Do you consider yourself an emotional person? Do you feel like you’re happy one minute and angry the next? Although you very well could be having a rough day, blood sugar has a lot to do with mood and energy regulation and it’s a lot simpler than you would think to keep it under control.
I would call myself a very “emotionally reactive” kind of person. My family and friends don’t really know what to expect from me from day-to-day – little did I know how much that has to do with my blood sugar and not so much with my “all over the place” kind of personality.
So how come some people have low blood sugar and others don't? Well, blood sugar drops are directly caused by a sluggish liver. Your liver is basically not able to hold on to enough glycogen which your body uses as energy between meals. When you don’t have this storage available to you AND you miss your lunch or don’t eat for more than 2 hours, your adrenals emit cortisol which keeps you alive and going during that gap. We all know that cortisol is not good for our bodies and is even considered to be corrosive.
Symptoms of low blood sugar include heart palpitations, excessive sweating, dizziness, headaches, blurry or dry eyes, mood swings and personality changes such as getting angry or crying at the drop of a hat. Reading through these symptoms made me realize just how prevalent low blood sugar has been in my life. All of those times I cried for no reason or sweated through my clothes even though I was standing still or had a panic attack over something minor could have been avoided or at least reduced by just keeping my blood sugar levels in balance.
This rush of the “bad” kind of energy, AKA cortisol, can lead to adrenal fatigue and can even weaken your thyroid. Don’t let that rush of cortisol flood through your body -- you’re better than that! And the good news is that it can all be avoided with a few simple tactics:
Tips To Keep Your Blood Sugar Balanced
1. Eat snacks
That actually sounds awesome! If having low blood sugar means that I get to eat all day, I’m kinda ok with that. Dietician Leslie Beck recommends to eat every two to three hours and to make sure your snacks are high in carbohydrates but are also low on the glycemic index. It’s important to make sure you always have a snack on you just in case you have to miss lunch or you get stuck somewhere without a lot of healthy options. Examples of low GI snacks are dried apricots, apples, pears, cashews, oatmeal and legumes. These types of foods digest slowly, giving you that even hit of energy you’ll need between meals. I like to keep snacks all over the house so even if I'm engaged in doing work on my computer or am doing chores, I can grab a handful of dried fruit or nuts and can be assured that my blood sugar will remain level, otherwise I'll get "hangry."
2. Eat fiber
Another good thing to do when you have blood sugar issues is to eat foods that are high in fiber. The fiber found in foods such as fruit, vegetables, and whole grains slows the rate in which the food is emptied from the stomach, allowing the glucose to be absorbed more slowly into the blood stream. Examples of high fiber foods include sweet potatoes, oranges, bananas, and figs.
3. Cut out caffeine and alcohol
This isn’t exactly ground-breaking stuff, but you’ll be doing yourself a big favor if you limit these bad guys in your diet. Caffeine gets your adrenals pumping – and not in a good way. I remember I ate a bag of chocolate covered coffee beans and almost had an anxiety attack at work. Never again. Replace your coffee with an herbal tea or even better, a freshly squeezed green juice for some real energy that won’t cause a crash later on.
Blood sugar plays more of a role than we realize in keeping a balanced mood. Do you have any tips or tricks to keep your blood sugar balanced? Share in the comments below!