Proven Ways to Lower Your Blood Sugar
High blood sugar, also known as hyperglycemia, can become a dangerous health issue if left untreated, especially if you have diabetes because it can lead to serious problems like nerve damage, kidney damage, heart disease or heart attack, skin irritations and more. Blood sugar management is something everyone should practice and Eat This, Not That! Health spoke with Dr. Jagdish Khubchandani, MBBS, Ph.D., a professor of public health at New Mexico State University who explained how to get a normal blood sugar level. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.
Consume Less Sugar
Dr. Khubchandani shares, "Sugar is among the most popular ingredients present or added to foods. Based on average daily per capita consumption, Americans lead the ranks with more than 100 grams of consumption. It is recommended that less than 20% calories should be acquired through calories. Therefore, the best way to reduce blood sugar is to consume less sugar. This would mean that individuals need to have a sense of what their blood sugar levels are, get a periodic test done, and understand what their diet consists of."
Switch Up Your Diet
Dr. Khubchandani says, "Another way to reduce consumption would be to replace sugar rich items with alternate food items. For example, replacing cakes and pies with fruits or replacing soda and sweetened beverages with water should help cut down excess sugar consumption and maintain optimum level of blood sugar. Our recent research suggests that sweetened beverages could soon become the leading contributors of sugars to our diet and the global market is now exceeding $1 trillion in sales. Continuous sweetened beverage consumption increases the risk of heart disease related deaths by 10-30% (in part by disturbing metabolism and increasing the risk of diabetes)."
According to Dr. Khubchandani, "One of the major public health problems today is a lack of adequate physical activity and exercise. Adequate exercise is key to burning calories and maintaining a healthy body weight. Exercise ensures that sugar is taken from blood and utilized by muscles and metabolism is well regulated. Exercise also increases our insulin sensitivity and hormonal functions that are key for diabetes prevention and blood sugar control."
Manage Your Stress
Dr. Khubchandani states, "The recent Stress in America studies show that stress in general has increased in our societies. Also, our recent study has shown that adult Americans have become increasingly sleep deprived in the past few decades. High stress and inadequate or poor quality sleep can cause high blood sugar via irregular eating habits, greater snacking on junk food, secretion of stress hormones, and reducing insulin sensitivity and secretion. Therefore, it is key to maintain a good sleep routine and manage stress to reduce the risk of high blood sugar."
Portion Control and Timing of Meals
"Eating smaller amounts (limiting portion size) but more frequently and adding certain types of foods to daily meals have shown to be beneficial in reducing blood sugar and risk of diabetes," says Dr. Khubchandani. "Timing, frequency, type of eating is key for sugar control. For specific food items, studies suggest that adding more fiber, probiotic foods, nuts, whole grain foods, beans and lentils, legumes and other non-starchy vegetables helps with sugar control and reduction of sugar spikes in the blood."