Monitor Your Carbohydrate Intake
What and how you eat is a very important factor in keeping your blood sugar levels in the healthy range. Choosing foods that stabilize your blood sugar and keep high blood sugar spikes to a minimum will help you stave off a diabetes diagnosis or help control existing diabetes. Some diets oversimplify a comprehensive food intake, and simply tell you to limit carbs or focus on low-carb foods. Its more complicated than that.
However, tracking your intake of foods that contribute to high blood sugar levelssuch as baked goods, processed foods, fried foods, and sweeteners can be a good place to start modifying your diet to balance your blood sugar.
The Bottom Line: Take A Whole
No single food, supplement, or workout session is going to be the magic bullet. To maintain a healthy blood sugar level , start eating a minimally processed diet that contains fiber, protein, healthy fats, and high-quality carbohydrates get regular exercise make sure you’re hydrated and well-rested play around with meal composition and experiment with research-backed superfoods and supplements.
If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking medications, consult with your doctor before starting a supplement routine. It is always optimal to consult with a health care provider when considering what supplements are right for you.
Go For A Walk After You Eat
Beyond avoiding the couch, there is something you can actually do to help your blood sugar levels after a meal. Lace up those sneakers, and go for a walk to help balance blood sugar levels further. You’ll even walk off some of those calories, as an added perk.
“Taking a walk after a meal will help to minimize the rise in blood sugar since your muscles will use that glucose for fuel,” she explains.
Something quick, like 10 to 20 minutes, will do the trick, and it’s a bonus if you can get outdoors for some fresh air and exposure to nature, which may further boost your mood and help you de-stress.
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Stable Blood Sugar Levels Are Important
If your blood sugar levels fluctuate constantly, youll be much more sensitive to giving in to cravings, youll have sugar dips and you feel very tired all the time. Whats causing this exactly? Heres how it works: every time you eat something, your blood sugar levels increase. The sugars from the food you eat end up in your bloodstream. The more glucose your food contains, the higher your blood sugar spikes are. Constantly fluctuating blood sugar levels arent good for your health. If you have high blood sugar spikes, your body produces a higher amount of insulin and this increased amount of insulin causes your blood sugar to drop again more quickly as well. Besides this, your body will store more body fat. The fluctuations also have an effect on your hormones, digestion and it increases the risk of diabetes.
How Long Will It Take To Lower My Blood Sugar
If you have high blood sugarin a non-emergency situationthere are several things you can do to lower your blood sugar right away. Follow these steps in order:
Sometimes people with diabetes can go into diabetic ketoacidosis or hyperglycemic hyperosmolar syndrome, a medical emergency requiring immediate medical care. The symptoms are subtle but look out for:
- Shortness of breath
- Excessive urination
- Abdominal pain
If you experience these symptoms, call your healthcare provider immediately and follow their guidelines. If you cannot reach a physician emergently, call 911.
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Increase Your Fiber Intake
High fiber is key to the foods that lower blood sugar, so increasing your soluble fiber intake will help you lower your blood sugar. Focus on eating foods that stabilize blood sugar such as unrefined carbohydrates like whole grain bread or pasta, sweet potatoes, legumes, lentils, nuts, and non-starchy vegetables.
Another perk? High fiber foods can help you feel fuller. That can help you avoid overeating or craving foods that can negatively affect your blood sugar. Men should aim for 30 to 38 grams daily, and women 21 to 25 grams daily, according to the Mayo Clinic.
How Can You Eat For Balanced Bloodsugar
Blood sugar balance is best achieved when you hit it from a few different angles. That includes some lifestyle modifications, which well go over in a minute. But lets start with some general guidelines for mealtime.
1. Lean on foods that have a low glycemic index
The glycemic index is a measurement of how food affects our blood sugar. Its based on how fast the body breaks any carbohydrate-containing food down into glucose. Higher numbers indicate that a food will cause a faster increase in blood sugar levels, while lower ones represent foods that cause a more gradual riseand typically a softer fall. You can find the glycemic index of many foods online on the University of Sydneys glycemic index resource website.
2. Reduce refined sugars in your daily diet
Cutting down on foods made with refined sugars can be a good habit to get into if youre trying to keep your blood sugar in check. If youve got a sweet tooth, it might be worth giving Sweetkicks 14-Day Sugar Reset a go: It includes a daily supplement to support normal glucose and energy metabolism plus mints containing Gymnema sylvestre extract, which temporarily suppresses the taste of sweetness, which may help you identify sources of sugar in your diet.*
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How To Check Blood Sugar At Home
If you aren’t sure whether your blood sugar is high or in the normal range, one thing you can do is test your sugar. This is especially helpful if you’re concerned about diabetes or prediabetes, but anyone can benefit from monitoring their sugar.
“There are easy ways to do this, and that will show you what your blood sugar responds to and how much of certain foods you can eat without disrupting your blood sugar. It is a great self-research experiment,” says Shaprio. Some types of blood glucose monitors require a prescription, but many are OTC and anyone can purchase one.
If you’re not quite ready for a monitor, you can still check in with yourself and take notes throughout the day of how certain foods and activities make you feel. “Otherwise you can monitor how you feel, your energy, how often you get hungry,” says Shapiro. “These are great measures of blood sugar levels.”
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.
How Do You Keep Glucose Stable
That said, stable blood glucose depends on a variety of factors including diet, activity level, genetics, age, and more. One of the best ways to find what works for you is to use a continuous glucose monitor. A glucose monitor lets you track your blood glucose after different types of meals, workouts, a good nightâs sleep, and more.
Over time, you can use that data to create a lifestyle that fits your unique biology and keeps you performing your best.
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Start The Day With A Breakfast High In Healthy Fat And Protein
Piggybacking off of tip #1 its ESPECIALLY important to keep blood sugar levels steady in the morning with a breakfast high in protein and healthy fat. Because maintaining balanced blood sugar levels in the morning will keep them steady through to lunch without the snack-attack or need for coffee.
And eating breakfast in itself is important for blood sugar regulation. When you skip out on breakfast, your body produces the stress hormones cortisol, which in turn elevates blood sugar levels.
Daily Habits For Healthy Blood Sugar
A quick bio lesson: Your body needs energy to maintain normal function. You get that energy from food, which your body breaks down into smaller parts and can either absorb and use or excrete. When you eat carbohydrates, your body breaks them down into glucose, a simple sugar thats your bodys primary source of fuel. Glucose travels through the body in your bloodstream, and its taken up by cellsin the muscles, the brain, nearly everywhereto be converted into energy that helps you carry out nearly all your bodys activities, from solving problems at work to running marathons.
Without enough blood sugar, our bodies wouldnt work. Too much blood sugar can cause problems, too. Thats why we have hormone signaling pathways that help keep blood sugar stable within the normal range. But sometimesand for many possible reasonsit can get thrown off a little or a lot.
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Focus On Eating Nutrient
Use fresh ingredients and avoid processed foods. When you fill your plate with colourful, whole foods that are minimally processed and low GI, they work to lower your blood sugar levels and avoid spikes, while foods with added sugars can heighten glucose levels. A perfect example is this Roasted Sweet Potato and Brussels Salad.
Why Keep My Blood Sugar Stable
Your body wants your blood sugar to be at an optimal level. It should be high enough, so youre not light-headed, fatigued, and irritable. It should be low enough that your body isnt scrambling to remove excess from the blood.
When blood sugar is too low, this is referred to as hypoglycemia. This can give you those hangry symptoms of feeling light-headed, tired, cranky, and have intense cravings for sweets and carbs.
When blood sugar is too high, it is referred to as hyperglycemia. On the short-term, this gives you symptoms of lethargy .
However, prolonged periods of elevated blood sugar levels can lead to insulin resistance.
Insulin resistance is when your cells are just so bored of the excess insulin that they start ignoring it, and that keeps your blood sugar levels too high.
Insulin resistance and chronic hyperglycemia can eventually lead to diabetes.
So lets look at how you can optimize your food and lifestyle to keep your blood sugar stable.
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Understanding Your Blood Sugar And Exercise
The effect physical activity has on your blood sugar will vary depending on how long you are active and many other factors. Physical activity can lower your blood sugar up to 24 hours or more after your workout by making your body more sensitive to insulin.
Become familiar with how your blood sugar responds to exercise. Checking your blood sugar level more often before and after exercise can help you see the benefits of activity. You also can use the results of your blood sugar checks to see how your body reacts to different activities. Understanding these patterns can help you prevent your blood sugar from going too high or too low.
Drink Water And Stay Hydrated
Drinking enough water could help you keep your blood sugar levels within healthy ranges.
In addition to preventing dehydration, it helps your kidneys flush out any excess sugar through urine.
One review of observational studies showed that those who drank more water had a lower risk of developing high blood sugar levels (
You can do so at home using a portable blood glucose meter, which is known as a glucometer. You can discuss this option with your doctor.
Keeping track allows you to determine whether you need to adjust your meals or medications. It also helps you learn how your body reacts to certain foods .
Try measuring your levels regularly every day and keeping track of the numbers in a log. Also, it may be more helpful to track your blood sugar in pairs for example, before and after exercise or before and 2 hours after a meal.
This can show you whether you need to make small changes to a meal if it spikes your blood sugar, rather than avoiding your favorite meals altogether. Some adjustments include swapping a starchy side for non-starchy veggies or limiting them to a handful.
Checking your blood glucose and maintaining a daily log enables you to adjust foods and medications when necessary to better manage your blood sugar levels.
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Stick To An Eating Schedule
Dr. Kara warns against skipping meals frequently to avoid the rollercoaster of high to low blood sugar surges and dips. Spreading your meals out throughout the day, rather than eating a large breakfast or large dinner can help to regulate blood sugar. Eating regularly from morning through evening is the best strategy.
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What Is The A1c Test
The A1C test is a simple blood test that measures your average blood sugar levels over the past 2 or 3 months. The test is done at a lab or your doctors office in addition tonot instead ofregular blood sugar testing you do yourself.
A1C testing is part of the ABCs of diabetesimportant steps you can take to prevent or delay health complications down the road:
- A: Get a regular A1C test.
- B: Try to keep your blood pressure below 140/90 mm Hg .
- C: Manage your cholesterol levels.
- s: Stop smoking or dont start.
The A1C goal for most adults with diabetes is between 7% and 8%, but your goal may be different depending on your age, other health conditions, medicines youre taking, and other factors. Work with your doctor to establish a personal A1C goal for you.
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What Foods Type 1s Should Avoid
Before your diagnosis of diabetes, it is likely that you experienced extreme thirst. It is a good idea to avoid sugary drinks and fruit juices as a way of quenching your thirst. They usually put blood glucose levels up very high and very quickly which is why they can be a useful treatment for a hypo .
Instead, drink water, sugar-free and diet soft drinks. Tea and coffee are still OK to include, too. Read more about what to drink when you have diabetes.
Dont bother with foods labelled diabetic or suitable for diabetics. These foods contain similar amounts of calories and fat, and they can affect your blood glucose levels. They are usually more expensive and can have a laxative effect. Stick to your usual foods. If you want to have an occasional treat, go for your normal treats and watch your portion sizes.
What Is Blood Sugar
Blood sugar in our blood measures glucose levels, i.e. carbohydrates. Everything we eat, from pasta, bread, pizza and cereals, becomes monosaccharides in our body.Complex sugars are broken down in their simplest form . The other monosaccharides stop in the liver, and glucose is free to circulate in the blood.When we do blood tests on an empty stomach, were seeing how much sugar is present in the blood.
From this first notion, we can understand how carbohydrates are the real factor that influences blood sugar in the hours after the meal.Modulating their quantity and quality can directly affect our glycemic levels, so they can remain more or less stable.
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How Do Carbs Affect Blood Sugar
Carbs in food make your blood sugar levels go higher after you eat them than when you eat proteins or fats. You can still eat carbs if you have diabetes. The amount you can have and stay in your target blood sugar range depends on your age, weight, activity level, and other factors. Counting carbs in foods and drinks is an important tool for managing blood sugar levels. Make sure to talk to your health care team about the best carb goals for you.
What Is Diabetic Ketoacidosis
If you think you may have low blood sugar, check it even if you dont have symptoms.
When too many ketones are produced too fast, they can build up in your body and cause diabetic ketoacidosis, or DKA. DKA is very serious and can cause a coma or even death. Common symptoms of DKA include:
- Fast, deep breathing.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Stomach pain.
If you think you may have DKA, test your urine for ketones. Follow the test kit directions, checking the color of the test strip against the color chart in the kit to see your ketone level. If your ketones are high, . DKA requires treatment in a hospital.
DKA happens most in people with type 1 diabetes and is sometimes the first sign of type 1 in people who havent yet been diagnosed. People with type 2 diabetes can also develop DKA, but its less common.
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How Is Blood Sugar Regulated In The Body
Blood sugar balance is maintained by your hormones. This balance ensures that the body has enough energy available when you need it, and its primarily maintained by hormones: insulin and glucagon.
Made in and released from the pancreas, insulin lowers blood sugar by instructing cells throughout the body to take in glucose . As glucose enters the cells to be used as energy or stored as glycogen, there is less left in the blood.
Glucagon makes blood sugar rise. When blood sugar levels are too lowtypically several hours after you eatthe pancreas releases glucagon. Glucagon instructs the liver and muscles to turn stored glycogen back into glucose and release it into the bloodstream.
There are other hormones involved in this process, too. Amylin and somatostatin inhibit the secretion of glucagon to lower blood sugar. Epinephrine, cortisol, and growth hormone make blood sugar rise, as glucagon does. Hormone changes that come with age make a difference, too: Our average baseline blood sugar levels tend to go up as we get older.