The beginner’s guide to lower blood sugar levels
Following a healthy lifestyle is becoming harder as most of us sit still for a large part of the day and we eat processed foods every single day. Lastly, we live in uncertain times, and this can cause serious stress.
These circumstances are a breeding ground for diabetes.
Worldwide, diabetes contributes to a large number of deaths every year.
The best way to sidestep the dire health complications of diabetes is to effectively lower your blood sugar levels.
The good news is that there are lots you can do to stabilise your blood sugar levels. You can fight off diabetes with a healthy lifestyle.
Following this guide and implementing healthy habits will definitely help you to keep your blood sugar levels stable and enhance your quality of life.
The beginner’s guide to effectively lower your blood sugar levels.
Here are four things you can do to stabilise your blood sugar and side-step diabetes complications.
In order to live a healthy life, you need to exercise. Exercise can help improve your overall quality of life by increasing energy levels and reducing fatigue.
Exercise offers extra benefits for those suffering from diabetes. A good workout can lower your blood sugar levels and up insulin sensitivity.
What kind of exercises are best?
People with diabetes should focus on cardio exercises, like walking, running, biking, swimming, and dancing.
According to WebMD, you should exercise for at least 30 minutes for 5 days a week.
Strength training is also beneficial and can help strengthen muscle and endurance. If you lose muscle mass, you will have a harder time maintaining your blood sugar.
Plan for resistance exercise or weight training at least twice a week as part of your diabetes management plan.
You can work out with free weights, machines, bands or with your own body weight.
4 workout tips for beginners
- Start with light exercises: If you have not been physically active for a while, it’s important to ease into your workout routine. Start with light exercises such as walking, gentle stretching, or low-impact cardio exercises like cycling or swimming.
- Set realistic goals: Set specific and measurable goals that you can work towards, such as walking for 30 minutes three times a week or completing a 5k run in a certain amount of time.
- Find an exercise you enjoy: The key to sticking with an exercise routine is finding something you like doing. Experiment with different activities until you find one that you look forward to.
- Listen to your body: It’s important to pay attention to your body and stop if you feel any pain or discomfort. Pushing through pain can lead to injuries and setbacks.
Eat healthy foods
Apart from exercise, you should focus on eating a balanced diet.
Here are some tips:
Limit processed foods
Highly processed food is any food that has been heavily altered from its natural state. This may include the addition of preservatives, food additives, flavours, colours, and other ingredients.
You usually buy these foods in packets or boxes.
Examples of highly processed foods include:
- Candy and chocolate bars
- Chips and other packaged snacks
- Frozen meals and pizza
- Instant noodles and soups
- Processed meats like hot dogs and deli meats
- Sugary breakfast cereals
- Artificially flavoured drinks and sodas
- Packaged cakes, cookies, and pastries
Highly processed foods are usually packed with carbohydrates and sugar and will cause blood sugar spikes.
Eat foods with lots of fibre
Fibre-filled foods helps to gradually release glucose into your bloodstream and thus don’t cause blood sugar spikes.
Fruit, whole grains and legumes usually have a lot of fibre.
Here are some fibre-rich foods to add to your shopping list:
- Beans and legumes (chickpeas, lentils, black beans)
- Whole grains (oats, quinoa, brown rice)
- Berries (raspberries, blackberries, blueberries)
Spice things up
The following spices may help lower your blood sugar levels:
How should your plate look?
You can use the plate method to ensure that you are eating the right amount of different foods with each meal. Add a drink and perhaps a fruit to your meal to round things off.
A rough guide for each meal is:
- Vegetables or salad: Half a plate
- High-quality protein: Quarter
of a plate
- Complex carbs: Quarter of a plate
- High-fat foods: Half a tablespoon (7 grams)
Gear up your gut
Numerous studies show that there is a connection between bad gut health and high blood sugar levels.
Most studies concluded that bacteria that produce butyrate (a type of short-chain fatty acid) promote better insulin sensitivity and protection from diabetes.
These bacteria produce butyrate when they break down fibre.
When you eat lots of fibre-rich foods you will have more butyrate which may help stabilise your blood sugar levels.
Some more tips for good gut health:
Eat prebiotics. Prebiotics act like a fertilizer that helps good gut bacteria grow. Lots of plant-based foods like bananas, nuts, oats, garlic, and beans are rich in prebiotics.
Eat probiotics. Probiotics are living organisms consisting of bacteria and yeast. Taking probiotics will help diversify your gut flora. The more diverse your gut flora is, the healthier your gut will be. Fermented foods like yogurt, kombucha, kefir, and sauerkraut already contain helpful bacteria.
Manage your stress levels
There is a clear link between high blood sugar levels and stress.
Stress affects your hormones and your habits, which in turn affect your blood sugar.
How does stress affect hormones?
Cortisol is your main stress hormone and one of its functions is to raise the amount of glucose in your bloodstream. If your cortisol levels are high for a long time, you’ll be more likely to gain weight, lack energy, and struggle to sleep. If you are overweight, lack the energy to exercise, and struggle to sleep, you will be more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
Prolonged high levels of the hormone, adrenaline will also play a role in the development of diabetes as it interferes with the production of insulin. It is insulin’s job to move glucose out or your bloodstream and into your cells. If you have less insulin that transports glucose to your cells, the glucose will accumulate in your bloodstream.
How does stress affect habits?
You might develop unhealthy habits to cope with stress. Some unhealthy habits can cause diabetes. These include:
- emotional eating
- low exercise levels
- excessive alcohol consumption
What can I do to cope with stress?
Here are some things you can do when you’re stressed:
- Practice deep breathing or meditation techniques.
- Get enough sleep and practice good sleep hygiene.
- Talk to a trusted friend or family member about your feelings.
- Try journaling to express and process your emotions.
- Engage in a hobby or activity that brings you joy.
- Set boundaries and learn to say no to extra commitments or responsibilities.
- Seek professional help or therapy if stress becomes overwhelming.
- Practice positive self-talk and replace negative thoughts with positive ones.
- Take regular ice baths.
You don’t have to sit with the dire complications of diabetes – there are lots of things you can do to better your situation. If you exercise daily, follow a healthy diet, take care of your gut and manage your stress levels you will be well on your way to a healthier you.
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