WHY Balance Blood Sugar After 50?
If we had to pick one thing to focus on that is going to help you the most in your health journey, it would be what we discuss in this post foods that raise blood sugar. Not only will this one thing help you to reduce cravings and shave off pounds, but it will also improve your lab numbers and increase energy and focus!
We were recently interviewed and asked what we felt was the #1 most important thing every woman over 50 needs to pay attention to when it comes to their diet.
Without hesitation, we both said it was balancing blood sugar.
Although you may be aware that blood sugar is important, you may not realize how it can affect you on a daily basis, even if you are not diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes.
Before we dive into that, we’re gonna cover some basics about what blood sugar is to give you some background and understanding around the topic. Watch the video below or keep reading for the facts!
Sugar, or glucose, is the body’s main source of energy. The term “blood sugar” refers to the amount of sugar present in our bloodstream at one given time. Sugar is produced when we break down any form of carbohydrate, including oats, sweet potatoes, apples, bagels, candy or cookies. Once broken down, the sugar is absorbed from our digestive tract into our bloodstream to be used as a source of energy for the body.
This is where insulin enters the picture. Insulin is a hormone that is released into the bloodstream and its main function is to usher the glucose out of the bloodstream and into the cells. Insulin is often described like a key that unlocks the cell to let the glucose in.
This is a process that helps to bring your blood sugar levels back down to a normal range, and also provides the necessary energy for our cells to function.
The problem is…consistently overeating carbs leads to the need for more and more insulin to manage your blood sugar. To clarify, the carbs that have the most negative impact are the more processed forms like chips, cookies, candy, most breads, and cereals. Even foods like oats and brown rice when overeaten or not balanced correctly can cause higher insulin spikes.
Eventually, your cells stop responding to the insulin signals, which is a condition known as insulin resistance. This leaves glucose trapped in the bloodstream. In addition, high circulating insulin turns off our body’s fat burning mode!
This leaves you feeling low on energy, craving more and more sugar and carbohydrate-based foods because your cells are “starved” for energy. This also leaves you more susceptible to weight gain.
Another factor to think about is that fluctuations in blood sugar levels during menopause are caused by lower levels of estrogen. That’s because estrogen actually helps to optimize insulin! As a result, in and after menopause, the body has to work harder to manage blood sugar. Kind of a bummer – but this makes our attention to blood sugar balance even more important.
So where does this all leave us?
Let’s summarize a bit: When your blood sugar is not balanced, you can end up with low energy, more cravings, irritability when you miss a meal, brain fog, anxiety, trouble sleeping, trouble concentrating, and increased fat storage, especially around your belly. In fact, these are all signs we look for that may indicate blood sugar imbalances. In the long term, this can wind up as pre diabetes and eventually diabetes.
Typically, you are going to feel your best when blood sugar is stable, with small fluctuations, which are normal, rather than extreme highs or lows. Balanced blood sugar helps keep our brain healthy, our energy levels stable, and our mood balanced.
When we are assessing whether someone may have a blood sugar imbalance, we look at the signs we just mentioned, whether or not their fasting glucose was flagged in blood work.
And just to address blood work for a second, keep in mind that fasting glucose won’t get flagged as an issue unless it’s over 99. But we like to see numbers less than 90.
Multiple research studies show that as fasting glucose increases above and beyond the high 80’s, there is an increased risk of health problems like diabetes and heart disease — even if it is below the “normal” high end range of 100.
And even people with relatively lower fasting glucose may still be at higher risk of health problems if they experience frequent high spikes or dips. Unless you are wearing a continuous glucose monitor, which most people don’t, those symptoms we just mentioned earlier can give you clues that this could be an issue for you.
So, you can see why we prioritize balancing blood sugar, especially after 50. Not only for warding off diabetes, but when blood sugar is balanced we see better blood work results, including cholesterol and triglycerides. ALSO, research has shown that well managed blood sugars is linked to reduced risk of other diseases such as heart disease, dementia and arthritis.
Additionally, your moods will be more stable, sleep will improve, you will have less cravings, an easier time losing weight, and be able to stick to a healthier eating plan – it will just be easier all around!
The good news is, blood sugar imbalances and insulin resistance can be corrected with changes in diet and lifestyle habits. Doing so makes a world of difference.
If you want to focus on just one aspect of overall health, balancing your blood sugar is really a baseline strategy that every woman after 50 should be paying attention to.
Our clients are always shocked when they are able to get this down and feel so much more in control of their eating. They have more energy and mental clarity, and more weight loss and inspiration to keep going.
Balancing blood sugar requires monitoring the quantity and quality of your carbohydrate intake. This includes minimizing processed carbs and sugary drinks and sweets, which will minimize dips and spikes in blood sugar levels.
Instead, opt for balanced meals that contain plenty of whole food fiber rich carbs along with a good source of protein and healthy fat. Prioritizing sleep and stress is also really important as they can impact blood sugar too!
If you are looking for specific examples and even more details about the best way to eat after menopause, this is exactly what our PM Meal Mastery program delivers. Among other things, PM MM shares a blood sugar balancing sample 2 week meal plan designed for women over 50, so check that out!
We hope this has enlightened you to how important it is to pay attention to your blood sugar as our number one thing to focus on for your health after 50
THE NOURISHING GURUS
Jane and Stephanie, creators of The Simply Nourished Solution™, are nutritionists who help women over 50 go from overweight, frustrated, and inflamed to lighter and healthier so they can be more active, feel good in their bodies, and live the second half of life with energy and confidence. Their 3-pronged approach, which can fit into any lifestyle, encompasses not only wholesome energizing foods but powerful habit and mindset shifts.
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