Do you get irritable, cranky, shaky and spacy if you’re hungry or skip meals? If yes, you may have issues with keeping your blood sugar levels even. This can occur because you’re either not eating frequently enough, or you’re not eating the right kind of foods to support stable blood sugar levels.
In a healthy person, when blood sugar levels drop too low, the body will go through a series of adaptations in order to increase blood sugar. Your brain, although it weighs a mere two pounds, uses up 1/3 of the sugar in your blood, also known as glucose, for fuel. When your diet doesn’t provide enough glucose to feed your brain, your body will release another hormone called cortisol to grab stored sugar from your liver and muscle cells in order to provide glucose for your brain.
Some people, because of chronic unrelenting stress, can have poor cortisol output and lowered blood sugar levels resulting in feelings of extreme hunger, feeling “hangry” – hungry and angry at the same time, and befuddled thinking. They often also crave sugar at these times in order to get their blood sugar up to a level that supports healthy brain function.
To support your brain, and the health of the rest of your body, it is important to eat nutritious food on a regular schedule. Just like your mother said, eat three square meals a day, and add in two snacks as well. Aim to eat whole foods such as whole grains, beans, vegetables, low-glycemic fruits (this means fruits that don’t convert quickly to glucose in your body), lean protein such as fish, chicken, and turkey and nuts.
It's important to try to eat at least every 3 to 4 hours, and consider having a small snack like an apple with nut butter between lunch and dinner. Avoid eating desserts, sweets, sodas, high-glycemic fruits and fruit juices and foods laden with chemicals and preservatives. When it’s your birthday or a holiday, indulge and enjoy, just don’t behave as if it’s your birthday every day!
For additional support, one supplement that may help with healthy blood sugar levels already whithin normal range is chromium.* Consider taking 200 mcg to 400 mcg once daily with food.
Below is a sample diet that you can use as a guideline for supporting healthy blood sugar throughout the day.
Breakfast: 1 cup of oatmeal with blueberries, almonds, and dried cranberries on top
Mid morning snack: an apple with sunflower butter
Lunch: A large salad with fiive colors in it (meaning 5 different vegetables), 1 medium chicken breast and 1/3 cup of brown rice
Mid afternoon snack: have a handful of nuts high in omega 3 fats like walnuts
Dinner: Bean burrito with beans, salsa, avocado, a corn tortilla or wrap and roasted vegetables. If you eat dairy, add some cheese, and if you’re a chip lover, have baked corn chips.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.