How to Get the Healthiest Blood Sugar Possible
When it comes to blood sugar, you don't want levels to be too low (hypoglycemia) or too high (hyperglycemia). "If you have high blood sugar levels for a long time, you're going to be prone to infections — eyes, heart, kidneys, nerves — in all of those things," says endocrinologist and obesity specialist Marcio Griebeler, MD. Here are five proven methods to get the healthiest blood sugar possible. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Maintaining a healthy weight is key to helping keep blood sugar levels under control. "If you have excess weight, losing even 5% of your total body weight can dramatically boost your health. Weight loss can not only improve your blood sugar levels but can lower high blood pressure, heart disease risk and even the amount of medication you take," says registered dietitian Andrea Dunn.
Don't Eat Late At Night
Keep blood sugar levels stable by not eating too close to bedtime. "Don't skip meals, or you will get hungry and tend to overeat later," says Julia Zumpano, RD, LD. "Eating late at night is associated with elevated sugar levels in people with prediabetes, so we recommend you make lunch your largest meal and eat nothing starting three hours before bed."
Be Choosy About Your Carbs
You don't have to give up carbs to maintain healthy blood sugar—but be wise about which ones you eat. "Begin choosing whole-grain breads and pastas, brown rice and wild rice. Focus on the first ingredient 'whole' and at least three grams of fiber per serving," says Zumpano. "Limit your carb intake to about 1 cup (or two slices of bread) per meal. Load up on vegetables, particularly non-starchy veggies. The fiber in vegetables and legumes will help you feel full and satisfied. If you are going to drink, choose spirits with a no-calorie mixer, light beer, spritzers or dry wine. They contain the fewest carbs."
Don't Skip Meals
Even an infrequent missed meal can interfere with diabetes medication, leading to high or low blood sugar, experts warn. "If you take medications for diabetes that can cause low blood sugars, you should try not to skip meals," says registered dietitian Carolyn Garvey. "If you're just not up to eating on a regular schedule, talk to your doctor about diabetes medications that won't cause low blood sugars."
Be Aware Of Your Menstrual Cycle
Did you know women's insulin sensitivity can be impacted by their menstrual cycle? "The menstrual cycle can be challenging for most women, but particularly to women with diabetes, and this is because the hormonal fluctuations that occur during the menstrual cycle do affect blood sugar levels," says Betsy Dokken, Ph.D., N.P. "What we typically see in clinical practice is that the week before a woman starts to menstruate, these hormonal changes increase what we call 'insulin resistance,' and so, the insulin that either the woman makes or that she takes by injection doesn't work quite as well. Then, when menstruation begins, the blood sugar levels tend to drop a little bit."