3 Sexy Ways to Improve Your Blood Sugar Control
All carbohydrates affect blood sugar, but a diet high in added sugars increases the risk of insulin resistance (60). To help reduce your carb intake, opt for healthier options like whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
Stress, low sleep and being dehydrated also increase the likelihood of blood sugar spikes, Crandall says. Try laughing (or simply watching funny videos) to lower your stress levels, as one study found it lowered post-meal blood sugars.
1. Eat less sugar
Sugar is a major contributor to many health issues, including diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and tooth decay. Cutting back on added sugar will help reduce your risk of these health problems and improve your overall well-being.
The best way to cut back on sugar is to start with small, practical swaps. Try replacing sweetened drinks like fizzy fruit juice and energy drinks with water, lower-sugar smoothies or no-added sugar tea or coffee.
You can also swap high-sugar spreads and toppings such as marmalade, jam, honey, syrup or chocolate spread with lower-sugar options. The NHS Change4Life website has a shopping list that will help you to find low-sugar alternatives.
Once sugar enters the body, it can be used as a source of energy or converted to fat and stored as glycogen. Eating less sugar will help your blood glucose levels to remain more stable throughout the day.
Eating too much sugar can make you feel sluggish and can have a negative impact on your mood. Having too much sugar in the body also leads to poor quality sleep, which is essential for a healthy immune system. Sleep deprivation has been linked to a variety of health issues, from fatigue to depression. Eliminating sugar from your diet will allow you to get better quality sleep and improve your mood.
2. Get more sleep
Getting more sleep is good for you and is a crucial part of diabetes management. It helps improve your blood sugar control by lowering insulin resistance, which can cause high glucose levels. It also helps you feel more relaxed and rested, which is important for maintaining a healthy weight and feeling your best.
Despite this, people with diabetes often get less than enough sleep, which may contribute to high glucose levels. In fact, the largest nutritional science study of its kind showed that your sleeping habits can influence how well you can control your blood sugar the next day. The results revealed that if you’re a night owl, your ability to manage your blood sugars the following morning is worse than if you go to bed at a normal time.
To help improve your blood sugars and sleep, try to stick to a consistent schedule and develop healthy habits. This includes checking your blood sugars before you go to sleep, eating a small snack if your level is too low and waking up early enough to make sure you don’t have too much blood sugar at dawn (also called the dawn phenomenon). You can also talk with your doctor about changing your meal and medication timing around this time if needed. This will help prevent high blood sugars before bed and avoid high-sugar, high-fat breakfasts.
3. Get active
A regular exercise routine, even just walking or dancing, beats the sedentary lifestyle that often leads to high blood sugar levels. Exercise also makes your body more sensitive to insulin and helps you burn the glucose that gets stored in your muscles.
Try to fit in 15-30 minutes of light activity (or the equivalent of a fast walk) 3 times per week. You can also try simple resistance exercises, such as pushups and squats, twice a week, to strengthen your muscles where most of your blood sugar is stored.
Always check your blood sugar before and after exercising, especially if you’re new to exercise. This will help you see how your food and exercise affect your levels, which can help you adjust your diet and medications.
When you’re a beginner, focus on eating whole foods and avoid packaged foods. Look for foods with a good amount of blood-sugar-stabilizing fiber and protein, such as nuts, seeds, beans, whole grains, quality meats, and fish. If you must eat packaged foods, read the Nutrition Facts label and select options that have little to no added sugar, salt, or fat. And don’t forget to hydrate. Aim for at least 8 cups of water or unsweetened beverages each day.
4. Stay hydrated
Your blood is made up mainly of water, so it’s important to drink enough. Being even slightly dehydrated can make your glucose levels more concentrated, which can cause them to spike.
Aim for eight to ten cups of water a day and 8 ounces for every 30 minutes of exercise. The more water you drink, the less sugar your body absorbs during meals. Also, drinking water after a meal can help prevent that post-meal slump by ensuring your stomach is full and your blood sugar stays balanced.
You can also eat more foods high in fiber and protein, which can slow down the way carbs enter the bloodstream after a meal and prevent large amounts of glucose from flooding into your system at one time. Incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your diet can also help. These are especially good for managing blood sugar if you have a condition that requires careful carbohydrate counting, like prediabetes or diabetes.
Other healthy habits, like using a food scale and measuring your portions, can make it easier to manage your blood sugar levels. Keeping a water bottle with you throughout the day and using it as a reminder to sip can help, too. And don’t forget about the power of mindfulness—simply focusing on your breath or taking a short walk can help lower your blood sugar when needed.