Elevate Your Health w/ Balanced Blood Sugar
Updated: Oct 29
Maintaining a balanced blood sugar (aka blood glucose) level is an essential component to achieving optimal health. When blood glucose is stable, it ensures a steady supply of energy for cells to function optimally. When it is unstable, it can lead to a range of health complications. Keep reading to learn more...
Insulin, an Essential Metabolic Hormone:
Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that plays a pivotal role in regulating blood glucose levels. When we eat, our body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose, which enters the bloodstream. Insulin acts as a key that allows glucose to enter the body's cells, where it's used for energy. This hormone is vital for maintaining healthy blood glucose levels and ensuring our cells receive the energy they need to function optimally.
Insulin Sensitivity & Insulin Resistance:
Insulin sensitivity refers to the body's ability to efficiently respond to insulin. When cells respond well to insulin, it helps manage blood sugar effectively.
Insulin resistance occurs when the body's cells become less responsive to insulin. This leads to higher blood sugar levels, as the cells struggle to take in glucose, causing the pancreas to produce more insulin to manage these levels. Pre-diabetes & Type 2 Diabetes are a result of insulin resistance.
Factors that Can Contribute to Insulin Resistance:
There are a variety of factors that can contribute to changes in your body's ability to utilize insulin. These factors include increased abdominal fat, sedentary lifestyle, a diet high in processed foods, chronic stress, lack of sleep, age & hormonal changes, certain medications, as well as genetics & family history.
Signs of Insulin Resistance:
Fatigue, especially after meals
Cravings for caffeine, starchy carbs and sugar
High blood pressure
Prolonged or severe blood glucose imbalances can contribute to serious health conditions, including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular issues, hormonal imbalances like PCOS, nerve damage, non-fatty liver disease and increased risk for cancer.
Natural ways to improve insulin sensitivity:
Regular Exercise: Engaging in physical activity, including aerobic exercises like walking, jogging, or cycling, and strength training, can significantly enhance insulin sensitivity. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, 5x per week.
Balanced Diet: Opt for a diet rich in whole foods, emphasizing high-fiber options like vegetables, low-glycemic fruits, gluten-free whole grains, and legumes. Limit refined carbohydrates and added sugars, and focus on balanced meals with healthy fats, lean proteins, and complex carbohydrates to stabilize blood sugar levels.
Weight Management: Maintaining a healthy weight or losing excess weight can improve insulin sensitivity. Even a modest weight loss can have a positive impact on insulin regulation.
Stress Reduction: Stress management techniques such as mindfulness, meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises can help reduce stress hormones that may affect insulin sensitivity.
Adequate Sleep: Prioritize getting quality sleep consistently. Lack of sleep can affect insulin sensitivity, so aim for 7-9 hours of restful sleep each night.
Hydration: Staying well-hydrated with water can help in regulating blood sugar levels and maintaining overall health.
Intermittent Fasting: Some evidence suggests that intermittent fasting may enhance insulin sensitivity. Different fasting protocols, such as time-restricted eating or alternate-day fasting, might be considered under the guidance of a healthcare provider.
Limiting Sedentary Behavior: Reduce the amount of time spent sitting or being sedentary. Even short, frequent breaks to stand or move around can positively impact insulin sensitivity.
Supplements and Herbs: Certain supplements like berberine, chromium, magnesium, and herbs like cinnamon may support insulin sensitivity, but it's important to consult with a healthcare professional before taking any supplements.
Regular Health Check-ups: Monitor your blood sugar levels regularly and schedule routine health check-ups to ensure your overall health and track any changes in insulin sensitivity.
As an Integrative Medicine office our aim is to provide our patients with the tools necessary to promote over-all wellness. If you're interested in exploring strategies to improve blood glucose balance and insulin sensitivity, or have other specific concerns, our team is here for you.
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