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  • Writer's pictureJackie

Bump Down Blood Sugar

Take control with these less obvious actions.

If a doctor has recently warned you that your blood sugar is creeping upward, then most likely, you’ve immediately started slashing sugar from your diet and perhaps begun walking more. And that is excellent! But in addition to the obvious, there are more lifestyle choices you can pursue that impact blood sugar. Like any boldily process, blood sugar regulation is an intricate process, and many factors can come into play. Here are a few tweaks that can help in your efforts to keep blood sugar in check. One or two may even surprise you!

Eat fiber.

You may think you’re eating plenty of fiber, but back in 2016, national surveys revealed that only 5 percent of the American population actually met daily guidelines for dietary fiber! Experts labeled this situation a “public health concern” because not only has adequate fiber intake been shown to lower risk of type 2 diabetes, but it also reduces risk for heart disease, stroke, hypertension, certain gastrointestinal disorders, obesity, and certain cancers. Not sure what constitutes dietary fiber? It’s generally defined as the edible parts of plants, or similar carbohydrates, that are resistant to digestion and absorption in the small intestine. Try gradually increasing fiber intake to avoid gastro distress. Women age 50 or younger should eat 25 grams per day; women over 51 should aim for 21 grams. Men age 50 or younger should eat 38 grams per day; men over 51 should aim for 30 grams.

Lift weights (along with other physical activity).

A study published in 2017 in the journal, Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, followed 35,754 healthy women and found that, “Compared with women who reported no strength training, women engaging in any strength training experienced a reduced rate of type 2 diabetes of 30%.” For many years, doctors urged patients with elevated blood sugar to engage in cardio exercise—which remains an essential strategy—but have more recently recommended resistance training as equally important. So, if you’ve been lifting weights to build muscle and maintain bone, know that your efforts will also favorably impact blood sugar. (Strength training imbues many, many additional health benefits & supports weight loss. Revisit the post, "Trying to Lose Weight? Strength Train.")

Sleep seven hours a night.

According to the CDC, “One in three US adults isn’t getting enough sleep, and over time, this can increase the risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and depression.” At minimum, most experts recommend no fewer than seven hours of sleep per night for optimum health. Many people realize that they feel lousy when sleep suffers but don’t know that risk of diabetes rises along with that crummy feeling. One more reason to lock in lots of shuteye!

Address stress.

A growing body of research links psychological stress with the potential onset of type 2 diabetes and even as a predictor of the disease. The Mayo Clinic notes that both physical and emotional stress trigger the release of hormones that cause blood sugar to rise. Lowering stress benefits many, many aspects of mental and physical health, including keeping blood sugar levels in the healthy range.

The coolest thing about making these changes is this—You get tons of "bang" for each change you make because each one impacts not only blood sugar but MANY aspects of health.

Photo by Cats Coming from Pexels


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