High blood sugar can damage your nerves, blood vessels, and organs. It can give you a heart attack, type 2 diabetes, stroke, kidney failure, or even make you blind.1,2
One of the worst things for blood sugar is to sit for hours on end. But the problem is that many of us have jobs that require us to sit at a desk for at least eight hours every weekday. Studies show that even if you exercise before or after work, being sedentary for prolonged periods can still damage your health.3
Researchers at Arizona State University studied overweight desk workers and closely monitored their blood sugar for four weeks.
During week one, subjects did their usual sedentary eight-hour work routine.
In week two, participants gradually replaced some sitting time with standing by using a standing desk. Eventually, they totaled two and a half hours of non-sitting per work day.
In week three, participants used a treadmill desk. They walked at a slow pace (1 mph) for up to two and a half hours each day while working.
In the final week, they periodically slowly pedaled a stationary bicycle fitted to their desk.
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Researchers found that just by standing for part of the work day, the subjects’ blood sugar levels dropped an average of 5%.4
The treadmill and bike desks had a bigger effect. Participants lowered their blood sugar levels up to 12%.
And the benefits extended beyond the work day. Glucose readings stayed lower throughout the evening hours.5
The researchers reported their findings in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.
The bottom line? Try to stand and be as active as possible at your desk. Dr. Barbara George is director of the Center for Cardiovascular Lifestyle Medicine at Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola, N.Y. She offers these tips:
- Take a one- to three-minute break each half hour during the day to stand or walk around. Set an alarm on your cell phone as a reminder.
- Use a standing or treadmill desk if possible.
- Instead of sitting at your desk while taking phone calls, use your cell phone to “walk and talk.”
- Try to introduce “walking meetings” at your work place.6
6 Foods That Control Blood Sugar
In addition to avoiding long stretches of sitting, certain foods are great for maintaining healthy blood sugar levels.7,8
Blueberries. A 2010 study found that blueberries not only control blood sugar by increasing sensitivity to insulin, but can help prevent diabetes.
Avocados. They are full of healthy monounsaturated fat, which slows the release of sugar into your bloodstream.
Chia Seeds. These tiny seeds pack powerful health benefits. They stabilize blood sugar and improve insulin sensitivity.
Cinnamon. A study in the journal Diabetes Care showed the spice increases your body’s ability to use insulin. This means your blood sugar levels don’t spike. One half teaspoon of organic Ceylon cinnamon, sometimes referred to as “true cinnamon,” has been shown to lower blood sugar by up to 20%. It also reduces triglycerides and LDL (bad) cholesterol.
Cherries. They contain naturally occurring chemicals called anthocyanins. A study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that anthocyanins can increase natural insulin production by 50%.
Vinegar. A study found that several drops mixed with water before a meal controls blood sugar and insulin spikes. Researchers suggest white or apple cider vinegar. Stay away from balsamic—it has a high sugar content.
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In Good Health,
Executive Director, INH Health Watch