Glucose or blood sugar is the body’s main source of energy. However, there are times when the body isn’t able to process or produce glucose properly. This puts you at risk of getting diseases like diabetes and hypoglycemia.
As such, it’s important to monitor your glucose levels. The problem is that this can be tough to do, especially if you aren’t aware of the factors that can increase or decrease your blood sugar. Fortunately, you can naturally control your blood glucose levels by making the following lifestyle changes:
Drink More Water
Staying hydrated plays a key role in keeping your blood sugar at the right levels. This is because water helps eliminate the excess sugar in your body by removing it from your blood and flushing it out through your urine. It’s important that you drink lots of water and other beverages that have low calories. As much as possible, avoid drinks that have high sugar content like sodas and sweetened juices.
Get Some Exercise
Insulin is the hormone that lets glucose enter your cells to produce energy. If you’re producing too much insulin, it can cause your body to absorb more sugar from your blood. There are many factors that can cause insulin problems but one of the biggest contributors is obesity. The cells of an obese person’s body are resistant to insulin delivering glucose to them. With no other place to store the glucose, the sugars stay in your body and become more difficult to flush out.
That’s why getting some exercise and losing weight can help regulate your body’s insulin levels. Being more physically active also ensures that you’re using the energy produced by your blood sugar. Of course, you don’t have to immediately start doing intense workouts to shed some pounds. You can always begin with low-impact exercises like walking and swimming to reach your goals. You also don’t have to lose too much weight to keep your blood sugar in check. Studies show that losing even 5% to 10% of your body weight can improve your blood glucose levels.
Switch to a Healthier Diet
Foods that are high in carbohydrates and sugar can cause your blood sugar levels to spike. That’s why it’s good to monitor the nutrients and calories you get from your meals. That said, your body still needs carbs, sugar, and fat to function properly. Instead of removing them entirely from your meals, it’s better to switch to healthier options.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet not only gives you the nutrients and energy you need to get through the day, but also also helps regulate your blood glucose levels and improve insulin performance. To ensure that you’re eating healthy, include the following types of food in your diet:
- High-fiber foods. Foods that are high in fiber can help your blood sugar rise at a healthier pace by slowing down carb digestion and sugar absorption. Whole grains, fruits, and vegetables are examples of high-fiber foods.
- Chromium- and magnesium-rich foods. Micronutrient deficiencies, such as low magnesium and chromium levels, can make it difficult for insulin to send glucose to your cells. To restore your blood sugar regulation, it’s good to include more chromium- and magnesium-rich foods in your diet. Meats and nuts are high in chromium, while dark leafy greens, nuts, and bananas are high in magnesium.
- Foods with a low to moderate glycemic index. The glycemic index (GI) measures the rate at which your body breaks down and absorbs carbs. Foods with high GI levels can raise your blood sugar, so it’s better to eat foods with low to moderate GI like oats, whole wheat pasta, and non-starchy vegetables.
Control the Portion of Your Meals
Portioning the sizes of your healthy meals can further improve your blood sugar levels. It will also help you maintain a healthy weight and keep your carb intake under control. Here are a few tips for managing the portion sizes of your meals:
- Check the serving sizes on food labels
- Start writing down what you’ve eaten in a food journal
- Use a smaller plate when eating
Manage Your Stress Levels
Stress causes your body to secrete more glucagon and cortisol, which are hormones that cause your blood glucose levels to rise. Being anxious can also cause you to forget to exercise and push you to stress-eat. That’s why you need to learn to keep a level head and manage your stress levels. This way, you can focus on living a healthier lifestyle. Try the following activities to help you relieve stress:
- Quit your vices
- Take short breaks in between tasks
- Give yourself time to enjoy your hobbies
Get Enough Good Sleep
Sleep deprivation can raise the cortisol levels in your body, so getting plenty of good sleep is crucial to regulating your blood sugar. It’s recommended that adults should get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night. If you’re having trouble falling asleep, you can improve the quality of your sleep by following a more regimented daily schedule.
It’s also a good idea to avoid drinking coffee and eating a big meal before you sleep to minimize stimulation. If you like napping, limit the number of naps you take in a day. You can also try diffusing calming scents during bedtime to help you fall asleep
Monitoring your blood glucose levels can greatly improve your health, whether you’re diabetic or not. It makes you understand your body better, so you can take the right steps to take care of yourself and live a healthier lifestyle.