Also referred to as hyperglycemia, high blood sugar levels typically occur among those with diabetes.

Food choices and taking an insufficient dose of glucose-lowering medication can all contribute negatively to your blood sugar levels. The good news is that there are certain lifestyle changes you can make to control them and make sure that they remain at a healthy level, these include:

  • Staying active
  • Drinking plenty of water
  • Being aware of portion sizes
  • Monitoring stress levels
  • Keeping an eye on your weight
  • Choosing carbs wisely
  • Incorporating fibre into your diet

See also: What Does High Blood Sugar Mean?



How to lower blood sugar levels


Stay Active


When it comes to controlling and lowering your blood sugar levels, staying active is one of the best things you can do! [1]

In a nutshell, when your muscles are put to work, glycogen is released by the muscle tissue and used by the body - this helps to lower and control your overall blood sugar levels.

See also: What is HbA1c?


Drink Plenty Of Water


Want to avoid increasing your blood sugars? Opt for water instead of sugary drinks [2]. Not only will drinking plenty of water have a positive effect on your blood sugar levels, but it will also combat dehydration and control your appetite.


Be Aware Of Your Portion Sizes


Body weight has a significant impact on blood sugar control, so portion size matters! [3]

Everybody’s nutritional needs are unique - your weight, gender, body composition and activity levels all make a difference to how much you should consume. Being aware of your recommended portion sizes will help keep your blood sugars within the normal range.


Monitor Your Stress Levels


Both physical and emotional stress play a role in your overall blood sugar level control [4].

If you find yourself living with high stress, cortisol - your fight or flight hormone, is released. High levels of circulating stress hormones can work in two ways:

High levels of circulating cortisol in the blood may lead to an imbalance in the delicate collaboration between insulin and glucose in the blood.

When we’re under a lot of stress, we tend to crave bigger portions, and sugary food, which naturally contributes to raising our blood sugar levels. The complete science behind this is largely unknown but it’s thought to be connected to the body’s reward centre in the brain.


Keep An Eye On Your Weight


If you’re overweight, there is a possibility that you could develop insulin resistance. The pancreas produces insulin to help keep our blood sugar under control. In cases of insulin resistance, the body does not respond to insulin in the same way.

If the body starts to ignore the signals that insulin is trying to send out, blood sugar levels may rise to high and uncontrolled levels.

For overweight type 2 diabetic patients, losing weight can have a significant impact on both blood sugar levels and health outcomes down the line. [5]

See also: What Is Insulin Resistance?


Choose Carbs Wisely


The wrong types of carbs have the ability to lead to sugar spikes and hence high blood sugar levels. [6]

The Glycemic Index is a ranking of how quickly carbohydrates in specific foods make your glucose levels rise after eating them. Foods that have a “high glycemic load” should be avoided if you have high blood sugar, these refined carbohydrates include:

  • White bread
  • Pasta
  • White rice

See also: What Is DKA (Diabetic Ketoacidosis)?


Incorporate More Fibre Into Your Diet


Incorporating more fibre into your diet is not only good for regulating your digestion but it also has an impact in lowering and maintaining blood sugar levels. [7]

There are two types of fibre - soluble and insoluble. We particularly recommend soluble fibres for those who are trying to lower their blood sugar levels, some sources include:

  • Oats
  • Barley
  • Beans (those that are bought in brine or water)
  • Peas
  • Apples

Testing your blood sugar levels on a regular basis gives you the best chance to know if the above steps are having an impact in decreasing your blood sugar levels.

LetsGetChecked offers a HbA1c test which provides insight into your blood sugar levels over the previous 3 months from the time of taking the test. Your online results will be available to you within 5 days and our medical team will be available every step of the way to answer any questions you may have.



References

  1. Mayo Clinic Staff. Diabetes and exercise: When to monitor your blood sugar. Online: Mayoclinic.org, 2018.
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Manage Blood Sugar. Online: Cdc.gov, 2019.
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Manage Blood Sugar. Online: Cdc.gov, 2019
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Diabetes and Mental Health. Online: Cdc.gov, 2018
  5. American Diabetes Association. Extra Weight, Extra Risk. Online: Diabetes.org.
  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Diabetes and Carbs. Online: Cdc.org, 2019
  7. M. F. Picco, MD. Nutrition and Healthy Eating. Online: Mayoclinic.org, 2018