What your sugar cravings are telling you
Stable blood sugar for improved well-being, hormone balance, and more.
Is your blood sugar stable?
Wanna know how to improve all areas of your well-being without the need to diet, rely on coffee, or clock hours at the gym? The secret lies in blood sugar balance. In other words, living a healthy, vibrant life isn’t nearly as complex or nuanced as we’re led to believe. Instead, you can utilize a few practical nutrition tools to wake up rested and stay energized—all day. Enter 👉 the power of stable blood sugar.
Why blood sugar matters
Before we talk about what blood sugar is, let’s back up. Unstable blood sugar impacts over 88% of Americans. Yes, 88%. That means most of us are walking around with volatile blood sugar levels (and unfortunately, don't even know it). In turn, blood sugar becomes the underlying factor in countless chronic conditions, like diabetes, inflammation, and hormonal imbalances. Luckily, not all hope is lost. In just one day, blood sugar stability can begin to improve your focus, sleep, energy, and mood. In the long run, it can keep hormones happy, digestion flowing, and so much more.
Everyone benefits from stable blood sugar
Without knowing exactly what it means, you’ve probably heard of the term. Blood sugar—also known as blood glucose—plays a role in everything from hormone balance to chronic disease. You may already be familiar with spikes and dips in blood glucose. Hello, intense sugar cravings and the afternoon slump! That said, few recognize its effects on a daily basis. Keep in mind that blood sugar awareness is useful for everyone, not just pre-diabetics, diabetics, or a woman with PCOS.
What is blood sugar?
In essence, blood sugar is the amount of sugar (glucose) in your blood at any given time. It’s produced when we break down carbohydrates—i.e. starchy and sugary foods. Be it fruit, a slice of cake, or a piece of toast, that carb is absorbed into our bloodstream. Immediately or eventually, carbohydrates are used as a source of energy.
Female hormones and blood sugar
As mentioned, blood sugar balance is crucial for overall health. But it’s especially important for women—thanks to how hormones regulate glucose metabolism. Hormonal imbalances can cause fluctuations in blood sugar levels, which can have a significant impact on long-term health. Vice versa, constant spikes in blood sugar can wreak havoc on female hormones (irregular cycles, decreased fertility, etc.). It’s a two-way street.
Simple ways to support your blood sugar
Without making drastic changes to your diet and lifestyle, there are several things you can do to help regulate your glucose levels!
Focus on foods high in fiber, healthy fats, and protein. These help slow down the absorption of glucose in the bloodstream. When possible, start your day with a savory breakfast (eggs, cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, sautéed veggies with avocado toast, etc.) and enjoy your coffee after eating. After all, caffeine can spike blood sugar levels. When it comes to lunch and dinner, focus on fiber-rich vegetables (mushrooms, leafy greens, eggplant, summer squash, etc.), 4-6oz. of high-quality protein, and 1-2 sources of healthy fats (avocado, olives, cheese, ghee, etc.).
See here for a list of foods that don’t spike blood sugar!
Exercise is another crucial factor in maintaining healthy blood sugar levels. As your muscles soak up extra glucose in your bloodstream during exercise, your body becomes more insulin sensitive (the goal!). Regular exercise helps lower blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. That said, there’s no need for intense exercise. Rather, aim for consistency—roughly minutes per day of steady-state cardio (walking, jogging, cycling, etc.) or strength training. A short post-meal walk (10-20 minutes) can also do wonders for stabilizing blood glucose.
Did you know that meditation can help improve blood sugar levels? First and foremost, it reduces stress and promotes relaxation. When we experience stress, our bodies release stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones can cause blood sugar levels to spike, as part of the body's fight-or-flight response. However, when we meditate, we activate the body's relaxation response, which can help to counteract the effects of stress on the body. As a result, blood sugar levels may become more stable. This is one of our go-to short meditation practices for stress relief!
Meal formula for balanced blood sugar
When in doubt, use this formula for creating balanced, energizing meals:
- ½ plate: non-starchy vegetables
- i.e. leafy greens, tomatoes, mushrooms, summer squash, zucchini, eggplant, broccoli, etc.
- 4-6oz high-quality protein
- 1 serving starchy carbs (1 cup or less)
- i.e. rice, pasta, sweet potatoes, etc.
- 1-2 sources of healthy fats (2 tablespoons-¼ cup)
Keep in mind that these are general portion sizes. Simply use this framework as a road map!
Eating order: Yes, what you eat—first—can change your glucose response. This is one of the simplest blood sugar hacks. Eating fiber-rich vegetables and protein before starchier carbs can lead to lower post-meal glucose levels. The ideal order is as follows:
- Vegetables first
- Protein and fats second
- Starches and sugars last
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