Managing blood sugar is vital for your overall health, especially when you’re diabetic, in order to help prevent serious issues like vision loss, kidney damage and heart disease. High blood sugar happens when there’s too much sugar in the blood and not enough insulin, and as a result causes worrisome symptoms like blurred vision, headaches, increased urination and in some cases vomiting, rapid heartbeat, confusion and coma. High blood sugar is anything over 125 mg/dL while not eating for at least eight hours and Eat This, Not That! Health spoke with experts who share tips on how to lower blood sugar. As always, please talk with your physician for medical advice.
Carewell’s nursing consultant, Kiera Powell, RN tells us, “Incorporate at least 20 minutes of dancing, taking a face-paced walk, swimming, or riding a bike into your daily routine. This can help lower blood sugar.”
Get in 150 Minutes of Exercise a Week
Powell reminds us, “Exercise is an important part of blood sugar management. Getting exercise regularly strengthens your heart, allowing it to pump more blood with less effort, which decreases the pressure on the arteries and lowers blood pressure. According to the CDC, at least 150 minutes of moderate to intense exercise per week is key to blood sugar regulation.”
Check Your Blood Sugar Levels Often
Powell explains, “If you’ve been diagnosed with chronically high blood sugar, pre-diabetes, or diabetes (whether type one or two), it’s important that you regularly check your blood sugar levels and adhere to the treatment prescribed by your doctor. In some cases, blood sugar levels cannot be regulated without the help of specific medications, so taking them as prescribed is essential to preventing complications.”
Lisa Richards, a nutritionist, and author of the Candida Diet says, “The kidneys are the primary way the body flushes out excess sugar. By staying hydrated the kidneys work more efficiently and effectively at this process. When we are dehydrated our glucose levels can begin to rise leading to high blood sugar. Drinking plenty of water also helps to rehydrate the blood, which aids in helping maintain balance in blood sugar levels rather than rapid highs and lows. Water is the preferred source of hydration, especially for those with diabetes, rather than turning to sugar-filled sports drinks. There are hydration options available on the market, but always check to ensure they do not contain added sugars or excess carbohydrates.”
Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD shares, “Foods high in soluble fiber are an excellent way to manage blood sugar by preventing or reducing glucose spikes. Soluble fiber is able to improve insulin sensitivity by being a food source for beneficial bacteria in the gut. When the gut’s microbiome is balanced these bacteria are better able to digest food and mitigate the insulin response. This form of fiber will also slow the body’s absorption of sugar and thereby prevents spikes in blood sugar. By slowing the rate of absorption the cells can adjust to insulin and thereby mitigating the rapid rise and fall of blood glucose. Food sources of soluble fiber include legumes, oats, avocados, sweet potatoes, broccoli, flax seed, carrots, and apples to name just a few.”
According to Powell, “A nutritious and well-balanced diet is an effective way to control diabetes. Avoid foods high in saturated and trans fats, like fried foods, and anything with high salt and sugar levels. Also, keep an eye out for sugary beverages as we often don’t think about how much sugar is in drinks like juice, soda, alcoholic beverages, and sports drinks. Healthy fats, like salmon, nuts, and seeds, are also great ways to help regulate blood sugar levels.”
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