9 actions to help reduce your blood glucose levels
Managing blood glucose levels is crucial for overall health, especially for those with diabetes or individuals at risk of developing the condition. Making simple changes to your diet can have a significant impact on stabilising blood glucose levels. In this blog, we’ll explore nine easy modifications to our diet, physical activity and lifestyle that can help reduce blood glucose levels, promoting better health and wellbeing.
Embrace healthy fats (rather than carbs for calories)
There is often a misconception that all fats found in the food that we eat are bad for our health. There are some fats, such as trans and saturated fats that we should look to limit in our diets, but unsaturated fats, found in foods such as fish and avocados are beneficial for our health. If you are looking to reduce the blood glucose impact of your meal by reducing the amount of carbohydrates, consider adding a small portion of healthy fats to your plate. By weight, fat contains more than twice the calories of carbohydrates which means that you can still enjoy a filling meal with less carbohydrates!
Snacking is often viewed as problematic for a healthy diet by adding extra calories in addition to our regular meals. The good news is that having a healthy snack between meals is a great way to keep you feeling satisfied between meals and reducing temptation for something less healthy instead. A simple swap of crisps or biscuits for unsalted nuts or one piece of fruit can be a great change that will make a big difference for your blood glucose levels.
Up the fibre
One of the most effective ways to control blood glucose levels is by incorporating more fibre into your diet. Fibre-rich foods help slow down the absorption of sugar and carbohydrates in the bloodstream, preventing rapid spikes in blood sugar.
Add a little extra movement to your regular routine
Sometimes, making a small change to move slightly more than your current routine can go a long way to improve your health. For example, if you typically use the lift to access your workplace or home, try taking the stairs instead. It might only add an extra minute of movement, but if this is something you do at least two times a day, five times a week, that’s an extra 10 minutes of movement! Small changes to the movement we do in our routine add up, so think about how you can add any extra physical activity to your everyday.
Make a commitment with a friend/family member
It can be tough to try and change a habit alone and without the support of friends or family. But you don’t have to make lifestyle changes alone! Speak to those close to you and see if you can both make a change to your activity routine together, perhaps by taking a walk on your lunch break with a colleague or signing up to a sporting event with a friend and training together in the run-up to it.
Try out something new (or for the first time in a while!)
When setting out to get more active, we often think of going for a run or signing up for the gym. Though these are both great options, they might not be as enjoyable for some of us, or they can become somewhat repetitive after a while. This is why it’s always important to try either new physical activities or to have a go at something that you might not have done for a while. It could be joining a new exercise class or even taking part in a sport that you enjoyed at school but haven’t done since. Whatever your preference is for exercise, don’t be afraid to experiment with different options to see what you find most enjoyable.
Think about a sleep routine
If you find it difficult to get to sleep at night, it might be useful to consider making a consistent sleep routine to follow before getting into bed. Try to set a regular time to switch off from any screens around you and follow a set of actions that can help to mentally prepare yourself for sleep. For example, you might spend some time cleaning your teeth, getting dressed for bed and then reading a book for a short while before switching off the light and settling in to sleep. Keeping this routine consistent will condition your body to prepare to sleep while you are still moving, which should help you to get off to sleep a little easier.
Journaling your stressors and worries
Sometimes we encounter stresses or worries that we can’t deal with in that exact moment. This can be a distraction that can affect whatever else you are trying to focus on at that time and further increase your stress levels. Taking a brief note of what the stressor is and your emotions around it can allow you to compartmentalise it and work on the priority at hand, safe in the knowledge that when you are able to act on the other source of stress, you have the information you need at hand.
Prioritise some time for you
When we go through a stressful and busy period of time, we often find that any time that we might have set aside for us to relax and unwind, or simply do something we enjoy might have been replaced with something not so enjoyable such as working extra hours or dealing with paperwork. To help mitigate a stressful time, it’s always important to set aside some time for yourself to do something that you enjoy, as this can go a long way to reducing feelings of stress you might be experiencing. For some this might be taking a couple of hours in the evening to relax and watch a favourite film and for others it might be something more active like spending some time out at the shops.