These double-duty strategies steady blood sugar to lower the risk of COVID complications by 65 percent — plus deliver extra health perks!
A magnesium boost ends anxiety.
A review of 13 studies suggests taking 400 milligrams of magnesium daily at bedtime can reduce your risk of blood-sugar troubles by 60 percent. The essential mineral strengthens and heals your pancreas while you sleep, helping it produce sugar-controlling insulin during the day, says endocrinologist Martha Moran, M.D. Plus, University of Vermont researchers report that magnesium soothes muscle tension and calms electrical activity in the brain, cutting your risk of anxiety in half if you take it daily. Try our favorite magnesium supplement!
Snapping fall garden photos heightens energy.
To add a little pep to your step, simply spend 10 minutes daily taking beautiful fall photos that you can enjoy all winter long, like the first hint of frost in your garden, or the pile of leaves under your favorite tree. Doing so stimulates your brain’s frontal lobes, increasing the production of energizing beta waves for up to 2 hours.
It will also improve your blood-sugar control by 33 percent: Researchers at Missouri’s Logan University say capturing memories and anticipating enjoyment of them later tamps down the production of blood sugar–disrupting stress hormones.
A soothing after-dinner sip enhances digestion.
Enjoying six ounces of tea (black, green, or oolong) after meals triggers the release of digestion-enhancing stomach acid to cut your risk of bloat in half. The soothing sip also tames blood-sugar fluxes by 48 percent, suggests research published in the journal Nutrients. According to the study authors, tea’s polyphenols stop glucose spikes by slowing the absorption of simple carbohydrates in the intestines.
A sniff of vanilla deepens sleep.
Inhaling the aroma of vanilla at bedtime is proven to help you drift off 20 minutes faster and sleep more soundly, and it can reduce your risk of blood-sugar troubles by 55 percent! British researchers say its aromatic oils calm the adrenal glands to reduce the production of the stress hormone cortisol by 33 percent — and when levels drop, muscle cells can better soak up and burn blood glucose for fuel.
A peanut butter snack improves mood.
There’s a reason dipping into the peanut butter jar is so enjoyable: Fats in the spread activate enzymes that produce mood-boosting serotonin, say Stanford University researchers, helping to shake off the doldrums in 20 minutes. And if the gap between your meals is four hours or more, snacking on three tablespoons of natural peanut butter could cut your blood-sugar ups and downs by 40 percent, say Brazilian scientists, who credit peanuts’ sugar-stabilizing copper, manganese, and plant fats.
Rubbing this spot before you eat sharpens focus.
Ear massages prompt the release of the focus-enhancing neurotransmitter dopamine, say University of Connecticut researchers, helping you think clearly and concentrate for up to 90 minutes per three-minute squeeze. And giving yourself this mini massage before each meal could reduce blood-sugar swings by 30 percent, say Canadian researchers. The reason: Stimulating pressure-sensitive nerves in your ears relaxes and opens arteries, helping glucose quickly reach the cells that need it.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine.