3 Expert-Backed Ways To Support Healthy Blood Sugar Levels
Maintaining healthy, steady blood sugar levels is more than just avoiding hanger (though that's important, too). It also supports positive cardiovascular and metabolic health outcomes. The good news: Experts have a few tips for how to support healthy blood sugar levels on a daily basis, to support your overall health and well-being:
1. Be mindful of high-glycemic load foods.
Maintaining an overall healthy, balanced diet is one of the first steps to keeping consistent blood sugar levels. That said, even when you're eating nutritious foods, it's important to keep the glycemic load of your diet in mind. To do so, you need to be mindful of the glycemic index—a scoring system that classifies foods by their impact on blood glucose response—of your foods in mind.
"Stressing what are high-glycemic [load] foods versus low-glycemic is the true key to blood sugar balance," says Leah Johansen, M.D., a board-certified family medicine physician who specializes in functional medicine. For reference, foods with a higher glycemic impact include refined carbs, potatoes, and even watermelon, while foods like leafy greens, quinoa, and apples fall in the low-glycemic range.
2. Incorporate a greens powder.
In addition to low-glycemic fruits and veggies, as part of your balanced diet, it's important to include plenty of fiber and a variety of macronutrients.
"Getting enough fiber each day is essential for healthy blood sugar levels," says Frances Largeman-Roth, RDN, nutrition expert and author of Smoothies & Juices: Prevention Healing Kitchen. "Adults should get 25 to 35 grams each day, but most of us fall short. If you spread it out to five meals (including snacks) a day, that's 5 grams of fiber per meal."
Incorporating a greens powder can help: mindbodygreen's organic veggies+, in particular, contains a good source of prebiotic fiber in every serving. In addition to a blend of many nutritious leafy greens and veggies, the formula features a fiber blend of flaxseed and inulin from the agave plant.
"It also provides cinnamon bark extract, which promotes healthy blood sugar balance by slowing the breakdown of carbohydrates during digestion,"* Jessica Cording, M.S., R.D., CDN, previously told mindbodygreen. In fact, some research indicates that cinnamon supports healthy blood sugar by promoting insulin sensitivity, or making insulin more efficient at moving glucose into cells.* All in all, mbg organic veggies+ is a targeted nutritional tool to help maintain healthy blood sugar levels.*
3. Try a fasted workout in the morning.
Regular exercise can be a helpful way to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Your muscles need glucose for fuel, so when you crank out a Pilates or strength workout, blood sugar moves from the bloodstream to the muscles.
As for the optimal time of day to break a sweat? Integrative physician Amy Shah, M.D., recommends first thing in the morning, before you've eaten. "Your body uses up blood sugar overnight," she says. "Once that runs out, it uses liver glycogen (stored sugar)."
According to Shah, that means, when you fast overnight (also referred to as a circadian fast) and do a fasted workout, "you are using up all the glucose in your system so that when do you start eating again, your body is sensitized to insulin."
So whether blood sugar is already top of mind or you just want to support overall health, these expert-backed tips should help you reach your goals!
Kristine Thomason is the health and fitness director at mindbodygreen. Kristine is a New York University graduate with a degree in journalism and psychology, and also a NASM-certified personal trainer. She has spent her editorial career focused on health and well-being, and formerly worked for Women’s Health and Health. Her byline has also appeared in Men’s Health, Greatist, Refinery29, HGTV, and more. In her current role she oversees, edits, and writes for the health, food, and movement sections of mindbodygreen.