What? Blood 🩸sugar and mental health?
We are into week 3 of the mental & brain health topic and today's topic might rather surprise you. Its about sugar (well, blood sugar to be clear!) and your mental health.
Have you heard of "Type 3 diabetes?" While not an officially recognised medical condition, it is a term that is frequently used to describe Alzheimer's disease that is caused by insulin resistance in the brain.
In this episode, Katia will dive into the blood sugar topic and of course a yummy recipe too. Enjoy!
Last week we talked about eating a variety of brightly coloured vegetables is important to support the health of our brain and this week we are diving into the next topic, blood sugar and mental health.
Brain cells have a high need for energy, using more than 20% of the body’s energy supply to function, and dips in fuel supply are immediately noticeable in our memory and mood. If the levels of blood glucose drops too low, symptoms can include irritability, fatigue, short-temperedness, and a drop in memory function and ability to concentrate.
Although glucose is our brain’s main fuel source, an excess may actually impair its function. Greater blood sugar fluctuations are associated with negative moods and lower quality of life. To minimise large blood sugar fluctuations, we should get our carbs from foods that release their sugar (glucose) slowly in the bloodstream rather than from foods that cause blood sugar levels to surge. Foods that release their sugars slowly, such as non-starchy vegetables, pulses, sweet potato, pumpkin, brown rice, quinoa etc., keep blood sugar levels stable and are referred to as having a low glycaemic load (GL). On the other hand, foods that cause a spike in blood sugar levels, such as white pasta, cakes, cookies, white rice, white potatoes etc, are referred to as high-GL foods.
Provide your brain with a steady supply of energy by ensuring that your meals are nutrient-dense and low-GL, that protein is included with every meal and each meal contains plenty of vegetables and healthy fats
(see earlier two episodes to read more about role of these foods in our mental health).
Below I am sharing one of my favourite nutrient-dense alternatives to bread – use it for breakfast, in your lunchbox, or as a delicious snack when you are on the go.
Recipe: Seeded GF bread
1 cup sunflower seeds
½ cup flaxseed, (not ground)
½ cup hazelnuts
½ cup raisins (or cranberries)
1 ½ cup gluten free rolled oats
2 tbps chia seeds
4 tbsp psyllium husk powders*
Sprinkling of Himalayan salt
3 tbps coconut oil (melted)
1 ½ cups water
- Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Mix water and coconut oil in a jug and add these wet ingredients to the dry ones. Mix thoroughly until the dough becomes sticky. Transfer to an oiled loaf pan and press densely. Now the key thing is to let the dough sit so that all the ingredients have a chance to bind together. I usually prepare the mix in the morning and let it rest for a day, before baking the loaf in the evening.
- Once rested, bake in pre-heated oven at 175 °C for an hour.
- Remove from the oven and cool down completely before slicing. I also find that the flavours and texture improve if you let it rest overnight once baked
P.S.: Want to learn more about how you can support your mental health? Book to see Katia for a mini review to find out how you can transform your physical and mental health.
Next week we will be talking about
"The GUT🤎 and mental health
"You should know that there is a different way to live. To be truly happy, full of energy, with a clear head and a beautiful body. I know you can feel great, and I will accompany you on this path."
Katia is one of the first UK-trained Nutritional Therapists to practice in Hong Kong. A hormonal health specialist solving menstrual problems and women's hormonal conditions (e.g. PMS, PCOS, endometriosis, and chronic stress-related disorders), she guides women to reclaim control of their bodies and emotions. Katia also works with clients to optimise their nutrition to help achieve various goals such as improved energy, better sleep, enhanced athletic performance and recovery, and weight loss.