Are you a woman with diabetes approaching midlife, in a stage of perimenopause or menopause (which is where I'm at, YAY) and it seems harder to balance blood sugar now more than ever?
It's not your imagination and you're not going crazy. When our hormones naturally shift in this stage of life, it's more than your jeans getting tighter, and your once lush eyebrows getting thinner by the day.
The Connection Between Balanced Hormones and Blood Sugar
Aging gracefully is not easy, aging gracefully with diabetes takes sure will.
A lot of things are going on as your hormone levels begin to drop, as it has effects on how well you can keep blood sugar in balance. It is important to understand why your body and hormones are changing and to have a lifestyle and eating plan that you can sustain.
The better-quality food you eat, the better-quality hormones your body creates, so naturally the foods you eat play a big role in hormone balance.
Even in this later stage of life managing type 1 diabetes, I am not a "diet follower" and I don't eat by any rules.
Instead, I eat and share recipes and suggestions on how to pair foods that are real and yummy and that will also support hormone and blood sugar balance. I know and coach women on how important it is to stay true to yourself, and consistent with how you take care of your body.
Listen in to my Type 1 In Midlife Podcast where I share my personal journey with food to better balance my blood sugar beginning in perimenopause.
These 5 Key Ingredients Will Support Hormone Levels Throughout Your Cycles and Your Blood Sugar Every Day:
1) Calcium & Magnesium
During menopause, women are at an increased risk of osteoporosis due to the loss of estrogen. This plan includes foods high in bone-building minerals like calcium and magnesium. These nutrients will help to maintain healthy bones and prevent bone loss.
The level of estrogen in the body decreases in menopause causing the unpleasant side effect of hot flashes. Some research has found that phytoestrogens may help reduce hot flashes, which is why this plan incorporates many phytoestrogen-containing foods including tempeh, broccoli, carrots, and sesame seeds.
3) Low Glycemic Foods
As you transition into menopause, you may experience sudden weight gain and have difficulty controlling your blood sugar. This can be due to insulin resistance. Eating the proper amount and type of carbohydrate can help balance insulin levels. This meal plan uses low glycemic foods and excludes added sugars to optimize blood sugars and help with weight management.
During menopause, the natural decline in estrogen levels causes a loss of muscle mass and strength. Getting enough daily protein will help prevent muscle loss, balance your blood sugar, and maintain a healthy weight. This meal plan will help you reach your protein goals by providing 25% of your calories from protein.
5) Healthy Fats
Good-quality fats are associated with a lower risk of both heart disease and breast cancer. This plan includes many sources of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids including avocado, extra virgin olive oil, trout, and chia seeds.
Now that you know the key ingredients and how they will support your balanced hormones and blood sugar, here are examples of the best foods to add to your eating plan.
Here is a sample meal plan with 7 days of delicious recipes to try out these five key ingredients.
When I started to focus more closely on what I was eating and doing every day, choosing quality foods as often as possible, change began to happen. I now feel more confident in this stage of life after learning how hormone changes were affecting my insulin needs with type 1 diabetes and that balance is possible.
Are you approaching perimenopause or menopause and struggling to keep your blood sugar in balance? Do you need to learn more? Click here and subscribe to learn How to Balance Blood Sugar in Menopause and the seven tips I used to thrive and how you can too.
Share in the comments your journey with keeping blood sugar and menopause in balance. What do you need support with now?