As the temperature rises and the sun shines brighter - there’s one thing to keep in mind; blood sugar balance.
When blood sugar levels are stable, we feel energized and balanced to take on whatever comes our way.
The summer season brings its own set of challenges when it comes to managing blood sugar, but with a few simple tips, you can have your cake, and eat it too!
Glucose, or blood sugar is a tiny molecule in our body that has a huge impact on our health. It enters our blood stream through starchy and sweet foods we eat.
Glucose is important for the production of energy (or ATP). The cells can only burn as much glucose as is needed for energy - not more.
Excess glucose causes a spike. A spike occurs when glucose is delivered to the cells too quickly.
99% of us suffer from too much glucose in our system and don’t even know it!
The symptoms? Cravings, fatigue, infertility, hormonal issues, acne, wrinkles… and, over time, the development of health conditions like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, dementia, and cancers.
When the cells are drowning in unnecessary glucose, tiny molecules with large consequences - free radicals - are released.
Free radicals are very damaging to our cells. They can modify our genetic code, creating mutations that activate harmful genes (leading to cancer), they can also damage cell membranes, turning a normally functioning cell into a malfunctioning one.
When there are too many free radicals that need to be neutralized, the body is said to be in a state of oxidative stress.
Oxidative stress is a driver of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cognitive decline, and premature aging. Here are some hacks to help you keep your blood sugar levels balanced this summer.
1. Eat foods in the right order
Did you know, the order we eat our food can impact our blood sugar levels?
Picture your stomach as a sink, and your intestines as the pipes below it. When you eat carbs first (or on an empty stomach), they enter the intestines, uninterrupted.
However, when carbs are eaten after veggies, protein, fat (or on a full stomach), the rate at which glucose enters the blood stream is much slower, and therefore the glucose spike associated with that meal is significantly flattened. 2. Reach for vinegar before you eat.
Vinegar reduces the rate at which glucose (from sweet and starchy foods) hits our system through temporary inactivation of certain salivary enzymes that are responsible for the quick absorption of glucose into the blood stream.
Vinegar also penetrates the muscles, and encourages the burning of glucose into energy - leading to the efficient uptake and utilization of glucose.
Interestingly, research has shown that vinegar also has an effect on our DNA. Vinegar can alter genes that encourage our cells to burn fat. 3. After you eat, move
Moving our bodies after eating starches and sugar can also significantly flatten the spike.
If we stay seated after eating a slice of cake, the glucose will accumulate in our body and cause a spike.
However, if we move our bodies instead (such as walking), the glucose will almost immediately be used up by our muscles = no spike.