The human body has an amazing ability to tell you when something is off. From not getting enough sleep to eating something past its expiration date, your body will react in ways that force you to take your health seriously. Maintaining healthy blood sugar levels is an important step in maintaining your overall health, as this one seemingly small factor affects many other parts of your body.
Whether you’re in your 30s or 40s and just beginning to take stock of how blood sugar affects the rest of your wellbeing or you’re in the 20% of the U.S. population who will be over 65 by 2030 and are well-acquainted with the importance of healthy blood sugar levels, you need the tools to manage these levels properly. Learn these important facts and figures surrounding blood sugar and start taking better care of yourself today.
What’s the relationship between blood sugar and your body?
Blood sugar, also known as blood glucose, is the sugar that your bloodstream carries to the cells in your body, giving you energy. The levels of this sugar change throughout the day and are usually at their lowest before your first meal, as the sugar comes from the food you eat.
Once you eat, your pancreas produces the hormone insulin that enables your body to use the glucose from your food or store it for later. Insulin will regulate your blood sugar levels and try to keep it from getting too low, although having consistently high blood sugar levels can throw off this insulin regulation and lead to type 2 diabetes. High blood sugar levels often come from consuming products packed with harmful sugars, such as sodas, sports drinks, and energy drinks. The sugar in energy drinks can also result in a 3.1% loss in tooth enamel, making the elimination of these beverages doubly important for your health.
People with type 1 diabetes naturally produce very little to no insulin and are thus unable to regulate their blood sugar levels. Those with diabetes need to get insulin through medication in order to keep their body functioning. They may struggle with getting affordable medical insurance and then navigating their annual taxes with insurance considerations. For instance, 100% of medical and long-term care insurance premiums a self-employed person pays are deductible from their gross income. However, those who are not self-employed wouldn’t see these tax benefits and the need for insulin then becomes a significant financial complication.
Knowing when your blood sugar levels are off
People with type 1 diabetes will typically know they have the condition from early on in life, but you can develop type 2 diabetes at any age. You may also just have issues maintaining balanced blood sugar levels and not have any form of diabetes. A key sign of low blood sugar levels is experiencing weakness or dizziness, which is the second most common complaint heard in doctor’s offices.
Other common symptoms include difficulty concentrating and staying focused, constantly feeling thirsty and using the bathroom frequently, trouble sleeping through the night, difficulty losing weight, and a long healing period for cuts and bruises. If you’re experiencing these symptoms and can’t pinpoint another cause, try changing your diet with the tips below.
How to control your blood sugar
As the sugar in your blood comes from the food you eat, the best way to control it typically comes from changing your diet. Refined carbohydrates and other processed foods often cause blood sugar issues, as they fill you up but do not provide the right nutrients. One way to combat this is by switching to proteins instead of carbs for five weeks. By consuming protein sources such as meat, yogurt, or cottage cheese, you can potentially improve your total blood glucose response.
If you can’t cut out carbs completely, try adding nuts to your diet. Adding them to a high-carb meal can help manage the drop in blood sugar that comes from such a meal. Other good sources of healthy glucose include most fruits, sweet potatoes, oatmeal and oat brans, and whole wheat or pumpernickel breads.
While you know that eating the right foods positively impacts your weight, it can also have a huge effect on how you feel from day to day. Remember to take care of your body by keeping your blood sugar levels in check. You’ll be feeling like a new person before you know it.