10 Ways to Balance Blood Sugar and Help Prevent Diabetes

By on March 13, 2018

By Amanda Roberts—

Wouldn’t it be nice to take control of your own health and live a longer, happier life? This is what nutrition is all about: “let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”.

Diabetes is one example of a condition that you can fight at home through a few small, simple lifestyle changes. Staying active and eating well aren’t as tedious or high-effort as you might think. Today we’re going to share 10 principles that can prevent diabetes and keep you at your very best (and none of them involve doctors or medications).

  1. Eat Less Carbs

Carbs aren’t all bad. In fact, they’re not bad at all. What is bad is eating too many of them: eating too many carbs is an easy way to cause your blood sugar levels to increase. 

This increases your risk of diabetes by reducing your sensitivity to insulin: a key hormone that is involved in moving glucose to the muscles where it can be used as fuel. Your body’s ability to process carbohydrates as a fuel source also deteriorates over time, while fat metabolism is relatively stable.

Eating a diet that is lower in carbohydrates and higher in other food groups can reduce your blood sugar and improve sensitivity.

  1. Eat Lower-GI Carbs

The GI (Glycaemic Index) of a carbohydrate is a measure of how quickly your body can absorb it. If you’re pre-diabetic you may have already dealt with this term before, but it is important for everyone.

High-GI foods can be a risk factor in blood sugar and diabetes because they cause a rapid rise in blood sugar and insulin response. With lower-GI carbohydrates, your body absorbs them slowly rather than all at once, giving you a consistent blood sugar.

If you’re eating too much, you will still experience a rise in blood sugar, but choosing better carbohydrates will reduce your risk and improve your overall health. You can find GI rankings here.

  1. Food Timings

Unlike most other nutrients, carbohdyrates are heavily-dependent on when you eat them. This means that changing when you eat them can alter their affect on your blood sugar.

Carbs should be consumed closer to exercise: as they are fuel for the muscles and organs. Eating too many carbs during periods of inactivity (while sitting on the sofa at night, for example) is very different from eating a snack to prepare for a workout.

Be sure to eat lower-GI carbs during periods of inactivity (such as oatmeal for breakfast), but keep higher-GI carbs for before or after exercise (like sports drinks or other sugars).

  1. Trim Down

There’s no getting around it: Type-2 diabetes is a lifestyle problem. Being overweight or obese increases your risk tremendously. The problem is that diabetes also contributes to obesity, so slimming down now could be a great way to prevent a vicious cycle.

Being overweight is the result of over-eating, which is also a contributor to diabetes. Simply eating less and focusing on losing a small amount of weight can drastically improve your health and chances of maintaining a healthy metabolism.

  1. Exercise

Exercise is the main reason your body needs carbohydrates in the first place! Glucose (the sugar that your body breaks carbs into) is the key to fuelling your muscles and organs.

Exercise is one of the best ways to regulate your blood sugar by using it: exercise reduces blood sugar because glucose is transported to the muscles to replace depleted stores of energy.

You already know the benefits of exercise, and this is just one more amazing reason.

  1. Muscle Mass

Speaking of exercise, muscle mass is one of the easiest ways to improve metabolism and reduce your blood sugar in the long-term. Muscle mass is metabolically-expensive: it requires a lot of energy from blood sugar to be maintained.

Resistance training is the best way to increase your base metabolic rate (BMR), which will increase your ability to metabolise carbs and sugars in a healthy way. This also contributes to weight loss and other factors in diabetes.

  1. Fiber

Fiber is a type of non-digestible carbohydrate that is found in plant foods. The fact that it can’t be digested is what makes it so good for metabolic health: fiber slows your digestion process and causes the slow-release of energy from foods.

If you’re struggling with large blood sugar spikes and insulin response, simply eating more fiber is one of the best ways to mediate your diabetes risk.

Eating more wholegrains and plant foods is a great way to reduce your overall risk, but remember that it can only partially reduce the negative effects of other foods. The most effective and reliable way to improve the affects of excessive sugar is: don’t eat it.

  1. Eat more Protein

Protein works in a similar way to fiber by slowing down the digestive process and improving your overall energy release profile. 

Protein also has a variety of fantastic benefits such as muscle-building, joint health, and accelerated fat loss. 

Simply increase the quantity and quality of protein in your diet to reduce your risk of diabetes and blood sugar irregularity

  1. Healthy Fats

As you age, your glucose metabolism becomes less efficient, but your fat metabolism seems to be less effective. This is one of the reasons why the Mediterranean diet attracted so much attention and has been linked to longevity.

Replace low-quality fats in your diet with high-quality fats from sources like salmon, olive oil, coconut oil, cultured dairy and avocado. These foods are high in healthy fats and, alongside their benefits of heart health, can be a great replacement for carbohydrates.

A low-carbohydrate diet is a fantastic option for diabetes risk, especially when replaced with a selection of healthy fats.

  1. Small Interventions

There are a few other factors that might be affecting your health, but they’re unlikely to be a problem if you abide by the other principles discussed here. Still, keep your eye out for the following:

  • Chromium Deficiency: Deficiency in chromium can increase your risk of diabetes by interrupting glucose metabolism and cause weight gain.
  • B vitamin deficiency: Vitamins B1, 6, 7 and 12 are key to glucose metabolism and notoriously deficient in the general population. Be sure to consume these vitamins to stay healthy and avoid pre-diabetic symptoms.
  • Iron metabolism: Iron, copper, manganese and zinc are all involved in the maintenance of blood health. Deficiency in any of these compounds can be a real problem for your health and metabolism, especially if you’re already pre-diabetic.

Closing Remarks

Diabetes is an increasingly worrying problem in the English-speaking world due to reduced activity levels and declining diet quality. Spend a little time reflecting on each point on this list and be honest with your own dietary habits. Making small changes is the best place to start, and remember: a diet is a long-term change, not a short-term solution.

If you’re looking to live your best life and remain as healthy as possible for as long as possible, these 10 simple changes can give you power over your own health and wellbeing.

Amanda Roberts is one of the authors behind Nutrition Inspector. She writes about health, nutrition and fitness article to help people live a healthier lifestyle. Follow her on Facebook.

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10 Ways to Balance Blood Sugar and Help Prevent Diabetes