How to balance your blood sugar
Stabilising your blood glucose levels can help your health in myriad ways, writes Karen Fittall.
Blood sugar is the amount of glucose circulating in your blood. And if you think you don’t have to worry about what your levels are doing unless you’ve got diabetes, you’re making a mistake. Your blood glucose levels are influenced by what you eat and drink, as well as how well your body responds to the hormone insulin. Stabilising and lowering your daily and long-term levels can help to reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes and protect against a range of other health problems too.
To lower your levels…
The best thing you can do to prevent your blood sugar levels from creeping up is to stick to a healthy weight, and:
Keep your waist circumference to less than half your height. Stomach fat produces hormones and other substances that increase the risk of insulin resistance, which is where the body doesn’t use insulin as effectively as it should, allowing blood glucose to rise. Reducing your kilojoule intake, cutting down on alcohol, increasing physical activity and strength training will all help.
Preventing sharp post-meal blood sugar increases is also smart, because large spikes force your body to produce more insulin than normal to bring blood sugar back to a healthy level. Over time this can increase your risk of insulin resistance.
Choosing foods with a lower glycaemic index (GI), like grainy bread, porridge and lentils will help. Compared to higher GI foods, like potatoes, white bread and short-grain rice, those with a lower GI create a slower, flatter blood glucose response.
Learn more about low-gi foods at glycemicindex.com.