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Condition - Blood sugar imbalances

By Nutri People

A blood sugar imbalance refers to the level of blood sugar being either below the optimum range (this is known as hypoglycaemia) or above the optimum range (hyperglycaemia).  An imbalance in blood sugar may be quite common.  Symptoms often experienced include lack of energy, drowsiness during the day, headaches, irritability, cravings for sweet foods, difficulty in waking, mood swings, poor concentration and memory as well as the need for frequent meals. 

Contributing factors 

  • There are many factors that may play a role in an imbalanced blood sugar level:
  • Poor dietary choices such as a high sugar intake, increased alcohol consumption, low fibre diet and infrequent meals
  • An increase in body weight may predispose a person to high blood sugar levels
  • Stress, which causes hormones to be released that affect blood sugar balance
  • Lack of exercise 

Useful supplements

  • Chromium – assists with glucose tolerance factor and insulin use
  • Essential fatty acids – help the body cells respond better to insulin
  • Cinnamon – help encourage a normal response to insulin
  • B vitamins – often low during stress
  • Magnesium – used during stress
  • Liquorice root extract – supports the adrenal glands, which affect the blood sugar balance.

Dietary advice

  • Be aware of hidden sugars - Check food labels as many products have added sugar. This includes products such as tomato ketchup, baked beans, cereals, honey, chocolate etc.  Many low-fat items have high levels of sugar, used to replace the taste lost when the fat is reduced.
  • Avoid “white”refined carbohydrates - replace them with complex carbohydrates such as wholemeal flours, brown rice, vegetables, beans, pulses, lentils etc. This means avoiding many convenience foods, as they are likely to contain refined carbohydrates.
  • Eat small, frequent meals - this evens out the rate at which sugar is absorbed. Snacks of nuts, seeds, fruits and raw vegetables are useful mid-morning and mid-afternoon.  Never skip meals.
  • Avoid stimulants such as tea, coffee, cola and cigarettes - these have an effect on the adrenal glands causing blood sugar levels to rise and therefore affect the balance.  Good alternatives include herbal teas, barley coffee and plenty of water.
  • Avoid alcohol - this produces very strong swings in blood sugar levels.
  • Increase consumption of high fibre foods - fibre slows the absorption of sugar from food, particularly water-soluble fibre as found in legumes, oat bran, apples, pears and most vegetables.
  • Increase good quality protein - protein slows sugar absorption. It should be eaten at every meal.  Good sources are cottage cheese, fish, chicken, live natural yoghurt, nuts and seeds.

It may also be advisable to take regular exercise and take stress reduction measures. 

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