How Blood Sugar Balance Affects Your Hormones
Hormones are the chemical messengers of our bodies, keeping us healthy, vibrant, and all of our systems functioning as they should be.
When our hormones are our of balance we can experience a myriad of symptoms including (but not limited to):
- painful periods
- missing or irregular periods
- hormonal migranes
- low energy
- hair loss
- weight gain
- digestive dysfunction
- changes in mood
- and more!
There are a TON of factors that can influence hormones, but one significant factor in our hormone health is blood sugar, which is what this post is going to focus on today.
Balanced Blood Sugar: do you know why it’s important for healthy hormones?
When we have spikes and dips in blood sugar, say, after we eat something with a lot of refined sugar (cane sugar, corn syrup, etc.) or processed carbohydrates (pasta, bread, muffins, cereal, etc), our blood sugar spikes, and then insulin is released to bring the sugar into our cells to be used as energy.
But when our intake of refined and processed sugars/carbohydrates is too high, our bodies overcompensate by pumping out more insulin to try to normalize our blood sugar levels. That’s when we experience that dip in energy after a high-carbohydrate or high-sugar meal.
When we are on this blood sugar roller coaster, one of our stress hormones, cortisol, comes into play to help normalize blood sugar levels once they have dipped too low after a huge spike. And It’s a good thing that cortisol is around because it can be helpful in times of fasting or famine or when we’re in danger. But when it’s being called on consistently (as it often is when we eat a diet high in refined and processed foods), it can interfere with our entire endocrine system. This is because cortisol steals nutrients from all other hormones!
How does it do this? Well, a hormone called pregnenalone, which is the the precursor to all other hormones, can either convert into hormones like estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone (and other hormones), or into cortisol. So when cortisol is present because we've demanded it with spiking our blood sugar from consuming foods high in refined sugar and processed carbohydrates, then pregnenalone shuttles the nutrients needed to make hormones to the cortisol path instead of all other hormones. In short, cortisol takes precedence over other hormones, and throws them into imbalance over time when we have a chronic output of cortisol.
So needless to say, we want to keep our blood sugar as stable as possible—for hormone health, stable energy throughout the day, mental focus, healthy weight, mood, healthy skin, healthy periods, mood, and so much more!
My favorite way to keep my blood sugar balanced is by starting the day with a meal that’s balanced with plenty of fat and protein with some veggies and some whole-food sources of carbohydrates.
Blood Sugar-Stabilizing Meals
Here are a few examples of some of my favorite meals that fit the bill of being blood-sugar stabilizing to start the day:
pasture-raised eggs cooked in grass-fed ghee or coconut oil with sautéed spinach, onions and mushrooms, avocado and a few sweet potato rounds with lactose-free cream cheese.
- wild-caught smoked salmon with avocado, berries, and a mug of bone broth
- apple chicken sausage with sauerkraut, sautéed veggies, and a grain-free tortilla with coconut oil or cream cheese spread on top.
- smoothie with steamed-then-frozen cauliflower spinach, coconut oil, unsweetened almond butter, vanilla collagen peptides, a few dashes of cinnamon, a few drops of peppermint extract, almond milk, chia seeds and hemp seeds.
Interested in learning more about how nutrition and lifestyle factors impact our hormones? Sign up for my hormones newsletter! Each week I'll share a new tip about hormones and how diet and lifestyle can support a healthy endocrine system.