We have all heard the term blood sugar. It gets thrown around by medical professionals and nutritionists and if you suffer from diabetes then you are probably sick of hearing it! Although many realise that blood sugar is important, few people understand how their daily symptoms, mental state and activities are affected by it.
Sugar, also known as glucose, is the main source of energy for the human body and the term blood sugar refers to the levels of energy (sugar) present in our bloodstream at any one time. When we consume carbohydrates, the body breaks them down into sugars, these are absorbed into the blood stream via our digestive tract and are stored as a source of energy for the body to use.
Enough of the Sweet Talk
It is important to remember that blood sugar is important for everyone, not just those who suffer from diabetes or other health conditions. Our blood sugar dictates our energy levels, hunger etc and a balanced blood sugar maintains brain health, energy levels and mood. However, when our blood sugar is out of balance, things like irritability, anxiety and cravings can run rampant. Your sleep pattern, mental clarity and ability to lose weight can also be greatly impacted and your risk of developing diabetes can also increase if our blood sugar is in not given the attention it needs.
A Spoonful of Insulin Helps the Sugar Go Down
Our blood sugar is controlled by two main hormones, insulin and glucagon both of which are produced in the pancreas. Each time we eat, these hormones are released into the bloodstream. Insulate is referred to as the traffic controlled and determines how much sugar is retained in the bloodstream and how much sugar is stored in our cells. Insulin also unlocks the door to our blood cells so that glucose can be absorbed into your blood cells and out of the bloodstream. This process assists in bringing out blood sugar levels back into balance and provides our cells with the energy they need to function.
When you eat a diet that contains high levels of sugar and carbohydrates, you end up giving your body more glucose than it can handle, thus the process of blood sugar regulation becomes stressed. As you continue to consume carbohydrate rich foods, your body is forced to produce higher levels of insulin to balance your blood sugar. Eventually your body becomes resistant to the body’s own insulin response which results in higher levels of sugar in the bloodstream (known as high blood sugar), a decrease in energy levels and the body’s cells being starved of energy as the insulin is unable to unlock the doors of the cells to let the glucose in.
The Problem with Insulin Resistance
When the body becomes resistant to insulin, your cells become hungry for more sugar and carbohydrate-based foods. Additionally, as your body becomes more insulin resistant, its harder for your body to burn fat and easier for you to gain weight. Why? Because when our blood sugar is elevated, our body does not see the need to burn body fat (our back up fuel) for energy. So, when your body becomes insulin resistant and your blood sugar is destabilised, it results in lowered energy, increased cravings, inability to sleep, reduced concentration and increased fat storage particularly around the stomach region.
Want some good news? Blood sugar levels of insulin resistance can be brought back into balance with changes in lifestyle habits and diet. Reducing your intake of breads, pasta, sweets and sugary drinks and increasing the intake of foods such as beans, lentils, fruit and vegetables. Another great way to manage blood sugar is through the use of herbs and spices; Cinnamon, Fenugreek, Hemp seeds and Dandelion root all have the ability to reduce blood sugar levels. The most common way to consume these foods is in herbal tea or supplements. A herbal tea that combines all of those ingredients in Hemp Balance Tea.
Taken daily with breakfast may assist in the stabilisation of blood sugar levels. Our Digestion tea is created using a blend of natural herbs and spices that have been used for centuries in traditional medicine such as:
· Hemp Seeds- Hemp Seeds contain both Gamma Linoleic Acid and Omega 6 fatty acids which may improve blood glucose control and ease the pain of diabetic neuropathy.
· Cinnamon- Cinnamon has both antifungal and antibacterial properties making a great ingredient that can assist our immune systems in fighting off harmful bacteria that we encounter daily
· Flaxseed- Studies have shown that consuming flaxseeds can reduce blood sugar levels after eating a mean and can increase insulin levels due to their high soluble fibre content.
· Dandelion Root- A natural Diuretic, Dandelion Root can assist in decreasing the amount of fluids in your veins and arteries, this in turn helps to lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
· Rooibos- Due to its high levels of Aspalathin (a powerful antioxidant), Rooibos may help people that suffer from diabetes to lower their blood sugar levels.
· Liquorice Root- Licorice Root helps in the production of clean, healthy phlegm, which as gross and counterintuitive as this sounds is extremely important in respiratory system functionality and health.
· Cocoa Nibs- As they contain no added sugar and stabilising antioxidants, Cocoa Nibs are great for blood sugar reduction and management.
· Rose Petals- Rose petals contain Phytonutrients which are believed to lower the risk of heart disease, some cancers and Type 2 Diabetes.