Why Does Tracking Blood Sugar Levels Matter?
The simple fact is that tracking your blood sugar can save your life. And let’s be real your life matters. You have family, friends, maybe even kids who are counting on you to stay healthy for them. So, if you’re not going to do it for yourself. Do it for them.
Did you know that black women are 80% more likely to become diabetic due to a variety of factors? But organizations like the Black Women’s Health Imperative are doing their best to help you fight off this disease. Diabetes might be part of your story, but it doesn’t have to control your life.
Let’s look at two important reasons backed by science that you should track your blood levels.
Effectively manages diabetes: If your blood sugar gets out of whack, it can hurt you or even be fatal. But a team of doctors conducted, The Diabetes Control and Complication Trial, a study that found regular blood sugar testing significantly reduced the risk of long-term complications. You can prevent hospital visits and severe problems by simply checking your blood sugar levels. As a black woman, you are more likely to be impacted by gestational diabetes which can impart a baby you are carrying. By managing your diabetes, you can lower the impact it has on your baby.
Gives doctors the information to help you: Your doctor is a part of your care team. But they can’t help if they don’t know what’s going on. So, by tracking your blood sugar, you have information that your doctor can use to help better care for you. For example, if they know your blood sugar is consistently high, they can offer medicine or advice to help combat that. You are not alone. Take advantage of the supportive team around you.
List of Everyday Foods that Lower Blood Sugar Levels
Now that we know the importance of checking our blood sugar, what are some ways we can maintain a healthy sugar level for those of us dealing diabetes or are pre-diabetic?
One way to do this is by eating foods that have a low Glycemic Index (GI). These are foods that slowly raise your blood sugar and are important for helping prevent illnesses such as obesity and diabetes.
This list of foods will help you be healthy while not spiking your blood sugar.
Flax and Chia Seeds
Flax and chia seeds have a GI of 1, making them a great addition to any recipe. Use them in smoothies, puddings, salads, or even pizza crusts. These versatile seeds are easy to include in any recipe. Because they are high in fiber and healthy fats, they will lower your cholesterol triglycerides.
Whole grains are a perfect substitute for healthy eating when outside the home. Many restaurants offer whole grain options such as quinoa or millet. You should avoid white grains because they cause a quick and dramatic blood sugar spike after eating. With higher fiber and nutrients, whole grains GI score 45 can help regulate your blood sugar better.
Garlic is the perfect food if you have eaten for a couple of hours, think breakfast or meals 6-8 hours apart. Since blood sugar has a tendency to spike easier after not eating for a while, garlic can help slow down rising blood sugar when eating breakfast. It doesn’t have a GI score because it doesn’t contain carbs, so feel free to eat it without worrying.
With leafy greens being high in fiber and nutrients like vitamin A, it can help lower your blood sugar. Eating at least one serving of greens a day has shown to decrease the risk of diabetes by 14%. An example of some popular leafy greens are:
- Turnip Greens
With a GI score between 1-4, you don’t have to risk your blood sugar spiking. Making a smoothie in the morning is the perfect way to add in your daily dose of leafy greens.
Delicious, convenient, and great for keeping you healthy. Apples are the perfect food for keeping your blood sugar levels stable. While the carb count might be high in apples, typically 25g, its fiber slows down your body’s absorption of the carbs meaning your blood won’t spike. With its relatively low GI score, feel free to eat apples without worrying.
With an estimated GI score of 15, avocados are a healthy choice when looking to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. One study has even shown that avocados can help with diabetes management! If you need to find creative ways to replace unhealthy foods in your diet, then the avocado is right for you. Use it as a dip for celery, as a sauce for your dinner, your salad dressing, or replacement for butter on toast. There is a never-ending way to make use of the healthy avocado.
Bonus Tip: Drinking Water May Cut Risk of High Blood Sugar
While your diet is important in controlling your blood sugar, drinking water is another important factor.
As a diabetic, dehydration can cause a vicious cycle. It causes your blood pressure to fall and actually raises your blood sugar. And when your blood sugar is high, you go to the bathroom more often, causing you to be more dehydrated. Do you see the loop?
If you suffer from diabetes you need to be drinking more water because it fights back against high blood sugar spikes. Water will actually flush the sugar or glucose out of your body and keep you from falling into a dehydration cycle.
If you drink at least 1 liter or 4 cups of water a day, you lower your risks of dehydration and even other diabetic symptoms.
Here are some ways to drink more water, when water isn’t your thing:
Add fruit slices to your water. This will spice up the flavor making you more excited to drink it. This doesn’t include bottled versions of flavored water because those drinks contain lots of sugar, which will spike your blood sugar.
Drink sparkling water. Some people enjoy the taste and feel of sparkling water, and it is a good alternative to typical water.
By keeping track of your blood sugar, you’re staying in control. Diabetes or high blood sugar shouldn’t run your life. Fight back. By choosing to eat healthy foods and drinking water, you are lowering your risk of serious complications related to high blood sugar.
Start by taking one food from our list and adding it to your meals for one week. All change starts with a simple step, and don’t be afraid to go out and try something new or different.
Your health matters. Your life matters. Take care of it.