as serious, symptoms like:
- Muscle pain
When we start to identify the forces underpinning these symptoms, we might start looking at more serious diseases behind our reduced blood sugar levels. There are many different diseases associated with low blood sugar, like:
- Heart disease
- Many forms of cancer
Blood Sugar & Thyroid Disease
Your blood sugar and your thyroid share a very intimate, and very important, relationship. This means that what you do to your blood sugar can affect your thyroid, and what you do to your thyroid can affect your blood sugar (3).
Basically, increased instances of stress in your body can damage your thyroid – the same way that you cannot abuse so many parts of your body. When your blood sugar levels drop, your body begins producing cortisol – because it views a drop in blood sugar as a danger to your survival. While it might fix your blood sugar, it adds unnecessary stress to your body (4). When it happens repeatedly, it can start doing real damage to your thyroid.
How Foods Affect Your Blood Sugar
Before we dive into exactly the kinds of foods we should be eating, let’s focus on the big picture. There are three distinct types of foods that we should be eating to help stabilize our blood sugar. So, what are they? Here’s where we need to start:
- Proteins – Eating the right kind of protein is going to be incredibly helpful, when it comes to eating for your blood sugar (5). Especially thanks to the effect protein has on gastric emptying, which research has shown to play a large role in determining post-meal blood sugar levels (6). Stocking up on the right amount, and the right kinds, of protein is going to be invaluable to your body.
- Fats – Polyunsaturates and monounsaturates release the hunger-reducing hormone cholecystokinin, which plays a great role in aiding digestion in our bodies (7). Saturated fats are also known to increase insulin resistance (8), which can play an important role in keeping our blood sugar at the right level.
- Carbohydrates – As always, we want to focus on the good kinds of carbs that we want to work into our diets. Resistant starches (9), mucilage and soluble fiber all play important roles in mitigating our gut health and helping our blood sugar levels truly perform. We’ll see a lot of these good carbs as we go through our top 12.
Top 12 Foods That Stabilize Blood Sugar:
Understanding the value of our blood sugar, and the types of foods we should be ingesting, was only the beginning. Now, we want to break it down even further. Here is my list of the top 12 foods you should be incorporating into your diet, so that you can stabilize your blood sugar and give your body what it needs.
- Flax Seeds
- Green Banana Flour
- Oat Bran
- Adzuki Beans
- Kabocha Squash
- Beet Greens
Top Foods To Avoid For Blood Sugar Regulation
- Processed Sugar
- Flour Products