Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Eating and Stress: Your Blood Sugar

Eating can directly impact your stress. Understanding how food affects you will help you manage it. It comes down to maintaining proper blood sugar levels.

The ideal situation is to have an even, healthy, level of blood sugar throughout the day. It is affected by when you eat, how often you eat, and what you eat. Let’s look at the impact of blood sugar on your stress-response and overall health.

Blood sugar is glucose which is used by your body as energy. Your brain needs this energy to function. Your brain can’t store glucose. It is totally dependant on the sugar circulating in your bloodstream.

Glucose is made from the carbohydrates. That means grains, breads, pasta, fruit and sugar. The more refined a carbohydrate is, the faster it will go into your bloodstream as glucose. Processed sugar, and simple, natural, sugars ( like fruit juice, maple syrup and honey) are directly absorbed by your stomach. They quickly release glucose into your bloodstream.

We are looking for balance. Blood sugar that is too low, or too high, is a problem. Consuming more sugar is not the solution. Eating simple sugars ends up depriving your brain of the glucose it needs.

Low blood sugar can be caused by, lack of food, skipping meals, or the re-bound after consuming sugary food. Low blood sugar creates an emotional response of nervousness, or anxiety, which can directly impact your ability to deal with stressful situations. It can also lead to confusion and irritability, putting your body into a stressed state even when nothing is happening. It can impact your ability to deal with your emotions leading to over-reactions.

High blood sugar can make you hyper-sensitive and reactive. You may get angry with very little reason. It can also lead to fatigue which impacts your ability to perform and cope with day to day tasks.

Either state, low, or high, will create and environment of heightened emotions. They will increase your accumulated stress. Ideally you want to keep your blood sugar stable throughout the day. Then your brain can perform at its best. Your body will be fully equipped to deal with the stresses of the day.  Have you suffered from high, or low, blood sugar symptoms? I’d like to hear what it was like for you.

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