You may think that only diabetics need to pay attention to their blood sugar, but this is not entirely the case. Since blood sugar levels and the consumption of sugar in general can be a predisposing factor in the development of diabetes, metabolic syndrome and even heart disease, achieving a balanced level of glucose in the body is extremely important. The amount of glucose in your blood is supposed to be consistent throughout the day. If it gets too high and stays high, the extra glucose can wreak havoc inside your body by damaging blood vessels and down regulating insulin receptors, which eventually can lead to diabetes type II. If glucose levels fall too low, the cells in the body won’t have enough energy to optimally perform their jobs and symptoms like headaches, fatigue, irritability and in extreme cases, unconsciousness can occur.
In healthy individuals, keeping balanced blood sugar levels can be quite simple. Skipping the sugary snacks and eating balanced meals with at least 15 grams of protein every 4 hours allows for a consistent and stable amount of glucose to be released into the bloodstream. That being said, it can be challenging to stop eating foods high in sugar as many of us are chronically addicted to sugar and cutting it out can be more difficult than we think. Learn more about why we crave here.
Amazingly enough, there is actually a plant that can both reduce sugar cravings and balance your blood sugar. This plant is called Gymnemna Sylvestre. Native to parts of India and Southeast Asia, Gymnemna has been used for thousands of years as an anti-diabetic and as a way to reduce sugar cravings. Due to its ability to stabilize blood sugar and reduce cravings for those sugary snacks it can be used (in conjunction with other dietary and lifestyle modifications) to prevent diabetes, metabolic syndrome and in some cases heart disease.
When taken internally, Gymnema has an inhibitory effect on plasma glucose and serum insulin, meaning that it is a powerful blood sugar regulator and is indicated for diabetes types 1 and 2. It has also been shown to reduce hemoglobin A1C in diabetic patients. On a cautionary note, since gymnemna may enhance the glucose lowering effects of insulin, diabetic patients taking insulin or glucose lowering medication need to consult their physician before using this plant as a part of their treatment plan.
Historically, gymnemna has also been used for weight loss. The leaves, when chewed actually possess the ability to paralyze the sense of taste for sweet and bitter substances for up to a couple of hours. So for a few hours after tasting the leaves of gymnemna, sugar will not taste like sugar at all. In fact, in most cases it will actually make sugar taste terrible! As you can imagine, this can be a very powerful tool for someone who is trying to cut sugar out of their diet or who needs help controlling their blood sugar.
I would love to hear from you and your feedback. Do you crave sugar? Have you tried quitting? We are launching a community detox program soon so stay tuned for your chance to participate in a forum where getting healthy and re-starting can be done easily and together!