Knowing how to maintain balanced blood-sugar is one of the biggest keys to unlocking better health, all around. You will naturally increase your metabolism, ward off unhealthy cravings, have more energy throughout the day and maybe even shed a pound or two each week without even knowing it. With consistently even blood-glucose levels, you’ll have better concentration and memory, and just generally feed good. Most importantly, having healthy blood-sugar is one of the best ways to lower your risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Read on to learn 10 ways that you can reap all of the benefits of balanced blood-sugar and naturally improve your whole-body health every day and keep it that way.
1. Increase Your Protein Intake
When you eat a high-carbohydrate, low-protein meal – especially one loaded with simple sugars – your digestive tract quickly and easily converts those carbs into glucose. The resulting blood-sugar spike (aka “sugar-high”) triggers the pancreas to flood your system with insulin in order to flush all of that excess glucose out of your blood stream (also known as a “sugar crash”).
The easiest way to avoid this blood-sugar roller coaster ride is to cut back on carbohydrates and eat more lean protein with your snacks and meals. Protein slows down the digestion and uptake of sugar into the blood stream, meaning that your blood-sugar will remain level for several hours instead of rapidly rising and falling right after every meal.
Fish, poultry, eggs, tofu and tempeh, nuts, seeds, and many dairy products are all excellent sources of protein. (Check out this article to learn about one of our favorite protein-rich foods that is also among the healthiest foods in the natural world!)
2. Eat Low Glycemic Index Foods
Most fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes fall into the low glycemic index (GI) category, meaning that they have a minimal impact on blood-sugar levels. These fiber-rich foods digest slowly and provide the body with carbohydrates and energy without causing a sugar-spike.
3. Include “Good” Fats for Healthy Hormones
Your pancreas balances blood-sugar levels using two hormones: insulin and glucagon. Insulin signals cells throughout the body to absorb excess glucose from the blood stream and store it as glycogen for future use. Between meals, when blood-sugar levels are lower, the pancreas produces glucagon which triggers cells to release stored glycogen back into the blood stream.
Like all hormones, insulin and glucagon require dietary fats in order to be built. For this reason, it is crucial to include natural sources of “good” fats such as grass-fed butter, olive oil and avocado as part of your daily diet in order to keep blood-sugar stable.
While wholesome natural fats are good for hormone and blood-sugar balance, eating the wrong kinds of fats can destabilize your entire endocrine system. Read more about it in 30 Foods That Naturally Balance Hormones and 10 Ways to Balance Hormones Naturally.
4. Balance Your Meals
Now that you have the three rules of balancing blood-sugar with macronutrients (proteins, carbs and fats) under your belt, try to include a good balance of all three in every meal. It may take some planning at the beginning – especially if this will be a big dietary change from what and how you’re used to eating. Just remember that while it might not come easily at first, after a couple of weeks, balancing your meals will start to feel like second-nature.
5. Enjoy a Healthy Breakfast Every Day
While there is a common misconception that skipping breakfast is a great way to burn fat and lose weight, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Without the kick-start of calories provided by a healthy breakfast, your body will burn off existing tissues – including lean muscle mass – in order to wake itself up and get your blood-sugar levels within the required range.
Make it a point to begin each day with a healthy breakfast. This will stabilize your blood-sugar naturally without putting unnecessary strain on your pancreas and liver. Here are 10 delicious and healthy breakfast recipes to give you some ideas!
6. If You Need To Snack, Snack Healthy
Whether it’s good to snack between meals or not is a point where not everyone agrees. If you’re used to snacking and your stomach demands that you continue to do so, just make sure to reach for healthy snacks which include protein, fiber and healthy fats to keep your metabolism and blood sugar balanced until your next full meal.
Need a little inspiration? Here are 500+ healthy snack ideas that are sure to quench your midday munchies!
7. Plan Your Meals Ahead of Time
At the end of a long day at work, sometimes the last thing we want to do is take the time to prepare a nutritious meal. After all, it’s so much easier to reach for that ready-in-ten-minutes microwavable dinner that’s waiting in the freezer.
For a better and healthier solution, why not make your own? Check out these 10 Healthy Make-Ahead Meals to get some ideas on ways to simplify eating right even when you’re in a hurry.
8. Get Enough of the Right Kinds of Exercise
Make it a habit to exercise for a total of at least three hours every week. Try to include a combination of equal parts cardiovascular and resistance activities. This will not only have a positive influence on your blood-sugar, it will also improve every other aspect of your health.
If you’re not sure where to get started, WebMD offers some excellent tips in their Fitness 101 guide that will give you a great starting point.
9. Make Sure To Get Enough Sleep
Getting an adequate amount of good, quality sleep plays an important role in many aspects of maintaining good health. Balancing blood-sugar is no exception. The recommended amount of how much sleep a person needs each night may vary depending on who you ask, however the answer generally falls somewhere between 7 – 9 hours.
If you have trouble sleeping most nights, read up on these 11 Natural Sleep Remedies That Really Work to help you catch more high-quality zzz’s!
10. Cut Back on Stimulants and Depressants
It’s easy to say, “Don’t drink coffee, put down the energy drink, stop drinking alcohol and quit smoking.” However, we live in the real world and if any of these things are part of your day-to-day life, we both know that giving them up is monumentally easier said than done.
So if you aren’t ready to “cold turkey” your favorite bad habits, do at least try to cut back. Probably the easiest way to reduce your coffee or energy drink intake will be to replace them with something similar, yet less-harmful to your health (like green tea). Also, as your metabolism begins to increase from the other foods and activities we discussed above, you’ll likely find that you don’t need or want stimulants as much.
For those who enjoy alcoholic beverages more than the recommended limit of 2 – 3 drinks per week – again, the above-recommended dietary changes and increase in exercise will improve your overall health and eventually begin to reduce or eliminate the desire for a drink at the end of the day.
Want to get a head start on wiggling into your spring and summer wardrobe? Be sure to check out these 50 Evidence Based Weight Loss Tips for the best of the best in scientifically-backed weight-loss advice that actually works.
Then learn how to boost your metabolism using all natural foods and techniques with these 10 Science Backed Cheats!