What Foods Will Help Regulate My Blood Sugar
Diabetes or diabetes mellitus is a long-term health condition that is characterized by high blood glucose levels. The disease affects the ability of the body to convert food into energy inside the body. The food you eat is converted to simpler forms, most commonly glucose, inside the body. When the glucose in the blood increases, the body releases a hormone called insulin in the blood. Insulin brings high blood glucose levels back to normal levels. In diabetes, either there is a deficiency of insulin or the body is unable to respond to insulin . In either of the cases, there is an increased concentration of glucose in the blood known as hyperglycemia.
If you have diabetes, you must check your blood sugar levels regularly to make sure the levels are not too low or too high . Depending on your age and any other health conditions, your doctor may advise you to keep your blood sugar level in a range that they consider will be safe and healthy for you. Whenever your blood sugar level is over 240 mg/dL, you must check the presence of ketones in the urine by using an over the counter ketone test kit. High levels of ketones can be a sign of a serious medical emergency called diabetic ketoacidosis. Seek urgent medical help if your urine shows the presence of ketones or you have any signs of ketoacidosis, such as fast breathing, nausea and vomiting, stomachache, headache, or fruity smell from the mouth.
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Youre Hungrier Than Usual But Losing Weight
Many people with uncontrolled high blood sugar find that theyre hungrier than usual, which signals a symptom called polyphagia, MedlinePlus notes. And although youre eating more, you may be losing weight for no apparent reason if your blood sugar levels are too high, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Since your body is not getting energy from the preferred source, glucose, it has to turn to muscle and fat, Zanini explains. When your body starts breaking down muscle and fat for energy, you experience unintentional and unhealthy weight loss. In addition to these changes in weight and appetite, you may notice weakness in your muscles and experience more frequent falls, Emanuele adds.
Foods That Lower Blood Sugar
Managing blood sugar levels with better food choices can sometimes seem more like an art than a science, and for good reason: everyones bodies are different, and we all react to food in different ways.
One thing is for certain, however: certain foods are inflammatory and promote high blood sugars, while other foods are anti-inflammatory and help the body regulate blood sugar levels better .
Eating anti-inflammatory foods that help regular blood sugar levels is helpful for people who dont have diabetes, too!
This article will examine the top 10 foods that help lower and regulate your blood sugar levels better.
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What Are Risk Factors For Hyperglycemia
Major risk factors for hyperglycemia are:
- You have a family history of type 2 diabetes.
- You are African American, Native American, Hispanic or Asian American.
- You are overweight.
- You have high blood pressure or cholesterol.
- You have polycystic ovarian syndrome .
- You have a history of gestational diabetes.
Managing Diabetes: Six Healthy Steps With The Most Benefit
Extra pounds? Lose a little. You dont have to be a biggest loser or get an extreme makeover to enjoy big weight-loss benefits if you have diabetes. In a nationwide study of 5,145 people with type 2 diabetes, those who shed just 5 to 10 percent of their weight were three times more likely to lower their A1C by 0.5 percent, a significant drop. They were also 50 percent more likely to lower their blood pressure by 5 points and twice as likely to lower their triglycerides by 40 points compared with those whose weight remained the same.
Say yes to fiber-rich foods. When people with diabetes increase the fiber in their diet, they can potentially lower blood glucose over a period of 12 weeks or less, according to a major review of 15 studies. Most peoplewith or without diabetesdont get the recommended 21 to 38 grams of fiber daily. Those who participated in these studies increased their intake by an average of 18 grams a daythe amount in a bowl of higher-fiber breakfast cereal plus a couple of extra servings of vegetables. Whenever you can, choose vegetables, whole grains, and fruit over sugary treats and bread, rolls, and other foods made with refined grains.
Know your ABCsand beyond.Because your risk for heart disease is higher with diabetes, its smart to see your doctor regularly for checks, Kalyani says. Have your:
- A1C tested as often as your doctor recommends
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Kale For A Variety Of Vitamins And Minerals
Of all the leafy greens you could enjoy on a diabetes diet, kale is the superstar, Smithson says. The ADA names it a superfood, because it offers a slew of essential nutrients, including vitamins A, C, E, and K, iron, calcium, and potassium.
Plus, its low in calories and carbs. One cup of raw kale contains about 9 calories, 1.1 g of carbs, and less than 1 g of protein and fat, according to the USDA. The GL is very low, around 1 or 2.
Smithson adds that kale contains bile acid sequestrants. These can lower LDL cholesterol, as shown by research published June 2017 in Preventive Nutrition and Food Science. Smithson suggests tossing kale into a salad, steaming it, or baking it into chips.
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.
What Foods To Eat To Lower Blood Sugar
While a specific food cant lower high blood sugar, eating certain foods can help promote healthy blood sugar levels. Over time, eating healthy foods beneficial for blood sugar can help lower average blood sugar and improve glycemic control.
Carbohydrates have the biggest impact on blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Common carbohydrates sources include fruit, vegetables, grains, legumes, and dairy products like milk and yogurt.
Carbohydrates are broken down into sugar , which enters the bloodstream. When someone with diabetes eats many carbohydrates at once, their blood sugar levels may be higher than their target or goal.
Fiber is a carbohydrate but does not affect blood sugar levels because it is not absorbed by the body. Fiber can also slow gastric emptying, meaning the food takes longer to be broken down into sugar, which is one way it can help diabetes. Eating fiber-rich foods can help avoid a blood sugar spike, which can occur when eating rapidly-digested carbohydrates such as white bread and refined sugar.
People with diabetes need varying ranges of carbohydrates based on individual needs and activity levels. In general, aiming for 30-60 grams of carbohydrates per meal and 15-20 grams of carbohydrates per snack is ideal. Aiming for 25-40 grams of dietary fiber per day is ideal for both blood sugar and heart health.
Stay Safe When Blood Glucose Is High
If you have type 1 diabetes, avoid vigorous physical activity when you have ketones in your blood or urine. Ketones are chemicals your body might make when your blood glucose level is too high, a condition called hyperglycemia, and your insulin level is too low. If you are physically active when you have ketones in your blood or urine, your blood glucose level may go even higher. Ask your health care team what level of ketones are dangerous for you and how to test for them.Ketones are uncommon in people with type 2 diabetes.
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Why Focus On Food
The aim of diabetes is not simply taking as much insulin as possible to fight high blood sugars, but to find a good balance of anti-inflammatory foods that you enjoy, incorporated into a healthy lifestyle with plenty of sleep, exercise, and stress management techniques, to create a sustainable way to manage your diabetes.
Focusing on foods that are anti-inflammatory and help regulate your blood sugar will not only improve your diabetes management, blood sugar levels, and HbA1c levels, but it will also make your weight management easier.
Youll suffer fewer extreme high and low blood sugars, and managing your diabetes wont be as joyless. It will be a big help. And with diabetes, we can use all the help we can get!
Below are the top 10 expert-recommended foods to help you regulate your blood sugar better:
The Basics Of Balancing Blood Sugar
The goal with blood sugar is to keep your levels as steady as possible throughout the day. If you eat something that is made up of carbohydrates or sugar, then your blood sugar will rise.
Our blood sugar rises when we eat foods that contain sugar or foods that break down into sugar, basically anything that contains carbohydrates , says Shapiro. Raising your blood sugar isnt bad in itself, but you want to avoid spiking your sugar too high, as it can make you feel bad and lead to a crash later on.
Once our blood sugar rises the hormone insulin is released to help our cells take up the sugar from our blood into the cells themselves to use/store for energy, Shapiro explains. Insulin is one way your body keeps sugar in check, but other activities affect your blood sugar too, including exercise and how much you move or walk around.
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Eat Less Red And Processed Meat
If youre cutting down on carbs, you might start to have bigger portions of meat to fill you up. But its not a good idea to do this with red and processed meat, like ham, bacon, sausages, beef and lamb. These all have links with heart problems and cancers.
Try swapping red and processed meat for these:
- pulses such as beans and lentils
- poultry like chicken and turkey
Beans, peas and lentils are also very high in fibre and dont affect your blood glucose levels too much making them a great swap for processed and red meat and keeping you feeling full. Most of us know that fish is good for us, but oily fish like salmon and mackerel are even better. These are rich in something called omega-3 oil, which helps protect your heart. Try and aim to eat two portions of oily fish a week.
What Can I Eat To Keep My Blood Sugar And Cholesterol Low
Cutting out refined carbs and eating whole foods can help you lower these markers at the same time.
Q: My blood test shows prediabetes and a cholesterol score of 208 mg/dl . Im finding it difficult to know what to eat because the recommended diets for these conditions seem contrary. For example, fruit is said to be acceptable on a low-cholesterol diet but not on a low-blood-sugar one, while meat is the opposite. How can I balance this out?
Many people who have high blood sugar also have high cholesterol levels. However, both can be managed with a healthy diet. Whats more, for some, its possible to reverse prediabetes through diet and lifestyle changes .
Its common to see misinformation about what foods are bad for certain conditions, including high cholesterol, prediabetes, and diabetes. Nevertheless, the overall quality of your diet is most important.
The three macronutrients carbohydrates, proteins, and fats have different impacts on both blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
For example, sources of carbs like bread, pasta, and fruit affect blood sugar more than sources of protein or fat. On the other hand, cholesterol-containing fat sources, such as dairy and meat, have a greater effect on cholesterol than on blood sugar.
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Flax Seeds And Chia Seeds
Chia and flax seeds are both rich in fiber and omega fatty acids and have a glycemic index score below 10. The fiber improves blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity by encouraging a steady rise in blood sugar, preventing roller coaster spikes and drops. This stabilizing effect helps you avoid a sluggish feeling after meals.
Theyâre also one of the most flexible foods on this list, making simple, tasty additions to your favorite salads, yogurt, and smoothies. You can even try making chia seed pudding as a low glycemic dessert option!
Why Is Blood Sugar Regulation Important
When the blood sugar levels in the body are continually unstable, there is a risk of illnesses, like heart disease and diabetes. Unstable levels of glucose can mean the cells are not being fueled properly on one extreme, and on the other, the bloodstream is overloaded with glucose.
Normal blood sugar: Although blood sugar levels vary between individuals, people without diabetes should have levels around 70 to 80 mg/dl . This reading is typically seen in the daytime, and before you sit down to eat.
High blood sugar: Did you know that a lot of people in the U.S. are considered prediabetic? This means that their blood sugars are continually on the higher end of the scale. Also called hyperglycemia, this can mean an increased chance of a damaged pancreas, stroke, and risk of atherosclerosis.
What can too much sugar in the body do?
- Slow wound healing
- And at worst, loss of consciousness
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Have Oatmeal For Breakfast
Oats are another good choice for people with diabetes because of their low glycemic index value and high fiber content.
A 2015 review found eating whole oats with at least 3 grams of soluble fiber daily can help Type 2 diabetes patients control blood glucose levels by increasing insulin sensitivity.
You should make sure to opt for steel-cut or rolled oats, as these varieties of oatmeal are less processed, which means they absorb into the bloodstream more slowly.
Try to avoid instant oatmeal with added sugar, and if you’re mixing in fruit or other ingredients into your oatmeal, be mindful of their added sugar and total carbohydrate content.
Time Your Bolus Insulin Properly
For people who take rapid-acting insulin at mealtimes, the timing of the bolus can have a huge impact on after-meal blood glucose levels. Boluses given too late to match the entry of glucose from dietary carbohydrates into the bloodstream can produce significant blood glucose spikes soon after eating. A properly timed bolus, on the other hand, can result in excellent after-meal control.
Unless you have gastroparesis , it is best to give bolus insulin doses before eating. How long before? It depends mainly on what you are eating and on your pre-meal blood glucose level.
Figuring out the pre-meal blood glucose part is fairly straightforward: the higher your blood glucose, the earlier the bolus should be given. If your pre-meal blood glucose is well above your target, it is best to give the bolus and then wait at least 30 minutes before eating. Near your target blood glucose? Wait 15 minutes. Below target? Either take the bolus and eat right away, or take the bolus after eating to manage high blood glucose.
Does earlier bolusing make a difference? Absolutely. Research has shown that simply giving mealtime boluses before eating rather than after eating can reduce the post-meal spike by about 45 mg/dl.
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High Blood Sugar Levels
If you have diabetes, you can find out if your blood sugar level is high by having a blood sugar test.
You may have regular tests by your care team or GP surgery, or you may have tests you can do at home.
|Type of test
|Test done by a health professional to check your blood sugar level over the last 2 or 3 months
|48 mmol/mol or over
|Home test done at any other time
|Over 11 mmol/L
What Is Diabetes What Are The Types Of Diabetes
Diabetes is a number of diseases that involve problems with the hormone insulin. Normally, the pancreas releases insulin to help your body store and use the sugar and fat from the food you eat. Diabetes occurs when one of the following occurs:
- When the pancreas does not produce any insulin
- When the pancreas produces very little insulin
- When the body does not respond appropriately to insulin, a condition called “insulin resistance”
Diabetes is a lifelong disease. Approximately 18.2 million Americans have the disease and almost one third are unaware that they have it. An additional 41 million people have pre-diabetes. As yet, there is no cure. People with diabetes need to manage their disease to stay healthy.
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