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Tips for Maintaining Healthy Blood Sugar Levels

Senior Nutrition & Wellness: Tips for Maintaining Healthy Blood Sugar Levels

Senior Nutrition & Wellness: Tips for Maintaining Healthy Blood Sugar Levels

Keeping your blood sugar under control is very important for overall health. There are serious consequences whenever your blood sugar drops too low or gets too high. Usually, it is the consistently high blood sugar that causes the most common issues. Having a healthy metabolism is dependent on your ability to keep your blood glucose within a healthy range. People that struggle with blood sugar control have an increased risk for being overweight, type-2 diabetes, and other risk factors. Your body performs the best within the healthy blood sugar range. In this article, I will outline a few ways that you can help keep your blood sugar within control. These are just a few tips to keep in mind and by implementing these hopefully, you will be able to feel better, lose more weight, and have more energy throughout your day.

After you eat a meal depending on how much carbohydrates/added sugar was in the meal your blood glucose (also known as blood sugar) will start to increase. Insulin will then be released by your pancreas to direct the blood sugar into your muscles and liver. This is the healthy and appropriate response to eating and digesting meals. If a person overeats or eats a diet high in added sugar this system can be thrown off. Especially if the person is sedentary.  Your muscles will start to respond in a less sensitive way to the insulin. This forces your pancreas to secrete more insulin and this can create some problems. The goal is to be able to eat a meal and effectively control the blood sugar curve after a meal. Here are a few ways that you can help ensure your muscle know what to do when the sugar hits the system.

One effective way you can help lower blood glucose after a meal is to go for a walk. This has been shown in people with type-2 diabetes. Walking after a meal effectively helped lower the blood sugar response. The subjects in the study walked on a treadmill for 15 to 20 minutes after dinner. This was shown to be more effective compared to walking 20 minutes before eating the meal. Going for a stroll can be a very simple and cost-effective way to ensure that your blood sugar levels do not become too high. The muscle contractions from walking helps the muscle take up the sugar without the added help of insulin. Having high levels of blood sugar in your system after a meal is a cardiovascular risk factor. Hyperglycemia (too much blood sugar floating around) can cause oxidative damage and should be limited as much as possible.

Magnesium will help your muscles become more sensitive to insulin. When your muscles are more sensitive to insulin they can more effectively take up the blood sugar that’s in the bloodstream, and bring it into the muscle which is where you want it to go. Magnesium is a mineral found in dark leafy greens and it should be a daily staple in everyone’s diet. A lot of people do not get enough magnesium through their day and supplementing with Magnesium citrate on a daily basis could be beneficial for better insulin sensitivity.

Senior Nutrition & Wellness: Tips for Maintaining Healthy Blood Sugar Levels

Senior Nutrition & Wellness: Tips for Maintaining Healthy Blood Sugar Levels

Sleep has been shown to be very important for establishing good insulin sensitivity. One week of sleep restriction for healthy men has shown to drastically decrease insulin sensitivity. This increases the risk of developing type-2 diabetes and other metabolic problems. It’s even been shown that a single night with 4 hours of sleep decreased insulin sensitivity. This shows how quickly your blood sugar will be affected by not getting enough sleep. Getting a good night’s rest is crucial for maintaining healthy blood sugar levels.

Physical activity is a key component for maintaining and improving your insulin sensitivity. This can be done through cardiovascular activities such as walking, jogging, running, swimming, or biking. As little as 30 minutes of steady-state exercise will improve insulin sensitivity. Resistance training and bodyweight exercises are also very effective at improving insulin sensitivity in people with type-2 diabetes. This wide range of exercise programs allows you to choose one that you find the most enjoyable and then stick to it. The most important part is the physical activity component. Performing cardio, resistance training, or combining both is an effective strategy for improving insulin sensitivity.

Fish oil in combination with exercise have also been shown to be helpful for improving insulin sensitivity. The effect was significant in those who supplemented and exercised, however, the positive effects of fish oil were not seen in the population that was sedentary. Eating fish is a very important part of your diet and combining it with exercise was shown to be extra beneficial for cardiometabolic health and risk factors.

Adding some cinnamon to the meal could also be an effective strategy in limiting the blood sugar response. 6 g of cinnamon added to a high carbohydrate meal significantly decreased the glucose response following the meal compared to those that did not have the cinnamon. If you do enjoy cinnamon try adding it to some more dishes for a better blood sugar response.

Senior Nutrition & Wellness: Tips for Maintaining Healthy Blood Sugar Levels

Senior Nutrition & Wellness: Tips for Maintaining Healthy Blood Sugar Levels

Follow these steps and keep your blood sugar within a healthy range:

  • Walk 15 to 20 minutes after a meal

  • Eat fish on a weekly basis and exercise regularly

  • Mix things up with a little bit of cinnamon

  • Eat magnesium rich foods on a daily basis such as spinach, kale, and other dark leafy greens

  • Get at least seven hours of sleep every night

Sources:
Cinnamon and blood sugar – http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/85/6/1552.full
Fish-oil & exercise – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23884386
Sleep restriction – http://diabetes.diabetesjournals.org/content/59/9/2126.full
Magnesium – http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.828.2415&rep=rep1&type=pdf
Walking after a meal – http://www.jamda.com/article/S1525-8610(09)00111-X/fulltext

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Oscar Isacsson, M.S., CSCS

Oscar Isacsson, M.S., CSCS

Director of Training and Head Coach at CrossFit TNT
M.S Human Performance from Lindenwood University

B.S. Exercise Science from Lindenwood University

Started CrossFit in 2010.

Favorite thing about what I do:

To help and see people improve their fitness and confidence

Credentials:

Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist by the National Strength and Conditioning Association

CF L1 Coach

CF L2 Coach

CF Endurance

CF Weightlifting

CF Mobility

CF Gymnastics

USAW Sports Performance Coach & club coach

CPR Certified
Oscar Isacsson, M.S., CSCS

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