We don’t often worry about blood sugar unless it’s causing a direct impact on our health. We let our bodies take the reins until a serious illness such as diabetes or heart disease develops. However, understanding the purpose of blood sugar and how your diet affects it can help you make better decisions for your long-term health. Let’s take a deep dive into what your blood sugar levels actually mean and what you can do to improve them!
What is Blood Sugar?
Sometimes referred to as blood glucose, you retain this from the foods you eat each day. On autopilot, your body will create blood sugar by using the food you eat and transforming it into sugar that circulates throughout your bloodstream. This is used to fuel your body throughout the day and give you the energy you need to go about your normal life. The energy that isn't used is stored in your cells to be used later. But here’s where things can get messy. Too much sugar can lead to an overload of blood sugar being stored in your cells, which eventually leads to some pretty serious illnesses.
Type 2 diabetes can develop, which can then impact the health of the heart, kidneys and blood vessels. This is why it’s so important to be mindful of blood sugar, so you don’t suffer any of these consequences in the future. Although your blood sugar might not be something you think about often, it’s important to keep it in mind when you make your diet choices each day.
What Affects Your Blood Sugar?
Blood sugar is directly affected by the foods you eat each day. Everything you consume is broken down by the body in efforts to use the energy and nutrients effectively. Carbohydrates specifically is what is turned into blood sugar. The more carbs you eat, the more sugar that is released into your bloodstream. When you have a diet packed full of fizzy drinks, sweets and lollies you definitely aren’t doing your blood sugar any favours.
To make it simple for you, here are some foods you should avoid if you’re trying to lower your blood sugar levels:
- Sugar sweetened drinks
- White Bread
- Fruit-flavoured yoghurt
- Flavoured coffee drinks
- Packaged snacks (chips, pretzels, crackers)
Although these things are delicious, not only are they easy to overeat, but their high sugar and carbohydrate concentrate makes the perfect recipe for high blood sugar levels.
Foods That Help Manage High Blood Sugar
The good thing is, because food is the main cause of high blood sugar, it can also be the solution. Now you’re mindful of what you shouldn’t eat, here are the foods that can actually help combat high blood sugar levels.
- Plain yoghurt
- Sweet potatoes
- Whole wheat
You can still enjoy the yummy foods that the world has to offer, but everything in moderation! If you start eating a balanced and healthy diet before the more severe consequences of high blood pressure develop, you’ll be saving yourself plenty of doctors' visits and unwanted medical bills.
Exercise and Blood Sugar
Amongst managing blood sugar with diet, exercise can also help! As the purpose of blood sugar is to provide energy, when you use your muscles, your body is absorbing sugar from your cells in order to fuel your physical activity. If you’ve done some intense training, your blood sugar levels can remain low for hours after your workout. If you exercise regularly, this can help manage your blood sugar on a day-to-day basis.
All in all, your blood sugar levels shouldn’t be something you need to be concerned about if you’re eating relatively healthy. But it’s never too late to change your diet and improve your health!