How Does Blood Sugar Affect Thyroid Health?
Updated: May 9
The Link Between Thyroid Disease And Diabetes
There’s a hidden link between your thyroid health and insulin resistance conditions. That link is blood sugar – the sugars that circulate in your blood, ready to fuel your body or store away in your fat stores. A lot of people overlook its role in thyroid disease, but I think it’s important to keep in mind. Let’s look at why.
Why blood sugar is a factor in thyroid health
In an ideal situation, your blood sugar levels are steady almost all of the time. This will give you enough energy to do what you need, and reduce the likelihood of excess fat storage occurring.
But when blood sugar fluctuates, it tends to go between extremes. High blood sugars can exacerbate the damage to the thyroid in autoimmune conditions. Then the body will overreact, store the sugar, and cause low blood pressure. This causes stress to the body, which can suppress thyroid function and cause immunity problems.
What you eat plays a big role
So how do you make sure your blood sugar is steady? It’s almost all in what you eat. When we consume food, it is broken down so we can absorb the nutrition and the energy from it. The easiest energy comes from glucose – a sugar that makes up other sugars and carbohydrates.
When we consume a lot of foods that produce glucose easily, the blood sugar levels are more likely to spike. So if you eat a bag of chips or lollies, it will spike much higher than if you eat a steak.
A lot of people eat a lot of sugar and carbohydrate-based foods. Carbohydrates aren’t necessarily bad – but refined ones will spike your blood sugars much quicker, as there’s no other nutrients such as fibre to slow the absorption down.
Keep in mind, things such as stress can play a role in regulating blood sugar levels. We’ll look at stress management for thyroid health in a future topic!
Natural ways to balance blood sugar
So blood sugar regulation is an important step to keep your thyroid healthy. But how can you achieve this naturally? Here are a few easy steps to try.
Small, regular meals
Many people will eat too much in one sitting, particularly high sugar and carbohydrate foods, if they eat infrequently. This will spike your blood sugars right up. Instead, try splitting your meals into 5-6 mini meals each day. You still get the same amount of nutrition, but your body doesn’t have to deal with a sudden rush of energy. Plus, regular eating means you’re less likely to crave sweet, carby foods because you’re starving!
Eat foods with plenty of protein and fibre
Energy from foods that are high in protein and/or fibre takes a lot longer to absorb. This is an easy way to keep your blood sugar levels nice and steady. Make sure every mini-meal has a serve of protein and/or high-fibre foods.
Supportive nutrients and herbs
Regulating blood sugar requires nutrients, just like everything else in the body! The two key nutrients you might need more of are magnesium and chromium. Both of these play a vital role in keeping blood sugar levels steady. If you think you need some of these, make sure you ask your friendly neighbourhood naturopath!
From a herbal perspective, cinnamon is a spice you want to get friendly with. It helps to slow the absorption of glucose into the body, so your blood sugar won’t spike as high. Sprinkle it liberally over your sweet dishes. It even tastes good in savoury dishes, too!
Not sure? Get it checked
If you are dealing with potential insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes, it’s important you see your health practitioner.
If you need some help designing a food plan to support your thyroid condition, I’m here to help. Make an appointment today.