Balancing your blood sugar shouldn’t be a juggling act. These simple strategies are proven to stabilize blood sugar — while delivering extra health perks.
A quick stroll.
Between drive time, desk time, and downtime, we tend to do a lot of sitting. But taking a 10-minute walk after dinner can reduce blood sugar spikes up to 22 percent, according to researchers at the University of Otego in New Zealand. No time to go for a walk? You can enjoy the same healthy dip in blood sugar just by swinging your arms. Doing this for five minutes every half hour has been shown to lower blood sugar by up to 58 percent.
A soothing soak.
Soaking in a hot tub, curling up with a great book — carve out 30 minutes each evening for your favorite stress-buster and you’ll cut your risk of blood-sugar troubles and funky moods by 45 percent, report researchers in the Journal of Epidemiology.
A magnesium boost.
A review of 13 studies suggests taking 400 mg. of magnesium daily at bedtime can reduce your risk of blood-sugar troubles by 60 percent. The essential mineral strengthens and heals your pancreas while you sleep, helping it produce sugar-controlling insulin during the day, says endocrinologist Martha Moran, MD. Plus, University of Vermont researchers report that magnesium soothes muscle tension and calms electrical activity in the brain, cutting your risk of anxiety in half if you take it daily.
A mini massage.
Ear massages prompt the release of the focus-enhancing neurotransmitter dopamine, say University of Connecticut researchers, helping you think clearly and concentrate for up to 90 minutes per 3-minute squeeze. And giving yourself this mini massage before each meal could reduce blood-sugar swings by 30 percent, say Canadian researchers. The reason: Stimulating pressure-sensitive nerves in your ears relaxes and opens arteries, helping glucose quickly reach the cells that need it.
A delicious brew.
Enjoying 6 ounces of tea (black, green or oolong) after meals triggers the release of digestion-enhancing stomach acid to cut your risk of bloat in half. The soothing sip also tames blood-sugar fluxes by 48 percent, suggests research published in the journal Nutrients. According to the study authors, tea’s polyphenols stop glucose spikes by slowing the absorption of simple carbohydrates in the intestines.
A sniff of vanilla.
Inhaling the aroma of vanilla at bedtime is proven to help you drift off 20 minutes faster and sleep more soundly, and it can reduce your risk of blood-sugar troubles by 55 percent! British researchers say its aromatic oils calm the adrenal glands to reduce the production of the stress hormone cortisol by 33 percent — and when levels drop, muscle cells can better soak up and burn blood glucose for fuel.
A pretty view.
Just stepping outside at the end of the day for 20 minutes to watch the sunset can heighten your blood-sugar control, mood and energy level by as much as 45 percent. That’s the word from University of Connecticut researchers, who say the nightly blast of fresh air, combined with the pretty views, tamps down your adrenal glands’ production of the stress hormone cortisol.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Reverse Diabetes (Buy on Amazon, $12.99).