Psyllium fiber supplements are not the only way to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.* Here are 5 more tips to achieving your blood sugar goals to support a healthy life.
Research has shown that exercising, especially after meals, can help to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.12 Though it is often considered important to wait to exercise following meals, exercise beginning approximately 30 minutes after the start of a meal can be beneficial.12
Another advantage of exercise is that when done regularly, it can improve insulin sensitivity.12 Maintaining insulin sensitivity is critical for the body’s ability to regulate its blood sugar levels.
2. Eat a low carb diet and choose low glycemic foods
Low carb diets can lower blood sugar levels.13 Since foods high in sugar can cause blood sugar spikes and elevation, it is important to educate yourself on the amount of sugar in your diet to help you maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
Another way to minimize blood sugar spikes is to choose foods with a low glycemic index. The glycemic index (GI) is a measure of the change in blood sugar by a specific amount of food compared to the same amount of pure glucose, a simple sugar. High GI foods with a GI of 75 or higher will have a rapid and larger impact on blood sugar whereas low GI foods, those with a GI of 55 or less, will have a slower and smaller impact on blood sugar. Examples of low GI foods are beans, whole grains, nuts, and most fruits and vegetables. In addition to eating a low carb diet, it is helpful to choose carbs with a lower glycemic index.14
3. Consume foods with fiber.
Just as psyllium fiber supplements can help to maintain healthy blood sugar levels, fiber rich foods can also be beneficial. Foods rich in fiber have more complex carbohydrates and fewer simple sugars so it takes the body longer to digest them. These foods include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, and as a bonus, tend to be rich in nutrients
4. Stay hydrated
Dehydration is unhealthy for many reasons, one of them being the potential to increase blood sugar levels.15 Drinking plenty of water daily is vital for optimal body functioning. It can help the body with temperature regulation, joint lubrication, proper immune function, and waste removal.16, 17 When substituted for sugar-sweetened drinks, it can also support a healthy diet by helping reduce the number of calories we intake.18
The standard recommendation to drink eight glasses of water per day sets a reasonable goal.17 More specific targets should be worked with your health care provider. Although we can get our water from a variety of food and beverages, drinking plain water is still the best way to stay hydrated and has zero calories.18 But, if you don’t like the taste of plain water, add some flavor with slices of fruit, like orange, lemon, or lime.19
5. Get enough sleep
Studies have found that sleep deprivation can lead to an increased appetite, reduced feeling of fullness, and a tendency to choose foods dense in both calories and carbohydrates.20 The CDC recommends that adults get at least 7 hours of sleep every night.21 However, it’s not just important to get enough sleep, the quality of sleep also matters. Poor sleep quality has been associated with increased blood sugar intolerance and insulin resistance and may lead to weight gain.20
Besides ensuring that you receive 7 or more hours of sleep, there are many ways to improve your quality of sleep. Create a bedtime routine of activities that are relaxing such as journal writing, meditation, or deep breathing exercises to prepare your brain and body for sleep while also managing stress.22 Limit your caffeine intake eight hours before bedtime and ensure your last meal is a few hours before sleeping.20. 23 Maintain a regular sleep schedule, turn off all electronic devices like your phone or the TV an hour before bedtime, and try and sleep in a dark room.20, 22