November is Diabetes Awareness month and we are excited to share some tips to help reduce and regulate your blood sugar levels. Regulating your blood sugar is important because having a high amount of sugar in your blood can result in damage to the blood vessels, nerves and kidneys, among other organs. Naturopathic medicine offers many different tools to help prevent developing type II diabetes and reverse prediabetes. Here are a couple ways you can get started:
Many times, we are told what to remove from our diet in order to manage blood sugar, but it is very important to replace our high-sugar staple foods with alternatives that we find just as satisfying. Here at BCNH, we suggest trying a Mediterranean-style diet. The Mediterranean diet is all about eating a variety of plant-based foods, legumes, nuts and moderate whole grains. It favors replacing unhealthy fats with olive oil and avocado and favors replacing high red meat intake with fish and poultry.
Incorporating more fiber into your meals has a variety of health benefits, including regulating your blood sugar. In particular, soluble fiber has been shown to slow the absorption of sugar from the gut into the blood stream during and after your meal. As a bonus, soluble fiber also reduces the absorption of cholesterol into the blood stream. Some examples of soluble fiber include black and lima beans, tofu, avocado, sweet potato, nuts, lentils, peppers, squash, apples, dark leafy greens, and more. For most adults, we typically recommend starting at 30 grams of fiber per day and working up from there.
Go for a Post-Meal Walk:
Post-meal walking is an amazing habit to help reduce blood sugar levels that can be done after each meal. One of our physicians [Dr. Pellegrini] at BCNH describes muscles as “sugar sponges”. When you activate your muscles after a meal, they start to utilize the sugar available in your blood as energy. This helps to reduce your blood sugar level after a meal without requiring a spike in insulin. One study showed that walking for 15 minutes after each meal is more effective at regulating blood sugar levels compared to taking one 45-minute walk each day.
A Spin on Stress:
You have probably heard about the connection between high stress levels, cortisol and increasing blood sugars, but have you heard that if a situational shift is not currently possible that a mindset shift can change your physiology? A landmark study showed that people who had high levels of stress, but did not believe stress was harmful to their health, actually lived longer than people who had high levels of stress and believed stress was harmful to their health. This shows that it is not the stress that kills us, but rather our negative perception of the stress. Need help shifting this mindset? Schedule an appointment with the BCNH mind body department to learn some mindset shifting tools.
At Bastyr Center for Natural Health and Bastyr University Clinic, we have two whole clinic shifts dedicated to diabetes care and management. If you need help initiating new habits or finding the treatment regimen that works best for you, come see us in the clinic!
 Riccardi G, Rivellese AA. Effects of dietary fiber and carbohydrate on glucose and lipoprotein metabolism in diabetic patients. Diabetes Care. 1991;14(12):1115-1125. doi:10.2337/diacare.14.12.1115.
 Pahra D, Sharma N, Ghai S, Hajela A, Bhansali S, Bhansali A. Impact of post-meal and one-time daily exercise in patient with type 2 diabetes mellitus: a randomized crossover study. Diabetol Metab Syndr. 2017;9:64. Published 2017 Aug 31. doi:10.1186/s13098-017-0263-8.
 Keller A, Litzelman K, Wisk LE, et al. Does the perception that stress affects health matter? The association with health and mortality. Health Psychol. 2012;31(5):677-684. doi:10.1037/a0026743.
By: Dr. Brandilyn Binstick
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