The #1 Worst Thing to Do For Your Blood Sugar It's important to keep your blood sugar in a healthy range.
It’s important to keep your blood sugar in a healthy range. When it’s too low, your body doesn’t have enough energy to function properly, while chronically high blood sugar levels can lead to diabetes. The key to maintaining healthy blood sugar levels is to avoid habits that encourage the body to become resistant to insulin, a hormone that helps the body produce sugar (or glucose) for energy. Insulin resistance can cause blood sugar levels to rise uncontrollably. According to experts, these are the worst things you can do for your blood sugar. Read on to learn more – and to protect your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure signs you already had COVID.
Stress doesn’t just cause headaches. Chronic stress can be harmful to the body in a variety of ways, including messing with your blood sugar. “Hormones from stress raise your blood pressure, increase your heart rate, and can raise blood sugar levels,” says the Cleveland Clinic. When you are stressed, your body produces more of the stress hormone cortisol. It makes muscle and fat less sensitive to insulin, meaning higher blood sugar won’t be processed. If this situation becomes chronic, it can lead to diabetes.
Too little sleep stresses the body, which can cause it to produce more cortisol. “Lack of sleep is a risk factor for elevated blood sugar levels,” he says National Sleep Foundation. “Even partial sleep deprivation over a night increases insulin resistance, which in turn can raise blood sugar levels. As a result, lack of sleep has been linked to diabetes, a blood sugar disorder.” Experts recommend getting seven to nine hours of good quality sleep a night.
A sedentary lifestyle increases your risk of obesity, which increases your risk of blood sugar-related conditions like diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Exercise lowers blood sugar by increasing insulin sensitivity, allowing muscle cells to take up glucose better instead of accumulating it in the blood: when muscles contract during exercise, they are better able to process glucose. “Regular exercise can help keep your blood sugar levels on track,” says the CDC. Aim for 150 minutes a week.
“Some scientists believe there’s a link between body fat and hormones that regulate appetite and insulin levels,” says Johns Hopkins Medicine. Losing weight and reducing body fat can prevent your blood sugar from reaching unhealthy levels. Losing as little as 5 to 10 percent of body weight can improve blood sugar levels.
Simple carbohydrates, refined grains, processed and fast foods, and foods high in added sugars like sugar-sweetened drinks make it difficult to control your blood sugar. Once consumed, these foods are quickly converted to glucose, causing blood sugar levels to spike and plummet. The American Diabetes Association recommends focusing your diet on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and low-fat dairy products. “Vegetables, fruits, and whole grains provide more nutrients per calorie than refined carbohydrates and tend to be high in fiber,” says Harvard Medical School. “Your body digests high-fiber foods more slowly — resulting in a more moderate rise in blood sugar.”
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Michael Martin is a New York City-based writer and editor whose health and lifestyle content has also been featured on Beachbody and Openfit. As a writer for Eat This, Not That! he has also published in New York, Architectural Digest, Interview and many others. Continue reading
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