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Health and Fitness News

Regain Control of Your Blood Sugar

Manage your diabetes with these natural ways of lowering blood sugar.

Millions of people around the world have type 2 diabetes. Millions more are on the verge and don’t even know it. Unlike many chronic diseases, type 2 diabetes can often be prevented or reversed with diet, lifestyle changes, and medication.

As those with diabetes know, managing diabetes is all about controlling blood sugar. Since diabetics have high blood sugar, steps must be taken to lower their numbers to maintain proper health. Left unchecked, high blood sugar can lead to a host of health problems including damaged blood vessels, kidney disease, heart attack, stroke, neuropathy, and loss of eyesight. How to lower blood sugar varies from person to person, but in most cases, the following steps help do the trick.

Step 1: Get More Exercise

Anyone looking to get lower blood sugar naturally should add exercise to his or her daily routine. Exercise helps you lose weight, makes you more sensitive to insulin, and uses up extra blood sugar for energy. In addition, exercise helps prevent some of the long-term health complications brought on by diabetes, particularly heart problems. Any type of exercise will do so find a few workouts you enjoy and rotate through them. Aim to get 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise on most days of the week.

Step 2: Limit Carbs

The carbs you eat are broken down into sugar to be used by the body for energy. Insulin works to transfer the sugar from your blood into your cells. For diabetics with insulin resistance, sugar builds up in the blood. This means when you eat too many carbs your blood sugar quickly rises. To keep blood sugar levels in a healthy range, cut back on the total number of carbs you eat and completely avoid simple carbs like bread, cereal, pasta, rice, milk, fruit, and sweets.

Step 3: Make an Eating Plan

While you want to avoid certain carbohydrates, your body needs some of them for energy. So choose them wisely. Eat carbs that are low on the glycemic index, meaning they are digested and absorbed at a slower rate to prevent spikes in blood sugar. Healthy options for those living with diabetes include eggs, lean meats, beans, nuts, legumes, whole grains, certain fruits, and non-starchy vegetables. It’s also important to eat a diet high in soluble fiber since fiber slows the rate food is digested and sugar is absorbed. And regardless of how full you feel in the evening, don’t skip meals, and always keep healthy snacks handy as your blood sugar fluctuates.

Step 4: Stay Hydrated

Another way to help manage blood sugar is to drink plenty of fluids low in sugar. Staying hydrated helps your kidneys flush extra sugar from your blood. Water and unsweetened tea are your best options for keeping your blood sugar in a healthy range, so drink up! Alcohol, juices, and sodas, on the other hand, cause a spike in blood sugar with a dramatic drop soon after, so beware!

Step 5: Manage Stress

Chronic, unmanaged stress is associated with high blood sugar. Stress hormones such as cortisol and glucagon raise blood sugar levels. Adopt healthy ways of managing stress in order to lower your blood sugar. Exercise, meditation, and relaxation techniques are all effective ways to cope with stress.

Step 6: Get Enough Sleep

Another factor in managing blood sugar is the amount of sleep you get. A lack of sleep can lead to high blood sugar and decreased insulin sensitivity. Without adequate sleep you’re more likely to overeat and gain weight. Stress hormones are also elevated when you skimp on sleep. A solid seven to nine hours of shut-eye each night are helpful for regulating blood sugar and maintaining a healthy weight. So stop being lazy about your sleep habits and get to bed.