How to bal­ance your blood sugar

Sta­bil­is­ing your blood glu­cose lev­els can help your health in myr­iad ways, writes Karen Fit­tall.

Good Health (Australia) - - Contents -

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.

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