Is Coffee Safe for Your Liver?

You reach for coffee to perk up in the morning and get over the mid-afternoon slump. Turns out there’s another good reason to make coffee part of your daily routine: liver health. “We have a lot of evidence that coffee is good for the liver,” says liver specialist Jamile Wakim-Fleming, MD.

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What’s the link between coffee and your liver? Dr. Wakim-Fleming explains what science says.

Coffee and fatty liver disease

Coffee is one of the world’s most popular drinks. That’s led to lots of researchers exploring the health effects of a java habit. Overall, those studies spell good news for liver health.

“Coffee is especially helpful when it comes to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease,” says Dr. Wakim-Fleming.

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease occurs when extra fat builds up in liver cells. It affects 1 in 4 people in the U.S., mostly in those who carry excess weight or have diabetes or high cholesterol. Over time, it can cause cirrhosis or scarring of the liver. That scarring can lead to liver cancer or liver failure.

But research shows that people who drink a lot of coffee have a lower risk of developing nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

Coffee appears to protect people who already have liver problems. There’s evidence that coffee is beneficial for people with hepatitis C, a virus that infects the liver and can lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer.

In people who already have nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, regular coffee drinking lowers the odds of developing cirrhosis. And among people who have cirrhosis, those who drink more coffee are less likely to die from the disease.

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Is decaf coffee good for your liver?

Sorry, you’ll need to reach for the high-octane stuff. Much of coffee’s beneficial effects on the liver come from the buzz. “You have to consume regular coffee — not decaf — daily to get the liver benefits,” Dr. Wakim-Fleming says. “There’s something inherent about caffeine that is helpful to the liver.”

There are other beneficial ingredients as well. “Coffee contains antioxidants and other compounds that all play a big role in decreasing liver inflammation,” she adds.

Coffee recommendations for liver health

How much coffee should you drink? In this case, less is not more.

“We recommend at least three cups every day to help prevent liver problems,” Dr. Wakim-Fleming says. And if you have hepatitis or fatty liver disease, even more — as many as four, five or even six cups a day — might be helpful.

However, not everyone can handle that much coffee without bouncing off the walls (or worse). It can trigger headaches, difficulty initiating sleep, anxiety and jitters in some people. Dr. Wakim-Fleming only suggests going this route if you can tolerate it.

If you have an irregular heart rate or other heart problems, excessive coffee might be dangerous. Coffee might also cause problems if you have lung cancer. In such cases, steer clear until you talk to your doctor for advice.

If you can drink coffee without any problems, skip the cream and sugar. Since people with fatty liver disease often have problems like diabetes and obesity, it’s especially important not to add extra fat and sugar to your coffee. “Black coffee is best,” Dr. Wakim-Fleming says. If you just can’t stomach it black, swap sugar for artificial sweeteners. Add skim milk or plant-based milk instead of cream.

How to have a healthy liver

Drinking coffee is just one way to keep your liver healthy. Dr. Wakim-Fleming says it’s also important to get vaccinated against hepatitis A and hepatitis B viruses, which both damage the liver.

A healthy diet is also key. “The liver is the first organ to metabolize the foods we eat. Eating a lot of high-sugar, high saturated-fat foods can lead to fatty liver disease,” she says. And of course, heavy alcohol drinking can permanently damage the liver and lead to cirrhosis.

However, coffee isn’t a miracle worker. It won’t completely reverse liver disease or undo the damage caused by excessive alcohol use. But it can be one delicious and satisfying step toward a happier liver.

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Quick Snacks To Help Kick Your Sugar Craving

Bowl of almonds and plate of dried apricots.

Ah, sugar. Most of us turn to sugary snacks to help us get through the day. It’s a hard habit to break, for sure.

While foods like pastries, desserts and candy are full of sugar, you may not realize that some other popular snacks contain hidden sugar — granola, breakfast cereal and protein bars, to just name a few.

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Those snacks may provide a shot of quick rocket-fuel energy, but often result with you crashing by the end of the day.

According to the American Heart Association, women should eat no more than 25 grams (6 teaspoons or 100 calories) of sugar per day. Men should eat no more than 36 grams (9 teaspoons or 150 calories) per day.

So, how can you overcome that afternoon or late-night sugar craving? It’s all about making sure you’re picking snacks that’ll help fuel your body in the best way.

“For every snack, you should choose a fiber-rich carbohydrate with either a lean protein or a healthy fat,” says registered dietitian Anna Taylor, MS, RD, LD, CDCES.

Carbohydrates are digested and absorbed fastest, while proteins are digested and absorbed faster than fat, but slower than carbohydrates. And fats are digested and absorbed the slowest.

“You want to pick a fast fuel with a slower fuel,” says Taylor. “And you don’t want your fast fuel to burn up too quickly, so choose a high-fiber carb to help extend that initial burst of energy.”

What to eat when you’re craving sugar

Looking for a snack that will satisfy that sugar carving but is also healthy? Taylor suggests the following five options.

Apricots and almonds

Dried fruits and nuts can help you have a healthy snack on hand when you’re on the go.

Apricots provide carbohydrates, as well as vitamins and minerals. Almonds provide fiber, protein and healthy fats. And they don’t contain any added sugar unlike a lot of dried fruit varieties.

“When you put those two together, you’re getting fuel for now with the apricots and then fuel for later with the almonds,” notes Taylor.

A serving includes three dried apricots and 12 almonds.

Greek yogurt and cinnamon

Greek yogurt has lots of protein, which is a slower-burning fuel than carbs.

Pair it with cinnamon, which research shows may have anti-inflammatory properties and may impact blood sugar levels in a positive way, is an easy way to add flavor.

For this snack, add a pinch of cinnamon to a 3/4 cup of plain low-fat Greek yogurt.

“You can also add a 1/2 cup of frozen or fresh mango or blueberries to the snack to give it some more flavor,” suggests Taylor.

Peanut butter and an apple

It’s a tried-and-true favorite for a reason. Not only does a small apple with peanut butter taste good, but it’s also good for you.

And make sure you eat the apple peel in addition to its fleshy insides.

“You’ll get two kinds of fiber,” explains Taylor. “You’ll get insoluble fiber from the outside and soluble fiber from the inside.”

Then slathering on 1 tablespoon of peanut butter will add protein and healthy fat. But it’s important to watch how much peanut butter you actually use.

“A lot of people like to keep adding peanut butter to their apple and they end up with a 500-calorie snack,” cautions Taylor. “But if you keep it to 1 tablespoon and a small apple, you’re looking at less than 200 calories.”

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Cottage cheese and blueberries

“Berries are some of the best fruit when it comes to fiber, especially blueberries, which are a very fiber-rich fruit,” says Taylor. “And they’re also convenient because you can buy them frozen.”

They’re also a great source of fiber-rich carbohydrates.

Add a cup of fresh or frozen blueberries to a 1/2 cup of low-fat cottage cheese.

“Low-fat cottage cheese is a fantastic protein source,” says Taylor. “It has almost no carbs in it, so that’s why it’s important that you get in that full serving of berries to give you fuel for right now.”

Hummus and raw veggies

A cup of raw veggies like carrots, celery, broccoli and bell peppers can add some variety to your afternoon snack while also touting many benefits.

“Veggies have a good amount of fiber, plus tons of vitamins and minerals,” says Taylor. “If you eat veggies of different colors, you’ll get lots of different phytonutrients that provide additional health benefits.”

Pair your choice of raw veggies with a 1/4 cup of hummus.

“Hummus has a little bit of fiber, a little bit of protein, a little bit of carbs and some healthy fats as well,” says Taylor.

And overcome the desire to pair hummus with pita chips or crackers. Veggies are key here.

“By eating pita chips or crackers, you’ll be getting a lot more carbs and less fiber,” says Taylor.

Tips for curbing sugar cravings

As mentioned, it’s vital that you combine a fiber-rich carbohydrate with either a lean protein or a healthy fat to help stave off those sugar cravings.

Here are some other ways you can try to limit your sugar cravings and keep your energy flowing:

  • Drink water throughout the day. The National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine recommends women drink 91 ounces (2.7 liters) of water each day, while men should drink 125 ounces (3.7 liters) of water daily. But factors like your metabolism, diet, physical activity and health all should be a factor in how much water you need.
  • Eating regularly throughout the day. “Skipping meals is probably going to set you up for overeating later,” warns Taylor.
  • Make smart choices while grocery shopping. “Your grocery basket should be full of food, not products,” says Taylor.
  • Get moving. “Getting up and moving around, especially if you sit at a computer all day, will help with energy levels,” she adds.
  • Prioritize sleep. The National Sleep Foundation recommends adults aged 26 to 64 get seven to nine hours each night, while those 65 years or older should aim for seven to eight hours.

By putting thought into what type of snacks you’re eating and limiting bad-for-you ingredients, you can make smart choices that will lead to a healthier, more energetic lifestyle.

“Eating healthy is about building the foundation with great foods that are going to help you,” says Taylor, “and also decreasing the focus of some of those foods that aren’t so good for you.”

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10 Foods That Help Ease Your Arthritis Pain

Food is medicine. If you’re struggling with pain from arthritis, eating foods that have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties — along with any drugs or other treatments your doctor recommends — may help.

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“Research is ongoing, but scientists already have found that certain foods may reduce arthritis-related inflammation and pain,” says registered dietitian Andrea Dunn, RD, LD, CDE.

Here are 10 foods that Dunn recommends for a diet that may help ease your arthritis pain and improve your heart health:

1. Green tea

Green tea is known to be high in nutrients and antioxidants and has the ability to reduce inflammation, says Dunn. Studies performed on animals also found that it can help reduce the incidence and severity of rheumatoid arthritis.

“To reap the benefits, aim for two servings a day, either hot or cold,” Dunn notes. “Be sure to use tea bags and not the powdered tea mixes, which are more processed. If you drink the decaffeinated variety, make sure the process is all natural.”

2. Salmon, tuna, sardines and mackerel

These fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which studies have found can decrease inflammation. According to the Arthritis Foundation, eating a 3 to 4 ounce serving of these fish two or more times a week is recommended for protecting the heart and reducing inflammation.

While fresh fish can get pricey quickly, one tip to make it more affordable is by looking in the freezer section or buying canned sardines, salmon or tuna. Be sure to choose lower sodium options when purchasing canned items if you need to keep your sodium in check.

3. Berries, apples and pomegranates

Berries are rich in antioxidants and the Arthritis Foundation notes that blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, cranberries, raspberries and boysenberries all provide arthritis-fighting power. You’ll get health benefits no matter if you eat them frozen, fresh or dehydrated (without added sugar), so be sure to eat a variety of berries throughout the week.

Apples are also high in antioxidants and a good source of fiber. Plus, they provide crunch and can help curb your appetite for unhealthy snacks, Dunn says.

Pomegranates, which are classified as berry fruits, are rich in tannins which can fight the inflammation of arthritis. Add these to a salad or stir into plain yogurt for some added benefits.

4. Vegetables

Take it a step further and include anti-inflammatory vegetables in your daily diet such as cauliflower, mushrooms, Brussels sprouts and broccoli in either frozen or fresh form. Add them into your stir-fry, salads or as healthy side dishes.

While making big changes to your diet won’t happen overnight, adding a variety of arthritis-friendly foods little by little will help you with your overall health and how well you manage your arthritis pain.

5. Canola and olive oils

Skip the vegetable oil or corn oil and reach for these two varieties, which have a good balance of the omega-3 and omega-6 acids, both of which are essential fatty acids. Studies have found that a component in olive oil called oleocanthal has anti-inflammatory properties and is known to be especially good for heart health, too, Dunn says.

6. Ginger and turmeric

Thanks to the chemicals in these plants, ginger and turmeric are also known to have anti-inflammatory properties. Both are widely used in Chinese and Indian cuisine.

The scientific data on recommended daily or weekly intakes of ginger or turmeric are mainly with supplemented doses, but a healthy sprinkling of these spices on foods or in beverages could bring limited health benefits, Dunn says. They’ll even add a little kick to your favorite dishes. Moreover, small amounts of ginger can help settle an upset stomach.

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7. Nuts

All nuts are high in protein, low in saturated fats and contain no cholesterol, unlike animal proteins. Eat them alone or add them to your favorite yogurt, salad or healthy dish for an extra boost of protein.

“By replacing a serving of meat with just a quarter cup of nuts can help you avoid the inflammation you may experience when eating red meat,” Dunn notes. “Unlike meat, nuts also are a good source of fiber. Choose unsalted nuts to limit the amount of sodium in your diet.”

8. Whole grains

Whole grains don’t have to be boring. From quinoa to farro to bulgur, there’s plenty of variety to choose from and incorporate into your diet. These varieties add extra nutrients and fiber that only whole grains can offer naturally. To reap the benefits, the Arthritis Foundation recommends eating between three and six ounces of grains a day.

Try them as side dishes instead of more common choices, such as white rice, Dunn says. Some more diverse whole grain options include freekeh, a Middle Eastern cuisine staple, or teff, used to make Ethiopian flatbread.

9. Salsa

Mixing salsa into your daily diet is a great way to increase your intake of vitamin C, fiber and antioxidants, thanks to its rich mix of tomatoes, onions, and other vegetables. Dunn recommends using it for a vegetable dip in place of high calorie dressings commonly found in the grocery store.

10. Dark chocolate

Dark chocolate is a classic favorite but large-scale random control studies have not been done to recommend dark chocolate candy in any quantity to ease inflammation. If you enjoy dark chocolate, look at least 70% or higher cocoa content (the higher the cocoa content, the lower the amount of sugar in the chocolate).

“Just keep portions small to limit the saturated fat and calories,” says Dunn. “For example, a half-ounce of dark chocolate daily goes a long way for intense flavor and chocolate enjoyment.”

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Top 10 Worst Foods If You Have Diabetes

Hot dogsa one of worst foods to eat for diabetes

 

If you have diabetes, in many ways your diet is your medicine. As diabetes educators, we help patients understand what food and beverage choices are best to avoid. When foods are high in carbohydrates, fat and sodium, they increase your risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, weight gain, heart disease and uncontrolled sugar.

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Top 10 offenders

  1. Sweetened drinks. These include regular pop/soda, fruit punches and iced teas. These are loaded with sugar and calories, and they usually have little or no nutritional value. Instead, try infusing plain water with different berries and fruits so you can enjoy the natural sweetness.
  2. “Designer” or specialty coffee drinks – including frappuccinos or cappuccinos. That “once a day special treat” can add up to lots of extra sugar, calories and saturated fat. Instead, go for straight java, either black, with artificial sweetener or a small splash of skim milk.
  3. Whole milk. It has too much fat, which can lead to weight gain. Switch to 2% , 1% – or even better: skim milk. Keep in mind that one cup of skim milk has 12 grams of carbohydrates. If you don’t like milk or are lactose intolerant, you can drink almond milk, rice milk or soy milk instead—but remember to get the low sugar varieties.
  4. Hot dogs. These grilled little favorites are still high in saturated fat and sodium—yes, that even includes turkey dogs! Try to avoid them or eat them only occasionally.
  5. Packaged lunch meats. These are also high in saturated fat and sodium. Check your deli for low sodium meats—or better yet use sliced meat that you’ve roasted at home to make your sandwiches. Also remember that sandwich toppings can be very unhealthy too (think high-fat mayonnaise). Instead add flavor to your sandwiches with mustard, veggies and/or a little bit of hummus.
  6. Sweetened cereals. These are high in carbohydrates because of the added sugar. Go for the plain cereals and add a little fruit or artificial sweetener.
  7. Regular pancake syrup. It’s very high in carbohydrates. Light or low-calorie syrup usually contains at least half the carbs of regular. And with these lighter syrups, remember that the serving size is still small. Take a look at the food label and use sparingly.
  8. Sherbet. Many people believe sherbet is a good alternative to ice cream, but a half cup of sherbet has almost double the carbohydrates of a half cup of ice cream.
  9. Fast food baked potatoes with all the fixin’s. You take a relatively healthy item—the plain baked potato—and add cheddar cheese, butter, sour cream, ranch dressing or bacon and it just turned into a high-sodium, fat laden disaster. The same goes for nachos and other cheese-covered appetizers when eating out.
  10. Anything fried. We know fried foods are not good for anyone. The fat is absorbed into the food and leads to high cholesterol and weight gain which can increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes or worsen control if you already have diabetes. This goes for everything from French fries to fried chicken to that panko-crusted tilapia at your favorite restaurant. Try baking or broiling your food or even consider checking out the new air fryers that use hot air instead of oil. They are a healthier option than deep-fat fryers.These Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes

Now for the best foods…

All of the foods on our list have a low glycemic index (which represents the total rise in a person’s blood sugar level after eating the food) and provide important nutrients you need to stay healthy.

  1. Sweet potatoes. A great source of vitamin C, potassium and fiber. Add cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg or allspice for extra flavor.  ½ cup cooked sweet potato = 1 carb serving
  2. Cruciferous vegetables. These include broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale and Brussels sprouts. These non-starchy vegetables are rich in potassium, folate and vitamin C. 1 cup raw or ½ cup cooked = < 1 carb serving. They are just 5 grams of carbohydrate and 15 grams is one carb serving so you can load up on these!
  3. Legumes. These include a variety of beans such as black, garbanzo, kidney, lima, navy, pinto and white. They are loaded with fiber and protein, which will help you feel full with fewer calories. ½ cup cooked = 1 carb serving
  4. Nuts. Especially walnuts, almonds and pecans. They are a great source of protein, vitamins, minerals, fiber, healthy fats and antioxidants and they reduce LDL cholesterol and promote heart health.  Consume in small amounts as they are high in calories. Add to salads, oatmeal and yogurt. If you are trying to watch your calorie intake, buy the 100 calorie packets in a box. They may cost a little more, but they help with portion control.  1 serving = 1 carb
  5. Berries. They are full of antioxidants, vitamin C and fiber. Add to salads, cereal, summer desserts and yogurt. 1 cup of strawberries, blue berries or raspberries = 1 carb servingThese Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes

5 Healthy Habits That Prevent Diseases

From social media influencers to great aunt Bess, everyone has opinions about the best habits for a healthy lifestyle. But whether you’ve gone all-in on apple cider vinegar or think the latest health fads are all hype, the choices you make can have long-term health consequences.

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“Healthy lifestyle habits can slow or even reverse the damage from high cholesterol or high blood sugar,” says lifestyle medicine specialist Mladen Golubic, MD, PhD. “You can reverse diabetes, obesity, hypertension, high cholesterol and heart disease.”

Here, he sifts through the noise to help you choose the best lifestyle habits to prevent chronic diseases.

How lifestyle affects your health

The leading causes of death worldwide are chronic diseases, Dr. Golubic says. And they include the usual suspects:

  • Cancer.
  • Cardiovascular disease.
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
  • Diabetes.
  • Stroke.

But you can prevent many of these chronic conditions by addressing their root cause: daily habits. About 80% of chronic diseases are driven by lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise, he says.

How to prevent lifestyle diseases

To prevent chronic disease, Dr. Golubic recommends adjusting your habits in these five areas:

1. Diet

His advice is straightforward: Eat plants that are whole, unrefined and minimally processed. Eating plant-based foods helps reduce diabetes, heart disease and cancer risk.

There is evidence that the Mediterranean diet can reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and other chronic diseases. This diet is rich in vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains fish, olive oil and nuts.

Other evidence suggests that consuming a fully plant-based diet can even reverse chronic, diet-related conditions, including advanced heart disease. This diet eliminates meat, dairy and eggs and includes whole foods such as vegetables, whole grains, legumes and fruits. It is the most compassionate and the most sustainable diet, Dr. Golubic says, and the one he recommends most.

“I suggest you experiment. You don’t have to go fully vegan tomorrow,” he says.

“Avoid refined and processed plant foods.  Start by preparing one new plant-based meal a week.”

2. Physical activity

Moving helps all your body’s systems. Experts recommend 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity each week.

If that seems daunting, Dr. Golubic recommends starting small. “Most of us can walk. So start with a 10-minute walk. Repeat this two or three times a day,” he says. “Then try to walk faster, have a minute of more intense walking or climb a flight of stairs. If walking is not an option, any physical activity will do. Simply move more and sit less.”

3. Sleep

Shoot for seven to nine hours of restful sleep each night. But if you just can’t help burning the midnight oil, try to:

  • Have a consistent bedtime and wake time, even on the weekends.
  • Be physically active daily. (Sense a theme?)
  • Limit alcohol and caffeine.
  • Put digital devices away 90 minutes before bedtime.
  • Keep your sleep area cool, dark and comfortable.

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4. Stress relief

Chronic stress is not your immune system’s friend. Try mindfulness, meditation and gratitude to relieve stress and improve your physical and mental health.

“We tend to self-medicate with food, but there are healthier ways to relieve our stress, worries and concerns,” Dr. Golubic says.

Mindfulness: Mindfulness is the state of being more present and aware of what you sense, feel and experience. It’s a great way to cope with stress and relax.

Dr. Golubic suggests two ways to master mindfulness:

  • Practice daily: The key is to schedule it. Find a quiet place. Observe your body movements as you breathe — how your belly expands and shrinks, or how the air flows in and out of your nostrils. “The key is to observe — don’t try to change the depth of inhalation or frequency of breathing. Let your body do what it normally does more than 20,000 times per day,” he says. Start with five minutes per day and work up to 20 minutes.
  • Pay attention to the present moment throughout the day: For example, when brushing your teeth, brush like it’s your first time. “Using your nondominant hand may help you pay better attention,” Dr. Golubic says. “You can even practice mindfulness while taking out the garbage, washing the dishes or noticing your breath while you wait for the light to turn green. Any activity where you remember to pay attention can be a mindfulness practice.”

Meditation: If you’re new to the practice, 4×4 breathing, or box breathing, is a great place to start. Here’s how it works:

  1. Sit up straight and relaxed in a comfortable, quiet location.
  2. Breathe out slowly, being mindful about releasing all the air from your lungs.
  3. Breathe in through your nose as you slowly count to four in your head. Be conscious of how the air fills your lungs and stomach.
  4. Hold your breath for a count of four (or less, for a count you can comfortably hold).
  5. Exhale for another count of four.
  6. Hold your breath again for a count of four.
  7. Repeat.

Do this for five minutes three times a week, building up to 20 minutes a day.

Gratitude: Practicing gratitude is a good antidote for stress as well. In studies, burned-out healthcare workers who performed acts of gratitude — such as remembering three good things or writing gratitude letters — reported positive effects on their well-being after a few weeks.

“Throughout our days we tend to notice more things that are not going well and pay little attention to positive moments,” Dr. Golubic says. “We are likely to feel better when, in the midst of a hectic day, we recognize and remind ourselves about all the gifts we have in life.”

5. Social connectedness

Social connectedness, or loving people, keeps you emotionally and physically healthy. Even when physical distancing is the norm, virtual connections can be transformative.

“We have tremendous access to technology to help us avoid social isolation,” Dr. Golubic says. “Almost everybody has a cell phone, so you can be in touch with people and tell them how you feel about them. Even work emails signed, ‘I hope you’re OK,’ or, ‘stay well,’ make a difference.”

Why is it so hard to make healthy lifestyle changes?

There are a few reasons it can be hard to get a handle on our habits, including:

  • A lack of access to healthy options: A drive down the street reveals the convenient truth: cheap, unhealthy fast-food options everywhere you look. This can make it hard to make good choices. “Spain has fruterías (stores that sell only fruits and vegetables) on every other corner. They’re open until late in the evening. Imagine if those stores were more common than fried food places,” Dr. Golubic says.
  • Too many subliminal messages: “Subliminal messages can sabotage good lifestyle habits,” he says. “For example, think about advertisements showing beautiful people eating unhealthy foods. Or the images of yoga poses featuring young people instead of those who need yoga the most — older people with two to four chronic conditions.”
  • An instant gratification culture: It can take weeks to months to make something a habit — and sometimes longer to see the benefits of those changes. “When implementing healthy lifestyle changes, we have to be patient,” Dr. Golubic concludes.

How to maintain healthy lifestyle habits long-term

To make healthy habits stick, Dr. Golubic suggests you:

  • Take small steps: “Do evolution rather than revolution,” he says. “Choose achievable goals. Start with listening to a meditation tracks for five minutes three times a week and continue adding more days and minutes as you are making progress.”
  • Set realistic expectations: Avoid being too critical of yourself.  Embrace the saying, “progress not perfection.”
  • Educate yourself: Learn the science behind opinions. Seek advice from professional medical associations, such as the American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, Medical Society of Clinical Oncology and American College of Lifestyle Medicine.
  • Think big picture: Those who reflect on what’s important to them and how they fit into a larger whole have better results. “Food choices are spectacular examples,” Dr. Golubic says. “It takes an enormous amount of energy and production of greenhouse gases and land and water use to produce a pound of beef compared to a pound of beans. So our food choices not only affect our health but the well-being of all life on the planet.”These Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes

10 Ways To Get Rid of Belly Fat for Good

For some people, the appearance of excess weight around their midsection is a major concern.

But psychologist and registered dietitian David Creel, PhD, says the bigger issue is the increased health risks that come with belly fat.

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The size of your waist is related to subcutaneous fat underneath your skin and the visceral fat surrounding your organs. Although subcutaneous fat may be what we notice when we look in the mirror, visceral fat is most harmful.

Researchers have proved that excess fat around our organs increases the risk of metabolic diseases, including:

  • Diabetes.
  • Fatty liver disease.
  • Heart disease and elevated cholesterol.
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome.

Excess weight also increases the risk of sleep apnea, joint pain and different forms of cancer.

For those assigned male at birth (AMAB), a waist circumference approaching 40 inches indicates increased risk. For those assigned female at birth (AFAB), 35 inches raises a red flag.

But unfortunately, losing weight around our midsection is not as easy as doing crunches a few times a week.

“Patients want to know why they can’t just do sit-ups to melt away the fat,” says Dr. Creel. “When you do sit-ups, you’re strengthening muscles in the abdomen, but that doesn’t specifically target the fat or loose skin around our stomach. It’s also important to understand that where we gain or lose fat is influenced by our genetics.”

Although genetics can be an obstacle, and we can’t spot reduce our fat, Dr. Creel says there are still strategies we can use to trim belly fat.

Exercise and strength training

Exercises that increase your heart rate and make you sweat help you lose weight in general — both visceral fat and the fat under your skin. Aerobic exercise burns overall calories and helps you reduce total body fat, especially if you make changes in your diet at the same time.

Dr. Creel says the key to losing visceral fat seems to lie in a combination approach. He suggests building a cardio routine of at least 150 minutes per week while adding two to three days per week of whole-body strength training.

“Any added muscle will increase our calorie burn at rest, whereas cardiovascular exercise will give our metabolism a boost during and for a short time after exercise,” Dr. Creel explains. “Exercise may also have indirect positive benefits on weight by helping us sleep better and manage emotional eating.”

Limit added sugar and high-calorie beverages

Consuming too much added sugar is associated with excess weight that’s likely to accumulate around your waist. Sugar-sweetened beverages and drinking too much fruit juice can be particularly harmful.

“When we drink our calories, especially with soda or juice, we don’t feel as full or satisfied compared to chewing those calories,” notes Dr. Creel. “For instance, you may eat three oranges for the same amount of calories as a large glass of orange juice and feel much fuller for a longer period of time.”

Watch how much of these liquid calories you consume and try to cut back where you can.

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De-stress as often as possible

If you’re feeling stressed out, your body is likely releasing the stress hormone cortisol into your bloodstream. While this can lead to weight gain, there’s a strong link between an increase in cortisol and higher amounts of visceral fat.

Do your best to de-stress if you want to whittle your middle. Dr. Creel cites yoga, meditation, therapy and physical activity as ways to dial down your stress level.

“While cortisol levels play a role, the bigger issue can be that when we’re more stressed, we tend to be less mindful of our eating,” says Dr. Creel. “It is common for people to turn to food for comfort or to distract themselves from stressful life circumstances.”

Eat more fiber

Eating foods high in fiber like chickpeas, lentils and bananas can help you feel fuller longer.

Those foods contain a high amount of soluble fiber, which can slow down the passage of food from the stomach to the intestine by dissolving in water and forming a gummy gel.

Also, building a well-balanced diet that includes whole grains, fruits and vegetables leads to more fiber in our diets.

“If you’re eating foods that are more fibrous, you’re typically eating less processed foods in general,” says Dr. Creel.

Limit alcohol

Research shows that if you’re a heavy drinker, you may have more belly fat than social or casual drinkers.

In addition to the extra calories you consume by drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, alcohol can lower your inhibitions.

“You may have wings with your beer or cheese with your wine,” says Dr. Creel. “Yes, those things go together, but you’re consuming extra calories and may not be paying attention to what or how much you’re eating.”

If you have more than two drinks a day, try cutting back on how much alcohol you consume.

Eat protein throughout the day

Make sure you add protein to your meals. Options include meat, fish, eggs, dairy and beans.

Protein helps keep you feeling satiated, lowers hunger hormone levels and may even help you eat less at your next meal, studies show.

“We don’t have to be on high protein diets as much as we need to add adequate protein that’s spread throughout the day,” says Dr. Creel.

Dr. Creel also says you should aim to add protein to your snacks. “That’s when we tend to overeat,” he notes. “Try having a Greek yogurt or string cheese, which can make you feel more satisfied.”

Choose healthy carbs

Carbs get a bad rap. But not all carbs are bad for you.

Instead of eating white bread, pasta, chips and crackers — processed carbs that have little fiber and can cause your blood sugar to spike — opt for complex carbs like 100% whole grain bread and pasta, brown rice and beans.

“Balance, variety and moderation are still important,” explains Dr. Creel. “Eating lean proteins, lots of vegetables, moderate amounts of fruits, moderate amounts of whole grains and low-fat dairy, still works for the majority of people.”

Don’t skimp on sleep

A good night’s sleep is vital. It can boost your immune system, improve your mood and increase productivity — among other things.

When it comes to belly fat and weight loss, our sleep can affect ghrelin and leptin, appetite-stimulating hormones.

“One thing that we know is when we don’t sleep well or we’re sleep-deprived, it can actually impact hunger hormones,” says Dr. Creel. “There’s actually a biochemical response to sleep deprivation, which makes us want to eat more.”

Aim for seven hours or more of sleep a night. Prioritize sleep by turning off electronics an hour before bedtime and try having a consistent sleep and wake time.

Keep track of what you eat and your exercise

Studies show that by keeping a food diary and logging your exercise, you’re setting yourself up for success.

“For people who are trying to lose weight, if they self-monitor their food and exercise, they tend to do better,” says Dr. Creel. “We don’t know all the reasons why, but what it probably comes down to is awareness and being intentional about our health behaviors.”

By tracking what you eat, you’re more likely to make smarter decisions. You might rethink eating those potato chips and turn to carrots as a snack instead.

And using fitness trackers, whether it’s a smart watch or an app, can motivate you to lace up those sneakers and take a walk around the block.

Curb late-night eating

Guilty of snacking mindlessly while bingeing your fave TV show?

Then you might be looking for ways to curb those late-night cravings.

While there isn’t much evidence showing intermittent fasting is better than other weight loss methods, Dr. Creel says he has patients who successfully manage their weight by limiting the hours they eat during the day.

For example, you can fast for 16 hours (typically overnight) and eat all of your food within an eight-hour period during the day.

“Some people find it helpful to have a cutoff time for eating, especially at night,” says Dr. Creel. “Some people will stop eating after 6 or 7 p.m., because they know nighttime is when they overconsume and engage in mindless eating.”

Dr. Creel suggests talking to your doctor about which weight-loss method is right for you. You may even want to talk to a registered dietitian who can help you figure out where you’re struggling.

“Although we can’t precisely target where we lose every pound of weight, it’s important to remember that reducing our calorie intake and regular exercise effectively reduces visceral fat,” says Dr. Creel. “By losing 5% to 10% of your body weight, you can improve blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol levels, mobility and sexual function.”

And whatever method you try, Dr. Creel advises that developing a routine, being consistent and practicing patience can help keep you motivated.

“Don’t forget about the benefits of your new behaviors, even if you’re not seeing a lot of weight loss,” he encourages. “Small changes can lead to significant health benefits. But it can take time, so patience is important.”

These Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes

Will Coconut Increase Blood Sugar Levels?

You can eat unsweetened coconut meat, milk and water if you have diabetes, but watch the portion size.

Coconut meat, milk, oil and water are all the rage today, but some coconut-based foods may not be as healthy as you may think — especially if you have diabetes.

These Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes

Diabetes occurs when your body no longer produces the hormone insulin or becomes resistant to its effects. Insulin modulates your blood sugar (glucose) levels. When blood sugar levels are too high over time, your risk for diabetes complications, including heart disease, nerve damage and blindness, can increase, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA).

“Coconut oil, meat, water and milk are all blood-sugar friendly, but many people with or at risk for diabetes may have other health concerns,” says Dana Greene, RD, LDN, a dietitian in Brookline, Massachusetts. “These foods tend to be high in fat and calories, so portion control is important as diabetes and obesity tend to go hand in hand.”

Coconut Oil and Diabetes

Coconut oil, in particular, is extremely high in artery-clogging saturated fat. That’s why the American Heart Association advises against the use of saturated fats like coconut oil for people with or at risk for heart disease.

“Coconut oil has been shown to increase low density lipoprotein, or “bad” cholesterol, so it’s not recommended if you have diabetes,” says Maria E. Pena, MD, an assistant professor at the Icahn School of Medicine and director of endocrine services at Mount Sinai Doctors Forest Hills in New York, New York.

This matters because if people with diabetes are more likely to develop heart disease and have a heart attack than are people who don’t have this condition, notes the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). High cholesterol is also a risk factor for heart disease, and people with diabetes should keep their cholesterol in the healthy range, Dr. Pena cautions.

What to do? Try swapping coconut oil for heart-healthy olive oil or canola oil if you are at risk for heart disease, Greene suggests.

These Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes

Is Coconut Meat Good for Diabetes?

Desiccated coconut meat — which often refers to the fresh dried and unsweetened version — and diabetes is another story because “it’s a good source of fiber,” Dr. Pena says. One cup contains about 54 percent of the daily fiber recommendation, she says.

Fiber slows the absorption of sugar and helps improve blood sugar levels, notes the Mayo Clinic. The ADA points out that adults should consume 25 to 38 grams of fiber each day, but most people fall significantly short of that goal.

Greene adds that desiccated unsweetened coconut meat is also low on the glycemic index, which uses a 1 to 100 scale, ranking how quickly or slowly carbs affect your blood-sugar levels. “Coconut meat is a 10 on this scale, which is low, making it very diabetes friendly,” she says.

Still, Greene says portion size matters because coconut meat is high in saturated fat and calories, too. “If you are watching your waistline, this is an important consideration,” she says. One cup of dried, shredded and unsweetened coconut meat has about 24 grams of saturated fat and about 300 calories, Greene notes. Steering clear of sweetened coconut products like the flakes used in baking is a good idea if you have diabetes or are at risk for it, she adds.

So, yes, while coconut is fairly low carb and low glycemic, it contains other fatty components too, which you may need to watch out for.

Coconut Waters and Milks

Dr. Pena says that coconut water can be a healthy choice if you have diabetes. “Natural and pure coconut water is a great alternative to sugary drinks, but it still contains some carbs,” she cautions. Noting that a one-cup serving of coconut water has 9 grams of carbohydrates, “make sure to read the label,” she says. Carbs affect blood sugar more than other nutrients, notes the NIDDK.

As for coconut milk, like other coconut-based products, it’s high in saturated fat, Greene explains. And, unless it’s been enriched, it’s also lacking in calcium, which is needed to build healthy bones. But it’s low in carbs, so it won’t affect your blood sugar. “If you enjoy the taste and mind your serving sizes, it can be used in place of regular milk,” she says.

These Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes

5 Best Breads for People with Diabetes

Food may be one of life’s simple pleasures. When you’re living with diabetes, deciding what to eat can get complicated. Foods that contain a lot of carbohydrates can spike your blood sugar levels.

These Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes

Carbohydrates are found in many different kinds of food, including desserts, grains, fruit, milk, vegetables, and bread. Giving up carbs completely isn’t realistic, healthy, or even necessary. What matters is that you’re aware of your carb intake and making nutritious food choices.

Breads can often be high in carbs. Some are overly processed, high in sugar, and filled with empty calories.

Healthier options can be part of a satisfying meal plan. If you’re trying to figure out which breads work best for diabetes management, this information may help.

Understanding diabetes

When you have diabetes, your body doesn’t make or use enough insulin to process food well. Without enough insulin, your blood sugar levels can spike.

You may also have high cholesterol and triglyceride levels. This means it’s important to keep an eye on fat and sugar intake.

Type 1 diabetes requires insulin injections daily and following a specific type of eating plan. This plan is geared toward keeping your blood sugar levels low.

If you have type 2 diabetes, you often follow an eating and exercise regimen geared toward reducing blood sugar. If diet and exercise aren’t enough to control your blood sugar, insulin injections or oral medication may be a part of a daily regimen.

Creating a food plan, making smart nutritional choices, and watching carbohydrate intake is recommended with both types of diabetes.

How can meal plans help?

Creating a meal plan can help control your blood sugar and provide satisfying nutrition. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all plan. It may help to try different ones to see which works best. Your doctor or dietitian can also help guide your choices and make recommendations.

Here are some meal plans to consider. Each plan emphasizes slow-digesting, high-fiber choices to minimize sudden blood sugar changes.

Carb counting

The carb counting method works by establishing a maximum number of carbs you can eat at each meal. There isn’t one number for everyone. Everyone’s carb intake should vary based on their exercise level, current health, and any medications they’re taking.

This meal plan, like all others, requires portion control. You also need to learn which types of carbs to eat, as well as how much.

There are three kinds of carbohydrates:

  • Complex carbohydrates, or starches, can be healthy and filling when eaten in appropriate amounts.
  • Sugar isn’t beneficial because it spikes blood sugar and adds empty calories to meals.
  • Fiber helps control blood sugar levels. The Joslin Diabetes Center recommends eating between 20 to 35 grams of fiber each day.

The plate method

The plate method doesn’t require carb counting.

Instead, half of your plate should include non-starchy vegetables, such as broccoli, green peppers, or kale. One quarter of your plate should contain grains and starchy foods, such as beans or bread. The remaining quarter should be filled with protein-rich foods.

Depending on your overall meal plan, you can add a serving of fruit daily. A low-calorie drink like unsweet tea or water should complete your meal.

Exchange lists

Exchange lists group similar foods together so they can be substituted easily for each other. You can find an example exchange list here. Every food on the list has the same nutritional value.

Breads are on the starch list. Each item on this list has approximately 15 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of protein, a small amount of fat, and 80 calories. One slice of bread represents one exchange.

These Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes

How to make bread part of your meal plan

When deciding which breads to buy and which to avoid, make sure you read the nutritional information thoroughly.

The American Diabetes Association recommends choosing whole grain bread or 100 percent whole wheat bread instead of white bread. White bread is made from highly processed white flour and added sugar.

Here are some delicious and healthy breads to try:

  • Joseph’s Flax, Oat Bran and Wheat Pita Bread. You can’t have an authentic Mediterranean-style meal without pita pockets. This low-carb version has 8 grams of carbs and 4 grams of fiber per pita.
  • Food for Life’s 7 Sprouted Grains Bread. High in protein and fiber, this flourless bread has 15 grams of carbs and 3 grams of fiber per slice. Flavorful and filling, it’s perfect for breakfast, especially when toasted and served with poached eggs and berries. Other Food for Life breads and products are also good choices.
  • Alvarado St. Bakery’s Sprouted Wheat Multi-Grain Bread. This dense, rich bread gets its slight sweetness from molasses and honey. Despite the indulgent taste, it still packs a nutritional punch. Each slice has 15 grams of carbs, 5 grams of protein, and 2 grams of fiber.

Breads that are homemade, available at farmers markets, and made at local bakeries may be higher in fiber and lower in sugar. They will likely be less processed than those on grocery store shelves.

Processed foods are usually digested and absorbed faster. This can raise blood sugar levels.

With options like these, you may find it easier than you think to limit or remove less healthy breads from your meal plan. Consider eliminating high-carb options such as:

  • Pillsbury’s Date Quick Bread and Muffin Mix. At 28 grams of carbohydrates and 14 grams of sugar per slice, you may want to reserve these for special occasions or for company only.
  • Starbucks’s Butter Croissant. You’re probably better off eating breakfast at home than picking up this breakfast croissant with your morning coffee. Each one has 32 grams of carbs, less than 1 gram of fiber, and 11 grams of saturated fat.

Outlook

When you have diabetes, healthy eating requires learning about healthy meal choices. This information will help you determine which meal options work best for managing your blood sugar.

When it comes to choosing bread, reading labels and understanding nutrition facts can put you on the right track.

Look for bread that has the lowest amount of sugar, doesn’t have added sugars and is high in fiber, at least 3 grams per serving. A good rule of thumb is to look for a short ingredient list. In addition, remember that different breads affect people differently.

Consider checking your blood sugar before and after eating bread several times to understand how your body responds.

You may find that bread may have to be viewed more as a treat rather than a daily part of your diet based on your glucose response.

Consider creating a meal plan and talk to your doctor about other best practices for you.

These Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes

Is Yogurt Good for Diabetes?

One glance at the supermarket’s miles-long yogurt aisle tells you all you need to know about yogurt’s popularity. But has yogurt really earned its reputation as a healthy superfood?

These Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes

It’s complicated. Yogurt is absolutely good for you, says registered dietitian Julia Zumpano, RD. But not all yogurt is created equal, and some choices are definitely better than others.

Tart, sweet, thick, thin: Here’s what you should know about yogurt’s good side and how to pick a winner.

Is yogurt healthy?

As far as nutrients go, yogurt has a lot going for it. It’s full of:

  • Protein: Greek yogurt has about twice as much protein as traditional yogurt.
  • Calcium: You need calcium for strong bones and teeth. Your muscles and nerves also rely on this mineral to function properly.
  • Probiotics: These beneficial bacteria are important for your health. The helpful microbes may improve gut health and boost immunity. But only yogurts stamped with the “Live & Active Cultures” seal contain probiotics, and the type and amount can vary by brand. So check before you buy.

Those nutrients are good for head-to-toe health. But there’s also research suggesting that yogurt is specifically good for heart health: Yogurt has been linked to healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels. And some research shows that eating yogurt as part of a healthy diet can help prevent long-term weight gain, which is good for the heart.

Beware of sweetened yogurts

While yogurt has a lot going for it, not all yogurt is a healthy choice. Some flavored yogurts — even those made with real fruit — can be more like junk food in disguise.

That strawberry swirl fruit-on-the-bottom or chocolate chip crunch topping can pack a sugary punch. Some flavored yogurts contain more sugar in one serving than the daily recommended amount. (The American Heart Association recommends no more than 25 grams for women and 36 grams for men.)

What about sugar-free flavors? Unfortunately, artificial sweeteners may not be any healthier than real sugar. And eating super-sweet artificial sweeteners can set up your taste buds to crave more sweet stuff throughout the day.

Your best bet is to avoid flavored yogurt and reach for the plain variety. “Plain, nonfat yogurt is best,” says Zumpano. “Both original and Greek-style are excellent sources of protein, calcium and probiotics.”

These Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes

Yogurt shopping 101: What to know before you buy

What should you know before you hit that overwhelming dairy aisle? Here’s a rundown of your yogurt options.

  • Greek-style yogurt: Greek yogurt is strained to create a rich, creamy texture — and has twice as much protein as regular yogurt. “For managing your weight, try Greek yogurt,” Zumpano says. “It has more protein, which can help you feel fuller longer.”
  • Traditional yogurt: Regular old yogurt is also a good source of protein and other nutrients, though it doesn’t pack quite the same protein punch as Greek yogurt. But some people prefer its milder taste and thinner texture, so it’s worth a try.
  • Flavored yogurt: Fruity picks and other flavored yogurts can contain a lot of sugar, but the amount varies by brand. If you can’t resist, try to pick a flavor with less than 120 calories per container and no more than 12-13 grams of sugar.
  • Whole-milk yogurt: This extra-creamy option is a good choice for growing babies, toddlers and children, who need the extra fat for growth and development. But it’s high in saturated fat, so it may not be the best pick for older kids and adults. If you’re looking for something a little creamier, choose a 2% milk fat instead of full fat.
  • Nondairy yogurts: Yogurts made from soy, almond or coconut milk are good options if you have a dairy sensitivity or eat a vegan diet. They can be a good source of protein and heart-healthy fats. But some are high in sugar, so read labels carefully. Coconut milk yogurt is also high in saturated fat, so watch your portions accordingly.

Dress your yogurt for success

Unsweetened yogurt gets two thumbs up from many dietitians. But some people are put off by its tart taste. If you’re still getting used to plain yogurt, try these tricks until your taste buds adapt:

  • Dress up plain yogurt with fresh or frozen fruit, vanilla extract or a sprinkle of cinnamon.
  • Swap in Greek yogurt to replace some of the sour cream or mayonnaise in dips, dressings and soups. You’ll get the benefits of yogurt and cut some saturated fats from your diet.
  • Add Greek yogurt to fruit smoothies for an extra boost of protein and creamy texture.

Once you start adding a dollop of yogurt here and there, you’ll discover all sorts of ways to enjoy this versatile food.

These Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes

How can you Lower your Blood Sugar Levels?

Woman checking blood sugar levels after exercising next to glass of orange juice.

Blood sugar levels are a primary concern for people with diabetes. High blood sugar, known as hyperglycemia, occurs when a person’s blood sugar is over 180 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL).

High blood sugar levels can be dangerous if not promptly managed and lead to both short-term and long-term problems.

In this article, we look at some different ways to help people lower their blood sugar levels. These steps include lifestyle changes, diet tips, and natural remedies.

These Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes

Why is managing blood sugar important?

Keeping blood sugars at target levels helps people with diabetes avoid serious complications from the disease. High blood sugar can cause many ill effects, which can be sudden, such as acid buildup in the bloodstream, or occur gradually over time.

Over time, keeping blood sugar at unhealthful levels can damage small and large blood vessels in several organs and systems, leading to serious consequences, such as:

  • vision impairment and blindness
  • foot ulcers, infections, and amputations
  • kidney failure and dialysis
  • heart attacks and strokes
  • peripheral vascular disease, a condition where blood flow to the limbs is reduced
  • damage to the nervous system, leading to pain and weakness

By keeping blood sugar levels under 100 mg/dL before eating and under 180 mg/dL after eating, people with diabetes can significantly reduce their risk of adverse effects from the disease.

How to lower blood sugar levels

Here are 12 ways that a person with diabetes can lower high blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of complications.

1. Monitor blood sugar levels closely

High blood sugar levels often do not cause symptoms until they run well over 200 mg/dL. As such, it is essential for a person with diabetes to monitor their blood sugar several times a day. Doing so will mean that blood sugar levels never get that high.

A person with diabetes can use a home glucose monitor to check blood sugar levels. These are available for purchase online

Recommendations for how frequently to check glucose levels during the day will vary from person to person. A doctor can make the best recommendations regarding blood sugar monitoring to a person with diabetes.

2. Reduce carbohydrate intake

Researchers have carried out studies showing that eating a low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet reduces blood sugar levels.

The body breaks down carbohydrates into sugar that the body uses as energy. Some carbs are necessary in the diet. However, for people with diabetes, eating too many carbohydrates can cause blood sugar to spike too high.

Reducing the amounts of carbohydrates a person eats reduces the amount a person’s blood sugar spikes.

3. Eat the right carbohydrates

The two main kinds of carbohydrates — simple and complex — affect blood sugar levels differently.

Simple carbohydrates are mainly made up of one kind of sugar. They are found in foods, such as white bread, pasta, and candy. The body breaks these carbohydrates down into sugar very quickly, which causes blood sugar levels to rise rapidly.

Complex carbohydrates are made up of three or more sugars that are linked together. Because the chemical makeup of these kinds of carbohydrates is complicated, it takes the body longer to break them down.

As a result, sugar is released into the body more gradually, meaning that blood sugar levels do not rapidly rise after eating them. Examples of complex carbohydrates include whole grain oats and sweet potatoes.

4. Choose low glycemic index foods

The glycemic index measures and ranks various foods by how much they cause blood sugar levels to rise. Research shows that following a low glycemic index diet decreases fasting blood sugar levels.

Low glycemic index foods are those that score below 55 on the glycemic index. Examples of low glycemic foods include:

  • sweet potatoes
  • quinoa
  • legumes
  • low-fat milk
  • leafy greens
  • non-starchy vegetables
  • nuts and seeds
  • meats
  • fish

5. Increase dietary fiber intake

Whole grain brown rice in bowl with pulses, beans, and vegetables.

 

Fiber plays a significant role in blood sugar management by slowing down the rate that carbohydrates break down, and the rate that the body absorbs the resulting sugars.

The two types of fiber are soluble and insoluble fiber. Of the two types, soluble fiber is the most helpful in controlling blood sugar.

Soluble fiber is in the following foods:

  • vegetables
  • legumes
  • whole grains
  • fruit

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6. Maintain a healthy weight

Losing weight helps control blood sugar levels. Being overweight is linked to increased incidents of diabetes and greater occurrences of insulin resistance.

Studies show that reducing weight by even only 7 percent can reduce the chances of developing diabetes by 58 percent.

It is important to note that a person does not need to achieve ideal body weight to benefit from losing 10–20 pounds and keeping it off. Doing so will also improve cholesterol, reduce the risk of complications, and improve a person’s general sense of well-being.

Eating a healthful diet full of fruits and vegetables and getting enough exercise can help a person lose weight or maintain their currently healthy weight.

7. Control portion size

At most meals, a person should follow portion guidelines provided by a doctor or nutritionist. Overeating at a sitting can cause a spike in blood sugar.

Although simple carbohydrates are typically associated with elevated blood sugar levels, all food causes blood sugar levels to rise. Careful control of portions can keep blood sugar levels more controlled.

8. Exercise regularly

Exercise has many benefits for people with diabetes, including weight loss and increased insulin sensitivity.

Insulin is a hormone that helps people break down sugar in the body. People with diabetes either do not make enough or any insulin in their body or are resistant to the insulin the body does produce.

Exercise also helps to lower blood sugar levels by encouraging the body’s muscles to use sugar for energy.

9. Hydrate

Proper hydration is key to a healthful lifestyle. For people worried about lowering high blood sugar, it is crucial.

Drinking enough water prevents dehydration and also helps the kidneys remove extra sugar from the body in the urine.

Those looking to reduce blood sugar levels should reach for water and avoid all sugary drinks, such as fruit juice or soda, which may raise blood sugar levels instead.

People with diabetes should reduce alcohol intake to the equivalent of one drink per day for women and two for men unless other restrictions apply.

These Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes

10. Try herbal extracts

Herbal extracts may have a positive effect on treating and controlling blood sugar levels.

Most people should attempt to gain nutrients from the foods they eat. However, supplements are often helpful for people who do not get enough of the nutrients from natural sources.

Most doctors do not consider supplements as a treatment by themselves. A person should consult their doctor before taking any supplement, as they may interfere with any prescribed medications.

Some supplements a person may want to try are available for purchase online, including:

11. Manage stress

Stress has a significant impact on blood sugar levels. The body gives off stress hormones when under tension, and these hormones raise blood sugar levels.

Research shows that managing stress through meditation and exercise can also help to lower blood sugar levels.

12. Get enough sleep

Sleep helps a person reduce the amount of sugar in their blood. Getting adequate sleep each night is an excellent way to help keep blood sugar levels at a normal level.

Blood sugar levels tend to surge in the early morning hours. In most people, insulin will tell the body what to do with the excess sugar, which keeps the blood sugar levels normal.

Lack of sleep can have a similar effect to insulin resistance, meaning that a person’s blood sugar level could spike significantly from lack of sleep.

Takeaway

Managing high blood sugar is key to avoiding serious complications from diabetes.

There is a range of lifestyle interventions that can help a person struggling with high blood sugar to lower their glucose levels.

A person should always follow their doctor’s advice for lowering high blood sugar.

 

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