I’m a doctor – this is how LAUGHING can control your blood sugar

Written by

Watching a stand-up, watching a comedy, or just laughing with your friends might be the healthiest thing you can do this weekend.

That’s because laughter has been shown to lower your blood sugar levels – which could well be very high compared to the Easter chocolate party.

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

It’s the result of injecting sugar into our bloodstream, giving us that blood sugar spike, which is usually followed by an energy crash.

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

Laughter has been shown to lower your blood sugar – which could be very high during the chocolate Easter holiday

“When we eat anything, especially something like an Easter egg that has a lot of sugar in it, it causes blood sugar levels to rise rapidly,” says Dr. Nicky Keay, hormone expert and honorary lecturer in medicine at the University College London.

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

“However, you can make insulin’s job easier by doing things that will help get glucose levels back into the healthy range quickly,” she says.

“Exercise is known to be one of those actions because active muscles need glucose to produce energy. We use muscles to laugh, so laughter has a blood sugar lowering effect.

A Japanese study confirms that laughter can be the best medicine when you have overdone it with sweet things.

In 2003, Dr. Keiko Hayashi of the University of Tsukuba gave two groups of volunteers, some with diabetes and some without, the same meal and then had them watch a 40-minute lecture. They then repeated the process but this time watching a 40-minute comedy.

Their blood sugar levels were tested after both activities and they found that both groups had significantly lower blood sugar levels after the comedy show compared to after the lecture.

Why is that? “Laughter can demand more muscle energy,” says Dr. Keay, author of Hormones, Health and Human Potential: A Guide to Understanding Your Hormones to Optimize Your Health and Performance.

“Our mood can also affect blood sugar control – we know that stress raises blood sugar, so the reverse could apply.”

And, as if we needed any more excuses for laughs – splitting your sides might be good for your heart, too.

“Laughter lowers stress hormones. Stress raises cortisol, which raises blood sugar, speeds heart rate, constricts blood vessels, and raises blood pressure as part of the “fight or flight” response.

“All of these responses increase the risk of long-term cardiovascular disease. But being happy and laughing have exactly opposite physiological effects.

“Therefore, laughter could help reduce the risk of heart disease, angina pectoris and stroke. Laughter can also aid circulation and could be helpful for patients with diabetic neuropathy (when nerves are damaged), one of the complications of diabetes.

“According to a study by the Institute of Psychiatry in London, being sad limits blood circulation, while laughter encourages blood vessels to function normally,” she adds.

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

“To begin with, type 2 is best treated with a healthy diet and regular exercise to encourage weight loss in obese or overweight people,” says Dr Anand Velusamy, consultant endocrinologist at London Bridge Hospital, which is part of HCA Healthcare UK.

“Monitoring blood sugar is also advised, particularly with a three-month average blood sugar test called HbA1c.

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

“Insulin therapy is used if blood sugar levels become difficult to control despite taking tablets or temporarily to achieve rapid blood sugar control.

“If you have symptoms of type 2 diabetes, including increased urination, thirst, exhaustion, and irritability, you should talk to your doctor about having your blood sugar tested.”

Six Ways to Balance Your Blood Sugar Revealed

Rob Hobson, Registered Nutritionist, Sports Nutritionist and Head of Nutrition at Healthspan, often sees private clients who struggle with reducing sugar spikes. Here are his five tips for maintaining stable blood sugar levels.

1. Chromium

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

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

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

2. Canned beans

Legumes like beans, legumes, and lentils are some of the richest sources of dietary fiber. Ensuring your meals are high in fiber can help slow the release of glucose into the blood, which helps balance blood sugar.

You can add canned legumes to many dishes, including soups, stews, and salads. They can also be used to make tasty dips like hummus.

3. Apples

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

These fruits are also a good source of a fiber called pectin, as well as antioxidant polyphenols. Try replacing your sugary snack with an apple – add a tablespoon of peanut butter to apple slices to add fiber and a bit of protein.

4. Pumpkin seeds

Not only are these seeds high in fiber, which helps balance blood sugar, but they are also a rich source of magnesium. This mineral plays an important role in the action of insulin, helping the body to use it more efficiently.

Sprinkle pumpkin seeds on yogurt, porridge, and salads or eat them 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 lowering properties. This compound is made available when broccoli is chewed and has been shown in studies to improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar.

6. Cinnamon

Research has shown that cinnamon may also help improve blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. A study published in the journal Diabetes Care found that a daily intake of 1, 3, or 6 g reduced serum glucose , triglycerides 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 topping for yogurt or porridge. Cinnamon is also available in supplement form such as Healthspan Cinnamon 1000mg (£14.45 for 120 tablets). Consult your

About the author

Leave a Comment