Humans show a preference for a sweet taste from the moment they are born. Sugar causes a release of endorphins in the brain that can have a calming effect and sometimes create a natural “high.”
As sugar is added to many processed foods including baked goods, yogurt and juices, it is easy to over-consume. In fact, Americans average approximately 22 teaspoons of sugar per day according to the American Heart Association. The recommended amount of sugar for women is 6 teaspoons per day and 9 teaspoons daily for men.
Roughly 40% of Americans over the age of 65 are plagued with high blood sugar which is linked to a myriad of health problems including obesity, nerve damage, circulatory issues, kidney failure, blindness and amputation. Complications from high blood sugar are the third leading cause of death in the United States, but there are ways to take control of sugar cravings. Here are some natural methods for keeping sugar cravings in check.
- Consume five or six smaller meals throughout the day. Eating every three to five hours helps to stabilize blood sugar levels and lessens the chances of choosing foods that are high in sugar.
- Stock up on healthful snacks like nuts, seeds, raw vegetables, dried fruit and fresh fruit. This is helpful when cravings do hit. Take a vitamin and mineral supplement to ensure adequate daily nutrition.
- Put off having dessert for 20 minutes after dinner. This permits the body to digest the meal and levels blood sugars which may reduce cravings for sweets.
Think about whether your craving is emotional or physical. Emotional hunger comes on suddenly while the onset of physical hunger is a more gradual process. Emotional cravings can often be quelled with a walk or some other type of physical activity.
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Try a supplement made specifically for blood sugar maintenance. Look for these key herbs and spices that are vital for the maintenance of healthy blood sugar levels.
- Gymnema Sylvestre - this herb has powerful properties for helping to stabilize blood sugar. In clinical tests, it demonstrated the ability to significantly reduce blood glucose and it has proven to help lessen cravings for sugar.
- Bitter Melon - used for centuries as a remedy for blood sugar maintenance, this herb also improves cell uptake of glucose and stimulates pancreatic cells which are responsible for the production of insulin.
- Curcumin can be found in the Indian spice Turmeric. It is used in Ayurvedic medicine as a treatment for oxidative stress and to rid the body of metabolic wastes. This important ingredient also increases prostacyclin levels in the body which helps normalize blood sugars.
- Cinnamon has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries as a remedy for fever, pain and fatigue. A study conducted by the U. S. Department of Agriculture found that cinnamon contains an ingredient called Methyl Hydroxy Chalcone Polymer (MHCP) which helps to enhance sensitivity to insulin permitting more glucose to enter the cells.
- Holy basil garnered its name from its use as an air purifier around the temples in India. A study in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics showed a significant 17.6% decrease in blood sugar levels when holy basil was consumed.
These five key ingredients along with four others create a cumulative effect in blood-sugar health and maintenance. Taking control of blood sugar cravings can go a long way to maintaining good health. Make use of the tips above to keep your energy levels high and your blood sugars steady!