This is how laughing can keep your blood sugar in check (2023)

Checking out some stand-up, watching a comedy show or just having a giggle with your friends could be the healthiest thing you can do this weekend.

That's because laughter has been shown to lower your blood glucose levels - which may well be sky high over the chocolate-fest of Easter.

For many people, gorging on chocolate will result in a burst of energy, even a jittery feeling or sense of lightheadedness.

This is the result of the sugar shooting into our bloodstream, giving us that spike in blood glucose, which is usually followed by an energy crash.

As well as making us feel tired and hungry, having repeated sugar spikes and crashes has been linked to a range of health problems including obesity, diabetes and heart disease and can lead to pre-diabetes and eventually type 2 diabetes.

Laughter has been shown to lower your blood glucose levels - which may well be sky high over the chocolate-fest of Easter

'When we eat something, especially something like an Easter egg containing lots of sugar, this causes a rapid rise in blood glucose,' says Dr Nicky Keay, a hormone expert and honorary clinical lecturer in medicine at University College London.

Insulin is released to bring blood glucose levels down by helping the sugar leave the bloodstream and enter the body's cells so it can be used for energy. It also signals to the liver to store the glucose for later use.

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'However, you can make the job of insulin easier by doing things that will help restore glucose levels to the healthy range quickly,' she says.

'Exercise is known to be one of these actions, as active muscles demand glucose for energy. We use muscles to laugh, hence laughing has a blood glucose-lowering effect.'

A Japanese study confirms that laughter can be the best medicine when you've overdone it on the sweet stuff.

READ MORE: Rise of the a-choc-alypse: How super-size Easter Eggs sold by likes of Cadbury, Nestlé and Hotel Chocolat can contain almost TWO WEEKS worth of sugar (and that's not to mention the 6,000 calories)

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In 2003 Dr Keiko Hayashi at the University of Tsukuba gave two groups of volunteers, some with diabetes and some who were non-diabetic, the same meal and then made them watch a 40-minute lecture. They then repeated the process but this time watching a 40-minute comedy.

Their blood glucose levels were tested after both activities and they found that both groups had significantly lowered blood glucose levels after the comedy show in comparison to after the lecture.

Why is that? 'Laughter may demand more energy for muscles,' says Dr Keay, who is the author of Hormones, Health and Human Potential: A Guide to Understanding Your Hormones to Optimise Your Health and Performance.

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'Our mood can also affect blood glucose control - we know that being stressed raises blood glucose, so the converse could apply.'

And, as if we needed any more excuses to laugh - splitting your sides could also be good for your heart.

'Laughter lowers the stress hormones. Stress raises cortisol, which increases blood glucose, boosts heart rate, constricts blood vessels and raises blood pressure as part of the 'fight or flight' response.

'All these responses increase the risk of cardiovascular disease in the long term. But being happy and laughing has the exact opposite physiological effects.

'Therefore laughter could be instrumental in reducing risk of heart disease, angina and stroke. Laughter may also aid circulation and could be helpful for patients with diabetic neuropathy [when the nerves become damaged], one of the complications of diabetes.

'According to research by the Institute of Psychiatry in London, being sad restricts the flow of blood, whilst laughter encourages blood vessels to perform normally,' she adds.

So if you have type 2 diabetes, what should you do?

'To begin with, it is best to treat type 2 with healthy eating and regular exercise to encourage weight loss in those who are obese or overweight,' says Dr Anand Velusamy, consultant endocrinologist at London Bridge Hospital, part of HCA Healthcare UK.

'It is also advised to monitor blood sugar levels especially with a three-month average blood glucose test called HbA1c.

'The drug metformin is commonly used to treat type 2 diabetes, as it helps the body maintain healthy blood sugar levels and by improving native insulin sensitivity.

(Video) Let Laughter Lower Your Blood Sugar!

'Insulin treatment is used if blood sugar levels become difficult to control despite tablets or temporarily to achieve quick blood sugar control.

'If you are experiencing symptoms of type 2 diabetes including increased urination, thirst, exhaustion and irritability, then you should speak to your doctor to have your blood glucose levels tested.'

Six ways to balance your blood sugar revealed

Rob Hobson, a registered nutritionist, sports nutritionist and head of nutrition at Healthspan, often sees private clients who are struggling to reduce sugar spikes. Here are his five tips for keeping blood glucose stable.

1. Chromium

Chromium supports blood sugar by influencing efficient transport of glucose into the cells. Once glucose is delivered to the cells, it can be used for energy and blood sugar levels become more balanced and stable.

Chromium also helps the body to process carbohydrates, proteins and fats from the food we eat. This can also be found in a supplement. Studies have suggested that taking chromium picolinate.

(which is the easiest for the body to use in supplement form) may help to reduce insulin levels and improve blood sugar metabolism in both obese people and people with type 2 diabetes.

2. Tinned beans

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Legumes such as beans, pulses and lentils are some of the richest sources of dietary fibre. Ensuring your meals are high in fibre can help to slow down the release of glucose into the bloodstream which helps to balance blood sugar levels.

You can add tinned legumes to many dishes including soups, stews and salads – they can also be used to make tasty dips such as hummus.

3. Apples

Unlike some fruits - especially watery fruits like melons - apples have a low glycaemic index (GI) which means they release their sugars more slowly and have less impact on blood sugar levels.

These fruits are also a good source of a fibre called pectin, as well as antioxidant polyphenols. Try swapping your sweet sugary snack for an apple – add a tablespoon of peanut butter to sliced apples for added fibre and a little protein.

4. Pumpkin seeds

Not only are these seeds high in fibre, which helps to balance blood sugar levels, but they are a rich source of magnesium. This mineral has an important role on insulin action, helping the body use it more effectively.

Sprinkle pumpkin seeds on yoghurt, porridge and salads or eat as a blood sugar-friendly snack.

5. Broccoli

This cruciferous vegetable contains a type of isothiocyanate called sulforaphane, which is thought to have blood sugar-reducing properties. This compound is made available when broccoli is chewed and has been shown in studies to enhance insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar.

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6.Cinnamon

Research has shown that cinnamon may also help to improve blood glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes. A study published in the journal Diabetes Care found that a daily intake of 1,3, or 6g was shown to reduce serum glucose, triglyceride and LDL cholesterol after 40 days among a group of 60 middle-aged diabetics.

Cinnamon can be added to hot drinks, soups, salad dressings, curries and as a toping for yoghurt or porridge. Cinnamon is also available as a supplement such as Healthspan Cinnamon 1000mg (£14.45 for 120 tablets). Consult with your

FAQs

Does laughter lower blood sugar? ›

Laughter and humor have been shown to lower blood glucose levels, and reduce the risk of microvascular complications such as nephropathy (kidney damage), retinopathy (retina damage) and neuropathy (nerve damage).

What helps keep blood sugar in check? ›

Eating a healthy diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables, maintaining a healthy weight, and getting regular physical activity can all help. Other tips include: Keep track of your blood sugar levels to see what makes them go up or down. Eat at regular times, and don't skip meals.

What's the device that poke your finger to check your blood sugar? ›

They take the blood sample by pricking your skin with a small tool. A small device called a glucose meter or glucometer measures how much sugar is in the blood sample. The drop of blood you get with a finger prick is often enough to use on a test strip.

What foods can lower blood sugar quickly? ›

5 Superfoods to Lower Your Blood Sugar
  • Berries. Don't make your trip to the store fruitless. ...
  • Go nuts. That's right—go ahead and snack on almonds, cashews or even pistachios. ...
  • Leafy greens. ...
  • Non-starchy vegetables. ...
  • Whole grains.
Jan 31, 2022

What emotions lower blood sugar? ›

Among diabetic, higher blood glucose, or hyperglycemia, has historically been associated with anger or sadness, while blood sugar dips, or hypoglycemia, has been associated with nervousness.

What raises blood sugar best? ›

In general, foods that cause blood sugar level to rise the most are those that are high in carbohydrates, which are quickly converted into energy, such as rice, bread, fruits and sugar. Next are foods high in protein, such as meats, fish eggs, milk and dairy products, and oily foods.

Can lemon water lower your blood sugar? ›

Lemon is a powerhouse of Vitamin C, fibre, anti-inflammatory, and anti-oxidant properties and its low glycaemic index aids in lowering blood sugar levels significantly.

What causes blood sugar to rise without eating? ›

Dawn phenomenon—people have a surge in hormones early in the morning whether they have diabetes or not. For people with diabetes, blood sugar can spike. Dehydration—less water in your body means your blood sugar is more concentrated. Nose spray—some have chemicals that trigger your liver to make more blood sugar.

Why is my blood sugar high when I have not eaten? ›

Since your body doesn't respond to insulin the same as most, your fasting blood sugar reading can go up, even if you follow a strict diet. The boost in sugar is your body's way of making sure you have enough energy to get up and start the day.

Does squeezing your finger affect blood sugar? ›

Squeezing your finger

When you do that, you are getting some interstitial fluid rather than blood. A study shows that this “may lead to unreliable readings." Gently warming the hands ahead of time can help so you don't have squeeze so hard.

Why do you wipe the first drop of blood when checking blood sugar? ›

Wipe away the first droplet of blood with a cotton ball or gauze as indicated. Rationale: The first drop of blood may be contaminated with the alcohol used for disinfection, which may provide an inaccurate result. Newer meters no longer require the first drop to be wiped away.

Is there a device to check blood sugar without pricking your finger? ›

The FreeStyle Libre system is a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) worn on the upper arm that provides real-time blood sugar (glucose) readings. It is intended for use by people who have type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes, especially those who take insulin.

How can I flush my blood sugar fast? ›

Drinking plenty of water helps your kidneys flush out excess sugar. One study found that people who drink more water lower their risk for developing high blood sugar levels. And remember, water is the best. Sugary drinks elevate blood sugar by raising it even more.

What can I drink before bed to lower my blood sugar? ›

Drinking apple cider vinegar before meals or right before bedtime may benefit your blood sugar levels the most. For example, one study in people with type 2 diabetes found that taking 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of apple cider vinegar at bedtime for 2 days reduced fasting blood sugar levels by up to 6% ( 7 ).

Can anxiety raise your blood sugar? ›

Yes, emotions can affect your blood sugar. Anxiety, fear, even that happy feeling you had when you got that new job can be stressful sometimes. When we're stressed – whether it's physical stress or mental stress – our bodies produce hormones such as cortisol that can raise blood glucose even if we haven't eaten.

What does diabetes fatigue feel like? ›

Many people with diabetes will describe themselves as feeling tired, lethargic or fatigued at times. It could be a result of stress, hard work or a lack of a decent night's sleep but it could also be related to having too high or too low blood glucose levels.

How do you feel when your blood sugar is too high? ›

feeling or being sick. abdominal (tummy) pain. rapid, deep breathing. signs of dehydration, such as a headache, dry skin and a weak, rapid heartbeat.

What are 6 foods that prevent diabetes? ›

Some basics to get started:
  • Non-starchy vegetables such as peppers, mushrooms, asparagus, broccoli, and spinach.
  • Fruits.
  • Lean protein such as fish, chicken, turkey, tofu, eggs, and yogurt.
  • Whole grains such as quinoa, brown rice, and steel-cut oatmeal.
  • Water and unsweetened beverages.

What vitamins should diabetics avoid? ›

The 5 Supplements You Shouldn't Be Taking If You Have Diabetes
  • Chromium. Chromium is a mineral that is found in a number of foods, such as meat, vegetables, grains, fruits and nuts. ...
  • Bitter Melon. ...
  • Green Tea Extract. ...
  • St John's Wort. ...
  • Vitamin E.
Mar 1, 2023

What foods can diabetics eat freely? ›

What foods can I eat if I have diabetes?
  • vegetables. nonstarchy: includes broccoli, carrots, greens, peppers, and tomatoes. ...
  • fruits—includes oranges, melon, berries, apples, bananas, and grapes.
  • grains—at least half of your grains for the day should be whole grains. ...
  • protein. ...
  • dairy—nonfat or low fat.

Is Banana good for diabetes? ›

A person with diabetes should include a variety of fresh, whole foods in their diet, such as nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables. Bananas are a safe and nutritious fruit for people with diabetes to eat in moderation as part of a balanced, individualized eating plan.

Is Coffee good for a diabetic? ›

In short, yes, it's safe to drink coffee if you have diabetes. Although the research on coffee's benefits is mixed, as long as you keep an eye on your blood sugar and stick to coffee with less sugar, drinking coffee shouldn't be dangerous.

Can cucumbers lower blood sugar? ›

Early trials suggest that cucumber is one of the most effective plants for not only reducing blood sugar levels but also lowering the risk of hypoglycemia during a blood sugar drop. For people with diabetes, cucumber may be a helpful addition to their diet to moderate blood sugar levels more effectively.

What time of day is your blood sugar the highest? ›

The dawn phenomenon is an early-morning rise in blood sugar, also called blood glucose, in people with diabetes. The dawn phenomenon leads to high levels of blood sugar, a condition called hyperglycemia. It usually happens between 4 a.m. and 8 a.m.

Should I skip a meal if my blood sugar is high? ›

Skipping Meals

Skipping a meal can cause you to have high blood glucose levels, so don't skip a meal in an attempt to lower high blood sugar.

How can I lower my A1C overnight? ›

Exercise is one of the best ways to lower blood sugar. A single session of exercise can lower blood sugar for 24 hours or more. Get in the gym consistently, and your A1C level will drop as well.

What should my blood sugar be when I wake up for type 2 diabetes? ›

What should your blood sugar be when you wake up? Whenever possible, aim to keep your glucose levels in range between 70 and 130 mg/dL in the morning before you eat breakfast, and between 70 and 180 mg/dL at other times.

When should diabetics stop eating at night? ›

Best and worst time to have dinner for diabetics

People with diabetes should eat dinner between 8 and 9 pm. Eating close to bedtime or late at night must be avoided.

How soon after waking up should I test my blood sugar? ›

In most cases, doctors ask people to measure fasting blood sugar immediately upon waking and before they have anything to eat or drink. It may also be appropriate to test blood sugar before eating or 2 hours after a meal, which is when blood sugar returns to normal levels.

Why do I get 2 different blood sugar readings? ›

A commonly asked question is “Why do my testing results vary meter to meter?” The answer simplified is that meters are tested for accuracy and must adhere to Self-Testing Blood Glucose Monitoring System ISO standard and US guidance, and can only vary by 15 percent compared to reference method.

Can I use the same Lancet more than once? ›

The lancets are only ever used once. Some types of “lancet holders” are designed to be used to test more than one person, while others are meant to be used to test only one person.

Can blood sugar monitors be wrong? ›

When used correctly, blood glucose monitors — small devices that measure and display your blood sugar level — are usually accurate. But occasionally they may be incorrect.

What is the most common mistake in checking blood glucose? ›

One of the most common mistakes is using the same finger for the blood sugar test every day, repeatedly. Doing so may cause pain or even a minor injury. Thus, it is best to keep rotating the finger from either hand for blood sugar level testing.

Can blood sugar change in minutes? ›

Although you want to get the best results for each skin prick, when you're new to blood sugar testing it can be confusing to watch those results change throughout the day. “It's helpful to understand that blood sugar changes minute by minute,” says certified diabetes educator Karen A.

Why is it not advisable to squeeze the finger after pricking? ›

Wipe away the first drop of blood because it may be contaminated with tissue fluid or debris (sloughing skin). Avoid squeezing the finger or heel too tightly because this dilutes the specimen with tissue fluid (plasma) and increases the probability of haemolysis (60).

Where else can I poke to check my blood sugar? ›

One option is to prick the side of your finger tip instead. This part of the finger might be less sensitive. You should also read the instructions on your device. Depending on the device, you might be able to prick your palm, arm, or thigh and get an accurate reading.

Which finger is best for blood sugar test? ›

Recommended finger: the World Health Organisation recommends the middle or ring fingers are used for blood glucose tests (second and third fingers). You may want to avoid using your little finger due to the skin being thin.

How can I check my A1c at home without a pricking finger? ›

FreeStyle Libre

It does not require finger-prick blood samples. Instead, this meter reads glucose from interstitial fluids just underneath the skin. The FreeStyle Libre works via a sensor you wear on the back of your upper arm, which you apply every 14 days.

Does talking reduce blood sugar? ›

Walking at a brisk pace or moderate intensity is an aerobic exercise. When you do aerobic activities regularly over time, you can see many health benefits: Blood glucose (blood sugar) levels go down.

Does anger decrease blood sugar? ›

Anger initiates the stress response within the body causing blood sugar levels to rise, heart rate and blood pressure to increase.

Does laughing raise or lower blood pressure? ›

A rollicking laugh fires up and then cools down your stress response, and it can increase and then decrease your heart rate and blood pressure. The result? A good, relaxed feeling.

Can drinking water lower blood sugar? ›

Drinking water regularly may rehydrate the blood, lower blood sugar levels, and reduce diabetes risk ( 20 , 21 ). Keep in mind that water and other zero-calorie drinks are best. Avoid sugar-sweetened options, as these can raise blood glucose, drive weight gain, and increase diabetes risk ( 22 , 23 ).

How much does a 30 minute walk lower blood sugar? ›

Good news: Two new studies found that exercising 30 minutes a day reduces your risk of diabetes by 25 percent, and walking for 10 minutes after meals lowers your blood sugar by 22 percent.

How can I lower my blood sugar in 10 minutes? ›

Exercise (even just 10 or 15 minutes)

Physical activity can be a very effective method of reducing a high blood sugar. If you don't take insulin, exercise can be a very simple approach to reducing high blood sugar levels.

Can anxiety cause high blood sugar? ›

High anxiety can result in the release of sympathetic hormones that can elevate both cortisol and glucose levels, decrease insulin release, or affect the sensitivity and resistant of the insulin hormone.

What happens when diabetics get mad? ›

When your blood sugar fluctuates, spikes, or drops, it can produce feelings of anger, anxiety, or depression. You may feel like your emotions are out of your control. More seriously, extremes of both hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia can lead to cognitive impairment, confusion, loss of self-control, or hallucinations.

Is laughter good for the heart? ›

When you laugh, your heart rate increases, and you take many deep breaths. This mean that more oxygenated blood is circulated through your body – improving your vascular function. Prevents heart disease. Improved vascular function and circulation can also help reduce your risk of a heart disease diagnosis.

What benefits do you get with laughing? ›

Laughing boosts your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart and muscles and enhances the endorphins released by your brain. Endorphins trigger a positive feeling in the body. Improves your mood. Laughter can help lessen depression and anxiety and make you feel better overall.

Why laugh is the best medicine? ›

Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease. Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body's natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.

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