Keeping blood sugar levels within a healthy range is very important for limiting your risk of heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, and vision loss. Staying in a healthy blood sugar range can also help improve mood and energy as well.
Sugar is the body’s main source of energy, and the amount of sugar present in the bloodstream at any given time is referred to as “blood sugar.”
By measuring your blood sugars regularly with a glucometer at home, you can get a good idea of just how balanced your blood sugar levels are. Dr. Leo can help you learn to balance your blood sugars using different strategies.
What Are Healthy Blood Sugar Levels?
Blood sugar levels dictate energy, cravings, and hunger. When blood sugar is balanced, we often feel our best, because our energy levels are stable and our mood is balanced. When blood sugar levels become unbalanced, we can experience poor sleep, low energy, irritability, sugar cravings, brain fog, weight gain, and even diabetes. Healthy blood sugar levels vary depending on the time of day and whether or not you’ve eaten. Generally, you want to aim for:
- 80 to 130 mg/dL before a meal
- Less than 180 mg/dL two hours after the start of a meal
Depending on different factors including additional health concerns, your age, and other factors, a healthy blood sugar target may be slightly different for you. Working with a practitioner like Dr. Leo can be very helpful in discovering individual target levels.
How Is Blood Sugar Regulated?
Two main hormones called insulin and glucagon help control blood sugar levels. As you eat, the pancreas creates and releases insulin into the bloodstream to regulate blood sugar. Insulin determines how much sugar is stored in your cells, and how much is kept in your bloodstream. High-carbohydrate foods are broken down into glucose which goes directly into your bloodstream.
As this occurs, the pancreas produces insulin to transfer the glucose to the cells and to regulate the amount of sugar in the bloodstream. Insulin helps get the glucose into the cells and out of the bloodstream. This process helps bring blood sugar levels into a normal range.
When you consume a meal with a lot of carbohydrates, your body ends up with more glucose than it actually needs in one sitting. When it’s in a balanced state, the body should be able to deal with the extra glucose and bring down blood sugar levels within a couple hours.
When too many carbohydrates or too much sugar is consumed too often, the process can become stressed, and your body will require more and more insulin just to manage blood sugar properly.
When this happens, the body can become resistant to the insulin response, and high blood sugar levels can develop, leading to a condition called insulin resistance.
How Do I Balance My Levels?
Diet and lifestyle changes can be very effective in helping to balance disrupted blood sugar levels and insulin resistance. Being mindful of the quantity and quality of your overall carbohydrate intake is extremely important in balancing blood sugar levels.
To minimize dips and spikes in blood sugar levels, limiting processed carbohydrates like pasta, bread, and sugary drinks can be very helpful. Whole food carbohydrates, beans, fruits, and vegetables can help stabilize blood sugar because they are nutrient-dense and high in fiber.
Eating balanced meals that contain both protein and fat is important, as protein helps balance blood sugar levels, while the fat slows absorption of glucose into the bloodstream.
Focusing on whole foods is the easiest way to start balancing blood sugar levels. Since whole foods contain large amounts of nutrients, fiber, and proteins and fats, they don’t have large amounts of refined sugars that can be harmful to blood sugar levels. Getting a good quality and quantity of sleep is important, as poor sleep can cause the body’s cells to be less sensitive to insulin.
Regular exercise can also encourage glucose to get into muscle cells, helping manage blood glucose levels.
Schedule an Appointment Today to Learn More About Healthy Blood Sugar
If you’ve not been feeling your best, maybe it’s time to check on your blood sugar levels. Dr. Leo can help you figure out how your blood sugar levels are and help you obtain healthy levels. Give our office a call today to schedule an appointment. We are located at 6321 Executive Blvd, Rockville, MD 20852, in the Executive Office Park. We look forward to seeing you!