Sometimes, I come across new studies that offer up exciting information on how natural remedies used for centuries are being used in new ways to fight back against common illnesses. A recent example: mindfulness, blood sugar levels, and your risk for prediabetes.
How a Sweet Treat Affects Blood Sugar
I have a little confession to make: I treated myself to a donut this morning…and it was delicious.
Eating a sugary treat feels good. I love the taste and sensation of eating a piece of cake or candy bar. I bet you do, too.
But every time you eat these snacks—or eat anything with carbohydrates—your blood sugar level jumps. It’s a completely normal reaction, and your body knows what to do with it. However, if you’re consistently eating large amounts of sugar-laced treats or carbohydrates, you could be exposing your body to irregularly high blood glucose levels.
You might not think that having a lot of sugar in your blood is that big of a deal. If your blood sugar levels are elevated for the majority of the day, though, it can turn into trouble. Regularly high fasting blood sugar levels are a symptom of prediabetes, which is just one step before type 2 diabetes. Consistently high blood sugar can also lead to heart problems, cardiovascular disease, and other dangerous chronic health conditions.
However, there’s a new way of controlling blood sugar in obese and overweight individuals that has little to do with diet.
Stress, Mindfulness, and Blood Sugar
You’re surely aware that stress plays a major role in your health. Stress levels can impact weight gain and regular bodily functions in a myriad of ways, so controlling stress has been noted as a way to improve overall health. A new study has indicated that practicing mindfulness as a way of reducing stress may also lower fasting blood glucose levels.
Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) is a meditation program that involves paying attention to your thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations at the present moment, predominantly through breathing awareness.
The study tracked 86 obese and overweight women. It found that those women who participated in MBSR experienced significant reductions in their fasting blood glucose levels and overall stress, while experiencing increases in overall mindfulness and stress reduction.
What’s interesting about these results is that the women didn’t see a decline in their weight or improvements with insulin resistance. This indicates that stress and MBSR might be independent factors for high blood sugar. What could be even more valuable is that including MBSR and stress-reduction techniques in your daily life could be a way to reduce your risk of prediabetes and diabetes.
More work will need to be completed to further understand the role of mindfulness and stress reduction for blood sugar levels, but this result is definitely promising.
Source for Today’s Article:
The Endocrine Society, “Stress reduction may reduce fasting glucose in overweight and obese women,” ScienceDaily web site, March 6, 2015; http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150306181815.htm.