Today I want to talk about blood sugar and why it’s important to keep your levels balanced throughout the day to help with anxiety and many other things.
So here’s the technical bit: A dip in blood sugar can create a physiological stress on the body. The body responds by producing cortisol, the stress hormone, which in turn increases anxiety and can also cause issues with sleeping.
What most people tend to do when stressed is eat something sugary. This is because your body is telling you that it needs a quick source of energy (sugar) to run away from the perceived threat that is causing the stress. Our bodies haven’t yet caught up with the concept of 21st century stress – that it does not mean running away from a tiger, it means sitting at a desk because of a looming deadline. Eating something sugary on an empty stomach during a stressful day will spike your blood sugar quickly. And, as we all know, what goes up must come down (pinching one of Amie’s favourite sayings J). When your levels drop, your body goes into a stress response again and produces more cortisol which makes you more anxious and you reach for the sugary foods again. It’s a vicious cycle…..
So what can you do?
Make sure you eat regularly (every 3 to 3 ½ hours is ideal) and aim for both protein and carbohydrate at every meal or snack (and include essential fats at the main meals). Avoid high sugary treats if anxiety or insomnia is an issue for you. Eat plenty of fibre such as legumes, beans, flax seeds, chia seeds, oats, hemp seeds and nuts. Fibre will help promote satiety, slow digestion and help you crave less sugar. And a final tip: Eat low glycaemic foods which release sugar at a slower rate because they take longer to break down in the intestine. Examples include sweet potatoes, green apples, berries, beans and oats.
Happy balancing x