How To Balance Your Blood Sugar and Enjoy a Multitude of Health Benefits
Updated: Feb 28, 2022
If you're like most people, you probably take your blood sugar for granted. You don't think much about it until something goes wrong - like when you get that weird feeling before a big race or when your energy dips in the afternoon.
But what if I told you there were things you could do to help balance your blood sugar and enjoy a multitude of health benefits? It's true! So today we're going to talk about how to maintain healthy blood sugar levels, including some tips on food, exercise, and lifestyle choices.
But first, let’s start with some background: Why it’s important to control your blood sugar, even if you aren’t diabetic.
Blood sugar is glucose, and your body absorbs it every time you eat. It’s essential fuel for your body and brain. The levels fluctuate all the time depending on how you eat, exercise, and manage stress. Your doctor can monitor your levels with a fasting or non-fasting glucose test, or an even better screening tool is the A1C.
The difference between the glucose screening and the A1C is one is the first short term measure of blood glucose, and the latter is a longer review of your levels. A1C is a better tool to assess your risk in developing type 2 diabetes. The snapshot that blood glucose gives us is a glance into our daily eating habits.
Type 2 diabetes is a condition where the body is unable to efficiently use and regulate blood sugar (glucose) for fuel. It’s a chronic and progressive condition resulting from higher levels of blood sugar in the body over time.
Balancing blood sugar and insulin levels lowers the risk of many serious health conditions. Excess blood sugar is linked to chronic inflammation and inflammation is the root cause of all health conditions such as autoimmune diseases, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and strokes.
With balanced blood sugar levels, you can lose weight more easily, increase your energy levels, boost your mood, sleep better, strengthen your memory, and even see better.
Try these tips to keep your blood sugar at beneficial levels.
Sustainable Solutions for Managing Blood Sugar:
1. Stay hydrated. Drinking water may help your body keep blood sugar levels in a healthy range. Your body flushes out excess glucose through urination. By drinking water, you make the whole process more efficient.
2. Pick the right carbohydrates. All foods stimulate your blood sugar, but simple carbohydrates like white bread or cookies cause the most extreme spikes. Choose whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, oatmeal and non-starchy vegetables instead. Skipping the ultra-processed carbs or fried foods like French fries.
3. Indulge in healthy fats. Healthy fats like omega-3s have been shown to help regulate blood sugar levels, keep us satisfied longer, and help fight chronic inflammation in the body. Getting about 30 percent of your daily calories from fat is a good rule of thumb. Choose olive oil, nuts, seeds, and fish that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
4. Eat fiber. Fiber feeds our gut, keeping it healthy and functioning optimally. Women should eat about 25g and men 35g per day or about 14g per 1000 calories. Choose high fiber foods like vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.
Exercise Solutions for Managing Blood Sugar
1. Aim for 30 minutes a day. A half hour of exercise most days a week will help you balance blood sugar. Blood sugar (glucose) is fuel and meant to be used! Every bit of activity helps you regulate glucose.
2. Pick activities you enjoy. You’re more likely to stick to exercise if you have fun doing it. If you’ve never found a gym exciting and fun, why go? Online training programs, like mine, are made for people who are busy, hate the gym, or don’t know where to start. Click here and say “I hate the gym” to learn more.
3. Head outside. Yardwork, gardening, walking, or any other activity in the sunlight is known to help boost our energy, lift spirits, and may even help manage blood sugar according to some studies.
Stress Management Solutions for Managing Blood Sugar
1. Get adequate sleep. Stick to a consistent sleep schedule even on weekends. Invent your own rituals that will help you relax and prepare for sleep, such as drinking a cup of chamomile tea, meditate, or turning off all electronics 30 minutes before bed. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
2. Practice relaxation methods. Stress raises blood sugar. Find techniques that put you at ease and help you cope with events at home and work. Follow a daily meditation practice, get a massage, or listen to instrumental music.
3. Think positive. Lift your spirits and become more resilient through positive self-talk. Remind yourself of your accomplishments and your talents. Add a gratefulness practice to your daily routine, reminding yourself of at least 3 positive things that happened that day.
4. See your doctor. The only way to know your blood sugar levels is to get tested. Protect your peace of mind, as well as your health, by visiting your doctor and finding out for sure. Normal ranges for blood sugar are about 60 to 90 milligrams of glucose per 100 milliliters of blood. For accuracy, it’s important to get tested in the morning and after fasting.
Finding sustainable healthy solutions to balancing blood sugar is the easy part. The hard part is sticking to them! I share my best tips to a sustainable healthy life in my newsletter. It’s one-part wellness and one-part real life solutions. I share my personal healthy living journey, including the bumps and bruises, mindset challenges and solutions, healthy recipes, and more.