4 Simple Hacks to Prevent a Blood Sugar Crash over the Holidays
By: Dr. Rachel Heussner
As more research comes out, the medical community is developing a deeper understanding of the effects of poor blood sugar management. Diabetes is not the only medical condition that leads us to monitor glucose levels in the blood. Hormone imbalances, gut issues, mood, cardiovascular disease, and many other conditions may be linked to high glucose and/or high insulin. The holidays are a time to gather and celebrate with loved ones. For many, holiday traditions include indulging in sweets, alcohol, and baked goods. Therefore, we want to offer the community some simple tips to help regulate blood sugar during the holiday season. Let’s enter the New Year feeling happy and healthy!
Walking after meals is an effective way to help transport sugar out of the blood and into the cells. A 30 minute walk is great, but even as little as 10 minutes of walking within an hour of eating has been shown to reduce glucose levels significantly. If you are not able to get out for a walk, put on your favorite holiday tunes and dance in your living room! This is a great time to make unforgettable holiday memories with the family.
Bonus tip! We know stress can be high around the holidays. Adding in walks is a great way to lower stress and support your nervous system when you need a little break from the holiday chaos.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day! This is the time we are breaking our fast and food can be thought of as information. It is important to give the body the information that will help support it for the rest of the day. A high protein breakfast, roughly 25-30 grams, will help keep you satiated, stabilizing energy levels and mood throughout the day. This way, when dinner time comes around your blood sugar has not been on a rollercoaster, preventing cravings and overindulgence.
Fiber helps to slow the absorption of glucose into the blood. Most of our patients are not getting enough fiber in their diet. This is a tip you can take with you beyond the holiday season. Fiber is not only great for stabilizing blood sugar, but supports healthy cholesterol levels, feeds beneficial gut bacteria, and supports healthy detoxification. When making your plate or deciding what dish to bring, make sure you are including fiber! Whole grains, vegetables, beans, and legumes are great sources of fiber that can easily be added to your plate. Check out online recipe blogs for high fiber dishes to bring to your next holiday gathering.
Ciders, alcohol, juices, eggnog, sodas all may contain high amounts of sugar. When consuming a sugary liquid, we are not getting the fiber to help slow the absorption of sugar into our bloodstream the way you would when eating an apple, for example. The best way to avoid an unnecessary glucose spike, would be to eat some food before consuming these beverages. Preferably, something that provides protein, fat, and fiber, to help stabilize blood sugar. So, before consuming that glass of wine, choose to eat some veggies with hummus or guacamole first.
The holidays are a wonderful time to get family together. Our hope for you would be to take these tips and share them with your friends and family, so everyone can be feeling their best during the holiday season. These tips are easy ways to prevent a blood sugar spike and crash, which can look like low energy levels, brain fog, anxious or depressed mood, irritability, headaches and nausea.
About: Dr. Rachel Heussner is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor. She completed her medical training at Bastyr University in San Diego, California. She holds a bachelor's degree in biology and chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Rachel is certified in advanced IV therapy, Cranial Sacral Therapy, and PRP (platelet-rich plasma) microneedling and injections. Her areas of focus include hormonal imbalances, women’s health, metabolic conditions, mental health, stress management, and gastrointestinal health.