High blood sugar levels, often referred to as hyperglycemia, can lead to many health issues that can cause permanent damage to many of the body's vital organs, including the eyes, liver, and kidneys. Although serious, hyperglycemia is often preventable and even reversible.
One of the best ways to stabilize blood sugar levels before serious problems develop is to make changes to diet and lifestyle habits. Low glycemic foods, paired with increased exercise, can yield significant results when chosen consistently. Look beyond plain chicken with broccoli— research suggests lots of different foods and practices can significantly improve glucose levels.
Legumes, encompassing beans, chickpeas, and lentils, have been shown to reduce A1C scores and improve glycemic control in individuals with type 2 diabetes.
Even though legumes are typically high in carbohydrates, they are also high in fiber and protein. Both play an important role in regulating blood sugar levels by slowing the absorption of carbohydrates and sugars, so doctors recommend eating foods high in protein and fiber with every meal.
Almonds are well-known for being rich in protein, beneficial fatty acids, and magnesium, but they also may be key in lowering blood sugar levels. Studies have suggested that foods rich in magnesium may aid the body in insulin regulation and help prevent diabetes.
Additionally, eating a handful of almonds after dinner correlated with a significant decrease in glucose and insulin levels, even when the meal was carbohydrate-heavy.
Doctors have long recommended oatmeal as a way to combat high cholesterol, but recent evidence suggests that it may be beneficial for high blood sugar as well. Several studies demonstrate that eating oatmeal improves insulin responses and glucose control directly after consumption but also yields positive effects on blood sugar in the long term when eaten regularly.
Good news for those with type 2 diabetes—this effect was even more marked in people with the condition.
Tumeric, a spice commonly found in Indian curries and well-known for its distinctive golden color, may be a surprise weapon in the battle against high blood sugar. Tumeric is high in a compound called curcumin, which has been shown to reduce the glucose content of blood and aid in the prevention of diabetes when consumed regularly for nine months or longer.
However, diabetics who take insulin medication should be careful—too much tumeric in conjunction with insulin medication can result in dangerously low blood sugar levels.
Although fruits are notoriously high in natural sugars, blueberries are actually quite beneficial to stable glucose levels. Their high fiber and antioxidant content promote a slow and consistent blood sugar response, preventing spikes. One study suggests that the bioactive compounds in blueberries can help increase insulin responses in people who are insulin resistant.
The study found that up to two cups of blueberries per day yielded the best results.
With important fatty compounds, such as omega-3, fish have long been known to be an excellent source of nutrition for brain health. However, recent research finds that fatty fish may also be beneficial for stabilizing blood sugar levels.
The high protein content of fish, along with its beneficial fatty acids, aided in glucose regulation post-meals. The consumption of lean fish did not yield the same results, so it's important to choose fish such as salmon or herring for these benefits.
Often overlooked, one of the easiest ways to maintain glucose levels is to eat consistent meals. Skipping meals can lead to low blood sugar and a slow metabolism, making it harder for the body to manage blood sugar and weight.
Waiting too long between meals can also lead to over-eating or bingeing, both of which are correlated with blood sugar spikes. One study found that a consistent early dinnertime led to improved blood glucose levels and improved the body's ability to metabolize certain nutrients the following day.
A warm cup of chamomile tea can induce a sense of calm at the end of a long day, but it can also help stabilize blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Scientists suggest that regular consumption of chamomile tea can decrease insulin resistance and improve A1C numbers with daily use. One cup of chamomile tea after meals yielded the best results.
One of the most inexpensive ways to improve glucose levels is also one of the easiest—increasing water intake. An increase in water consumption can help the body flush out glucose more effectively. When dehydrated, sugar is more concentrated in the bloodstream, which results in higher blood sugar levels.
Replacing sugary drinks or sodas with water, of course, also helps stabilize blood sugar levels.
When attempting to manage blood sugar through exercise, it's important to know what the research says. For stable glucose levels, doctors recommend moderate exercise, such as walking or jogging, which has been correlated with lower blood sugar levels.
Studies suggest that a short walk after a meal also helps maintain stable blood sugar levels.
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