Taking time to shed your worries doesn’t just help you relax in the moment , it protects you from diabetes! “Hormones produced when we’re stressed and anxious can increase blood sugar to make diabetes more likely,” notes Uma Naidoo, M.D. Luckily, these study-backed strategies send worries packing and balance blood sugar.
Spending just 10 to 15 minutes outdoors slashes stress hormone levels to ease anxiety, according to researchers at Cornell University. Plus, the sunshine your skin absorbs while taking a midday break boosts your body’s vitamin D levels better than a supplement. That’s key since British research reveals that ample D lowers diabetes risk by a whopping 55%.
Kidney beans, navy beans, lentils and other legumes like green peas and chickpeas, plus seeds like pumpkin, sunflower and chia, boost your body’s levels of magnesium, a mineral with proven anxiety-easing effects. And these foods are rich in blood sugar–balancing fiber, explains Dr. Naidoo, author of This Is Your Brain on Food. Indeed, a study at Spain’s Rovira i Virgili University revealed that eating just over three servings a week reduced diabetes risk by 35 percent.
Try this supplement.
The calming amino acid glycine can quiet “monkey mind” so you fall asleep in just 10 minutes and sink into deep sleep 56% faster, report researchers at Tokyo’s Jikei University. Plus, a study conducted at the University of Minnesota found glycine lowered blood-sugar surges by 50 percent. Try: Life Extension Glycine 1,000 mg. (Buy on Amazon, $9). Note: Check with a doctor before supplementing.
Bump these tunes.
Soothing instrumental music can lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol by 55 percent within 15 minutes. So say researchers at Switzerland’s University of Zurich, who explain that music calms the body’s stress response. And separate research found that tuning into beloved tunes for a half hour daily normalized blood-sugar levels for 48 percent of folks within 90 days.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine.