Diabetes Lowdown

Follow these four tips to lower your blood sugar naturally. It’s natural to want to manage diabetes, well, naturally. If you are monitoring your blood glucose (sugar) levels and seeking ways to improve insulin resistance without medication, here are four ways to do just that.

 

1. Get moving.

Physical activity is essential for managing blood sugar levels. “And you don’t have to engage in highly vigorous activity,” says Elizabeth Mayer-Davis, Ph.D., a registered dietitian and president of healthcare and education for the American Diabetes Association. “Even walking at a brisk pace is enough.”

She recommends 30 minutes of exercise a day, five days a week. If you take diabetes medication, regular exercise can alter your prescribed dosage, so talk to your doctor.

 

2. Maintain a healthy weight.

Being overweight raises your risk for a number of health problems, including type 2 diabetes. Weight loss, combined with physical activity, can help reduce insulin resistance, which occurs when the body doesn’t use insulin properly. Dr. Mayer-Davis says that losing just 5 to 10 percent of your body weight can make a difference.

 

3. Relax.

Stress doesn’t cause diabetes, but it can affect blood sugar levels, says Richard S. Surwit, Ph.D., author of The Mind-Body Diabetes Revolution: A Proven New Program for Better Blood Sugar Control.

“In learning to cope better with stress, people can reduce their blood sugar to a certain extent,” he says.

Techniques include guided imagery, deep breathing and yoga. Dr. Surwit also uses progressive muscle relaxation, which involves tensing and releasing muscles.

 

4. Go to bed earlier.

Some studies suggest that getting enough sleep helps keep weight and blood sugar under control.

“It’s reasonable that healthy amounts of quality sleep might be beneficial,” Dr. Mayer-Davis says. “But the reason for that has a lot to do with weight.”

As part of an overall weight-loss strategy that includes exercise and a healthy diet, strive to get seven to eight hours of quality shut-eye each night.

 

Knowledge Is Power. PMC offers many classes on healthy eating, exercise and more. Visit parrishmed.com/calendar.