Have you have ever felt lightheaded, sluggish, headachy or down right grumpy only to realize that it’s because you needed food? That your blood sugar was low?
My first experience dealing with low blood sugar goes back to my early childhood. We almost always attended 8:00 a.m. Mass which meant we skipped breakfast before church.Back then we had to fast from midnight on if we wanted to receive communion….that can be tough for anyone, especially a kid. Guess that’s why 8:00 a.m. Mass was always so packed! People wanted to get church over so they could eat breakfast! I remember my first time fainting because I hadn’t eaten – I spilled off my chair and flat onto the floor and had to be carried out of church. I was mortified!
As I got a little older, there was some reprieve as the church law lessened the fast to only three hours. But who the heck got up before 5:00 a.m.? No one in our house! And, no one liked going to Mass at noon. So there we were, starving, grumpy and impatiently waiting for church to be over so we could be first in line at the donut and coffee table. Talk about a swing on the blood sugar levels!
Finally, the church law changed to having to fast for only an hour. By then, though,I was like many teens and I often skipped breakfast. At school, I’d usually grab the wrong snack at break and all the symptoms that go along with skipping meals would usually show up: headaches, unfocused, grumpy. Eventually, I learned to eat snacks that were more protein as it seemed to make a difference. I didn’t really understand why. As an adult,I often coupled skipping breakfast, instead drinking coffee and would get shaky, irritable and have brain fog. Eventually, someone suggested I might have hypoglycemia. I’d never heard of it.
I eventually learned that I don’t have hypoglycemia. What I did learn was that skipping meals, not eating enough during meal, genetic tendency for low blood sugar, and not compensating by adding extra meals or snacks can all contribute to symptoms of hypoglycemia.
So let’s talk about hypoglycemia – a fancy name for low blood sugar level. Hypoglycemia occurs when:
- Your body’s sugar (glucose) is used up too quickly
- Glucose is released into the bloodstream too slowly
- Too much insulin is released into the bloodstream
Although it is most common in people with diabetes, it can happen for healthy people from time to time as well, especially when there is big fluctuation in blood sugar level, or if a person hasn’t eating for a long period of time.
There are a few ways to alleviate mood issues caused by hypoglycemia:
- Eat meals that are low in glycemic load: substitute refined grains with whole grains, include a generous amount of vegetables, and a moderate amount of protein and good fats which can slow down the absorption of carbs.
- Protein snacks, such as nuts, celery or an apple with almond butter, hardboiled eggs, or a protein smoothie can support your blood sugar levels between meals.
- To keep blood sugar level even, experiment with having 5 – 6 small meals or snacks a day, instead of 3 big meals.
- Avoid as much as possible processed foods, and anything that contains sugar and refined carbohydrates.
If you need extra help with balancing blood sugar level, there are a few things that you can take to supplement your nutritional intake. Here are the basics:
- Good multivitamin to deal with backlog of deficiencies
- Vitamin C
- Essential fatty acid – fish oil supplement, omega 3
- L-Glutamine, an amino acid that may not only helps balance blood sugar levels, it may boost the immune system and wound, burn, and workout recovery.
Did you know that blood sugar levels are also connected to food cravings? Detoxing can help you balance your blood sugar levels, kick cravings to the curb side and My Food-Mood Connection Workshop – a free webinar – will be posted soon. Watch for details on my Facebook health business page www.Facebook.com/BeHealthyByDesign and the Event notice for the webinar. I hope you’ll join me!