Glucose, the main type of sugar that circulates in your blood, provides your body’s cells with the energy they need. If there is an excess of glucose in your blood – which often occurs when you eat, depending on what you eat – it can result in high blood sugar. Persistently high blood sugar can be harmful to your blood vessels.
Insulin, a hormone, lowers that blood sugar to healthier levels. Over time, however, the body can become more resistant to insulin, which can potentially lead to chronically elevated blood sugar, or diabetes.
To monitor your Type 2 diabetes risk, pay attention to these two biomarkers mentioned (glucose and insulin), along with hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), which is one of the best indicators for pre-diabetes because it measures your average blood sugar over the last few months, instead of just your blood sugar right when you are being tested.
If you are concerned with how your health is at risk from high glucose levels/insulin resistance, you should talk with your doctor about how you can best lower your levels
Here are lifestyle changes that can help.
4 Lifestyle Changes to Lower Your Risk for Type 2 Diabetes
1. Increase insulin sensitivity.
The more sensitive your body is to insulin, the lower your blood sugar.
- Do various forms of exercise. In some ways, short, intense workouts can be more beneficial than longer ones. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), for example, is a strategy of alternating high-intensity with low-intensity. A 10 to 20-minute workout can feel as taxing as a whole hour – and as beneficial, too. The short, intense workouts of HIIT provide improved athletic capacity and condition, improved glucose metabolism, and improved fat burning. For a sample workout, check out “How to Workout to Make the Most of Your Workout Time.”
- Engage in muscle-building exercise. Even if you can’t always get to the gym, you don’t have to be a product of the environment. We pulled 15 Suggestions to Get You Started, no matter how much space is in your closet, trunk, or carry-on
- Lose excess weight. Excess body weight can increase your resistance to insulin. The best way to lose weight has huge subject of debate. Catch up on the latest in “Low Carb vs. Low Fat for Weight Loss – Which is Better? New Study Shows Truth.”
2. Decrease how much sugar your body produces.
- Decrease your stress. Influxes of cortisol (the stress hormone) can lead to high blood sugar. Don’t underestimate the power of a moment alone. Taking 10 minutes to yourself can help hit the “reset” on all the troubles of the day. Try “6 Ways Busy People Who Have No Time Can Unwind & Relax”
- Limit energy enhancers, such as caffeine. Try our 7 tips to drink more water
- Get an adequate amount of sleep. One sleepless night won’t hurt, but chronic sleep deprivation takes a toll on the body. Make the most of your sleep time with these tips.
3. Maintain a healthy immune system.
- Practice good hand hygiene. It’s an effective and proven way to keep harmful pathogens out of the body is to. Wash hands often, before and after interpersonal activities such as riding the metro train, parties, or in crowded malls.
- Practice good flu-prevention habits, like in these 6 tips.
- Avoid sugar. WellnessFX practitioners Karen Graham and Dr. Ross Pelton both warn that a moderate dose of sugar suppresses the immune system for 5-6 hours, lowering the body’s ability to fight off infection. Are you aware of where sugar is hiding in your food?
- Supplement for immunity. The following supplements can help restock the ranks: Vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, probiotics, astragalus, omega-3 fish oils, and green tea. For more information, try this blog post.
4. Limit the amount of carbohydrates you eat and drink
- Avoid simple carbs. These processed, refined foods are not as nutrient dense, digest quickly in the body, and invite a flood of insulin to move all of that glucose from your blood into your cells. When insulin levels go up, we store fat. When it falls, we use fat for fuels. In general, slower blood sugar/insulin rises are healthier than the frequent blood sugar/insulin spikes that simple carbs bring on.
- Lean toward slower digesting carbs when eating carbohydrates. Not all carbohydrates are created equal if you look at how the glycemic index, a system of assigning a number to carbohydrate-containing foods according to how much each food increases blood sugar, categorizes them.Slow digesting carbs, called complex carbohydrates, are lower on the glycemic index, which causes blood sugar/insulin to rise. Fast digesting carbs, referred to as simple carbohydrates, are higher on the glycemic index, causing blood sugar/insulin to spike. Slower digesting carbs, consumed in healthy moderation, also have the fiber to keep your gut healthy and you satiated. Think sweet potatoes, veggies (such as kale, spinach, asparagus, and broccoli), fruits in their whole form (berries and citrus fruits) and beans.
How WellnessFX Can Help
If you want a quick overview on blood sugar, check out our blog post, “Your Ultimate Cheat Sheet on Understanding Blood Sugar” or watch our video.
Knowing and understanding changes in blood sugar levels can help you regulate your health with simple changes in diet and exercise – hopefully before you have to incorporate medications.
Your blood cells regenerate every 120 days, so we recommend an assessment via a biomarker testing, and then re-assessment every 4-6 months, after instituting new habits, in order to have an accurate picture of where your glucose, HbA1c, insulin, and total health are, especially if you plan to take over-the-counter supplements. A 20-minute consultation with a WellnessFX practitioner can also provide you with a customized actionable plan based on your own health risk profile.
If you also want to monitor other biomarkers we’ve discussed above, those are found in a variety of packages.
The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice of any kind. Any information in these posts should not be acted upon without consideration of primary source material and professional input from one's own healthcare professionals.