How To Maintain Normal Blood Sugar Balance


Ever get that 3pm energy slump? Are you reaching for the biscuits at 11am (or earlier)? Then this article is for you!

Balancing blood sugar is the very first step we recommend for anyone looking to improve their health. So many of us eat diets containing too many refined carbohydrates, sugar, poor quality fats and stimulants like caffeine. When combined with insufficient vegetables, fruit and fibre it's a recipe for jumping on the energy-draining blood sugar roller coaster!

The good news is that with a few diet and lifestyle tweaks you can quickly help your blood sugar levels and feel an energy boost in just 1 day.

Read on to find out 15 blood sugar regulating tips and foods to help regulate blood sugar.

What Is Blood Sugar/Glucose?

Blood sugar, or glucose, is the primary fuel for the brain and other body cells. When blood sugar levels are kept stable there is a steady supply of glucose fuel to the brain and cells, allowing the body to work normally. Unfortunately, blood glucose levels can be dramatically affected by highly processed or sugary foods and drinks, leading to drastic symptoms.

When blood sugar levels rise, the body produces insulin, which tells body cells to store excess sugar, so that blood levels can be brought back to normal.

Refined or processed foods, like white bread, contain less fibre and often have added sugar, resulting in the rapid release of sugar in the blood, and a blood sugar spike. The body may ‘overreact’, releasing excess insulin, which causes blood sugar levels to suddenly fall, or crash. Effects of this glucose reduction such as irritability and loss of concentration lead us to reach for foods that will quickly alleviate the symptoms such as chocolate or coffee and so the blood sugar roller coaster ride begins again.


Prolonged high insulin levels can lead to insulin resistance (a precursor to Type 2 Diabetes) and may contribute to PMS, acne, asthma, eczema and joint pain. Stimulants like tea, coffee, cola, cigarettes, alcohol also play a part. These encourage the release of stress hormones (adrenaline), which also elevate blood glucose levels.

What Are The Signs Of Blood Sugar Imbalance?

  • Lethargy

  • Energy crashes

  • Difficulty waking up

  • Food cravings

  • Poor immunity

  • Digestive problems

  • Thrush

  • Anxiety

  • Shaking

  • Depression

  • Need for stimulants like tea, coffee or sweets

  • Dizziness

  • Mood Swings

  • Poor concentration

  • Blurred vision

  • Acne

  • Irritability

  • Tension

  • Headaches

  • Aggravated inflammatory conditions such as asthma, eczema, sinusitis

Key Micronutrients Involved In Maintaining Normal Blood Sugar

  • Chromium – Research suggests around 200µg of chromium per day can support blood glucose regulation. 

  • MagnesiumMagnesium is important in many different processes involved in blood sugar control and reduced levels are associated with poor glycemic control.

  • Manganese – Lower levels of manganese are associated with poor blood sugar control due to its role in converting proteins and fat to glucose. It also acts as a powerful antioxidant called manganese superoxide!

How To Maintain Normal Blood Sugar

If you are having trouble keeping your glucose levels stable, it is important that you make some positive steps to stabilise them. One of the most positive changes that can be made is to adjust your diet and lifestyle. A healthy and balanced diet is essential to controlling blood glucose levels. While there is no cure-all diet that is perfect for everyone, there are individual strategies you can apply to maintain healthy levels of blood glucose.

Action Plan To Balance Your Blood Sugar

Keeping your blood sugar under control is readily achievable with the right plan. Exercise regularly and eat a diet rich in quality protein, grains, fruits, and vegetables to keep your weight in check. Losing any extra pounds will not only help to balance your blood sugar levels, but it will also improve blood lipid concentration as well as regulate blood pressure. We recommend most people supplement vitamin D, at least in the winter months and vitamin B12 if eating a vegan diet. In addition to these recommendations the next section will cover some more specific tips for blood sugar balance.


15 things you can do to balance blood sugar

  1. Minimise refined sugar and processed foods – this means keeping the treats to a sensible amount rather than eating them multiple times per day.

  2. Watch your weight - Few things can have a more significant impact on the stability of your blood sugar levels than maintaining a healthy weight. Adjusting your dietary intake to achieve a healthy weight is one of the most important things you can do.

  3. Be careful of too much fruit – fruit smoothies in particular contain lots of valuable nutrients but also high amounts of natural sugars which can also raise blood glucose levels. Fruits like apples, oranges, bananas (not overripe) and berries are great choices.  

  4. Limit or avoid stimulants - sugar, alcohol, tea, coffee, chocolate, cola drinks and cigarettes, as these have little to no nutritional value and cause spikes in blood sugar levels.

  5. Choose complex carbohydrates and high fibre foods - lentils, chickpeas, oat bran, apples, pears and most vegetables. Fibre slows digestion and absorption of carbohydrates.

  6. Swap white bread, pasta and rice to brown – They are digested more slowly and as a result they release energy slowly.

  7. Try not to skip breakfast - Controlled research suggests that people who skip breakfast gain more weight compared to people eating the same number of daily calories who don’t skip breakfast.

  8. Avoid eating huge meals – It can cause a blood sugar peak and then crash. Listen to your body and stop eating when full.

  9. Make sure you’re getting enough magnesium, chromium and manganese – Many of the above suggestions should help with increasing intake of these nutrients but some people will still need a little extra due to individual requirements or absorption issues. A good quality multivitamin providing magnesium citrate, chromium picolinate and manganese glycinate can help to keep you topped up in these key nutrients.

  10. Eat high-quality protein with main meals - Protein slows down absorption of glucose from your meal and keeps you fuller for longer. Plant sources include nuts, beans, millet, quinoa, tofu, lentils and chickpeas. Non-plant sources include lean meat, eggs, Greek yoghurt and fish.

  11. Increase healthy fats – Especially those that provide omega 3. Plant sources include nuts, seeds, olive oil. Non-plant sources include oily fish like salmon, mackerel and sardines.

  12. Take time out to eat meals and chew properly - Avoid eating at your desk or in the car. Relax and take your time.

  13. Plan your meals - Make a list of healthy foods and limit yourself to buying only what is on the list. It might seem like a big hassle at first, but it will go a long way in helping you when shopping.

  14. Frequent physical activity - Moderate intensity exercise is crucial to effectively control blood sugar levels. When you exercise, insulin resistance is improved, and your mass muscle metabolism becomes more efficient.

  15. Manage your stress - Stress wreaks havoc on hormonal balance, and blood glucose levels are highly sensitive to hormonal fluctuations. Take regular walks, try meditation or yoga and speak to someone if you’re feeling stressed.


10 Foods To Help You Manage Blood Sugar

  • Cinnamon. Several studies have shown a relationship between regular consumption of this spice and lower levels of serum glucose.

  • Chocolate. Although at first, it may seem counterintuitive, dark chocolate has been linked to marked improvements in patients with insulin resistance.

  • Protein containing foods. Vegan - nuts, beans, millet, quinoa, tofu, lentils and chickpeas, non-vegan: lean meat, eggs, fish.

  • Citrus Fruit. There is a link between the development of diabetes and having low levels of Vitamin C. By consuming fruit rich in citric acid you will be lowering your risk of developing diabetes.

  • Beans. Are rich in fibre and will help you regulate your blood sugar levels. If eating baked beans choose low sugar versions.

  • Vinegar. Apple cider vinegar has been shown to be an effective means of lowering elevated blood sugar levels.

  • Avocados. Rich in healthy fats and micronutrients. They keep you fuller for longer reducing the tendency to snack between meals.

  • Cherries. These popular stone fruits are rich in anthocyanins, which are highly beneficial chemical compounds that have been linked to more stable sugar levels in the blood.

  • Garlic. Recent studies suggest that garlic can improve insulin levels in diabetic patients.

  • Legumes. These fibre-rich foods can slow down the release of glucose into the bloodstream.

Are sweeteners healthy?

Beware of artificial sweeteners. Mainly promoted as an option for weight control, these compounds provide the sweetness of sugar without the added calories. However, sugar substitutes are two hundred to seven hundred times sweeter than simple sugar. Recent studies have linked artificial sweeteners to troubling alterations of the intestinal microbial colonies and an impairment of the body's ability to process glucose. Other studies have suggested that some artificial sweeteners may cause similar problems of glucose intolerance and result in pre-diabetic conditions. It is recommended to gradually adjust your taste buds to less sweet flavours instead of relying on artificial sugars.


Many of us could do with a little extra blood sugar support and by making just a few of the suggested changes above you could see an improvement in your blood sugar and energy levels. Hopefully these positive changes will leave you feeling energised and not reaching for the cake and coffee at 3pm!

If any of these tips help please share in the comments below alongside any other information you have, it could really help someone else. Thanks for reading.

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Extra Information

How the body manages blood sugar

Glucose is a simple sugar, yet it is the single most important source of cellular energy. From the lowly bacteria to the complex biology of the human body, glucose is used for the process of cellular respiration through which Adenosine Triphosphate is created. Both Anabolic and Catabolic mechanisms are involved in the process and release large amounts of energy. The body’s blood sugar regulation is a complicated metabolic process that involves the synthesis and secretion of various hormones. These hormones act off of each other in a negative feedback loop, where the end of one reaction triggers the start of the next, to signal different tissues and organs throughout the body and keep blood sugar levels within the narrow acceptable range.

There are various antagonistic hormones that directly and indirectly affect how the body manages blood sugar levels. Some of these are insulin, amylin, asprosin, epinephrine, cortisol, and thyroxine among others. However, the two most important hormones involved in the intricate balancing act of glucose homeostasis are glucagon and insulin. When blood sugar levels fall below normal, pancreatic tissues are activated and synthesize the peptide hormone called glucagon. Glucagon is a catabolic hormone which means that it can break down molecules into smaller components to be either oxidized for energy or used up in the synthesis of other compounds. Glucagon acts directly on the liver by stimulating the conversion of stored glycogen into glucose to be released into the bloodstream, thus returning blood sugar levels to more acceptable parameters. When blood sugar levels rise, the pancreas releases insulin. Insulin is the primary anabolic compound found in the human body, and thus is directly involved in the conversion of glucose into glycogen. Insulin’s primary role is to effectively promote the absorption of glucose into the liver and skeletal muscle mass through facilitating the opening of specialized glucose channels in the cell wall.

To summarize, when high insulin levels are present, sugar in the form of glucose is converted and transferred out of the bloodstream and into muscle liver cells where it is stored for future use. Low levels of blood sugar trigger the secretion of glucagon that promotes the breakdown of stored energy into glucose to be released back into the bloodstream. While there are other hormones involved in the body’s regulation of blood sugar, such as cortisol and adrenaline, these are the two most influential. It is also important to note that medication, trauma, and of course dietary intake can play a significant role in this process.

What’s considered normal blood sugar levels?

For healthy individuals, the measurement of blood glucose levels is usually attained through blood or urine laboratory tests. These tests should be performed on a fasting individual and can be done to measure and compare arterial, venous, and capillary levels of glucose. Obese individuals, those over the age of fifty, and those who have been positively diagnosed with hypertension and hypercholesterolemia should be tested more often than the general population. Patients with Diabetes should monitor their blood sugar levels regularly throughout the day.

After an eight hour fast, an individual who is non-diabetic should have a blood sugar level that falls within the range of seventy to one hundred milligrams per decilitre. Because of the different metabolic processes that occur throughout the day the results of a blood sugar test will vary significantly if taken at different times. An individual who has eaten within the last eight hours can expect to have a blood glucose level around one hundred and twenty-five milligrams per decilitre. These are the ranges for a healthy individual; a patient diagnosed with diabetes has a much higher range of acceptable values, and every case should be evaluated individually by a qualified physician.

Diet and exercise play a significant role when actively measuring glucose levels in the blood. Intense physical activity will affect glycogen metabolism, and carbohydrate-rich meals will significantly raise blood sugar levels temporarily.

Signs of high and low blood sugar

When abnormal blood sugar levels are present over sustained periods, two conditions can potentially develop. These are:

HYPERGLYCEMIA: Hyperglycaemia will develop when blood sugar levels are above normal ranges. While temporary hyperglycemia is typically non-life-threatening, above average levels of blood glucose sustained chronically over a prolonged period can lead to potentially deadly complications with cardiovascular disease, kidney failure, and neurological damage being the most common.

HYPOGLYCEMIA: Hypoglycaemia will develop when blood sugar levels are below the expected range. It is imperative that the general population learn to recognize the signs and symptoms associated with low blood sugar to act immediately. The body will not function correctly without sufficient blood glucose, and even cognitive function may be affected. The symptoms of having low blood sugar will vary from one person to the next, as does the glucose threshold at which these symptoms will first appear. Some individuals might even present a case of hypoglycaemia without any symptoms manifesting.


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Disclaimer. This information is not intended to treat, diagnose or replace the advice of a doctor. Please consult with your doctor before making lifestyle and dietary changes. Due to the medicines act 1968 we are unable to give any advice on the following conditions: Cancer, Diabetes, Epilepsy, Glaucoma, H.I.V and A.I.D.S., Kidney Diseases, Locomotor Ataxia, Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Tuberculosis.