Glucose is an essential nutrient that fuels the body. However, when the normal blood sugar levels go over or under, then it can lead to repercussions to one’s health. Keeping blood glucose at a healthy level goes a long way in prolonging good health and maintaining proper body functions. So, what exactly is the normal blood sugar level and how does one maintain it?
Normal Blood Sugar Levels
According to the American Diabetes Association, the normal blood glucose level is approximately 70 to 80 mg/dL before meals. In diabetics, the average blood glucose level is between 70 to 130 mg/dL before meals and is approximately 180 mg/dL and below after a meal.
For some individuals, the normal glucose level in blood is between 60 to 80 mg/dL. Take note that the level varies and depends on whether or not an individual has exercised, how much an individual has eaten, and what was eaten.
Low Blood Sugar Level
Low blood sugar is also called hypoglycemia. This happens when the blood glucose level is at 50 mg/dL. The symptoms and the severity of the symptoms differ from one individual to the next. Blood tests verify hypoglycemia, and this condition usually occurs in individuals diagnosed with diabetes mellitus.
Individuals with resistance to insulin or pre-diabetes can also get hypoglycemia, especially after fasting done over an extended period. Other causes that may lead to a low blood sugar level include insulinomas or insulin-producing tumors.
When hypoglycemia occurs, it triggers a chain of messages aimed towards the central nervous system. It then triggers a response in the body to boost the level of glucose in the blood. Hormones are released to boost glucose. These hormones include cortisol, epinephrine, glucagon, and growth hormone.
Apart from the biochemical processes occurring in the body, the individual affected by hypoglycemia is alerted of the condition. There is a sense of urgency to consume food. Other symptoms associated with this condition include the following.
- Intense Hunger
- Trouble Speaking
If an individual continues to ignore the intense hunger and goes on without food, then the blood glucose level will continue to drop. An individual may progress to a neuroglycopenic range, which means that the brain is not getting the required amount of glucose. Symptoms become severe and progress to drowsiness, confusion, and changes in behavior. In worst case scenarios, it may progress to a seizure and a coma.
High Blood Sugar Level
A condition is considered at a high level of glucose or hyperglycemia if it reaches more than 130 mg/dL. This happens when one’s body fails to maintain the normal sugar level because the cells are insulin resistant or the pancreas fails at producing insulin. Instead of moving into the cells, glucose remains in the bloodstream.
The symptoms of hyperglycemia may occur when the level is at 250 mg/dL or above. However, the symptoms do not manifest at once. Such symptoms include excessive hunger, excessive thirst, and excessive urination.
How to Lower Blood Sugar Level
1. Get Regular Exercise
Exercising regularly helps increase insulin sensitivity which means the cells efficiently utilize sugar that is present in the bloodstream. Moreover, being physically active helps one lose weight and stimulates muscle contraction. Some exercises that are recommended include swimming, biking, running, dancing, hiking, and weight lifting.
2. Control Intake of Carbohydrate
Carbohydrates are broken down into sugars that insulin moves into the cells. However, if one has insulin problems or insulin sensitivity, then the process mentioned above fails, and it leads to a rise in glucose. So, prevent this by lessening one’s intake of carbohydrates. According to the American Diabetes Association, using a food exchange system or counting one’s carb intake should help. Moreover, a diet that is low in carbohydrates prevents spikes in one’s blood sugar and reduces blood glucose levels as well.
3. Boost Intake of Fiber
Aside from a low carbohydrate diet, one should also increase the intake of fiber since it helps in slowing the digestion of carbohydrate and the absorption of sugar. However, the type of fiber consumed matters. While both insoluble and soluble fiber plays a role, the latter is said to be better at lowering blood glucose than the former.
Food that is rich in fiber includes whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables. As for the recommended daily intake, around 25 grams is recommended for females whereas 38 grams is recommended for males.
4. Keep Well Hydrated
Drinking more than the required amount of fluids in a day helps maintain the normal blood glucose levels. Moreover, keeping oneself well hydrated helps in flushing out excess sugar when one urinates. However, non-caloric beverages and non-carbonated water is the best option.
5. Control Food Portions
Controlling one’s food portions can significantly reduce the calories absorbed from food and ultimately lead to weight loss. Furthermore, when one monitors the serving size of food consumed, it also reduces sudden spikes in one’s blood glucose.
6. Control Stress
Studies have shown that stress has a significant impact on one’s blood glucose levels. During stress, the hormones cortisol and glucagon are secreted. Such hormones boost the levels of sugar in the blood. Control the levels of stress by practicing meditation or relaxation activities. Methods like yoga can help.
7. Get Enough Sleep
At least six hours of sleep is vital for one’s health and well-being. Lack of sleep or poor sleep quality can affect insulin production and blood sugar levels. Moreover, sleep deprivation has been linked to the increase of cortisol which plays a role in maintaining one’s blood sugar levels.
8. Consume Food High in Magnesium and Chromium
Micronutrient deficiencies can cause hyperglycemia. Prevent this by making sure the body gets the right amount of nutrients needed. Two nutrients that prove vital in controlling the level of sugar in the blood are chromium and magnesium.
Food rich in chromium includes broccoli, meat, green beans, nuts, cereals, and egg yolks. On the other hand, food packed with magnesium include fish, whole grains, dark leafy vegetables, avocadoes, beans, and dark chocolate.