What’s blood sugar and how to improve it

Your blood sugar indicates the level of glucose in your blood. We made it into a health indicator that translates your blood sugar-related health into one score that’s easy to understand. Here's more on how blood sugar affects your health and ways to improve it.

Blood sugar (or glucose) is needed to produce energy in your body. So, it is essential for maintaining everyday life. In terms of long-term health, an abnormal rise in blood glucose levels could lead to diabetes, harm your blood vessels and develop into heart disease. Measuring your blood sugar levels on a regular basis is therefore crucial for your wellbeing.

Biomarker that affects blood sugar the most: Glucose

One-score summary

Blood values are difficult to understand without medical knowledge. My Nightingale, therefore, translates the biomarker result into one easy-to-understand score that maxes at 100. The higher you score, the better is your blood sugar values.

How to improve your blood sugar score

Keeping blood sugar within the normal range needs depends on what you eat and how much you exercise.

Diet

Research says switching to a high-fibre diet with moderate fat content can help normalise your blood sugar levels.

Since everything that we eat has a direct impact on our metabolism, it also impacts our blood sugar levels and our body weight in the long-term. Diet is, therefore, another important pillar that has a direct effect on your blood sugar levels. Studies show switching to a high-fibre diet with moderate fat content can help normalise your blood sugar levels. The key thing here is to cut down your sugar and refined carbohydrate intake (like white bread, bakery products, sweets, chips and savoury snacks). Instead, replace them with fibre-rich foods (wholegrain, vegetables, fruits). The trick here is to first focus on foods that you consume daily. So, for example, replacing sugary sodas and juices with artificially sweetened options or water. Similarly, switching from sugar-sweetened yoghurts and quarks to unsweetened options and then using real fruits and berries to sweeten them. If you want to try out a specific diet, science says, follow the low-glycemic index diet. Glycemic index is a way to rank carbohydrates in foods based on how much a food item increases blood glucose after a meal. For instance, most high-fibre foods such as vegetables, legumes, fruits and whole grains rank low on the glycemic index and thus should be on your plate.

Exercise

Studies show just 20 minutes of daily exercise can help maintain normal blood sugar levels.

Physical activity plays a key role in training your muscles’ ability to take glucose from the bloodstream. Therefore, it also an effective way to regulate and keep your blood sugar level within the normal range. Moreover, healthy body weight is a crucial factor in maintaining normal energy metabolism and thus linked to blood sugar levels. Again, exercise helps maintain healthy body weight and thus a healthy blood sugar balance. Research shows, just 20 minutes of daily exercise can help lower your blood sugar. On a weekly basis, one needs about 2 to 3 hours of exercise to maintain healthy blood sugar. There are ample of free resources on the internet, including videos and apps, to guide you. Just search for ‘freehand or no-equipment endurance training’ and you'll find many options with different time lengths and intensity. Pick the one that suits you the best. Also, it doesn’t necessarily have to be exercise or sports –– dancing, gardening and even doing house chores like cleaning and carrying heavy shopping –– are all part of being physically active. In fact, try to include simple actions into your daily routines, such as commuting to work by bicycle or hopping off the bus 2 stops before your office and then walking to get your daily exercise –– such small steps are quite effective when they start to build up.

Along with blood sugar, My Nightingale blood analysis gives you over 20 different health results from a single blood sample. It includes a health index that gives an overview of your health, 6 health indicator –– heart age, diabetes resistance, fatty acid balance, inflammation, cholesterol balance and blood sugar –– that provide one-score summaries of different aspects of your wellbeing and numerous other biomarkers (such as GlycA, omegas, glucose and BCAAs) that give an in-depth insight into your metabolic health.