Tip of the Week
Are you at risk for high or low blood sugar? It depends on your history, says Aarti Arora, a registered dietitian who works as a food and nutrition consultant for companies in Austin, Texas, and beyond.
People with diabetes are at risk for both, but for an otherwise healthy person, “what’s most important is knowing if you are at risk and what the symptoms are,” Arora says. For example, a drop in blood sugar often happens quickly, leaving a person feeling fatigued, irritable, confused, shaky and/or hungry.
“The American Diabetes Association estimates 7 million people are undiagnosed for diabetes, and 79 million may have pre-diabetes, when blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed with diabetes, so again, knowing the risk factors and symptoms are important,” Arora says.
You are at risk for diabetes if you have a family history, are overweight, fairly inactive, have high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol levels or have been told by a doctor that your blood sugar levels are higher than normal. However, there are steps everyone can take to keep blood glucose in the healthy range.
Suggestions from Arora:
• Eat regularly: Skipping meals will cause your blood sugar to drop.
• Avoid fad diets: Make room on your plate for whole grains, proteins (lean meats, fish, beans and other legumes, nuts), fruits, vegetables and healthy fats.
• Sleep: Having a proper night’s sleep can help prevent many health conditions, while numerous studies show a lack of sleep can have a negative effect on your blood sugar and insulin levels.
• Get moving: Exercise at least three times a week for at least 30 minutes each time. Even a short walk after a meal will help control blood sugar and may aid in digestion.
• Lose a little: If you are overweight, losing a few pounds or 5 to 7 percent of your body weight has been shown to make an improvement.
• Drink moderately: A glass of wine, one beer or a cocktail with dinner are fine, but make sure you don’t overdo it. Excessive amounts can decrease insulin’s effectiveness, resulting in high blood sugar levels.
• Shop smart: Use a grocery list and never shop hungry. You may end of up with more in your cart than intended, especially unhealthy foods.
• Be accountable: Hold yourself accountable for what you eat and being physically active. Keep track by using one of the many free fitness apps available, such as MyFitnessPal and The Pocket Dietitian.
— Amber Krosel, More Content Now