Top 10 Holistic Food Tips to Balance Your Blood Sugar and Reduce Cravings
Posted on October 22, 2020 by Sam Rafoss, One of Thousands of Health and Fitness Coaches on Noomii.
How to reduce sugar cravings and keep your blood sugar balanced with these healthy food tips.
One of the most common issues I see in my nutrition practice is clients report sugar cravings and the related energy highs and lows that are a result. These are ten of my most tried and true healthy food tips for balancing your blood sugar and reducing cravings.
1. Water, Water, Water
You know you need to drink water. The truth is, more than 50 percent of the clients I see, discover they don’t drink enough water when I’ve asked them to actually track their intake. How would you rate yourself on your own water intake based on what your body needs?
Drink at least two liters of water each day to keep hydrated and to flush out toxins. Do not drink with your meals. Water and other liquids dilute your stomach acid (needed to break down food) and your digestive enzymes needed for assimilation of nutrients. Ideally, drink half an hour before and one hour after your meals.
2. Eat over 50% of your food raw.
Vegetables, fruits, and sprouts contain enzymes which are also called the “spark plugs of life”. Cooked and refined foods are enzyme deficient. Without enzymes, metabolic functions slow down and efficient nutrient absorption is impossible. Eat a leafy green salad daily, add sprouts to your sandwich, or add chopped parsley to each cooked meal.
3. Switch your Table Salt to Sea Salt
Table salt does not contain the minerals our bodies need. Most table salt has been flash dried at high heat, chemically bleached and iodine added back in. Sea salt contains more than 80 minerals, including calcium. Our bodies need a small amount of sodium to balance our systems and for brain function. One heaping teaspoon of sea salt is the most our body requires each day to maintain a healthy sodium balance.
4. Add more beans and legumes to your diet.
Beans are a good source of protein, vitamins and minerals and one of the best sources of fiber available. High-fiber diets are associated with lower risks of obesity, diabetes, cancer and heart disease. Fiber also improves digestion, wards off constipation, detoxifies, helps maintain your blood sugar level, lowers your cholesterol and keeps you feeling full longer.
5. Avoid or limit processed foods. Replace with whole foods.
White flour has been processed and refined, which removes the fiber, B vitamins and enzymes. White rice is brown rice with the outer layers of bran and B vitamins removed. Without the bran and B vitamins, it is difficult for your body to digest wheat, rice and many other foods.
White sugar has had the B vitamins, calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and iron removed in the refining process. White sugar cannot be digested and metabolized without these vitamins and minerals. Look for sugar that has not been denatured. Two brands are Sucanat® and Rapadura®.
6. Avoid Aspartame and other chemical sugar substitutes.
Aspartame is 180 times sweeter than sugar and makes your body crave even more carbohydrates. Aspartame is also difficult for your body to break down, stresses your digestive system and causes your body to store more food as fat.
7. Eat less, more often.
Eating too much overloads your digestive system and prevents assimilation of nutrients from your food. When you eat less, your body will have enough digestive enzymes and energy to break down the food and absorb all the nutrients the food is providing. Eating less, more often also helps keep your blood sugar stable, reducing cravings, fatigue and irritability.
8. Good fats – Essential Fatty Acids
Replace “bad fats” (trans fats and hydrogenated fats) with “good fats” also known as essential fatty acids (EFA’s). EFA’s are not made by the body and need to come from our diet. Essential fatty acids allow your brain to function optimally, help lower bad cholesterol and burn body fat. EFA’s also boost your immunity and reduce inflammation on all levels. Food sources include fish (especially wild pacific salmon); ground flax, raw nuts and seeds, avocado, hemp and eggs have some.
9. Consume organic foods whenever possible – buy local whenever you can.
Most local farmers are certified organic and/or use sustainable farming methods. This means you are not eating pesticides, herbicides or genetically modified organisms. Organic plant-based food contains about 25% more nutrients (per serving size) than food produced by conventional farming methods, according to a 2008 study conducted by the Organic Center. In 2019 a review was published in the journal Nutrients. “This systematic review includes 35 observational and clinical trial studies, and is arguably the most comprehensive study to date to assess health outcomes of eating an organic-based diet. Analysis of these combined studies found significant correlations with increased health and organic diets.”
10. 80/20 Rule
The 80/20 Rule is a guideline for healthy eating. 80% of the time, eat a nutrient-dense whole foods diet and 20% of the time allow for other foods you like that may not be as nutritious. Take time to eat and enjoy your food.
When you strive to follow these 10 tips, you may notice you are not as hungry and you are having fewer sugar cravings. I challenge my clients to commit to 30 days and notice how their cravings have decreased or changed. It usually doesn’t take long for your body to adapt and you begin to feel more energetic, without the highs and lows, leading to an overall feeling of balance.