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  • Writer's pictureRachel Davies

5 Top Nutrition & Lifestyle Tips for Improving Blood Sugar Balance

Updated: Oct 4, 2023


sugary sweets

Improving blood sugar balance is one of the key focus areas of my work with 1:1 clients. Stable blood sugar levels not only provide consistent energy levels but they support better mental health, promote hormone harmony and support weight management. It is something we all need to be working on every day and if we don't can lead to chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes and metabolic disorders. Here are my five top tips that can effectively support blood sugar balance, helping you lead a healthier and more vibrant life:


1.) Focus on Low-Glycemic Load Foods


A cornerstone of supporting blood sugar balance is selecting low-glycemic foods that have a gradual impact on blood glucose levels. Low-glycemic foods have a slower rate of digestion and absorption, leading to a steady and sustained release of glucose into the bloodstream. The best way to do this is to prioritise whole, unprocessed foods and avoid refined carbohydrates and sugary snacks. Examples of low-glycemic foods include:

  • Non-starchy vegetables (leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, bell peppers, etc.)

  • Legumes (chickpeas, lentils, black beans, etc.)

  • Whole grains (quinoa, barley, bulgur, etc.)

  • Nuts and seeds (chia seeds, almonds, walnuts, etc.)


Low sugar vegetables

2.) Build Balanced Meals


Balanced meals that combine complex carbohydrates, lean proteins, and healthy fats can help regulate blood sugar levels and prevent sharp spikes and crashes. When we eat foods that are high in carbohydrates and not much else we get a big spike in blood sugar which is followed by an inevitable crash. This is called the 'blood sugar rollercoaster' and is what we want to avoid!


Including proteins and fats slows down the absorption of glucose from carbohydrates, promoting a more gradual rise in blood sugar. Portion sizes are important here so I generally advise to start with the following guidelines:

  • A palmful sized amount of protein (meat, fish, eggs, beans, lentils, tofu, tempeh etc.)

  • A cupped handful of complex carbohydrates (starchy vegetables, whole-grains, oats etc.)

  • 1-2 thumb sized servings of health fats (avocado, extra virgin olive oil, oily fish, nuts and seeds)

  • 2 large fist- sized amounts of fibre (colourful vegetables)

Variety is key!


3.) Regular Physical Activity


Physical activity plays a crucial role in supporting blood sugar balance. Exercise helps muscles utilise glucose from the bloodstream for energy, leading to lower blood sugar levels. Additionally, regular physical activity enhances insulin sensitivity, making cells more responsive to insulin's effects. Insulin is the hormone the pancreas releases in response to blood sugar rises.


Recommendations:

  • Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week.

  • Include strength training exercises to build and maintain muscle mass.

  • Avoid long periods of time being sedentary, take any opportunity to move your body: take the stairs rather than then lift, walk rather than getting the bus etc.


physical activity helps balance blood sugar

4.) Manage Stress


Chronic stress can significantly impact blood sugar levels. When stressed, the body releases hormones like cortisol, which can cause blood sugar levels to rise. And off we go on the blood sugar rollercoaster again!

So make stress-management practises a priority. Even just 5-10 minutes a day can make a difference. Try meditation, yoga, or spending time in nature.



5.) Prioritise quality sleep


Inadequate sleep can also lead to insulin resistance, affecting blood sugar regulation. When we are tired, we also tend to make poorer food choices, reaching for sugar and refined carbohydrates for quick energy which in fact is making the situation worse. Establish a consistent sleep routine aiming for 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night.


sleep is important for balancing blood sugar


By incorporating these five top nutrition and lifestyle tips, you can take charge of your blood sugar levels, promote better health, and enjoy a more energised and balanced life. Remember that personalised approaches tailored to individual needs are crucial for long-term success so if you would like to discuss your health goals and how you can improve your blood sugar balance for better energy levels, improved mood and more resilience to life's stressors - book in for a FREE 20 minute call here and let's chat!

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