When stressed, the body prepares itself by ensuring that enough sugar or energy is readily available. Insulin levels fall, glucagon and epinephrine (adrenaline) levels rise and more glucose is released from the liver.
At the same time, growth hormone and cortisol levels rise, which causes body tissues (muscle and fat) to be less sensitive to insulin? As a result, more glucose is available in the blood stream.
When you have type 2 diabetes, low blood sugars from too much medication or insulin are a common cause of stress. The hormonal response to a low blood sugar includes a rapid release of epinephrine and glucagon, followed by a slower release of cortisol and growth hormone.
These hormonal responses to the low blood sugar may last for 6-8 hours – during that time the blood sugar may be difficult to control. The phenomena of a low blood sugar followed by a high blood sugar are called a “rebound” or “Somogyi” reaction.
Reduce stress with Diet and Exercise
Eat Your Way to Calm
Here’s how to do it:
- Skip the simple sugars and starches (chips, cakes and ice cream). The spike in blood sugar and insulin they cause, combined with your already high cortisol levels, can lead you to eat more as well as put you at risk of insulin insensitivity and diabetes. There’s nothing wrong with reaching for comfort food, but take the attributes of the “bad” comfort food – creamy, crunchy, sweet – and try to find healthier alternatives.
- Avoid coffee and other caffeinated food and drinks. They not only increase levels of certain stress hormones, but also mimic their effects in the body (increasing heart rate, for example).
- Load up on vegetables and fruits and other high-fiber foods. The nutrients they provide lend an extra dollop of protection against the immune-sapping effects of chronic stress.
- Choose complex carbohydrates. Their steady release of sugar not only keeps your blood sugar levels steady, but also induces the brain to release more of the mood-enhancing chemical serotonin.
- Follow the easy Manna Diet in the free e-book.
- Take the Manna Blood Sugar Support tablets with each meal to reduce the GI of the food you eat, which can help to keep blood sugar under control for a calmer mood.
Simply moving-walking, running, biking, swimming-changes the balance of stress hormones in the brain.
Studies suggest that by making the body stronger and healthier, exercise enhances your ability to respond to stress, thus thwarting many of its negative effects such as anxiety, depression and heart disease.
Regular exercise also helps flush out the byproducts of the body’s stress response – those hundreds of chemicals released in response to a stressful situation – enabling you to return to a normal state quicker.
Then there are the meditative benefits of exercise. There is a “zone” you get into when you swim, or walk, or jog, an enhanced feeling of self-esteem that results from doing something you know is good for you and from seeing the physical results of that action, the social support if you’re working out with a friend, and even the fact that physical activity improves your sleep.
It doesn’t really matter what kind of exercise you do; what’s most important, studies find, is that you do something you enjoy, not something you feel you simply have to do. Otherwise, you’re just stressing yourself out again!