One of the rising health problems we face today is diabetes. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the prevalence of the disease has risen rapidly since the 1980s. It’s considered to be one of the major causes of kidney failure, blindness, stroke, heart attacks, and lower limb amputation. Although it does seem intense and possibly lethal when not addressed properly, diabetes is completely treatable and preventable.
Both genetics, lifestyle, and environmental factors can lead to diabetes. However, a healthy diet, a normal body weight, and regular exercise can do so much to prevent the onset of the disease. Its symptoms can also be managed through the same healthy lifestyle choices, proper medication, and regular screening and treatment.
If you’re already diagnosed with diabetes then you’re probably aware of how important it is to manage your blood sugar levels. Even if you’re not, it’s not exactly healthy for your glucose levels to race up and down at frequent intervals. For one, it can cause lethargy and can increase your risk of developing several health problems.
To keep your blood sugar levels stable, here are some things you can do.
Consume Less Refined Carbs
Also known as processed carbs, refined carbs often come in the form of white bread, breakfast cereals, desserts, white rice, soda, and table sugar. These are refined grains that have been stripped of nearly all nutrients, minerals, vitamins, and fiber. Apart from providing you with empty calories, refined carbs have a high glycemic index. Foods with a high glycemic index are easily digested and can quickly lead to a spike in blood sugar.
Incorporate Apple Cider Vinegar into Your Diet
You’ve probably heard about apple cider vinegar, one of the most popular types of vinegar, especially among health buffs. It gained popularity for all its antibacterial properties and its purported benefits for speeding up weight loss and reducing cholesterol. However, one of apple cider vinegar’s less known benefits is its ability to help control blood sugar.
According to a study, consuming vinegar can help increase levels of satiety after eating bread and can enhance the body’s insulin response to glucose. In general, the addition of vinegar can lower a food’s glycemic index, which in turn can help prevent blood sugar spikes.
Add Spices to Your Dishes
Spices are a low-calorie way to add more flavor into your food. But if you’re looking to manage your blood sugar levels, adding spices such as fenugreek and cinnamon to your meals can be a great idea, too. Both have been used in alternative medicine for centuries and are also linked to better blood sugar management.
In one particular study, the ingestion of cinnamon following a carb-heavy meal was shown to enhance insulin sensitivity, thus controlling spikes in blood sugar. Fenugreek, on the other hand, contains high amounts of soluble fiber. Adding fenugreek to a carb-based meal can prevent blood sugar spikes as it helps slow down the digestion and absorption of carbs.
Make Sure You’re Getting Enough Magnesium and Chromium
Apart from adding spices, it also helps to manage your blood sugar levels by consuming enough magnesium and chromium. However, be sure to take them in moderation, as ingesting them in excess can be dangerous.
In a study involving 48 participants, a regular supplementation of 600-mg magnesium was shown to increase insulin sensitivity. The same thing was observed with chromium. Chromium helps trigger the absorption of sugar from the blood which helps regulate blood sugar levels.
More interesting to note is how insulin sensitivity increased when both chromium and magnesium were supplemented as compared to using only either of the two.
Cut Back on Your Sugar Intake
While consuming less refined carbs has been mentioned, it’s important to put emphasis on refined sugar - as it can be present in almost everything you eat. Carbs are not all that bad as they can come in healthier forms. Sugar, on the other hand, decreases the nutritional value of any food when you add too much of it. But you don’t need to give up sweets altogether, you can try healthier substitutes like stevia or monk fruit. These sugar substitutes can be used for anything including baking, cooking, making cocktails, and more.
It only takes a few simple dietary and lifestyle changes to keep your blood sugar levels in check. However, you need to be truly mindful of these changes as they can be so easily forgotten as daily life takes over. For instance, it is way too easy to overindulge in foods that are high in refined carbs. It is also way too easy to not get enough sleep and exercise. The best way to keep yourself healthy and your energy levels up is through a conscious effort to follow a combination of good diet and regular exercise.