Adapted by Wellsource & Tufts University Study.
Keeping your blood sugar levels under control is a proven practice to help prevent diabetes. A simple blood test can provide you with important information about your fasting blood sugar level, glucose levels, and your risk for diabetes. But there may be other uses for measuring blood sugar than diabetes alone.A new study of seniors shows that keeping blood sugar levels low can help keep your brain healthy and prevent dementia. The Tufts University study included 2,000 seniors, all free of dementia at the start of the study. After nearly seven years of follow-up, 524 people developed dementia. Among non-diabetics, those who developed dementia had higher fasting blood sugar levels. Those with higher glucose levels were 20 percent more likely to develop dementia. Among diabetics, the increase in risk of dementia was even higher – 40 percent higher in those with higher blood sugar levels. Whether you’re diabetic or not, adopting a lifestyle to help control blood sugar levels is good for the brain and may help you avoid developing dementia. Here are three proven ways to lower your blood sugar: 1. Maintain a healthy weight. If you are overweight, even losing 10 to 15 pounds can help lower blood sugar levels. 2. Get regular aerobic exercise such as brisk walking for 30-plus minutes daily. The exercise helps burn up extra sugar in the blood in both diabetics and non-diabetics. 3. Choose healthy meals – high in fiber from whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and legumes. Eat foods low in saturated fat and cholesterol, and limit red meats and high-fat dairy products. Follow a low-glycemic diet by avoiding soft drinks and other sugar-sweetened beverages and snacks. And limit potatoes, white bread, white rice, and other refined grains. If you are a diabetic, you should monitor your blood sugar levels daily and adopt healthy lifestyle habits to prevent complications from this disease. Your doctor may also adjust your medications to keep blood sugar levels in a healthy range, as measured by an A1C level of less than 7 percent. Source: Tufts University.