Whether you are a type 1 or type 2 diabetic, maintaining healthy blood sugar levels is likely something that you are constantly thinking about.
In type 1 diabetes, the body simply does not make insulin. Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body is not producing enough insulin or is unable to use the insulin it produces effectively.
It’s not only what you are doing but also what you are not doing that can affect your health - or more specifically - your blood sugar levels.
Diabetes does not usually happen for no reason, and the first step in taking control of your diabetes is to make some lifestyle changes…
Although it is the most important intervention, simply not eating sugar is not always enough. Eating enough green foods can also help to stabilise blood sugar. The chlorophyll and minerals found in green vegetables like spinach and broccoli play a vital role in blood sugar maintenance. Minerals help to nourish the pancreas, which is responsible for producing the insulin needed to stabilise blood sugar levels.
Not eating enough protein and good fats can wreak havoc with our blood sugar levels. When combined with a carbohydrate, these can help to slow the glycaemic response of the body and reduce blood sugar spikes. In turn, this reduces the chances of a crash in blood sugar levels, which leaves us feeling tired, headachy and unable to concentrate.
Regular episodes of hypoglycaemia can be a warning that the body is not controlling your blood sugar levels sufficiently. One commonly sprouted myth claims that eating sugar can elevate blood sugar levels. In fact, this is an outdated and uninformed way of maintaining one’s blood sugar levels, and is certainly not a long-term solution. Instead, choose to eat regular meals filled with a good source of protein such as fish, eggs, meat and oils such as those from avocados, flaxseeds or activated nuts – rich in protein and healthy oils.
Along with healthy food choices, supplements can play an important role in restoring pancreatic health and nourishing our adrenal glands to help combat the effects of diabetes. If you are waking up with a headache and low blood sugar levels, eat a chlorophyll-rich meal before bed or take a green supplement with some good oils to help keep your blood sugar levels stable throughout the night.
It's important to remember that regularly eating unhealthy meals that lack good nutrition is obviously not good, but it is the reason behind these poor food choices that is the biggest danger - stress!
Uncontrolled stress levels can cause you to make unhealthy and often emotional food choices over healthy and thought-out meals.
Long-term stress can cause the release of large amounts of cortisol by the adrenal glands. Cortisol has been shown to inhibit insulin production and reduce insulin sensitivity. What this means is that not enough insulin will be produced, and the insulin receptors will be less sensitive to insulin, resulting in high blood sugar levels and insulin resistance. Insulin resistance can be aggravated by continuous sugar spikes, causing the insulin receptors that let sugars pass into our cells to get worn out. Eventually, the pancreas becomes overworked and has to release more and more insulin to try to keep the blood sugar under control.
Stress, poor eating habits and lack of exercise can all contribute towards diabetes, and can negatively impact both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. It is up to us to be equipped with the right knowledge to make better choices to restore our bodies to good health.