Having high blood sugars sucks. Excessive thirst, the need to go to the loo way too often, dry mouth, fatigue or feeling irritable generally are the first warning signs that something is really wrong. Long-term hyperglycemia can cause kidney failure, eye damage, cardiovascular disease, nerve damage, joint problems, skin and gum infections and may even lead to a diabetic coma. This is why blood sugar control is such a vital part of short and long-term diabetes treatment. Besides the prescribed intake of insulin, there are many ways to additionally support your body in keeping up healthy BG levels. So, today we’re going to show you how to lower and generally normalize your BGs. You may have heard of most or all of these, but it’s always good to brush up on some basics, right?
Disclaimer: These are general ways to maintain normal blood glucose levels. If you are using insulin, you have to keep using it as to your doctor’s advice. If your blood glucose levels stay high for no apparent reason, DO check with your GP!
#1 Reduce Stress
Life has its way of throwing curve balls at us when we least expect it and daily life can be quite a hustle. However, stress is well known to increase blood pressure, heart rate and blood sugars. Be sure to create some time for the things you love and which let unwind from your daily routine. It may be a hobby, meditation, a good book, some quality time with friends or family, all of those can help you get the everyday buzz out of your system. Also, don’t forget to catch enough sleep. Try to aim for 7 to 9 hours every night.
#2 Skip sugary drinks
Let’s make this clear. Sugar does NOT cause diabetes! Yet, if you are diabetic sugary drinks might make your blood glucose skyrocket when you really don’t need it. Also, no matter if they are sweetened with refined sugar, fruit-glucose or honey, they are all packed with calories while having very little to no nutritional value. However, due to their ability to quickly spike blood glucose levels sugary drinks can be a quick rescue if you’re TD1 and are suffering a low. Other than that we suggest very moderate consumption.
#3 Know your fats and proteins
The great thing about those two is that they won’t directly (or rather not as quickly) affect your blood sugars. However, try to opt for unsaturated fats and lean proteins rather than saturated fats and protein sources that come with saturated fats. Unsaturated fats have been shown to be connected to lowered insulin resistance. Delicious sources are nuts, olive oil, sesame seeds, peanut butter or avocados. An excellent source of lean protein is fish. Salmon and Tuna provide the additional benefit of Omega 3 fatty acids, which are suspected to have anti-inflammatory properties. Another great source of protein are beans, which are packed with fiber.
#4 Grab those fibers!
Diabetic or not, hardly anyone eats even close to enough fiber nowadays. This is quite a problem as fiber helps digestion, reduces blood fats, can help lower blood glucose and decreases insulin resistance. In order to reap all these benefits you regularly need to include at least 25 grams of fiber in your daily diet. Fiber is present in a whole range of foods like many whole grains, vegetables, fruits and beans. However, try to be aware of the individual content of carbohydrates present in these foods as well.
#5 Know your Carbs
‘DUH!’, right? Carbohydrates are so important because our body splits them into glucose thus directly raising BGs. If you take insulin-counting carbs is a necessity to properly calculate your dosage. And even if you don’t have to take insulin, knowing and watching your carbs is important to improve BGs and general health. It is no option however, to scratch them completely from your diet. Besides this being a tedious exercise as carbs are present in most foods (e.g. grains and flour based products, fruits, vegetables, potatoes, beer and wine, many dairy products, and anything containing sugar), diabetic or not, our body needs carbs for the central nervous system, kidneys, brain and muscles to function properly. For diabetics, or anybody who wants to sustain a healthy lifestyle for that matter, it is important to opt for foods with complex carbohydrates and high nutrient density. Complex carbs take longer to be split up into glucose and thus won’t make your BGs spike or rise too quickly. Opt for whole grain products, green veggies and beans, rather than white rice, white pasta and sugar. This doesn’t mean you can’t ever indulge. As long as you keep the big picture of your diet in mind, adjust medication and enjoy in moderation, you are free to eat whatever you like.
You can log your blood glucose, insulin, Carbs, activity and other notes using the Diabeto application.
Download the free Android app now – https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.diabeto
Download the free iOS app here – https://itunes.apple.com/in/app/diabeto-free-diabetes-management/id955246255?mt=8
Stay tuned for the Part 2 of the Blog post next week