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Diabetes is a life-altering disease that can lead to serious complications down the road. Doctors believe that reducing and managing blood sugar levels consistently will help prevent or delay diabetes complications, including vision problems, kidney, and nerve diseases (diabetic neuropathy), as well as the risk of limb amputation. Here are some tips to help reduce blood sugar levels naturally and delay the onset of diabetes, as well as the potential long-term effects of the disease.
One of the most important tips to reduce blood sugar levels naturally involves spreading meals out over the day, thereby keeping the intake of carbohydrates consistent throughout the day. Nutritionists advise against eating small meals to save up for a big dinner, which would result in more frequent blood sugar spikes, as opposed to maintaining steady, consistent levels. To help a person’s body regulate blood sugar levels, they should avoid fasting or skipping meals. The recommended carbohydrate intake level per meal varies with individuals. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), the typical starting point is 45 grams per meal for women and 60 grams for men. Levels and intake should be adjusted according to an individual’s blood glucose readings.
Another tip to help reduce blood sugar levels naturally is the consumption of more foods with resistant starch. Resistant starch is metabolized by the body in an unusual and very beneficial way. These forms of starch circumvent the small intestine, are metabolized by the good bacteria, and then. act as dietary fiber in the large intestine. Resistant starch can be found in certain potatoes (sweet potatoes), dark chocolate, and beans. For example, blood sugar levels will be lower from consuming a potato that has been baked and then cooled, but not in a warm potato. Therefore, a cup of potato salad will reduce blood sugar levels, while a cup of heated mashed potatoes will raise the readings.
An additional source of resistant starch that helps reduce blood sugar levels naturally is beans. According to the ADA, beans are digested slowly, which results in only a small rise in blood glucose levels. It has also been suggested that people with type 2 diabetes who consumed one to three cups of beans or other legume sources daily for three months had lower blood sugar levels, as measured by the A1C test. Moreover, the daily consumption of beans is also linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, as well as reduced total cholesterol levels by as much as 20 percent.
Another important tip that helps reduce blood sugar levels naturally is plenty of sleep. Sleep disorders, such as insomnia and sleep apnea, can affect body chemistry and blood sugar control. Getting plenty of nightly sleep, at least seven hours of uninterrupted sleep per night, can help regulate proper blood sugar control and prevent severe blood sugar spikes. In fact, chronic lack of sleep may contribute to the risk of type 2 diabetes. Moreover, lack of sleep is also linked with other serious health conditions, such as heart disease, cancer, and stroke. Furthermore, experts have suggested that more than a third of people with type 2 diabetes have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which is characterized by a collapsed airway that causes a person to repeatedly stop breathing during sleep.
A vital tip that helps reduce blood sugar levels naturally involves weight loss, especially among overweight or obese patients. Those individuals who carry around extra pounds (especially in the abdominal region) may suffer from insulin resistance, which could keep the blood sugar-lowering hormone from working. Doctors have suggested even small weight loss goals of five to 10 pounds could result in reduced blood sugar levels.
Another crucial tip to help reduce blood sugar levels naturally is stress management. When the body is stressed, it creates a lot of stored energy in the form of glucose and fats, which the cells can use when needed. In diabetics, however, this extra energy does not make it to the cells, so the glucose remains in the blood and results in higher blood sugar levels. The ADA has recommended that all diabetics or those at risk for diabetes develop their own stress-relief routines. Whether it be yoga, meditation, exercise, music, watching a movie, or a hobby, whatever helps a person relax and unwind will have also helped reduce their blood sugar levels.
While diabetes is a life-altering disease that can lead to serious complications later in life, experts believe that reducing and managing blood sugar levels consistently will help prevent or delay diabetes complications, including risk of limb amputation, vision problems, kidney, and nerve diseases, such as diabetic neuropathy. Most of these conditions require 10 or more years to develop in affected individuals and some patients may not be affected by these serious complications. However, it is important to manage blood sugar levels to slow, delay, and prevent the onset of complications.
By Leigh Haugh