Wednesday December 4, 2019
How does blood sugar in the body work?
Glucose requires insulin in order to be used by cells in the body. When we consume carbohydrates or proteins, blood sugar levels rise. This alerts the body to produce additional insulin in order to return blood sugar levels back to normal. Insulin levels rise and fall in accordance with our diets and are also impacted by levels of other hormones, such as cortisol.
What is glucose?
Our body needs glucose as a source of energy. Glucose comes from carbohydrates. The body transforms the carbohydrates into glucose once consumed. The liver also plays a role. The liver converts protein and fat into glucose ensuring there is a constant supply of energy when we are not eating.
What is insulin?
Insulin is produced in the pancreas. Insulin transports glucose from our blood to the muscle and fat cells for energy. The pancreas also signals the liver to stop glucose production once optimal levels have been reached.
Abnormal Blood Sugar Levels Signs
- Sugar/carb cravings
- Excessive thirst
- Weight fluctuations/weight loss
- Increased urination
- Mood swings, nervousness or “jitteriness”
- Blurred, worsening vision
- Slow healing of skin injuries, skin dryness, and bruises
- Frequent infections
- Heavy breathing and trouble exercising
- Tension headaches
Why is maintaining normal blood sugar levels important?
Maintaining blood sugar at healthy levels aids individuals to avoid serious health complications.
Over time, keeping blood sugar at unhealthful levels can damage small and large blood vessels in several organs and systems, leading to serious consequences, such as:
- Vision impairment
- Kidney damage
- Damage to the cardiovascular system
- Damage to the nervous system
How do I support blood sugar levels naturally?
Stress kicks off a vicious hormonal cycle for many people. Stress not only contributes to abnormal blood sugar levels by raising cortisol and glucagon, but also tends to increase cravings for “comfort foods” (many of which are refined and filled with sugar or other inflammatory ingredients) and often interferes with getting good sleep. Manage stress naturally here.
Get Enough Sleep
Inadequate sleep can raise stress and appetite hormones (like cortisol and ghrelin, controlling hunger), making it harder to avoid sugary snacks, refined grain products and caffeine overdose. Sleeping too little, getting poor quality sleep or sleeping at the wrong times can impair insulin secretion even if enjoying a healthy diet. Click here for tips on a good night’s rest.
Exercise encourages the body’s muscles to use sugar for energy. Short-term exercise causes muscles to increase glucose for energy and tissue repair. Long-term exercise encourages cells to become more responsive to insulin preventing resistance. Click here for simple at home exercises.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Being overweight is linked to insulin resistance. Studies show that reducing weight by only 7 percent can reduce the chances of developing blood sugar related health complications by 58 percent. Click here for simple weight-loss tips!
Learn Sugar’s Aliases
Make no mistake, sugar is a legitimate addiction. The body can build tolerance to sugar over time, requiring more and more of that sweet taste to satisfy. Consuming processed foods without added sugar is difficult.
This is partially because of all the other names sugar goes by on food labels, including:
- High fructose corn syrup
- Corn syrup
- Cane sugar
Don’t Replace with Artificial
Artificial sweeteners are showing to be counterproductive and potentially dangerous. Not only are artificial sweeteners linked to countless health complications, but they also trick your body into thinking they’re getting sugar without actually receiving. That causes the body to do what? You guessed it! Crave more sugar.
Portion control/Eating regularly
Portion control/regular meals can help lead to weight loss and help maintain blood sugar spikes.
Here are some helpful tips for controlling portions:
- Measure and weigh portions.
- Use smaller plates.
- Avoid all-you-can-eat restaurants.
- Read food labels and check the serving sizes.
- Keep a food journal.
- Eat slowly.
Fiber plays a significant role in blood sugar management by slowing down the rate that carbohydrates break down, and the rate that the body absorbs the resulting sugars. The two types of fiber are soluble and insoluble fiber. Of the two types, soluble fiber is the most helpful in controlling blood sugar.
Soluble fiber is in the following foods:
- Fresh vegetables
- Whole grains
- Fresh fruit
Know Your Carbs
The two main kinds of carbohydrates — simple and complex — affect blood sugar levels differently.
Simple carbohydrates are mainly made up of one kind of sugar. They are found in foods, such as white bread, pasta, and candy. The body breaks these carbohydrates down into sugar very quickly, which causes blood sugar levels to rise rapidly.
Complex carbohydrates are made up of three or more sugars that are linked together. Because the chemical makeup of these kinds of carbohydrates is complicated, it takes the body longer to break them down.
As a result, sugar is released into the body more gradually, meaning that blood sugar levels do not rapidly rise after eating them. Examples of complex carbohydrates include whole grain oats and sweet potatoes.
Low glycemic index foods are those that score below 55 on the glycemic index. Examples of low glycemic foods include:
- Sweet potatoes
- Nuts and seeds
- Leafy greens
- Noni fruit
Did you know? As a raw food, noni fruit contains less than 1% carbohydrates. In addition, noni fruit’s compounds: saponins, flavonoids, and rutin can help maintain healthy blood sugar levels already within the normal range.
Where Can I Find Noni?
Most stores carry commercial noni juice. Noni juice is missing the componds from the solid pulp and is often pasteurized at high heat, destroying many of the beneficial compounds and enzymes. Pair all of this with the fact that most noni juice is diluted with other fruit juices and very high in sugar, it’s definitely not the best solution for maintaining healthy blood sugar levels, or for getting the maximum nutritional value out of noni for that matter. Where do my supplements come from?
Know Where Your Food Comes From
These days, when “sustainability” is mainstream and everyone is throwing around phrases like “natural,” “organic,” and “responsibly grown,” it’s hard to navigate the tangle of words, rhetoric, and jargon to get at the truth of what’s best for our planet. To learn more about the difference of natural and organic click here.
Knowing your farmer is far from the norm in today’s agricultural society. Most people buy food from supermarkets, which, despite the often colorful marketing language on food packaging, comprise an institution designed to turn food into a transactional commodity rather than a social, cultural experience. When one peels back the color packaging and “all natural” advertising, do you really know if what you are consuming is good for you?
Hawaiian Organic Noni’s Noni Fruit Leather is a raw food alternative that gives you all the essential nutrients present in the raw pulp of noni fruit — because it’s 100% raw noni pulp! Our unique low heat drying process (below 115F) of non-fermented noni pulp maintains the maximum potency and beneficial compounds found in noni fruit.