Cortisol, often referred to as the “stress hormone” is released by the adrenal glands in response to a stressful situation. As a rule, this natural process is helpful to keep the body operating efficiently and reacting quickly. However, cortisol can actually function as your enemy as well and too often, in today’s color-coded planner, fast-paced, drive-thru world, stress (and the rising cortisol levels that come along with it) is far too common. So what are some signs your cortisol levels are high, and what can you do?
I love leggings. I’ll admit it. In fact, I’m currently wearing one of my favorite pairs. But like most things, leggings are best enjoyed in moderation. While they aren’t “ruining” your health, they could be putting you at risk of several different conditions that you definitely need to know about, but it’s not all bad news. [Read more…]
It’s 3 pm, and you can practically hear that candy bar in your desk calling your name. All you can think about is the sweet, crunchy toffee wrapped in a layer of creamy chocolate. We’ve all been there. But why do we get urges like this, and how can you avoid giving in? Read on to find out the truth behind sugar cravings.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes impacting over 27 million Americans and is one of the fastest growing health conditions in our country. According to a study published in the Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology, type 2 diabetes accounts for 90%-95%of all diabetes cases in America. With these startling statistics, it would behoove us to ask why this condition is so prevalent. The number one risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes is obesity. It is not surprising that the number of overweight and obese people in this country is skyrocketing. The Centers for Disease Control report that more than one-third of adults are obese.
Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the best ways to keep from developing diabetes along with a host of other conditions including hypertension, heart disease, and cancer.
Understanding blood sugar
Once you have finished eating a meal, the sugars contained in the food enter the bloodstream and raise the sugar levels. In response, the pancreas produces insulin which lowers the blood sugar levels so that the cells can take up sugar for energy.Waiting too long to eat or eating a diet laden with unhealthy foods will cause blood sugar to fall too low. In an effort to maintain balance, the body produces the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol. Eating healthy foods that will help your blood sugar stabilize is a good thing at this point. However, if you continue to eat poorly or skip meals, the stress hormones will hang out and cause chaos. Cortisol will signal your body to hang on to fat, especially around the midsection.
What is insulin resistance?
Eventually, the cells in muscles, liver, and fat no longer respond to insulin and the sugar builds up in the blood, leading to insulin resistance, diabetes and a number of scary medical conditions.
Get control and keep control
Controlling blood sugar is a key to maintaining a healthy weight and keeping type 2 diabetes from developing. Many popular food items cause blood sugar spikes and promote overeating and fat storage. These foods include fatty foods, foods that contain artificial sweeteners, foods that contain wheat and sugar. Controlling blood sugar will keep your appetite from going crazy and allow your body to use calories efficiently for energy.
Signs that your blood sugar is out of whack
Because the human body is all about balance, it will give us signs when something is not right. The key is to understand your body well enough to know the signs and make the necessary changes to bring the body back into balance. Here are some signs that your body might give you when your blood sugar is not where it should be.
- It is hard for you to lose weight
- Your waist is bigger than your hips
- You crave sweet food
- You are irritable if you miss a meal
- You cry or get anxious for no reason
- You wake up a lot at night
- You feel “out of it”
- You are hungry all the time
- You get really sleepy in the afternoon
Foods that help you balance your blood sugar
There are a number of foods that you can eat to help keep your blood sugar from flying off the rails. Including these foods in your diet will give you energy and stave off cravings for unhealthy foods.
- Greens – Nutrient dense greens such as kale, broccoli, and spinach are full of fiber and calcium. Eating some greens with every meal will keep your blood sugar on track.
- Healthy protein – Wild caught fish, free-range eggs, and free-range beef are excellent sources of blood sugar-stabilizing protein. Aim for 4 to 6 ounces twice a day for best results.
- Gluten-free grains – Protein-rich, gluten-free grains including quinoa and millet will give you plenty of energy throughout the day without spiking your blood sugar.
- Nuts – Nuts are loaded with healthy fat that keeps you from binging on unhealthy foods. They also contain fiber and protein, which will help your body maintain blood sugar stability.
- Beans – Lentils and garbanzo beans are especially helpful when it comes to blood sugar management. They are high in fiber and protein and low in fat. Remember to soak dry beans overnight before eating to ease digestion.
Apple cider vinegar and blood sugar
Research shows that consuming apple cider vinegar before meals and before bedtime will help keep levels of sugar in the blood even as it increases insulin’s sensitivity. Of course, this is something you can do in addition to eating a healthy diet. Take one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar mixed with warm water three times a day. To sweeten you can add a little raw, organic honey or some stevia drops.
Other things you can do
In addition to eating a healthy diet, be sure that you are drinking enough water daily, exercising at least twenty minutes a day, sleeping at least 7 hours a night and managing the stress in your life. Paying particular attention to these things will help your body keep blood sugar in check.