The four key factors that impact your blood sugar.
Plus: Recipes without the blood sugar spike and crash.
Monday. So, just how much of an impact does Taylor Swift have on international air travel? Well, the singer postponed a show in Buenos Aires from Friday to Sunday due to heavy rain. In response, the largest airline in South America announced it would waive all change fees on tickets so fans could make the show. I wonder if bosses will also be more flexible when Swifties call in to work sick this morning. Speaking of impact, what are the four key factors that impact your blood sugar, and why does it even matter? Let’s dive in.
Blood Sugar Is Everything
When looking to optimize our health, blood sugar levels are a crucial factor we all need to consider. Yet, despite how vital it is to our overall well-being, this essential information is often overlooked.
Our bodies rely on glucose, a type of sugar, as our primary energy source. This glucose fuel comes from our diet and is also produced by our bodies. That said, we don’t necessarily want our glucose levels to spike or crash. Keeping our blood sugar within a certain range is essential for maintaining good health, stable energy levels throughout the day, and avoiding chronic health issues more long term.
Ideally, blood sugar levels should be between 72 mg/dL and 110 mg/dL at all times. After meals, it also shouldn’t rise more than 30 mg/dL from the pre-meal level. Anything more than that would be the type of blood glucose spike you generally want to avoid.
When blood sugar levels fluctuate significantly or remain chronically high, it can lead to various health issues, including insulin resistance, prediabetes, or Type 2 diabetes. These conditions are also linked to inflammation, oxidative stress, and glycation, which can contribute to chronic diseases like Alzheimer’s and cancer. No bueno. This is why you want relatively stable blood sugar.
Surprisingly, large fluctuations in blood sugar, not just high levels, can also lead to health complications like heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. So, the more stable, the better.
So, how can we manage our blood sugar levels effectively? There are four key factors to consider and prioritize:
Diet: Our diet has a significant impact on our blood sugar levels. Foods high in simple carbohydrates and sugars can cause spikes in blood sugar. In contrast, complex carbohydrates found in whole-grain foods or produce, along with fiber, protein, and healthy fats, can help stabilize blood sugar levels. It’s best to consume whole, unprocessed foods, and when consuming carbohydrates, combine them with other macronutrients to minimize spikes in blood sugar.
I like to refer to this rule as the “no naked carbs” rule. You don’t necessarily need to avoid carbs at all costs, but just make sure they aren’t naked. Accompany all carbs with fiber, protein, and healthy fats, and you should be okay.
Exercise: Both short-term and long-term exercise can help manage blood sugar levels. During physical activity, muscles use glucose more efficiently, helping to lower blood sugar levels immediately. Regular exercise also improves insulin sensitivity and glucose uptake by muscles, providing long-term benefits for blood sugar management.
Stress: Stress can elevate blood sugar levels by increasing the production of hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, which lead to insulin resistance. Managing stress through techniques like deep breathing exercises can have a positive impact on blood sugar levels and your overall mood and mental health. I know managing stress can be less black and white than diet and exercise, but it matters, like a lot.
Sleep: Quality sleep is essential for maintaining good blood sugar levels. Sleep deprivation can disrupt the balance of hormones that regulate appetite and glucose metabolism, leading to higher blood sugar levels and increased risk of diabetes. We sound like a broken record at this point, but prioritizing your sleep is everything!
The key takeaway? Maintaining stable blood sugar levels is crucial for good health and can be achieved through a balanced diet (no naked carbs), regular exercise, stress management, and adequate sleep. By paying attention to these factors, we can significantly improve our metabolic health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. It is the ultimate win-win—you just have to be intentional about these things, and I promise you, your body and mind will thank you for it down the road.
That’s all for today. Before you head off, don’t forget to share, rate, and review The Daily Tonic below. Until next time! 🌿