Do you have energy crashes or sugar cravings after eating? Are you overweight? If your answer is yes, you may need to support your blood glucose (sugar) levels.
When we eat foods rich in carbohydrates or sugar, blood glucose levels rise. This is a mechanism that must be well controlled, since high levels of blood glucose, especially constantly, have a negative effect on health. The hormone insulin helps us use glucose or store excess as fat. If this process is altered, we can have high blood sugar levels, experience low energy levels when they drop abruptly, experience weight gain, or even a permanently interrupted metabolism.
HOW IS BLOOD GLUCOSE REGULATED?
For most of the population (except those who follow a low-carbohydrate eating style), glucose from carbohydrates is the main source of energy for the body.
Blood glucose levels are controlled by 2 hormones: insulin and glucagon. The increase in blood glucose stimulates the production of insulin by the pancreas, then this insulin increases the uptake of glucose by cells through glucose transporters (GLUT) for energy production.
Excess glucose is stored as glycogen in the liver and muscles. When these stores are full, glucose is converted into fatty acids and triglycerides and stored in adipose tissue. Reduced glucose levels stimulate glucagon, which causes the release of glucose from glycogen stores, fatty acids, and the process of gluconeogenesis by which your body produces glucose from scratch.
Our body can generally switch between different energy fuels depending on what is available in the diet. Some cells (muscle cells) use fatty acids, glucose and amino acids, while brain cells prefer glucose and ketones.
Lately, we've seen an increasing reliance on carbohydrates and simple sugars (sucrose and glucose) as a primary fuel source, as it's easy to think that a sugary snack is the quick fix when you're feeling tired. However, our bodies seem to prioritize storing fuel rather than releasing it.
Diets high in refined carbohydrates lead to poor metabolic adaptation and poor glucose control, leading to low energy and other symptoms.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
The key to balancing blood glucose levels is to avoid a roller coaster of insulin spikes resulting from excessive sugar consumption, that is, regulating our diet, promoting a style low in refined sugar, which provides real foods, fiber, fats of quality, protein and increasing the intake of key nutrients. Excess glucose in the blood is a big problem, since it damages the body and can generate inflammation, metabolic alterations and fatigue due to lack of efficient energy.
Here are some useful tips that can help balance your energy and blood sugar levels.
Eat within a 12 to 14 hour window each day. Establishing a regular eating schedule/frequency can be useful to maintain adequate insulin levels and give our body the necessary food break. An example of this is, if you finished eating at 8:00 p.m., your breakfast the next day will be between 8:00 and 10:00 a.m., respecting at least 12 hours of fasting from food as a basis.
Avoid consuming nervous system stimulants such as coffee, green tea or mate after 12:00 pm of the day, as this can alter your circadian rhythm and overstimulate cortisol, a hormone that can influence sugar/insulin levels. in blood
Do physical exercise or movement routines at least once a day for 30 minutes. Try to include muscle development exercises. A strong muscle will activate your metabolism and use more energy.
Maintain a regular sleep-wake routine (for example, 10:00 pm to 7:00 am per night). A healthy sleep-wake cycle has a significant effect on daytime energy, blood glucose, and appetite regulation.
Address the stressors in your life and increase activities that create relaxation and distraction. Cortisol (“stress hormone”) counteracts insulin, so high levels can cause an increase in glucose and fatty acids in the blood.
Monitor your blood glucose and insulin levels regularly, this can help you see how your diet and lifestyle affect these parameters, and allow you to choose correct strategies to maintain stable levels.
We recommend implementing an anti-inflammatory diet, that is, based on real foods, avoiding processed foods, that provides vegetables, fibers, seeds, includes natural fats (coconut derivatives, nuts, olive oil) and essential proteins of good quality in each meal. (Fish, meat, poultry, ideally from clean production). This can help control your weight and reduce inflammation. Visceral (abdominal) obesity can cause insulin resistance and perpetuate the cycle of inflammation.
Reduce or eliminate added sugars, sugary drinks, snacks, and processed foods, favoring whole, low-glycemic foods, which in turn provide higher content of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and fiber.
Chromium: Chromium is a mineral found naturally in foods such as broccoli, raw onions, green beans, mushrooms and cinnamon. It acts directly on insulin receptors, improving blood sugar control, therefore, it is especially recommended for those who suffer from insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, overweight or obesity. However, since its consumption will help improve glycemic control, it is important to check these levels in those who also consume hypoglycemic medications, since they may need to adjust their doses or may even stop consuming them. This is something you should always evaluate with your treating doctor.
Additionally, chromium may have effects on basal metabolic rate, body weight, and body fat level.
B complex vitamins: B vitamins are found naturally in foods such as avocado, whole grains, liver, green leafy vegetables, nuts, eggs, broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, salmon and lean beef. This group of vitamins play an important role in the energy release process and the functioning of the nervous system. Specifically, vitamins B2, B3, B5, B6 and B12 contribute directly to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue.
Magnesium: Magnesium is found naturally in leafy green vegetables, squash, pumpkin seeds, spinach, chard, sesame seeds, quinoa, black beans, sunflower seeds, radishes and pure cocoa. This mineral is essential for energy production, actively participating in energy metabolism, managing fatigue, the feeling of chronic fatigue, supporting good sleep and digestive function. Different studies suggest that magnesium supplementation improves insulin resistance, due to its action on insulin receptors, glycemic control and other signaling mechanisms. Magnesium is a necessary cofactor in more than 300 enzymatic reactions, including those involved in the glycolysis process, and its deficiency is related to alterations at the level of insulin receptors.
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