Struggling to keep your blood sugar in check? For those who are pre-diabetic, the simplest foods can become the biggest “no’s”. Dessert can quickly push your sugar levels too high, causing headaches, trouble concentrating, thirst, and more. And the crash may feel even worse. Finding ways to prevent those debilitating symptoms is extremely important in the prevention of diabetes.
And steadying blood sugar does more than ward off diabetes; it also reduces the odds of heart attack, stroke, and dementia. Plus, a study in BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care found that when blood glucose levels are well balanced, the risk of severe COVID complications drops by 78 percent. So, what should you do? In addition to developing a care plan with your doctor, here are five tricks you can try.
Savor super seeds.
Tossing two tablespoons of nutty-tasting chia seeds into smoothies or oatmeal daily may help lower your blood glucose levels. In a Canadian research study, doing so was linked to a 39 percent drop in blood sugar levels in eight weeks.
Credit goes to chia’s blend of healthy fats and fiber, which outsmart blood-sugar spikes by slowing the rate at which glucose is absorbed into the bloodstream. Other great ways to enjoy the seeds: Sprinkle them over salads, roasted veggies, or even jam-topped toast.
Raise a glass!
According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), being pre-diabetic or diabetic doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t enjoy alcohol every now and then (as long as you drink responsibly). In fact, sipping a glass of red wine daily may cut your odds of blood-sugar troubles.
Note: This is only true if you already drink on a regular basis. If you don’t drink and you have diabetes, you shouldn’t start.
Picture your garden.
Can’t wait to get out into the garden? Spend 20 minutes a day browsing seed catalogs or sketching out planting plans in the meantime. Or do any sort of activity that calms you down. Research shows that stress doesn’t cause diabetes, but it can significantly affect your blood glucose levels. Endocrinologist Brian Walker, MD, adds that happy thoughts curb the production of blood sugar–disrupting stress hormones.
Mimic a windmill.
Swinging your arms in circles for five minutes every half hour may help you keep your blood glucose levels under control, according to a study from the Journal of Nursing Research. The reason Moving muscles in your arms switches on genes that enhance your ability to burn sugar in your blood for fuel.
Enjoy a warm soak.
End the day with a 20-minute steamy bath, and you may cut your risk of blood-sugar spikes by 45 percent for 24 hours straight, UK research suggests. Study co-author Chris Leicht, PhD, says when body temperature rises, muscle and brain cells release proteins that help them soak up glucose and convert it into energy.
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.