Decoding the Power of Blood Sugar Balance for Ultimate Well-being
Hormones. They are so easy to blame for everything because they are responsible for so many things. Hormones regulate everything our bodies do on a daily basis. You can think of hormones as information and instructions that get transported all around the body helping to maintain homeostasis. They regulate the metabolism, our sleep-wake cycle, activity of smooth and cardiac muscles, influence reproductive processes, and spur growth and development.
Unveiling the Endocrine System: Hormones in the Spotlight
The endocrine system consists of several endocrine glands that secrete hormones and some organs that have hormone-secreting cells. There are over 100 hormones in the body! Since they are responsible for regulating all of our cells activities- what is in charge of regulating them?
Hormonal Dialogue: Blood Sugar and the Endocrine System
The nervous system and the endocrine system are very influenced by each other and the nervous system plays a huge part in blood sugar regulation. Many of the same glands are used in blood sugar regulation as its a process that is all about HORMONES! Three main hormones used to regulate blood sugar are insulin, glucagon, and cortisol. The body will always prioritize blood sugar balance first before trying to normalize any other hormone imbalances.
The Physiological Harmony: Blood Sugar's Impact on Vital Functions
Blood sugar affects all aspects of our physiology. Controlled by the central nervous system, It is the foundation that controls our energy production and balance, as well as hormonal balance, brain health, and the integrity of every organ and blood vessel. We never needed to regulate blood sugar ourselves until more recently in human history between the introduction of processed foods, toxins, chronic stress (sympathetically dominant), and eating unbalanced macronutrients.
Navigating Macronutrients: Consequences of Imbalance
Primarily using any one macronutrient for energy production long term (think keto, low carb, low fat etc.) can create issues with how well the body uses all macronutrients. If blood sugar regulation is not working efficiently, overall health cannot be achieved, leading to oxidative stress, glycation, and erratic energy output, making it a top priority in every health challenge. Dysregulation happens when there is a sudden spike in blood sugar, which then create a spike in insulin, followed by a spike in cortisol. This may show up as chronic fatigue, insomnia, hormonal issues, or poor metabolism.
Hormonal Priority in Health Challenges
The body will prioritize balancing spikes and dips in blood sugar, as well as adrenal issues, before supporting other hormonal dysfunctions. The liver, pancreas, and adrenals are responsible for regulating hormones that balance blood sugar. When we have huge spikes or dips of blood sugar or insulin- the body has to work harder to stay balanced. In today’s world, the “emergencies” that consistently put our adrenals in a state of chronic stress are numerous.
in modern times, we are constantly "running from a lion"
Stressors include more than just emotional stress, the body still interprets things like poor sleep, environmental toxins, improper diet, over-exercising, and nutrient deficiencies as stress. By regulating blood sugar through balancing macronutrients and a nutrient dense diet, we are able to increase our capacity to handle stress thus balancing our hormones. Our perception of our reality (and how stressful we view the world as) – is directly related to our hormones.
There are so many everyday stressors that put a burden on our bodies ability to regulate blood sugar. Between restrictive diets, emotional stress, under-eating, over-exercising, toxins, and mineral deficiencies, our bodies are trying to keep up with the demands by regulating blood sugar (and running on stress hormones instead) and will put every other system on the back burner. Glucose is the preferred source of energy for the cells, and when we over restrict carbohydrates and under eat, it forces our system to run off of the adrenals instead. This leads to symptoms of low thyroid function, estrogen dominance, poor sleep, low energy, PMS in our cycles, and inability to handle stress.
Through eating enough nourishing foods, and an adjustment of macronutrient ratios, an individual can create balanced hormonal release and utilize all macronutrients—FATS, CARBOHYDRATES, AND PROTEINS—for energy.
In addition to nutrition and macro balance, three lifestyle factors to help with blood sugar regulation include reducing stress levels, incorporating movement into your routine, and prioritizing sleep.
Practical Tips to Incorporate:
- Opt for Balanced Combos: Pair carbohydrates with proteins in both meals and snacks. Think of combinations like fruit with cheese, meat with potatoes, or eggs with orange juice for a balanced nutrient intake.
- Integrate Adrenal Cocktails: Include adrenal cocktails in your daily routine to nourish and support adrenal health throughout the day.
- Embrace Healthy Carbs: Don’t shy away from wholesome carbohydrates found in fruits and roots. Ensure you’re consuming an adequate amount for your body’s needs; insufficient calories can induce stress on the body.
- Prioritize Breakfast and Balanced Meals: Begin your day with breakfast within 30 minutes of waking up. Include at least three well-balanced meals and incorporate nutritious snacks between them for sustained energy.
- Cultivate Mindful Eating: Slow down your pace and engage in less demanding activities, especially before mealtime. Eating in a present and para-sympathetic state supports optimal digestion and overall well-being.
- Post-Meal Strolls: Enhance insulin sensitivity by adding short, 10-minute walks after meals. This simple practice contributes to better blood sugar regulation and overall metabolic health.
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