8 Ways to Stabilize Your Blood Sugar
Whether you already have diabetes, are overweight or want to prevent future problems, here are 8 ways to make sure your blood sugar and insulin levels are as healthy as can be.
1. Drink More Dairy
Drink at least two servings of low-fat dairy products a day (one serving is a 1 cup [250 ml] glass of skim or 1% milk, or a 175 g container of yogurt). A study of 3,000 people found that those who were overweight, but also ate a lot of dairy foods, were 70 per cent less likely to develop insulin resistance (a precursor to diabetes) than those who didn't. It turns out that the lactose, protein and fat in dairy products improves blood sugar by filling you up and slowing the conversion of food sugars to blood sugar.
2. Get More Fibre
Buy bread products with at least 3 g of fibre and 3 g of protein per serving. Complex carbohydrates of this type slow down absorption of glucose and decrease possible insulin rises. Plus, the hearty dose of fibre and protein will keep your stomach feeling satisfied for longer.
3. Eat Your Greens
Serve up a spinach salad for dinner. Spinach is high in magnesium, which a large study suggests can help to prevent the development of Type 2 diabetes. One study in women found higher intakes of magnesium (also found in nuts, other leafy greens and fish) reduced diabetes risk by about 10 per cent overall, and by about 20 per cent in women who were overweight. Another great source of magnesium? Avocados.
4. Eat Cinnamon
Sprinkle cinnamon over your coffee, yogurt, cereal and tea. Researchers from Pakistan (where cinnamon is widely used) asked volunteers with Type 2 diabetes to take either 1 g, 3 g or 6 g of cinnamon or a placebo for 40 days. Those taking the fragrant spice saw their blood glucose levels drop by between 18 and 29 per cent depending on how much cinnamon they took.
5. Prepare Japanese Noodles
Eat soba noodles for dinner one night a week. The "Japanese pasta" is made from buckwheat, a grain that lowered blood glucose levels by 12 to 19 per cent in one well-controlled study on rats. Of course, you're not a rat, but buckwheat is an excellent source of fibre, and the evidence on fibre and blood glucose improvement is unquestionable.
6. Drink Some Wine
Include a glass of wine with your dinner. One study found that women who had a glass of wine a day cut their risk of diabetes in half compared to teetotallers. Not a wine lover? The study found the same effects for beer. But cork the wine bottle once dinner is over. An Australian study found that drinking a glass of wine immediately after eating can result in a sudden drop in the insulin in your blood, meaning the glucose from your meal hangs around longer, eventually damaging the arteries.
8. Get Moving
Walk about 2 kilometres a day. That's all it took in one large U.S. study to slash the risk of dying from diabetes by more than a third. Believe it or not, if you walk 10 kilometres a week, you'll be nearly 40 per cent less likely to die from all causes and 34 per cent less likely to die from heart disease, the leading cause of death in people with diabetes. The reason? Walking makes your cells more receptive to insulin, which leads to better control of blood sugar. It also raises levels of "good" HDL cholesterol. See "Walking," page 140, for great ways to motivate yourself to walk.