Insulin is a hormone created by the pancreas that controls the amount of glucose in the bloodstream at any given time. It helps store glucose in the liver, fat, and muscles and regulates the body’s metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Sound important? That’s because it is.
Break the Fast
Prioritize the first meal of the day. Eating breakfast helps stabilize blood sugar, even in those who don’t have diabetes, and can help minimize blood sugar spikes later in the day. Of course reaching for a donut or bear claw isn’t exactly doing yourself any favors. Go for breakfast options that contain fruits, vegetables, whole grains, proteins and healthy fats.
Protein is one of the three essential macronutrients that our bodies need. It helps grow new tissue, build muscle and repair damage. Protein can help stabilize blood sugar by blunting the absorption of carbohydrates and sugar. Protein breaks down into glucose more slowly than carbohydrates, so the effects on blood sugar levels occurs more gradually. Quality protein sources include sustainably caught fish, pasture raised poultry and eggs, grass fed beef, and organic beans, lentils, nuts and seeds.
Healthy fats that is. Fat is not to be feared, and in fact it is essential to healthy body function. Fat cushions organs, stores energy, insulates the body against elements, supports cell growth and more. What’s important is the type of fat we eat. Trans fat and saturated fat are the two to avoid, and typically come from animal fat and processed foods. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are the good stuff and come from sources such as fatty fish, avocados, nuts, flaxseeds, olive oil and chai seeds. Fat does not break down into glucose and can slow down the digestive process helping to delay the rise in glucose levels and improve insulin control.
Check the Label
When managing blood sugar it’s important to be mindful of what we’re eating. Start by reviewing the list of ingredients and avoid excess salt, sugar, unhealthy fats and artificial ingredients. Sweeteners, including artificial sweeteners, can increase insulin release. Also look at the total carbohydrates, which are often refined and will turn straight to sugar once in the bloodstream. Regardless of whether or not diabetes is a factor, focus on a diet rich in whole foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and high quality protein and avoid highly processed foods.
I am not a doctor, and this blog is not meant to diagnose or treat illnesses. Consult your physician before making any diet or exercise changes.