Blood Sugar and Mood: the Fine Art of Balancing With Food

Blood sugar spikes can stress the pancreas and lead to diabetes, depression, and anxiety
By Susanna Deering,
September 4, 2018 Updated: September 14, 2018

There are many benefits to balancing your blood sugar. When your blood sugar is on a roller coaster ride all day, so is your mood. Ever wonder why you get irritable and frustrated when you skip a meal? Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) is the reason and something you want to try and avoid.

Daily consumption of refined carbohydrates, alcohol, poor diet and skipping meals contribute to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and hyperglycemia (high blood sugar). Not only do imbalanced blood sugars affect your physical health, which puts stress on different body systems, they also affect your emotional well-being.

Diabetic or not, keeping your blood sugar level balanced is important to your overall health. Learning to recognize the signs of hypoglycemia will help you in making preventative steps to achieve greater health. Symptoms of hypoglycemia usually present themselves before high blood sugar levels do and are easier to recognize.

Symptoms of Hypoglycemia:

  • Headaches
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Shaky feeling
  • Irritability
  • Blurred vision
  • Excessive sweating
  • Confusion
  • Incoherent speech

Refined sugars in the diet are quickly absorbed into your bloodstream, resulting in an increase in blood sugar levels. This signals the pancreas to produce an increased amount of insulin. Because this increase in insulin is followed by a rapid drop—a spike in blood sugar levels—the symptoms of hypoglycemia can follow. The rapid drop in blood sugar levels can cause the adrenal glands to secrete the stress hormone cortisol. Over time your adrenal glands can also become exhausted. This situation can cause you to become depressed, and emotional issues can present themselves.

For these reasons, preventative measures to eliminate low blood sugar reactions are often the first step to achieving balance for emotional and physical health.

Try these suggestions to help balance your blood sugar and your mood:

  • Include lots of fiber in your diet. Best in the form of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
  • Eliminate refined carbohydrates. Choose 100% whole grain products.
  • Choose natural low glycemic options. Learn what the glycemic index is and what foods are more likely to spike your blood sugar levels.
  • Avoid sweet drinks by drinking herbal teas and water. Sweet drinks like juice or sodas quickly spike blood sugar levels.
  • Eat smaller meals and more often throughout the day.

Following these suggestions can help you minimize your risk of developing diabetes and diabetes-related complications. Having symptoms of hypoglycemia can over time lead to type 2 diabetes; this is because of the stress put on your pancreas. Lifestyle changes can greatly reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Susanna Deering is a type 1 diabetic deeply aware of how important the right foods are to our diets. Her journey into the field of holistic nutrition has inspired her to help others manage their health through nutrition as well. This article was originally published on Naturally Savvy.