Controlling your blood sugar has a number of health benefits, including lowering your risk of diabetes and prediabetes. If you’re already living with diabetes, you know that managing blood sugar is key to controlling your condition and preventing complications.
In honor of World Diabetes Day this November 14th, here are some things you can do each day to improve your blood sugar levels.
Exercising regularly improves insulin sensitivity, and allows your body to use the sugar in your blood more effectively. It can even work better than some medications when it comes to preventing diabetes. Physical activity doesn’t have to be complicated, but it should be enjoyable so that you can stick with it. Walking regularly, taking exercise classes at the gym, gardening, or cycling — any type of movement makes a positive impact. Aim for a half hour a day, five days a week.
Watch Your Carbs
Since your body converts carbohydrates into sugars, these foods tend to spike blood sugar levels. You don’t have to skip them altogether, but be sure to balance out each meal with enough lean protein and healthy fats, too. Try the Diabetes Plate Method: Fill half of your plate with vegetables, a quarter with protein foods, and the last quarter with carbohydrates. Be especially careful to limit or avoid heavily processed carbohydrates, like refined white bread or pasta and sugary snacks.
Get Plenty of Fiber
“Fiber slows down digestion,” explains Isabel Soles, PA-C, Clinical Director at YourTown Health, “giving your body more time to process carbohydrates and absorb sugars. It also helps keep you full.” Incorporate plenty of high-fiber foods into your meals, like fruit, vegetables, beans, and whole grains. Nuts and seeds are fiber-rich snacks that can be taken anywhere, so pack some when you’re on the go.
Drinking more water has been associated with a lower risk of high blood sugar (often a precursor for diabetes). Having enough water also allows your kidneys to filter out sugar effectively. This makes water a better beverage choice than sugary soft drinks, because it supports kidney function and omits sugar, too.
Try Simple Swaps for Lower Sugar
Lowering your blood sugar doesn’t have to mean saying goodbye to sweet treats. You can still satisfy cravings and control your blood sugar with some of these simple swaps.
Oatmeal Instead of Cereal
Some cereals are low in sugar, but oatmeal usually also has more fiber to keep you full. Consider a DIY recipe made from steel cut or rolled oats for a satisfying breakfast that’s naturally low in sugar. You can also add in some blueberries for sweetness and even more fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Non-Starchy Veggies Over Potatoes
Non-starchy veggies like zucchini, cauliflower, and broccoli have a lower glycemic index than starches like potatoes. This means they take longer to digest and have less of an effect on your blood sugar. They can easily be spruced up with seasonings or cooked in the air fryer for a satisfying crisp.
Dark vs. Milk Chocolate
Milk chocolate tends to be high in added sugar, whereas dark chocolate is higher in cocoa. Silence your sweet tooth with a small piece of dark chocolate when cravings strike.
You may have already guessed that a typical pizza isn’t the most wholesome option, but you can still enjoy a satisfying slice without spiking your blood sugar. Cauliflower crusts can slash the amount of carbs in your pizza. This healthy vegetable is also becoming a lower-carb alternative for many other foods, including rice, pasta, and tortillas.
From diabetes management to family medicine, YourTown Health is your partner for lifelong wellness. Our providers focus on your individual needs and concerns to help you feel your best. To find your nearest office, visit our locations page and call 404-929-8824 to make an appointment.