For the 37.3 million Americans with diabetes, managing blood sugar levels is — or should be — a part of daily life. But even people without diabetes need to manage blood sugar levels to help lower their risks of developing diabetes, obesity, and other health issues.

At Desoto Family Care Clinic, located in Southaven and Olive Branch, Mississippi, our team helps people with and without diabetes learn how to manage their blood sugar (glucose) levels successfully. Here are 10 tips you can use to keep your glucose level under control and enjoy better health as well.

1. Focus on whole grains

Barley, rye, brown rice, and oats contain a type of fiber that helps balance blood sugar levels by keeping your belly full longer and slowing the absorption of sugars into your bloodstream. Fiber also makes you feel full longer, helping you avoid between-meal snacks that can cause your glucose to spike. Whole-grain crackers, cereals, and pastas are other options.

2. Keep carbs low

It’s not just sugary foods that can raise glucose levels: Carb-rich foods can do it too, especially refined carbs like white breads and pastas. As your body digests carbs, it sets off a glucose-insulin reaction that creates ups and downs in your blood sugar levels, increasing feelings of hunger, along with your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

3. Snack on nuts

Too many snacks cause weight gain and blood sugar highs and lows. But if you must snack, nuts like walnuts and almonds can be a good choice, as long as you don’t overindulge. These nuts have healthy fats that limit the amount of sugar your blood absorbs.

4. Eat smaller, more frequent meals

Instead of having three big meals each day, try having five small meals. Spreading out your meals helps your body absorb nutrients over time, so the risk of glucose highs and lows is reduced.

5. Make friends with low-starch veggies

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) says low-starch vegetables are one food you can fill up on without too much worry over glucose levels. Low-starch vegetables contain fewer natural sugars than starchy vegetables, so they don’t cause glucose and insulin spikes. The ADA has a list of low-starch veggies to add to your next shopping list.

6. Stay hydrated — with water

Dehydration triggers reactions that cause your body to release more sugar into your bloodstream and retain it longer. Staying hydrated is a simple way to avoid that effect. Just be sure to drink water, not beverages that contain any type of sweetener (including natural fruit juices).

7. Carry snacks

Carrying healthy snacks in a pocket or bag is a good way to keep your blood sugar level stable when you’re out and about. It also prevents you from reaching for sugary snacks or fast or processed foods that can cause glucose to fluctuate.

8. Plan ahead

Speaking of going out, if you plan to eat at a restaurant, check the menu online and plan your meal selection ahead of time. This gives you ample time to make smart choices to manage your blood sugar.

9. Get some exercise

Exercise helps your muscles absorb blood sugar and burn it for fuel, decreasing the glucose in your blood. Plus, it helps you maintain a healthy weight by avoiding spikes in your glucose and insulin levels.

10. Catch those Zs

Talk about saving the best for last! Getting too little sleep can have a big impact on your blood sugar levels, increasing insulin resistance, one of the risk factors for prediabetes and diabetes. It can also increase levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that affects insulin and glucose. Not getting adequate sleep can affect your health in other ways as well.

So indulge yourself: Take a nap and sleep a little later this weekend — for your health’s sake.

Managing your blood sugar doesn’t have to be difficult, and it can yield big benefits for your health. To learn more about managing your glucose — whether or not you have diabetes — book an appointment online or over the phone with the team at Desoto Family Care Clinic today.

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