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Diabetes - Keeping it in check - Naturally

Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces.

Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood glucose. Hyperglycemia, also called raised blood glucose or raised blood sugar. Blood sugar management is especially important for people with diabetes, as chronically high blood sugar levels can lead to limb and life threatening complications.




Ways to lower blood glucose levels naturally


1. Exercise Regularly


Exercise increases insulin sensitivity and helps your muscles use blood sugar for movement. This can lead to reduced blood sugar levels.


Regular exercise can help you reach and maintain a moderate weight and increase insulin sensitivity. Increased insulin sensitivity means your cells can more effectively use the available sugar in your bloodstream. Exercise also helps your muscles use blood sugar for energy and muscle contraction.

If you have problems with blood sugar management, consider routinely checking your levels before and after exercising. This will help you learn how you respond to different activities and keep your blood sugar levels from getting too high or low.

Thai Chi, Yoga, Walking are all forms of exercise that can be done at home with little to no cosr and are very effective at lowering blood glucose levels.




2. Manage your carb intake


Your body breaks down the carbs you eat into glucose, which then raises your blood sugar levels. As such, reducing your carb intake can aid blood sugar regulation.


Your carb intake strongly influences your blood sugar levels. When you eat too many carbs or have insulin-function problems, this process fails, and blood glucose levels can rise.

That’s why the American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends that people with diabetes manage their carb intake by counting carbs and being aware of how many they need.

You can still eat some carbs when monitoring your blood sugar. However, prioritizing whole grains over processed ones and refined carbs provides greater nutritional value while helping decrease your blood sugar levels.




3. Eat More Fiber


Eating plenty of fiber can aid blood sugar management. Soluble dietary fiber appears to be more effective than insoluble fiber for this purpose.


Fiber slows carb digestion and sugar absorption, thereby promoting a more gradual rise in blood sugar levels. There are two types of fiber — insoluble and soluble.

While both are important, soluble fiber has explicitly been shown to improve blood sugar management, while insoluble fiber hasn’t been shown to have this effect.

A high fiber diet can improve your body’s ability to regulate blood sugar and minimize blood sugar lows. This could help you better manage type diabetes.


Foods that are high in fiber include:

  • vegetables

  • fruits

  • legumes

  • whole grains

The recommended daily intake of fiber is about 25 grams for women and 35 grams for men. That’s about 14 grams for every 1,000 calories.




4. Drink Water and Stay Hydrated


Staying hydrated can reduce blood sugar levels and diabetes risk. Choose water and naturally flavored drinks and avoid artificial or sugar-sweetened beverages.


Drinking enough water can help you keep your blood sugar levels within healthy ranges.

In addition to preventing dehydration, it helps your kidneys flush out any excess sugar through urine.

One review of observational studies showed that those who drank more water had a lower risk of developing high blood sugar levels.




5. Implement Portion Control

Focusing on your portion sizes can help you manage your blood sugar levels.


Portion control can help you regulate your calorie intake and maintain a moderate weight.

Consequently, weight management promotes healthy blood sugar levels and has been shown to help regulate diabetes.

Monitoring your serving sizes also helps prevent blood sugar spikes

Here are some helpful tips for managing portion sizes:

  • measure and weigh your portions

  • use smaller plates

  • avoid all-you-can-eat restaurants

  • read food labels and check the serving sizes

  • keep a food journal

  • eat slowly



6. Choose Foods with a Low Glycemic Index


The glycemic index (GI) measures how quickly carbs break down during digestion and how rapidly your body absorbs them. This affects how quickly your blood sugar levels rise

The GI divides foods into low, medium, and high GI and ranks them on a scale of 0–100. Low GI foods have a ranking of 55 or less.

Both the amount and type of carbs you eat determine how a food affects your blood sugar levels. Specifically, eating low GI foods has been shown to reduce blood sugar levels in people with diabetes .

Some examples of foods with a low to moderate GI include:

  • bulgur

  • barley

  • unsweetened Greek yogurt

  • oats

  • beans

  • lentils

  • legumes

  • whole wheat pasta

  • non-starchy vegetables

Furthermore, adding protein or healthy fats helps minimize blood sugar spikes after a meal.



7. Lower Stress Levels


Managing your stress levels through exercise or relaxation methods like yoga & meditation can help you regulate blood sugar levels.


Stress can affect your blood sugar levels. When stressed, your body secretes hormones called glucagon and cortisol, which cause blood sugar levels to rise.

Studies show that exercise, relaxation, and meditation significantly reduced stress and lowered blood sugar levels

Exercises and relaxation methods like yoga and mindfulness-based stress reduction also help correct insulin secretion problems among people with chronic diabetes.




8. Monitor Your Blood Sugar Levels

Checking your blood glucose and maintaining a daily log enables you to adjust foods and medications when necessary to better manage your blood sugar levels.


You can check your blood glucose at home using a portable blood glucose meter, which is known as a glucometer. You can discuss this option with your doctor.

Keeping track allows you to determine whether you need to adjust your meals or medications. It also helps you learn how your body reacts to certain foods.

Try measuring your levels regularly every day and keeping track of the numbers in a log. Also, it may be more helpful to track your blood sugar in pairs — for example, before and after exercise or before and 2 hours after a meal.

This can show you whether you need to make small changes to a meal if it spikes your blood sugar, rather than avoiding your favorite meals altogether. Some adjustments include swapping a starchy side for non-starchy veggies or limiting them to a handful.




9. Get enough quality Sleep

Good sleep helps maintain your blood sugar levels and promotes a healthy weight. On the other hand, poor sleep can disrupt critical metabolic hormones.


Getting enough sleep feels excellent and is necessary for good health.

In fact, poor sleeping habits and a lack of rest can affect blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity,

Additionally, sleep deprivation raises levels of the hormone cortisol, which, as explained, plays an essential role in blood sugar management.

Adequate sleep is about both quantity and quality. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults get at least 7–8 hours of high quality sleep per night.


To improve the quality of your sleep, try to:

  • follow a sleep schedule

  • avoid caffeine and alcohol late in the day

  • get regular exercise

  • cut down on screen time before bed

  • keep your bedroom cool

  • limit your naps

  • create a bedtime routine

  • use soothing and calming scents such as lavender

  • avoid working in your bedroom

  • take a warm bath or shower before bed

  • try meditation or guided imagery



10. Eat foods rich in Chromium and Magnesium


Eating foods rich in chromium and magnesium can help prevent deficiencies and reduce the risk of blood sugar problems.


High blood sugar levels and diabetes have been linked to micronutrient deficiencies. Some examples include deficiencies in the minerals chromium and magnesium.

Chromium is involved in carb and fat metabolism. It may potentiate the action of insulin, thus aiding blood sugar regulation.


Chromium-rich foods include:

  • meats

  • whole grain products

  • fruit

  • vegetables

  • nuts

However, the mechanisms behind this proposed connection are not entirely known, and studies report mixed findings. As such, more research is needed.

Magnesium has also been shown to benefit blood sugar levels. In fact, diets rich in magnesium are associated with a significantly reduced risk of diabetes.

In contrast, low magnesium levels may lead to insulin resistance and decreased glucose tolerance in people with diabetes.


Magnesium-rich foods include:

  • dark leafy greens

  • squash and pumpkin seeds

  • tuna

  • whole grains

  • dark chocolate

  • bananas

  • avocados

  • beans



There are multiple ways to naturally manage your blood sugar levels.


Many of them include making lifestyle changes, like managing your weight, stress levels, and sleep quality, exercising, and staying hydrated. That said, some of the biggest improvements have to do with your dietary choices.

Be sure to talk with your healthcare professional before making lifestyle changes or trying new supplements— especially if you have problems with blood sugar management or are taking medications.

If you would like more information on Yoga, Tai Chi, Nutrition, etc.

Give me a call.

Wellness Coach / Nutrition Coach



Many Blessings,

Tammy

tammy@luneauholisticwellness.com

828-201-2841




More information on Diabetes:

*American Diabetes Association


*World Health Organization


*Medline Plus





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