Your blood sugar balance affects your hormones - and this is why
Our blood sugar and hormone levels are intertwined. When we eat sugar it enters the bloodstream as glucose, insulin is released to remove the glucose from our bloodstream, and transfer it to be used as energy in our cells.
When we consume sugary meals, or a lot of sugar, our bodies experience blood sugar crashes. In response, we release cortisol for protection as our body thinks it’s under attack.
Too much sugar in the long term means our bloodstream becomes saturated with glucose whilst our bodies are permanently releasing insulin in an attempt to remove it from our bloodstream. With excess glucose and excess insulin, the body produces excess cortisol for protection. This means our cells are no longer receiving glucose to be used as energy, causing tiredness, brain-fog and sugar cravings. Our hormones are all imbalanced.
With increased insulin triggering increased levels of our stress hormone, cortisol, we can see side effects including weight gain, irritability and sleep disruption.
But, it’s not just the excess cortisol causing issues. With cortisol on the same hormonal pathway as progesterone our bodies will begin to de-prioritise progesterone production, and lowering these levels can result in issues with ovulation, periods and fertility.
So, how do we eat for balanced hormones?
An anti-inflammatory diet with a reduction in sugar is a great place to start.
Inflammatory foods such as processed food, refined carbohydrates (think white bread, pasta, cakes, biscuits), sugar, could be switched out for lean protein, good healthy fats and carbohydrates from vegetables. And, when your sweet tooth cravings strike, satisfy them with snacks free from artificial sweeteners and flavourings…