Treating Hypoglycemia for Long-Term Health
In my previous blog post about identifying the symptoms of hypoglycemia, I described the health consequences that arise when your body’s blood sugar (glucose) level drops too far. Now that you know what to look for and how a diagnosis of relative hypoglycemia is confirmed, in this post I’ll explain how to maintain steady blood glucose levels.
A key regulator of glucose in the body is an organ known as the pancreas. When healthy, the pancreas produces insulin and glucagon, two important hormones that keep blood sugar levels within a relatively narrow range. Insulin helps drive glucose into the cells and lowers blood glucose, while glucagon helps to release stored glucose to raise blood glucose.
Long-term treatment of hypoglycemia includes relaxing the pancreas to help it function efficiently.
Foods that cause tightening of the pancreas, which leads to poor glucagon release, include animal foods like eggs, cheese, chicken, and baked foods like crackers, chips, and bread. Stress also leads to pancreas malfunction and can predispose us to hypoglycemia. Naturally sweet-tasting foods like winter squash, cabbage, carrots, sweet potatoes, and onions support the pancreas and can relax the middle portion of the body to combat hypoglycemia.
It’s important to eat three meals per day and include a complex carbohydrate (whole grains and beans), protein, and fat. Snacks may also need to be incorporated if the hypoglycemia is severe. Protein, fat, and complex carbohydrates are digested slowly, allowing for a steady influx of sugar into the blood, without the peaks and troughs produced by simple carbohydrates and insulin surges.
Examples of healthful snacks containing carbohydrate, protein, and fat:
- Hummus + Avocado + Warmed Corn Tortillas
- Cashews + Pumpkin Seeds + Fresh Blueberries
- Celery Sticks or an Apple + Almond Butter
Remember, the food you consume has a huge impact on your health and quality of life. Our energy levels and states of mind are largely dependent on processing nutrients. By supporting our bodies’ natural systems and organs such as the pancreas, we can more efficiently manage blood glucose levels and avoid the worst consequences of unchecked hypoglycemia.
Quick Tips to Control Hypoglycemia
- Eat three meals daily at the same time each day.
- Don’t eat after 7:30 pm.
- Eat protein, fat, and complex carbohydrate with every meal.
- If your blood sugar drops in the morning or afternoon, have a small snack around 10–10:30 a.m. or 2–2:30 p.m.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and simple sugars (especially processed white and brown sugars and high-fructose corn syrup).
- Control your stress, calm your body, take a hot bath at bedtime, meditate, and practice deep breathing exercises.
- Don’t overeat.
- Chew your food thoroughly until it is liquid in your mouth.
- Avoid eggs, cheese, chicken, and hard, baked foods.
- Incorporate sweet vegetables into your diet.