The primary role of glucose, or blood sugar, in the body is to provide the cells with energy. In fact, brain cells and the rest of the nervous system depend almost entirely on glucose for energy.
In some individuals, the regulation of blood glucose doesn’t work properly resulting in either hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia. Persistent hyperglycemia results in diabetes. With diabetes, blood glucose levels surge after a meal and remain elevated because insulin is either insufficient or inadequate. There are two main types of diabetes: Type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, which is less common, pancreatic cells in genetically predisposed individuals are destroy and, therefore, fail to produce insulin. In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas produces insulin but the cells fail to respond to it (insulin resistance). Obesity increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Long-term health concerns associated with diabetes are serious. They include eye, kidney, and nerve damage, as well as heart disease.
For proper functioning, the body must maintain blood glucose levels within a very specific range. This requires a person to eat balanced meals at regular intervals throughout the day. Complex carbohydrates, ample fiber, and some healthy fats help to slow the digestion and absorption of foods for a steady, ongoing release of glucose into the blood.
To keep blood sugar stable, follow these simple lifestyle recommendations:
- Eat a diet low in refined carbohydrates, including fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains, and healthy fats (such as olive oil). Make sure to consume plenty of fiber because it helps control blood sugar levels.
- Eat regularly scheduled, balanced meals.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Get regular exercise. Aim for at least 30 minutes per day of moderate exercise.
- Practice stress-reducing techniques such as deep breathing, mediation, and yoga.
Until next time, make every bite count!