As I wrote in a previous article, fixed diets affect menopause. You need to consider health risks such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and insulin resistance and potential lifestyle changes during the transition.
Blood sugar levels are another key health factor during and after menopause.
As women get older, hormone changes before and during menopause often cause hot flashes, irritability, and sleep deprivation. These drops or spikes in the hormones not only impact your mood and life but can also affect your blood sugar. Estrogen and progesterone affect how your cells respond to insulin. If you notice that your blood sugar levels are changing more often, you may be at risk of diabetes.
Women can develop diabetes for different reasons: eating too much, missing out on a snack or even stress can affect your blood sugar, making it very difficult to control.
Blood sugar or blood glucose level is the concentration of glucose found in the blood. Glucose is a simple carbohydrate. It comes from bread, grains, fruits, dairy products, and some vegetables. It’s an important fuel for the body.
Estrogen and progesterone are essential for control of the menstrual cycle and reproduction. With menopause, the ovaries cease to make these hormones. Estrogen now comes from adrenal production and fat cells. The decline in estrogen decreases the metabolic rate in which women use starches and carbs. This can contribute to weight gain women experience in menopause.
Premenopausal women often gain weight around the thighs and buttocks but during menopause, women tend to gain weight around the abdominal area. This is known as visceral fat which can lead to Type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common type and is caused by the coexistence over time of two conditions; insulin resistance and chronic inflammation. This happens progressively when the body needs to produce higher than normal amounts of insulin to clear glucose out of the blood after a meal or snack. Insulin resistance occurs over time. It begins at a low level, and eventually shows up as prediabetes. If not addressed through diet and lifestyle, it may progress to diabetes.
Sleep deprivation can also cause issues with blood sugar levels. Lack of sleep causes the body to produce more of the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol provides the body with glucose by using the protein in the liver. Increased cortisol levels over a period of time can cause weight gain.
Research tells us that the risk of all these problems can be reduced or even avoided when healthy lifestyle changes are implemented early on.
A low carbohydrate diet can help as it does not pump as much glucose into your body and helps with weight loss and blood sugar regulation. It is important to note that dieting should be a primary focus only for health goals. Nothing replaces a nutrient-dense diet.
It is important to stay active. Walking 30 minutes a day will help with losing weight and regulate blood sugar. When you exercise, your muscles will burn sugar in your body, helping to lower glucose levels. Exercising regularly will also help the body use insulin more efficiently.
Drinking more water helps control blood sugar and helps kidneys get rid of the extra blood sugar through urine. Water rehydrates the blood. Don’t know how much water you should be drinking? The human body requires 33ml (milliliters) for each kilogram of body weight. Take your body weight and multiply it by 0.033 which will equal the amount of water you should be drinking. Example: 58 x 0.033 = 1.914 litres per day.
When you are stressed your body releases hormones such as cortisol, which increases insulin resistance. Controlling stress levels is important for many other health issues including blood sugar. Meditation, sleep, and relaxation can also help control this.
Another easy way to reduce blood sugar is to add cinnamon to your foods as it slows the breakdown of carbohydrates and increases insulin sensitivity. No more than 0.4 teaspoons a day.
Controlling blood sugar is imperative for health and wellness throughout our lives. It is important to get tested regularly for blood glucose every year to prevent the onset of diabetes.