Best Foods For Steady Blood Sugar
The most obvious reason to keep your blood sugar steady and controlled throughout the day is to avoid the risk of diabetes, Seebohar says. But its not the only reason. Blood sugar thats too high or low can affect the bodys energy usage, which can affect both physical performance and cognitive functioning, he says. Well-controlled blood sugar can make it easier to concentrate and make decisions, and it also may be good for your mood, as better mood and energy is associated with well-controlled blood sugar.
Certain foods or combinations of foods are especially good at keeping your blood sugar steady. Theyre also more likely to leave you feeling fullerso youll be less likely to reach for a sweet or salty snack. Try adding the following to your diet:
1. UCANs LIVSTEADY
This low-glycemic complex carbohydrate made from non-GMO corn starch provides steady, long-lasting energy and is available in UCAN products in the form of powders, granola, energy bars, and more. The starch has been scientifically proven to stabilize blood sugar and doesnt signal an insulin spike, which can improve your bodys ability to use fat for energy, says Seebohar. For athletes and active people, this is an ideal choice to keep blood sugar steady instead of a sugary snack. Try the Edge energy gel or Energy Bars for a sustained energy boost on-the-go.
6. Nuts and seeds
7. Oats and oat bran
9. Beans and lentils
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The Best Foods To Keep Blood Sugar Steady
Were all familiar with the afternoon slump. Youre going about your day, feeling fine, but then 2 p.m. hitsand instead of thinking about a pre-dinner workout, youre suddenly thinking about a pre-dinner nap.
Thats about the time of day when many peoples blood sugar and energy levels drop. And while its natural for that level to change throughout the day, you dont have to accept major dips and spikes as a given. While your blood sugar level is impacted by many factorsincluding medications, stress, and your activity levelwhat you eat plays the biggest role. Keeping your blood glucose steady can benefit you both mentally and physically.
One way to do this is to eat carbohydrate-rich foods with a good amount of fiber together with foods that contain protein and healthy fats, says Bob Seebohar, a board-certified specialist in sports dietetics and former sports dietitian for Olympic Team USA. As soon as you eat carbs, your body starts working to break them down into glucose for energy. Simple carbohydrates that have added sugars or dont have fiber are broken down much faster than complex high-fiber carbs. They give you a quick burst of energy but also lead to a quick crash. Protein and fat both take longer to digest than carbs and eating them helps slow down how quickly carbs raise your blood sugar.
Lifestyle Tips For Stable Blood Sugar
Exercise also helps to improve your insulin sensitivity this means that your cells dont ignore insulins call to get excess sugar out of the blood. Not to mention, when you exercise, your muscles are using up that sugar they absorbed from your blood. But you already knew that exercise is healthy, didnt you?
Would you believe that stress affects your blood sugar levels? Yup! Stress hormones increase your blood sugar levels. If you think about the fight or flight stress response, what fuel do your brain and muscles need to fight or flee? Sugar! When you are stressed signals are sent to release stored forms of sugar back into the bloodstream, increasing blood sugar levels. So, try to reduce the stress youre under and manage it more effectively. Simple lifestyle tips are regular meditation, deep breathing, or gentle movement.
Sleep goes hand-in-hand with stress. When you dont get enough quality sleep, you tend to release stress hormones, have a higher appetite, and even get sugar cravings. Sleep is crucial, often overlooked, factor when it comes to keeping your blood sugar stable. Make sleep more of a priority it will do your blood sugar good.
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Strategies To Stabilize Blood Sugar
Getting your blood sugar to healthy levels may take trial and error, but there are steps to help you achieve it.
Having a daily routine is critical for good diabetes control,” Dr. Kassem says. “That means following your meal plan, exercising regularly, being consistent with blood sugar testing, and following up regularly with your doctor.” Tracking carbohydrates is particularly important. Big variations in carbohydrate intake from day to day can lead to fluctuations in blood sugars, she adds. For example, when you consume excess carbohydrates, the body digests them like sugar and sends them straight to the bloodstream, increasing the risk of blood sugar spikes.
Follow these specific strategies to help control blood sugar:
Exercise A regular exercise program has been shown to help manage blood sugar levels over time, and taking a varied approach to fitness is good for diabetes and health in general. Participants in a 12-week program who exercised for an hour three times a week using both aerobic and resistance training had improved diabetes management, according to research published in February 2015 in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness. So mix it up with strength training, aerobic workouts, and any other activities you enjoy.
Drinking Wisely Alcohol can cause an immediate rise in blood sugar and then a drop a few hours later. Its best to stick to moderate amounts and have some solid food with your beverage.
Ways To Prevent Low Blood Sugar At Night
Detecting nighttime dips in blood sugar can be tricky, but these simple strategies can help you prevent nighttime hypoglycemia and sleep without worry.
Nighttime dips in blood sugar levels are common among people with diabetes. Authors of a study published in June 2013 in Quality of Life Research noted that people with diabetes type 1 or type 2 experience low blood sugar during sleep more frequently than many doctors realize.
Nighttime hypoglycemia can be caused by a number of different factors, from exercising too close to bedtime to drinking alcohol in the evening. If untreated, low overnight blood sugar levels can lead to headaches and loss of sleep and in extreme cases, seizures or even death. The good news is that preventing low blood sugar while you sleep can be achieved with a few simple steps:
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Extra Glucose Storage Used During The Night
Our bodies have a unique system of storing some extra glucose in our liver, and these stores are called glycogen. When we eat foods that are turned into glucose as they are digested, a limited amount of this glucose is stored in the liver for emergency purposes in case we need a boost of energy to run away from a bear that is about to eat us.
For the average American, we typically dont encounter bears on a day to day basis, and this extra storage is mainly just that extra. This extra glucose storage is used for another purpose also. If blood sugars get too low at night, the body releases some of its stored glucose into the bloodstream. More often than not, more glucose than needed is released into the bloodstream, causing you to wake up with a high blood sugar value- hiding the low blood sugar that happened in the middle of the night.
Don’t Shortchange Your Sleep
Getting enough sleep at night is crucial for overall health and wellbeing, but especially for blood sugar control. Sure, one night of shortened or interrupted sleep may not have a detrimental effect, but don’t kid yourself that you can get away with too little shut-eye regularly without it causing an imbalance in blood sugar levels.
“It’s recommended that we snooze for seven to nine hours per night, and missing out on quality sleep can trigger stress hormones that increase blood sugar levels,” Harris-Pincus explains.
Plus, stress is unhealthy in general, and it can lead to an increase in cravings, moodiness, physical discomfort, GI distress, and higher risk of disease, among other various concerns.
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How To Minimize The Risk Of Nocturnal Hypoglycemia
Some diabetics set an alarm clock each night to check their blood sugar. Some do this only occasionally, believing that if blood glucose drops excessively during the night, they will wake up anyway. What should you do if you are at risk for nocturnal hypoglycemia? There is no definitive answer. Nocturnal control is most commonly practiced for the youngest diabetics. However, there is no clear guideline on whether it is enough to check sugar once, around the most sensitive hour of 3 a.m. or more often.
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Get A Good Nights Sleep
While this is an important tip for good health generally, it especially supports blood sugar regulation.
Lack of sleep drastically reduces glucose tolerance. This makes it more difficult for cells to uptake glucose, causing elevated blood sugar levels. This connection is so significant that researchers found that less than 1 week of sleep restriction can result in a prediabetic state in young, healthy subjects.
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How To Keep Your Blood Sugar Level Stable
Oh, the words blood sugar level.
Does it conjure up visions of restrictive eating, diabetes medications, or insulin injections?
Blood sugar is the measure of the amount of sugar in your blood. You need the right balance of sugar in your blood to fuel your brain and muscles.
The thing is, it can fluctuate. A lot.
This fluctuation is the natural balance between things that increase it and things that decrease it. When you eat food with sugars or starches , then your digestive system absorbs sugar into your blood. When carbs are ingested and broken down into simple sugars, your body keeps blood sugar levels stable by secreting insulin. Insulin allows excess sugar to get it out of your bloodstream and into your muscle cells and other tissues for energy.
Many people with ME/CFS have a blood sugar imbalance that is leading to symptoms such as fatigue, brain fog, dizziness and sugar cravings. When I was ill with my CFS and went to see a Naturopathic Nutritionist, her test revealed that I was on the edge of being diabetic! I was able to balance my blood sugar level with nutrition.
Manage Your Carb Intake
Your carb intake strongly influences your blood sugar levels .
Your body breaks carbs down into sugars, mainly glucose. Then, insulin helps your body use and store it for energy.
When you eat too many carbs or have insulin-function problems, this process fails, and blood glucose levels can rise.
Thats why the American Diabetes Association recommends that people with diabetes manage their carb intake by counting carbs and being aware of how many they need .
Some studies find that this can help you plan your meals appropriately, further improving blood sugar management (
Foods that are high in fiber include:
The recommended daily intake of fiber is about 25 grams for women and 35 grams for men. Thats about 14 grams for every 1,000 calories .
Eating plenty of fiber can aid blood sugar management. Soluble dietary fiber appears to be more effective than insoluble fiber for this purpose.
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Keeping Your Blood Sugar Steady
With certain strategies, you can help prevent spikes in your blood sugar levels, says Toby Smithson, RD, LDN, CDE,a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the founder of DiabetesEveryday.com.
Rather than focus on things you shouldn’t have, try incorporating the following foods and healthy habits into your daily type 2 diabetes routine:
Go nuts. Nuts such as almonds, walnuts, and pistachios contain healthy fat that slows the body’s absorption of sugar. But be sure to limit how many nuts you eat in one sitting because even healthy fats contain calories, Smithson says. Just six almonds or four pecan halves have the same number of calories as one teaspoon of butter.
Eat whole grains. Oat bran, barley, and rye are fiber-rich foods that contain beta-glucan. This soluble fiber increases the amount of time it takes for your stomach to empty after eating and prevents spikes in blood sugar. Remember, though, that these foods are still carbohydrates. “Whole grains will still raise your blood sugar, just not as quickly and as high as processed foods,” Li-Ng says.
Veg out. Packed with fiber, non-starchy vegetables such as broccoli, cucumber, and carrots can also help prevent surges in blood sugar levels while providing essential nutrients.
Eat Balanced Meals That Include Protein And Healthy Fats
Protein is one of the three main nutrients, along with carbohydrates and fat. Unlike carbohydrates, protein doesnt cause blood sugar spikes as certain carbohydrates can. Eating protein with carbohydrates can promote more balanced blood sugar levels and help prevent blood sugar spikes.
Examples of protein include meat , poultry, fish, eggs, nuts and nut butter, seeds, legumes, and soy products.
Fats dont significantly impact your blood sugar levels either, and they can help make you feel full. Healthy fats are high in omega-3 fatty acids and lower in saturated fat. Eating healthy fats can also help promote healthy cholesterol levels.
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How Can I Check My Blood Sugar
Use a blood sugar meter or a continuous glucose monitor to check your blood sugar. A blood sugar meter measures the amount of sugar in a small sample of blood, usually from your fingertip. A CGM uses a sensor inserted under the skin to measure your blood sugar every few minutes. If you use a CGM, youll still need to test daily with a blood sugar meter to make sure your CGM readings are accurate.
Responding To High Or Low Blood Sugar Levels
As you learn more about living with diabetes and monitoring your blood sugar levels, youll experience times when your blood sugar levels are too high or too low. But dont panic over these results, Aloi says. The complications of diabetes are caused by poor blood sugar control over the long term typically not by the occasional short-lived elevations in your blood sugar levels. Still, it’s important to be aware of the long-term effects of blood sugar thats too high or too low , and how its treated.
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How Do I Know If My Diabetes Is Under Control
Your doctor or diabetes health care team will tell you what your blood sugar levels should be.
The only way to know if your blood sugar level is in a healthy range is to check it several times a day with a glucose meter. Your diabetes health care team will help you figure out when and how often to check. Depending on how old you are and how long you’ve been dealing with diabetes you might need help doing this.
Checking your blood sugar level tells you how much glucose is in your blood right this minute. But doctors can use another test to see how under control your blood sugar has been over the last 2 or 3 months. The HbA1C test can be done in your doctor’s office or in a lab. In general, the lower your HbA1C level, the better you’re doing controlling your blood sugar level.
How Can I Treat High Blood Sugar
Talk to your doctor about how to keep your blood sugar levels within your target range. Your doctor may suggest the following:
- Be more active. Regular exercise can help keep your blood sugar levels on track. Important: dont exercise if ketones are present in your urine. This can make your blood sugar go even higher.
- Take medicine as instructed. If your blood sugar is often high, your doctor may change how much medicine you take or when you take it.
- Follow your diabetes meal plan. Ask your doctor or dietitian for help if youre having trouble sticking to it.
- Check your blood sugar as directed by your doctor. Check more often if youre sick or if youre concerned about high or low blood sugar.
- Talk to your doctor about adjusting how much insulin you take and what types of insulin to use.
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Spice Up Your Life With Cinnamon
A meta-analysis published in the Journal of Medicinal Food that concluded that cinnamon lowers fasting blood glucose by a 3-5%. This is a modest amount, but it is still very interesting and can be helpful!
But dont go too crazy with this spice cinnamon contains coumarin, which can damage the liver when consumed in excessive amounts. According to the daily tolerable intake set by the European Food Safety Authority, the limit for an adult who is sensitive to coumarin is about a teaspoon a day. But if you have liver issues, its best to only use cinnamon sparsely.
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Signs Of High/low Blood Sugar
Even without measuring your blood sugar levels, there are certain clues that things might not be normal. How do you know if youre not successfully managing your blood sugar levels throughout the day? Common signs and symptoms not to ignore that can signify diabetes and fluctuating blood sugar levels include:
Normal Blood Sugar Takeaways
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Try To Lose A Few Pounds If You Can
If youre considered overweight, losing weight might help stabilize your blood sugar levels and prevent blood sugar spikes.
Losing 5-10% of your initial body weight can help prevent diabetes for at-risk people and improve blood glucose control if you already have diabetes. For a 200-pound person, that would equal a 10-20 pound weight loss.