START SOMEWHERE today taking control of your blood sugar -- it greatly influences your brain power. Increasing blood sugar levels are tied to cognitive decline, according to a long-term study.
Researchers evaluated the mental abilities in over 5,100 people and tested their blood sugar. Following the group for up to ten years, they periodically tested cognitive ability and blood glucose levels. At the beginning of the study, there was no association between blood sugar and mental function in any of the participants. But, as blood sugar levels increased, scores on the test of executive function and memory declined. Shockingly, this mental decline occurred even in people without Type 2 Diabetes!
This was a well done study that accounted for many variables, including age, gender, cholesterol, heart disease, weight, education, marital status, alcohol consumption, smoking, and depression. The bottom line: blood sugar has a significant influence over the brain. It needs to be at a “Goldilocks” level: not too low and not too high….but just right.
START SOMEWHERE with one of these simple strategies to stabilize your blood sugar and improve your brain power naturally:
Make movement a natural part of your day. Exercise increases blood flow by raising your heart rate and helps insulin, the hormone that gets sugar into cells, work more efficiently. Even walking at a brisk pace will lower your blood sugar over time. We’ve observed for a long time that “exercise maintains memory” and now research is proving it! Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week.
Eat foods with a low Glycemic Index. Foods with a low glycemic index release their energy slowly into your bloodstream, helping to avoid sudden spikes and drastic drops in your blood sugar levels. This generally includes nuts, seeds, vegetables, and fruit. Here’s a list of over 60 foods from Harvard. You’ll feel better overall just with this simple START SOMEWHERE strategy!
Keep high quality snacks available. Once hunger hits, it is too easy to grab the first thing you see, which is usually something highly processed that will spike and then plummet blood sugar. Good options include fruit, nuts, veggies with hummus or nut butters, kombucha, cheese, pumpkin seeds or protein shakes. Because hunger attacks me everyday around 3:00 p.m., I’ve started carrying an apple in handbag!
Avoid skipping breakfast. Eat a high quality breakfast including quality fats and protein. Avoid sugary cereals, pastries as well as sweetened beverages. Research consistently suggests that people who skip breakfast consume more calories later in the day. Let your body and your brain wake up to quality!
Enjoy more protein in your diet. Protein slows down the release of energy in your body after eating. Even when consumed with carbohydrates, it limits a blood sugar spike. Protein also makes you feel fuller longer and that’s a good thing!
Prioritize sleep. Curb your carbohydrate cravings with restorative sleep. I promise this works! Sleep reduces cortisol, which is a stress hormone that raises blood sugar. It also helps to balance the hunger hormones, leptin and ghrelin. There may even be a link between Type 2 Diabetes risk and insufficient sleep. Aim for seven to eight hours. You’ll be amazed at how good you feel.
Stabilize your blood sugar naturally and LIVE YOUNGER LONGER. Optimal Fasting Blood Sugar is less than 90 mg/dL. Keep your brain working its best with “Goldilocks” blood sugar - not too high and not too low. You can do it. I will help you!
Your Healthspan Strategist,
Debbie Ozment, DDS, MS