If you are a diabetic, lowering your blood sugar is an essential. For those that have not been told that they have diabetes, but that their sugar is high, this could be a precursor to what lies ahead.
Through diet, exercise, and proper monitoring by your doctor, most patients can lower their blood sugar levels considerably and even reduce their risk of various conditions including diabetes. For some, who already have diabetes blood sugar, reducing those blood sugar numbers is a must to improve your health.
Learning as much as you can about your own health situation is an important first step. Knowing your “numbers” is the first step to fighting the problem. For most, a simple trip to the doctor is all this takes. Once you have that information, what you do with it will define the quality of life that you live.
While no one wants to be restricted, lowering your blood sugar levels means life or death to many.
Extend or Even Save Your Life with Lower Blood Sugar
What is blood sugar and why is it so important to you? Throughout this book we will address many key areas that you need to focus on. The first is learning what high blood sugar is, why it is important and how to monitor your condition. Throughout the next sections, the book will reveal various ways that you can lower your own risks by lowering your blood sugar levels.
What Is Blood Sugar?
Your blood sugar is the concentration of sugar in your blood. It tells doctors how well your body processes sugars, called glucose. In a normal body, sugars are processed and used as energy for the cells in the body.
By measuring your blood sugar levels, doctors can determine if you are suffering from diabetes mellitus which is a disease characterized by the body’s failure to regulate blood sugar.
Sugars including glucose, fructose and galactose are all in the blood normally. But, only glucose levels are regulated.
Your doctor will likely tell you that your blood sugar is high (or even low in some cases.) But, what is a normal reading? Normal glucose levels in the body stay in a small margin throughout the day, depending on what you are doing. A normal range is 4 to 8 mol/L.
It is important to realize that blood sugar levels change throughout the day. For example, they tend to rise after eating a meal. When you get up in the morning, they are at their lowest until you eat your first meal.
For this reason, if you are instructed to monitor your own blood sugar numbers, you will need to do so at the same time every day, following your doctor’s direction. Otherwise, you will not be able to tell any real fluctuations in it.
How Is It Tested?
For most individuals, the first time that they hear that something is wrong with their blood sugar is at their doctor’s office during a routine exam (or one for related to not feeling well). Doctors will determine that your blood sugar is high from one of several tests. They tell doctors how well your body reacts to glucose.
Some tests are used to determine if you have diabetes or pre-diabetic conditions. Others are used to gauge how well the diabetic conditions are being monitored by you through the care plan that has been established by you and your doctor.
These tests include:
Fasting Blood Sugar Test
During this test, the level of sugars in your blood after an eight our fast are recorded. Normal levels should be lower than 100 mg/dL. Those that have a range of 100 to 125 mg/dL are considered to have pre-diabetes.
Those with a range of 126 or higher may have either type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Generally additional symptoms are present including thirst, hunger, frequent urination and blurred vision. Some patients see a weight loss as well.
For those with recordings that range above 200 mg/dL, standard second testing which is done with the previous two levels is avoided and diabetes is diagnosed immediately.
Random Blood Sugar Tests
Your doctor may perform a random blood test on you to monitor your blood sugar levels. Here, there are no notes taken for meals, time of the day or beverages that you may have consumed.
A normal range is under 100 mg/dL. Those that have a level of 100 to 199 mg/dL will be considered pre-diabetic. A range over 200 mg/dL suggests type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Secondary testing may be done to confirm these numbers.
Oral Glucose Hemoglobin Test
Anyone that is pregnant is likely to have taken this test as a standard determinate for pregnancy related diabetic conditions. Here, your doctor will determine what your fasting blood sugar level is, as mentioned above. Then, you will be given a very sugary solution to consume.
Doctors will determine how much your blood sugars rise at the one hour point after taking this drink and again at the 2 hour level.
A normal range here is a test with a 140 mg/dL level or lower. Those that have a range from 140 to 199 mg/dL may have pre-diabetes. Those with a level above 200 mg/dL will be considered either type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
In this test, it is very important for you to be in good health as even a small cold can affect the results that you have. Eat normally and get enough sleep. Be sure to advise your doctor about any medications that you may be taken.
Do Your Own Testing
Getting a reading from one of these tests from your doctor is a first step, an indication that you need to make changes. Your doctor is likely to provide you with a plan to improve your health, which may include dieting, weight loss and medications. As we will reveal later, it is essential to make significant changes to your lifestyle.
Before you can make these changes, though, you must know how to monitor your own blood sugar. Those that have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes or diabetes are likely to be given instructions on taking their own blood glucose tests. If your doctor provides this, you should follow their directions.
Learning how to check your blood sugar is an important part of living with diabetes. Checking your sugar allows you to make changes to your diet and insulin if necessary, to help your body to use sugars the right way. A doctor or nurse should show you how to check your blood sugar until you feel comfortable about doing so. This is done using a glucose meter (which calculates your blood sugar,) a lancet and lancing device (used to prick the skin to allow blood to be drawn) and a test strip (which is used to collect blood and then is inserted into the glucose meter.)
Why Is Lower Blood Sugar Important?
Diabetes is a very complex health concern. Researches have proven direct links for patients that are suffering from this condition and heart disease, complications of other illnesses as well as early death.
When the blood sugar drops too low in your body, it can be potentially fatal. This is called hypoglycemia. In this condition, symptoms include irritability, impaired mental function (memory loss, inability to concentrate) and lethargy. When it drops too long, an individual can lose consciousness.
For those that have high blood sugar, this too can pose a number of problems. This condition is called hyperglycemia. Diabetes is the most common problem caused. There are others including kidney, eye and nerve damage as well.
Diabetes is the main problem for those that have high blood pressure. Diabetes can cause a variety of complications including doubled risk levels for cardiovascular disease, chronic renal failure, retinal damage (which can lead to blindness) nerve damage, erectile dysfunction and the inability for the body to heal well. When infection sets in, it may spread quickly, which is the case of gangrene which may then require amputation to stop it.
One study done at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that a patient that is able to lower their blood sugar levels will reduce their risks of coronary heart disease. This is the case for both those that are suffering from diabetes as well as non diabetic patients.
The study found that long term blood glucose levels predict the level of heart disease risk that you face.
Indeed, these risks can end a person’s life early and should be enough reason to consider making lifestyle changes that can improve your blood sugar levels. Yet, often, it is not enough.
Those that do suffer from high blood sugar levels are often depressed, have a low self esteem and are generally unhappy. The fact is that by improving your level of blood sugar, you can improve these situations as well.
Improving blood sugar levels is the key to avoiding or reducing your health risks here. Throughout the next chapters, we touch on several key ways to make this happen.
The Diabetes Diet That Will Lower Your Blood Sugar
When you are first told that you have diabetes, it is likely that you will become worried, overwhelmed and even scared. These are normal reactions that can be treated with proper care. One of the first things that your doctor will tell you to improve is your diet.
Diet is a word that many people simply hate. Diet is a word that often brings out the feelings of hate, loathe and boring foods. That’s not necessarily important here. Instead, it becomes important for you to make small changes that will have a great impact on your diabetic conditions such as high blood sugars.
One of the most beneficial methods for treating and lowering blood sugar is through your diet. The most important considerations are:
- Moderate sized portions
- Healthy foods
- Regular mealtimes
The American Diabetes Association provides a wide range of tips and methods to making these things reality. This non- profit organization is the ideal location for improving your health when you suffer from diabetes or high blood sugar in general.
Let’s examine the important parts to a diabetic diet to lower blood sugar.
Improving Your Diet
Steps to improving your diet for lowering blood sugars follow. Keep in mind that making one to two changes at one time offers a slow transition into a healthy diet. Here are the suggestions made by doctors specializing in diabetes along with the American Diabetes Associations recommendations.
Step 1: Vegetables And Fruits
In virtually any diet that is consumed, vegetables are the best tool for improving health. The reason for this is the good nutrition that is packed into them. All vegetables have benefits, but some are better than others. Your goals are these:
• Eat a serving of vegetables with every meal.
• Eat a variety of colors of vegetables and fruits. Color differences indicate a variety of nutrients.
• Eat more non starch based vegetables over starch filled ones. This means eating more spinach, more green beans, broccoli and carrots with your meals.
The natural sugars in fruits are a good way to satisfy the sweet tooth that you have without having to consumer refined sugars that are not good for you.
Step 2: Whole Grains
In any food that you eat, whole grains are a better choice than processed foods. Whole grains are full of fiber and nutrients and don’t pack on the pounds like white carbohydrates do. Here are your goals for whole grain foods.
• Instead of white rice, white pasta or white breads, eat whole grain rice, pasta and breads instead.
• Eat a serving of whole grain cereal or breads in the morning with your breakfast.
• Try replacing white flour with whole grain flour in your recipes.
• Purchase 100 percent whole grain foods, not “whole wheat” or other limited grained products.
Chances are good that you won’t notice any differences in these foods in the way that they taste but your blood sugar will!
Step 3: Eat Fish
Although many Americans do not consume much fish, it is one of the best sources of nutrients that can help to lower blood pressure and blood sugar.
The best way to eat more fish is to try a few new recipes if you normally don’t eat much fish. Your goal is to consumer at least two to three meals of fish each week. If you don’t have any experience with preparing fish, take a class, use the web or even television to help you. Try your best to taste new foods.
Step 4: Improve Protein Consumption
It is very important to reducing your risk of coronary problems by eating the right types of proteins. Foods that are high in saturated fat are not easily consumed and can potentially clog your arteries. Here are a few other guidelines to remember.
- Eat lean cuts of meat, the leaner the better.
- Eat more pork, chicken and turkey over beef products.
- Try to consumer protein alternatives if possible.
- Remove the skin from the meats that you eat as this will store a great deal of fat.
- A portion of protein should be no larger than the size of your palm.
- Incorporate more dried beans into your diet such as kidney beans, pinto beans and lentils.
Step 5: Consider Liquids Carefully
Liquids in your diet are just as important to think about as the foods. There are several key areas that you can improve your blood sugar levels in this area.
- For dairy products (including cheeses and yogurts) look for non fat varieties. If you consume whole milk, drop to 2 percent. Skim milk is even better. Low fat cheese and yogurt is a good route to take as well. (Go with low fat over non fat as the taste difference won’t be much.)
- Drink more water and more calorie free drinks. A variety of manufacturers are producing these low calorie or even no calorie drinks.
- Avoid soda pop that is full sugar, fruit punch, sweet teas, and other sweetened drinks.
- Cook in the right liquids, too. Never use oils that have trans-fats in them. Look for those that are healthier such as extra virgin olive oil.
These five steps are the first and most important changes to make in your diet to see improvements in your blood sugar numbers. While it is important for you to focus on healthy eating, you may find yourself dreading the “don’t” list of foods.
Although those with severe diabetic conditions should never push their food intake by eating highly sugared foods, those that have lower levels of diabetes may be able to consume foods on a very limited basis. Go back to what these high sugared foods should be: a treat. They shouldn’t be consumed daily, but only on special occasions and only when your doctor Okays it.
An important part of lowering blood sugar is monitoring the amounts of foods consumed. Today, many people are suffering from diabetes and high blood sugar due to over-consuming the wrong foods. Now that you understand what foods you should be consuming, the next step is to fully understand how much you should be consuming and what amounts of each food.
One of the first things to speak with the doctor about is caloric intake. The number of calories consumed is directly related to the amount of food eaten. Yet, each person’s current body structure and size as well as health concerns and age determine what number of calories should be consumed.
Patients should determine if their diet should be made up of more calories (to gain weight) or less calories (to lose weight.) Others need simply to maintain their current weight. Only your doctor can determine what the right number of calories for you to consume is.
Below is a basic explanation of food groups that should be followed for portioning and selection needs. The average diet should be between 1600 and 2400 calories per day. The low end of the scale should be for smaller men and most women. The higher end would be for larger individuals. To maintain weight, consume these servings to meet that caloric intake. To lose weight, decrease this amount by 10 percent per day, or to gain weight, increase these by 10 percent.
Calorie counting can be very difficult, though. Most people don’t have any idea how many calories are in their foods either. Instead of counting calories then, try to consume the right portion size for the food group. For example, look at the food groups below and determine if you should eat on the high end or low end of the scale (depending on your body type and goals.) Then, consider the portion size before consuming those servings.
Grains And Starches
6 to 11 Servings
The largest amount of food that should be consumed daily is that of grains and starches. This group includes many of the carbohydrates that are needed by the body. As mentioned, these foods should be whole grain whenever possible to improve the value that they can offer to you in lowering your blood sugar levels.
This includes foods such as bread, rice, pasta, and cereals. Grains like rye, oats and wheat should be consumed here whenever possible. In addition, minimal amounts of starch vegetables including peas, corn, and potatoes can be included here.
Portion sizing is important. Here are some examples of how much is in one portion (serving) size. (6 to 11 servings should be consumed per day of this group.)
• 1 slice of bread
• ¾ cup of dry cereal
• 1 six inch tortilla
• ½ cup of cooked cereal
• ½ cup of peas, corn, cooked beans, yams or potato
• 1/3 cup of rice
• 1/3 cup of pasta
• 1 cup of winter squash
3 to 5 Servings
The next largest category includes vegetables for a good reason: they are packed with nutrients. They are also low in calories, meaning you could eat many more vegetables to get the calories in other foods.
Good choices here for lowering your blood sugar include spinach, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, kale, lettuces, broccoli and cabbage. Remember, this food group does not include potatoes, corn, peas or lima beans as they belong with carbohydrates listed above.
Serving size here should include:
• ½ of a cup of any cooked vegetable
• 1 full cup of raw vegetables
It is also important to point out that you should not include many of fats in preparing these foods as that reduces their benefits to lowering your blood sugar.
2 – 4 Servings
Fruits are another very important but more unique situation in your dietary needs. Lowering blood sugars can be tricky with the increase in sugars in some fruits. Nevertheless, natural fruits are much healthier than refined sugars. Some also have a good amount of carbohydrates in them. Yet, they are so packed with nutrients that they are necessary to be consumed.
Good choices for lowering blood sugars include blackberries, oranges, applies, bananas, strawberries, pears, peaches and apricots. Grapes are good, too.
Serving size for fruits are:
• 1 small, raw, whole fruit (such as an apple)
• ½ cup canned fruit (be careful with those that have added sweeteners.)
• 1 cup of melon
• 1 cup of raspberries
• 1 ¼ cup of whole strawberries
• 2 Tablespoons of dry fruit (no sugars added)
2 – 3 Servings
Dairy is an important part of the diabetic’s diet because of the calcium it provides. Most contains good proteins as well. Yet, you have to be careful when selecting milks and other dairy products. It is important for these to have as little fat as possible. Non fat is the best route to take, but low fat is often better because of its improved taste!
Milk and yogurts belong in this grouping.
A serving is:
• 1 cup of non fat or low fat milk
• 1 cup of yogurt
Meats And Meat Substitutes
4 – 6 ounces per day
Unlike the other products listed above, it is very important to note that here we are not talking about servings but are talking about ounces.
Meats are necessary for their protein, but they often have high levels of fats that can lead to cholesterol problems that can worsen the symptoms of high blood sugars and increase the risks of very serious health conditions. Remove any visible fat from the meat prior to cooking it.
The best meats are lean meats, such as healthy cuts of beef, pork, chicken, and fish. In addition, dried beans, cheeses, peanut butter, eggs and tofu are included here.
Servings here are measured by their comparison to one ounce of meat:
• One egg is the equivalent to one ounce of meat
• ¼ cup of cottage cheese
• ½ cup of tofu
• 1 Tablespoon of peanut butter
For the person with high blood sugar, the worst category for them is the fats, sweets and alcohol category. Because of the concentration of foods that are simply unhealthy for blood sugar, these foods should be consumed as least as possible.
Foods here include candy, cookies, fried foods, potato chips, cakes, crackers and other foods.
If you do consume them, limit them as far as how often (only as a treat) and how much you eat.
As serving should be no more than:
• ½ cup of ice cream
• 1 small muffin
• 2 small cookies
• 1 small cupcake
Carbohydrates: The Good And Bad
Those that have high levels of blood sugar should not consume too many carbohydrates. Carbohydrates should not be cut out of your diet, though. Although some diets recommend this, doctors say that a diet full of the right types of carbohydrates is the real key.
Carbohydrates are your body’s main fuel for energy. When you consume them, the digestion process breaks down the sugars and the starches (which are called simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates respectively) into blood sugar.
This need is not something that can or should be avoided. As we mentioned earlier, more than half of your servings should be made of the right types of carbohydrates. This should include carbohydrates in this order:
• Whole Grains
• Legumes like beans and lentils
• Low fat dairy products
Also important is when you consumer carbohydrates. Maintaining a steady blood sugar level is important for those with high blood sugar. Therefore, try to consumer your carbohydrates at the same times each day.
When you eat more carbohydrates one day for breakfast, the next day you may feel a drain. Try to balance the amount and times that you consume them.
Indeed, it is important to monitor how much you are consuming, though. Too many carbohydrates can raise your blood sugar even higher. Therefore, use the recommended servings listed above to help you to pair down your servings to levels that are more manageable to your body. Use food labels to help you to make this happen, too.
Another part of the diet of someone looking to lower their blood sugar should be fiber. As you learn to manage your diet better, learn to read food labels which will help you to determine how many nutrients, including fiber, is in the foods you consumer.
Your goal here should be between 25 and 50 grams of fiber each day. Where does it come from? What should you look for?
There are two important factors to consider here. First, all parts of plant type foods that your body can’t digest are called dietary fiber. There are two types:
• Insoluble Fiber: Here, you have fiber that will keep your body moving waste materials out. This type of fiber can be found in whole wheat products, wheat brand, nuts and in a variety of vegetables. Increase the amount that you eat to lower blood sugars.
• Soluble Fiber: As a very important tool in helping you to control and lower blood sugar, this type of fiber is a must. It dissolves in water and forms a gel type material. It can also help to lower cholesterol levels. You will find soluble fiber in carrots, barley, psyllium, oats, peas, beans, apples, and citrus foods.
Your diet is the largest and most important part of lowering blood sugar. Because blood sugar is triggered by the foods you consume, it should be at the top of your list of methods to lower your blood sugar. Incorporate all of these changes into your diet to lower blood sugar. Work with your doctor to point out the most important aspects for you.
The Importance of Exercise to Lower Your Blood Sugar
While food remains one of the largest factors in determining the blood sugar levels that happen in your body, exercise is another important area to fully understand.
There are many important roles that are played by exercise including a variety of benefits that come from just moving your body. The benefits of exercise are seen in the reduction of high blood sugar levels as well as in the ability to maintain a healthy weight. Indeed, it is connected with the ability to reduce the risks of heart disease and coronary problems as well.
For all of these reasons, the importance of exercising your body should be something you play close attention to. With various elements to consider, your goal should be to focus first on what your doctor tells you.
Some individuals that have very high blood sugar levels or very low blood sugar levels shouldn’t exercise vigorously without doctor approval. Moreover, you should always have a doctor give you a physical before starting on an exercise regimen.
Nevertheless, it is such a crucial part to maintaining low blood sugar levels, that we will explore the realms of improving your overall health here.
Talk with your doctor about any limitations that you may have on exercising. Keep a record of your blood sugar before, during and after exercise to make sure it stays at a healthy or normal level.
The Benefits Of Exercise
While not many enjoy exercise, anyone can tell you that they know they should be doing it. In fact, you probably realize the importance of it yourself. In relation to how it affects your blood sugar levels, though, you may not realize the benefits so easily. There are several including the following.
Improve Your Control
One area in which exercise can better your blood sugar levels is by giving you more control. As you exercise, your muscles burn sugar for the fuel to power your movements. In turn, this reduces the amount of blood sugar stored in your body.
The more that you do, and the more vigorous you exercise, the more benefit you will see in this regard. And, it will last longer the more you can do.
For those that have Type 2 Diabetes, exercise has an extra benefit in this manner. Because of the way that exercise works with your body during exercise, your body actually increases its sensitivity to insulin. That means that you will need less insulin to help pull sugars into your body’s cells. In this regard, it will help to lower your need for insulin provided through medications.
Improvements In Your Heart
An important factor in exercise is improving your risk factors for various health conditions. Those that suffer from diabetes or others with high blood sugar levels are at a doubled risk for heart problems. But, exercise can help to lower that.
Diabetics are much more likely to deal with heart conditions like heart attacks, strokes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and heart disease in general. All of these conditions can be improved with exercise because it:
• Improves the blood’s flow through your body.
• Increases your heart’s ability to pump often called its pumping power or pumping strength
• Improves the cholesterol levels
Exercise can improve your overall heart health on the right regimen.
Yet another way that exercise can improve your body’s function is through helping you to maintain a healthy weight. Many that suffer from diabetes or high blood sugar are overweight, which triggers high blood pressure, organ failure and heart conditions. Diabetes patients often suffer from many weight problems (some even have weight that is too low.)
Exercise helps your body to burn calories and therefore keeps them from being stored. The right type of exercise will burn through stored fat as well, which reduces your risks of all of these health conditions.
Monitoring Blood Sugar
An important part of exercising with high blood sugar is monitoring your blood sugar levels. As we mentioned, you must first talk with your doctor to get an okay to move forward with any exercise program.
You also want to ask him or her when you should exercise. This is especially important for those that take insulin. You may need to change the time that you exercise or the time that you take this medication to avoid complications.
For the first few times that you exercise, it is essential that you test your blood sugar often to make sure that you know how your body is responding to the exercise. You need to do this three different times:
• First before you begin exercising or warming up
• Second during exercise
• Third after you have exercised and done a cool down
This will help you to monitor for potentially fatal blood sugar movements up or down.
It is first important to test your blood sugar prior to exercising. For those taking insulin, do this twice. About half an hour before you begin to exercise test your blood sugar, then do it again right before exercising. This gives you a clear indication that your blood sugar is stable and allowable for exercise.
If it is lower than 100 mg/dL, it is likely that it is too low to exercise right now. In this case, take a small carbohydrate snack such as fruit or crackers before you begin exercising. For those with 100 to 250 mg/dL, this is a good sign and allowable for exercise.
If your blood sugar falls at 250 mg/dL or higher, then you must be very cautious. Test your urine for ketones which will tell you if the body has enough insulin to control your blood sugar. If it is high do not exercise as this can cause a serious condition known as ketoacidosis. Instead, wait to see the level of ketones drop.
If your blood sugar level is 300 mg/dL or higher then this is much too high and exercise should not be considered. Wait until it is much lower to get started.
For those that do get to exercise, it is also important to check your blood sugar levels during a long exercise regimen. This means every 30 minutes you should consider checking your blood sugar. This is important if you are extending a routine, trying something new or are completely new to exercising.
For those that have a blood sugar that drops to 70 mg/dL or lower, or those that feel shaky or weak, confused or nervous, stop exercising. Your blood sugar level has potentially dropped too low. You should try to raise it through eating ½ cup of fruit juice, by taking two to three glucose tablets or by eating some hard candy or drinking ½ cup of soda, not diet.
Test your blood sugar again at this point to make sure it has elevated before continuing with your exercise regimen. It should be over 70 mg/dL before you get back to exercising again.
Finally, it is important to find out how your body did by checking your blood sugar levels after you workout as well.
As soon as you stop exercising, test your blood sugar level. You should also check it several times over the course of two to three hours. This is essential for a number of reasons.
When your body exercises or is told to work hard, it must use the reserved sugars in your muscles and in the liver to fuel the demand. After you complete your exercise regimen, it must rebuild those reserves. To do this, it pulls the sugars from your blood. This is the benefit that you want to see, too.
The harder you are able to workout, the longer the length of time will be that your body needs to do this and therefore the lower your blood sugar will be doing those times. Yet, it could drop too low, which is why it’s important to monitor it over time.
How To Exercise
The importance of exercising you should now understand. You also know the importance of monitoring your blood sugar when doing exercise both before and afterwards. But, how should you exercise?
This question offers many opportunities and your individual situation will ultimately determine the right path to take. Again, the first place to stop is with your doctor who will tell you several things:
- What type of exercises should you do?
- What types of exercises are too risky for you?
- What should be the goal of your exercise regimen? Weight loss, cardiovascular health, a combination or something else?
- How much exercise can you do without affecting your overall health?
- What symptoms or concerns should you be looking for while exercising?
Your doctor will assess your situation to determine what potential benefits can come from exercising for you. For those with high blood sugars, the number one goal will be to lower that number, which exercise can do.
If you have other health problems associated with exercise, these too much be closely considered.
It is often recommended that you do a combination of exercise routines. Yet, the most common is that of aerobics.
Aerobic exercise has to do with the heart and the body’s ability to pump blood to all of your cells. When you exercise, your cells scream for more fuel, which your blood delivers. As we mentioned before, the pumping power of the heart can be increased through exercise and that comes into play with aerobics.
Because your heart must push blood through your body faster, it actually increases its strength in doing so, somewhat like a body builder uses repetition to increase his muscle’s size.
For those just starting out though, it is very important to work on a small step basis. The best exercise for those that are struggling with weight or high blood sugars is walking. Walking is also a simple way to control the strains that you place on yourself.
Other beneficial aerobic exercises to consider include bike riding, swimming, jogging, aerobic dancing, and playing a sport. If you can’t get out and do these things, you can do many of them at home. For example, there are a number of chair exercises that you can do.
When you first get started, move slowly through the process so that you gradually increase what you are doing in intensity and in length of workout. Slowly, you’ll want to increase the length of time that you are exercising. At the same time, slowly add more intensity to your workout, pushing your body a bit farther every time you can. Your doctor or a physical trainer can help you to find the best results here.
Remember these important tips for exercising.
- Warm up before you begin any exercise regimen. This means at least ten minutes of stretching or otherwise muscle warming exercises.
- Spend 5 to ten minutes walking or doing other low intensity exercises before moving into something larger.
- Spend 5 to ten minutes stretching your muscle groups.
- Your goal should be to work out at least three times per week for 20 to 30 minutes at a time, depending on your exercise tolerance level.
- Do a cool down which is a matter of repeating the 5 to ten minutes of stretching and slow walking after you have worked out.
It is also important for you to have the right shoes on while exercising. Many people that have high blood sugar levels also have problems with nerves and muscles in their legs and feet. If you have these conditions or you notice problems like blisters or sores on your feet, talk to your doctor about them before continuing.
It is also just as important to get enough fluid while exercising. You should drink enough water or other non sugar drink before, during and after exercise. Drinking a good amount of water will help to keep your body hydrated, something that is easily slipped when you are working out with any level of intensity.
As we mentioned, it is very important for you to monitor your blood sugar before, during and after your exercise regimen. While there are risks of exercising when you have a blood sugar that is too high, it is still beneficial to most people to exercise.
In many ways, the risks of not exercising are greater than the risks of a doctor approved exercise regimen.
Other Methods For Lowering Blood Sugar
The fact is simple. Nothing besides monitoring a good diet and exercise regimen can do as much for you in managing your blood sugar levels. Nevertheless, there are several other solutions that can work for you as they have worked for many others.
Medications are one of these. You and your doctor will talk about your need for medications, which generally will include insulin products that will regulate your body’s ability to bring sugars from your blood stream into your body’s cells for use.
There are also many different types of home remedies or unproven methods of treating and lowering blood sugar levels. Anyone can benefit from these, but they aren’t guaranteed to work for everyone. While science still works on proving that they work, you can benefit from them.
What’s more, there are many other small changes that you can make that will make a significant change in your lifestyle as well as improve your overall blood sugar levels. Simple, and maybe something you want to do, these elements can truly improve your health.
But, first, let’s mention some of the medications that are used to lower blood sugar levels to acceptable levels, which most individuals that deal with high blood sugar need to use.
The Use Of Medications
There are a variety of medications that can be prescribed by a doctor to improve your condition. For those that face pre-diabetic conditions, the first goal will be to treat the condition with weight loss, exercise and dietary changes as this may be all that is necessary. For others, medication is necessary.
Either a single medication may be used or a combination of them, depending on your individual health needs and other conditions you may have.
Some will slow the absorption of sugars into your bloodstream after you eat. Others help by limiting the amount of sugar that is released into your bloodstream by your liver specifically. Inhibitors are used to block enzymes that can break down specific proteins which in turn cause your body to release insulin into your body.
Other medications work by improving the stimulation that your pancreas gets to release more insulin or can enhance the way that your tissue reacts in order to become more sensitive to insulin.
Doctors also look at other health conditions you may be experiencing. If they feel that one medication may be better for you, and you aren’t sure why, ask.
There is no doubt that the need for medications is very real and in most cases is something that can not be avoided. Indeed, if you are taking them you should never stop taking them without talking to your doctor beforehand as side effects can be extreme.
Yet, there may be some methods to improving your body’s blood sugar level through other treatments other than medications.
Spices And Blood Sugar
You may or may not have heard about the research being done on a variety of spices that claim that they can actually be able to regulate blood sugar.
One commonly known and talked about spice that is showing the benefits that are necessary in lowering blood sugar is that of cinnamon.
Cinnamon that is taken as a part of your daily diet has shown, in various studies, to help lower blood sugar levels. In one particular study, those that took cinnamon in the form of a capsule one time per day over the course of 30 to 40 days where able to see a reduction in their blood sugar levels by some 20 to 30 percent.
How does this happen? Researchers believe that cinnamon works with the body’s sensitivity to insulin. By lowering your reaction to insulin, your body allows blood sugars to enter into cells easier, therefore lowering the amount that remains in your bloodstream.
You can take advantage of this benefit right away, especially if you like the taste of cinnamon. Researchers believe that adding just a ½ teaspoon to your diet daily, perhaps sprinkled over breakfast can begin to lower blood sugar levels. It may take some time to see results, but it’s a tasty way to lower your blood sugar.
Herbs in general can be beneficial to your health. While most people reach for salt to improve the taste of their food, you can improve your health if you reach for a few more tasty choices.
For those that haven’t really added many different spices to their diet, it can be an easy way to add a lot of flavor to foods that are new to you on your diabetes diet.
To get started, consider these tips for adding more spice into your diet:
• Great choices include parsley, garlic, thyme, oregano and rosemary. Try them on meats, vegetables and even fruits.
• Instead of flavoring a food with a large amount of salt, reduce the salt by 50 percent and add a mixture of one teaspoon of basil and one teaspoon of oregano (in the same amount as the missing salt) to your food.
• Fresh garlic is one of the best tools for improving health. It can lower blood pressure and improve your cholesterol significantly. You should try to consume as much as possible, but three clovers per day is recommended for maximum results.
• Rosemary is an excellent antioxidant which can help to prevent heart disease and cancers. Other antioxidant powerful herbs include thyme, basil and oregano. (That’s a great combination for fighting off a cold, too.)
One of the largest drawbacks for many on a diet to reduce blood sugar levels is the missing sugar. Replace some of the sugar that you wish you could have with cinnamon or nutmeg. You can mix this into virtually any recipe and get enhanced flavor without the sugar.
Diabetes And Weight Loss
One of the most essential conditions of the body is maintaining a proper weight. It affects nearly every aspect of your life when you are overweight, even by just a few pounds. For the diabetic or pre-diabetic patient, being overweight can lead to premature death among other risk factors.
Therefore, one of the key methods to reducing the blood sugar levels you face is to reduce your weight.
A frightening statistic that should be noted here is that almost 9 out of 10 people that are newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are over their ideal body weight or are obese.
Those that manage to lower their weight can better manage their diabetes or even reverse their condition with proper management.
In addition to complicating diabetic conditions, being overweight also increases cholesterol levels and blood pressure rates pushing for an increase in heart conditions and sudden death.
Metabolic syndrome is one of the many conditions that those with diabetes face increasingly. This simply is a term (also called cardio-metabolic risk) that means that you have several key symptoms that can lead to heart disease. Those including being overweight, having high blood pressure and having high cholesterol. This coupled with diabetes is a dangerous recipe for anyone.
Those that have a BMI (Body Mass Index) of 25 or more are considered to be overweight. If you have a BMI that is higher than 30, you are considered to be obese. Those that have a BMI at 25 or more are at an increased risk for diabetes.
Another problem with being overweight directly relates to diabetic conditions. When your body is overweight, you have more insulin resistance. Insulin is an important part of regulating blood sugar levels. When it is working correctly, it helps the body to use sugar correctly as the source of energy that it is.
For those that have insulin resistance, the cells no longer will respond to insulin. They will not allow insulin in which means that no energy gets to the cells. The body counters this by producing more insulin to try and lower blood sugar levels. In addition to this, insulin resistance adds to cardio-metabolic risk factors mentioned above.
Losing weight is not something that many people want to face, yet it is an important factor in improving blood sugar factors. Most doctors and researchers believe the best way to do lower weight is to diet by decreasing caloric intake (which we revealed earlier) and by exercise (both aerobic and weight training can do this.)
Reducing your weight slowly, with the help of these methods can help you to step back from high blood sugar numbers and to regain some of your overall health. It will help you to reduce your risk of various health risks.
Relaxation to Lower Your Blood Sugar
Another method that you can incorporate into your daily life as a method of lowering blood sugar levels is relaxation. In today’s rushed lifestyle, there is little hope of putting together a simple plan for relaxation. Yet, stress can do many things to our body’s including cause complications of diabetic conditions.
Stress hormones happen to be at the bottom of this condition. These are able to trigger the release of extra sugar into your bloodstream.
For some individuals, increased amounts of stress over a long period of time and coupled with other conditions can actually bring on the onset of diabetes. If you have high blood sugar levels and you aren’t sure why, it could be a life full of stress and brought them forward.
There is some good news here, though. As difficult as it may sound, reducing the level of stress that you are under can actually reduce your blood sugar levels significantly.
The best course of action is to take a step back and analyze the stressful factors in your life. What is it that brings tension to your shoulders and has you worried more times than not? Those are the conditions that need to be improved if at all possible.
Yet, you can also reduce your stress levels by carefully monitoring them and doing several key things to reduce them. Stress can be minimized in one of several ways, based on your need and your body’s reaction. Try any of the following tips to improvement in your body’s blood sugar levels by reducing stress levels.
• Deep breathing. Sit up straight and breathe from your lungs rather than your normal method. To do this, feel yourself letting your stomach muscles expand. Fully expand then and then exhale, slowly. Push the air out of your stomach. Do this again several times. As you exhale, imagine the stress leaving your body with the air. Try to do this about 20 minutes per day.
• Muscle relaxation. When you feel tension in your body, try this method of relaxation. Simply lie on your back with your arms at your side. Your goal is to relax each muscle group one at a time, imagining that the stress is leaving your body at the same time. Start with your toes, feet, ankles and work your way up your body, targeting each individual muscle group. Then, tense each group of muscles one at a time, hold for ten seconds and then release them. Work through your entire body in this manner.
• Calm your thoughts. For many, stress is not the only thing that causes harm. It is also the anxiety, worried and the feeling of being overwhelmed. Although it may feel very difficult to do at first, force yourself to think of the situation rationally. Ask yourself, “What is the worst case scenario?” Relax what the likely outcome will be, not the worst.
There are many other ways that you can reduce stress in your life too. Consider yoga, for example. Find something that you enjoy doing and make it a habit. Even something simple like gardening can help you to have an outlet of positive which will help to reduce your level of stress overall.
Reducing your level of stress can significantly improve your overall well being and help you to reduce blood sugar levels.
Fight The Urge For Sweets
If you have a sweet tooth, chances are good you are wondering how in the world you will turn it off long enough to keep your blood sugar levels low enough. It is imperative that you don’t add fuel to the fire, though, by consuming large amounts of sugars that will raise your blood sugar level even higher. The question is then, what can you do about this?
One ideal solution is an artificial sweetener. There are several on the market today that can be easily used in your diet to sweeten foods very naturally like standard sugars but without the same effect on the body.
Sugar substitutes are what they are generally called. These add sweetness without adding calories too. Most of the time, you will find that they are sweeter to taste then the same amount of sugar, therefore reducing the amount you need, too.
This presents a unique situation. Not only are they okay to consume, but you can sweeten foods in such a way to gain the taste that you crave but with fewer calories. This in itself is a reason may people switch to sweeteners. Here’s another benefit to you: They don’t affect your blood sugar, meaning you can’t raise your blood sugar by increasing your consumption of them.
A word of caution, though; there are generally other products in the sweeteners that are artificial that can affect your blood sugar if present. Make sure to read all labels before consuming anything.
The best types of these are: Saccharin (such as in Sweet’N Low,) Aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal,) Sucralose (Splenda,) and Acesulfame Potassium (Sunett.)
Replacing some of the sweetness from your diet with these products can actually improve your craving for sweets when your body can’t tolerate them.
These methods can each help to lower your risk of having high blood sugar. Use them, along with your doctor’s other advice to improve your numbers.
For those that have high blood sugar, there is a realization that must be met. You have a life threatening condition that likely can worsen, but it can get better if you make a few changes in your lifestyle.
Is giving up the candies you love worth improving your health and avoiding heart conditions? By all means it is. By all means, it is not easy to make any of these changes. Yet, those that do make them will find improvement in their health across the board. Many even find themselves feeling better than they have throughout their lives.
With your doctor’s help, you can improve your health and well being by reducing your blood sugar numbers. The process is direct. Start by improving your diet, get in enough exercise and feed your body a healthy lifestyle full of relaxation and taste.
With a bit of work you can lower your blood sugar. Find a good doctor who is dedicated to you and your well being.Successfully lowering your blood sugar with give you a sense of satisfaction coupled with improved health.