MAINTAIN YOUR SUGAR LEVELS NATURALLY AT HOME

With the right lifestyle and dietary tweaks, maintaining healthy blood sugar is easier than you think.

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1. Follow a minimally processed diet.

Your first dietary step toward a more balanced blood sugar level: ditching (most of) the packaged foods and focusing on high-quality whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans and  nuts. Many processed foods are high in sugar, refined grains and carbs, and artificial ingredients and flavorings while being low in blood-sugar-stabilizing fiber and protein.

Of course, it’s also important to be realistic. You’re probably not going to be able to nix packaged foods completely, so just make a point to select those that are made from mostly whole-food ingredients, like an energy bar that lists just nuts, seeds, and dried fruit on its label.

2.Load up on fiber.

Your minimally processed diet should be heavy in nonstarchy, fiber-rich vegetables and fiber-rich fruit and whole grains. That’s because fiber slows down the digestion of carbohydrates and the absorption of sugar, which means you experience a more gradual rise in your blood sugar level after meals.

Good sources of fiber include leafy greens, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, artichokes, raspberries, pears, beans, lentils, peas, avocados, pumpkin seeds, and oatmeal.

3. Eat plenty of high-quality protein.

Like fiber, protein tempers insulin secretion, leading to a more gradual rise in blood sugar after a meal. It also fills you up better than any other nutrient. Eating a protein-rich breakfast is particularly important because it helps set the tone for the rest of the day.

The amount of protein you need in your diet depends on a number of factors, but the general protein recommendation for healthy adults is 0.8 to 1.0 gram per kilogram of body weight (55 to 68 grams per day for someone who weighs 150 pounds).

4. Consume healthy fats.

Like fiber and protein, fat buffers blood sugar spikes. In fact, unsaturated fats have been specifically linked to improved insulin resistance.

Just be sure to avoid refined fats, including trans fats and processed vegetable oils, like corn, soybean, and safflower oils, which can be pro-inflammatory. Sources of quality fats to consider adding to your diet include nuts, olive oil, ghee and  coconut oil.

5. Switch up your carbs.

Lowering your overall intake of carbohydrates can also be helpful for balanced blood sugar, but you don’t need to cut them out completely (they’re still a crucial source of fuel for your body). Whenever possible, simply swap out refined carbohydrates like bread, white pasta, and candy for fiber-rich, whole-food sources such as whole grains, sweet potatoes, and fruit, which contain a number of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants essential for health.

6. Balance your meals.

Eating some protein, fiber, and healthy fat with each meal can help stabilize blood sugar and manage your appetite. Each of these nutrients helps balance blood sugar on its own, but they’re even better together.

7. Eat bigger meals earlier in the day.

A giant, late-night dinner is your blood sugar’s worst enemy. That’s because our bodies become more insulin resistant as the day goes on—so a meal that you eat in the evening will cause a greater spike in blood sugar than a meal you eat in the morning.

Because of this, many nutrition experts advise front-loading your meals, or eating bigger meals earlier in the day and having a smaller dinner at least three hours before bed.

8. Sleep more, stress less.

Both sleep deprivation and stress can cause elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which raises blood sugar. Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep per night, and adopt stress-busting habits such as exercise, meditation, or yoga.

9.Drink plenty of water.

Drinking water helps your kidneys flush out excess blood sugar through your urine. One study found that people who drank more water had a lower risk of developing hyperglycemia (high blood sugar).

10.Exercise regularly.

Your muscles need blood glucose for fuel, which means that when you do that strength training routine, you’re helping move blood sugar from the bloodstream into the muscles where it’s then burned up. Over time, this can help you maintain a healthy blood sugar level and increase insulin sensitivity (i.e., how well your cells are able to absorb glucose from the blood and use it for energy).

Intense exercise can temporarily raise blood sugar, so if you have poor blood sugar control, then it makes sense to start moderate (think walking, jogging, or yoga), and then work your way up.

11.Take a shot of apple cider vinegar.

Swigging apple cider vinegar might not sound appealing, but it could help keep your blood sugar in balance if taken before you eat. Some research has found that consuming ACV reduced post-meal blood sugar levels by about half in healthy patients. The theory is that acetic acid, a component of the vinegar, slows down the conversion of carbohydrates into sugar in the bloodstream. Pro tip: Mix a tablespoon or two into a glass of water—taking it straight will burn!

12.Sprinkle on some cinnamon.

Research on cinnamon’s blood-sugar-stabilizing powers is a little mixed, and it may not be a wonder spice. But if you’re adding it to an already healthy diet, then it can have a subtle benefit, especially if you add a lot of it into your diet (more than just a teaspoon). Some studies suggest that cinnamon promotes healthy blood sugar by increasing insulin sensitivity, or making insulin more efficient at moving glucose into cells.

13.Eat magnesium-rich foods.

Magnesium seems to be of particular importance when it comes to maintaining a healthy blood sugar level and improving insulin sensitivity.Making a point to consume plenty of magnesium-rich foods—leafy green veggies like spinach and Swiss chard, pumpkin seeds, almonds, black beans, dark chocolate, and avocado—is smart in general because magnesium plays a role in more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body.

Nosh on some chromium-rich foods like broccoli, barley, and oats while you’re at it. One study found that the combined effects of chromium and magnesium were more beneficial than either mineral alone. You can also try a magnesium supplement to support optimal levels.

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