WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT SO KEEP OUR BLOOD SUGAR IN BALANCE?
Did you know that your body releases the stress hormones cortisol and adrenalin, each time your blood sugar drops? If there is something, we don`t need, then it is extra stress in our lives!
Many women wake up around 3 am in the morning and find it very difficult to get back to sleep again. This may be caused by an elevated blood sugar level when they go to bed. Insulin will do its job to drop blood sugar levels, causing the release of stress hormones and, therefore, they wake you up.
The typical blood sugar imbalance symptoms are:
- Weight Gain
- Cravings for caffeine, sugar, or carbs
- Heart palpitations
- Hot flashes
- Irritability and mood swings
- Low energy – especially in the morning
To maintain a balanced blood sugar level, we need the following two nutrients:
- COMPLEX CARBOHYDRATES
Complex Carbohydrates are high in fiber. They release more slowly in our body than refined carbohydrate which keeps us longer satiated and avoids a spike in insulin.
As they are hard to digest, proteins keep us satiated and avoid a spike in insulin.
If you eat a combination of protein and complex carbohydrates with every meal you will manage to keep your blood sugar stable and win over those cheeky cravings!
- The protein portion should be the size and the thickness of the palm of your hand and approximately a quarter of the dish (e.g., chicken breast, burger, tofu)
- The carbohydrate portion should be the same size as the protein portion. If you want to lose weight, not more than 30g (e.g., wholegrain rice, quinoa, pasta, potatoes, sweet potatoes…)
- Half of the plate should be represented by vegetables of all colors (leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, red or yellow bell peppers, eggplant, zucchinis, etc.)
BENEFICIAL FOOD EXAMPLES
We have a wide selection of animal-based protein and plant-based protein sources.
- Animal based protein sources
Lean meats, fatty fish, seafood, eggs, Greek yoghurt, dairy cottage cheese
- Plant based protein sources
Chickpeas, lentils, beans soya, quinoa, nuts, seeds, nut butter.
COMPLEX CARBOHYDRATES (FIBER)
Vegetables (try to consume a wide variety and all colors)
Fruits with a low glycemic index and edible skin (apples, berries, pears)
Wholegrains (rice, quinoa, pasta, bread)
Pulses (beans, lentils, peas, chickpeas)
Plain water (8-10 glasses per day), herbal teas, fruit infused water, smoothies (low in sugar), kombucha, kefir, plant-based milks.
FOODS YOU SHOULD AVOID
- REFINED CARBOHYDRATES
Baked goods made of white flour as bread, pasta, muffins, biscuits, pizza, pies, pastries, white rice,
cereals containing sugar.
- FOODS CONTAINING LOTS OF SUGAR
Sweets, chocolate, ice creams, desserts, flavoured yogurts;
Fruit with a high glycemic index as mangoes, pineapples, grapes, dried fruit.
Processed pasta sauces, tomato ketchup.
Excessive coffee or caffeinated teas.
Alcoholic drinks – especially white wine, rosé wine, sparkling wine.
ADDITIONAL BENEFITS FROM MAINTAINING A BALANCED BLOOD SUGAR LEVEL
- Less sugar intake will support your weight management and a happier mood.
- With a higher veggie intake, you will support the detox task of your liver and eliminate old hormones easier.
- Avoiding blood sugar crashes means avoiding the release of too much adrenaline. This is important for our progesterone production, as adrenaline can interfere with the progesterone release in the second half of your cycle, triggering PMS symptoms.
- Due to a higher intake of leafy greens, you will get more magnesium, which helps to calm the nervous system.
- Increasing your dietary fiber, you support your body in eliminating old estrogen, which helps against heavy periods and hot flashes.
- More protein in your diet will positively affect your iron levels and prevents you from anemia, especially if you experience heavy periods.
- You can boost your memory and concentration due to a higher animal-based protein intake, too, as this might increase your vitamin B12 levels.
- You can combat hot flushes and sleeping problems if you reduce your alcohol and caffeine intake and if you consume more plant-based proteins (soya, flaxseed, beans, peas, lentils), containing hormone-balancing phytoestrogens.
Incorporating these key nutrients into your diet can help you maintain steady blood sugar levels and navigate the journey of menopause with vitality and well-being.