High levels of blood sugar can be indicative of a range of problems, including a reduced level of insulin sensitivity, prediabetes, and even diabetes.
Lowering your blood sugar can help to boost overall health as well as delay or prevent the development of chronic health conditions.
Understanding what causes blood sugar spikes and how to lower your overall blood sugar level in a natural way can help to keep you in good health.
Whether you want to understand at-home blood sugar management for your health or to manage a preexisting health condition, this article can help you out.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at a few ways that you can lower your blood sugar at home, including:
Keeping track of your blood glucose levels helps you to actually see how much you have eaten.
This can help you to know when to stop eating foods containing glucose and can show you when you’re more likely to eat too much, i.e. when you go out to eat.
Understanding when and how you’re likely to eat too much, causing a blood sugar spike, can help you create healthier habits.
There are a few different ways you can track your blood glucose levels including writing it down and downloading an app that allows for easy input and tracking.
Carbohydrates are your body’s main source of glucose. When you eat carbs, your body breaks them down into sugar which is then stored (with the help of insulin) to be used for energy.
If you eat too many carbs your body may not be able to produce enough insulin to deal with the increase in blood sugar causing a spike.
Cutting down on carbs is a really easy way of enacting blood sugar control. By reducing the amount you eat, you’re reducing your chances of a blood sugar spike.
To reduce your carbohydrate intake, you could track the carbs you eat and limit yourself to a certain amount.
You could also try limiting the refined carbohydrates you eat as these have a higher glycemic index than unrefined carbohydrates, and therefore lead to higher blood sugar spikes.
Try cutting out white bread and white pasta, opting instead for whole grains.
Women should aim to eat between 21g and 25g of fiber per day, and for men, it should be between 30g and 38g.
Eating fiber is a great way of managing your blood sugar. As the body cannot break down fiber, it cannot cause a spike in your blood sugar as other carbohydrates do.
Good sources of fiber include beans, grains, brown rice, berries, nuts, and sugar-free cereals.
If you choose to consume fruit for your fiber intake, make sure to eat the whole fruit rather than drinking fruit juice as the fiber element is removed in juices. Drinking too much juice is an easy way to consume too much sugar without realizing it.
Probiotic foods are well-known for their many health benefits, including their ability to lower your blood sugar.
Many studies have shown a marked reduction in blood sugar levels in subjects who consume probiotic foods.
Good probiotic foods to add to your diet include yogurt (provided it contains live cultures), kefir, sauerkraut, tempeh, and kimchi.
High levels of blood sugar have been linked to specific nutrient deficiencies, including chromium and magnesium.
Chromium is used in the body to metabolize carbs and fat, and may also improve the action of insulin. This means chromium may have an impact on your levels of blood sugar.
Foods rich in chromium include meat, whole grain products, fruit, vegetables, and nuts.
Magnesium is also thought to impact levels of blood sugar and diets rich in magnesium are thought to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Magnesium-rich foods include tuna, dark leafy greens, whole grain products, dark chocolate, bananas, avocados, and beans.
Foods with a lower glycemic index are broken down more slowly in the body. This means they will not cause a massive spike in blood sugar after consumption.
Eating foods with a low glycemic index can help with the management of your blood sugar.
Bread products with a low glycemic index include wholemeal bread and multi-grain bread. You could also opt for grain-free bread.
The key to eating bread and maintaining low blood sugar is to choose bread products with lots of fiber and avoid refined ingredients, like white flour.
Though fruit does contain natural sugar, it comes packaged with lots of fiber which helps to keep your blood sugar at a controlled level when you consume it.
Fruits with low glycemic indexes include cherries, grapefruit, pears, apples, plums, and strawberries.
Eating fruit can be a good way of satisfying your sweet tooth without causing a spike in blood sugar.
Sweet potatoes are a form of carbohydrate and so can cause an increase in blood sugar, but they can be consumed as part of a healthy diet.
Orange sweet potatoes have a higher glycemic index than other sweet potatoes so it is best to consume them in moderation. When cooking sweet potatoes, boil or steam them rather than baking them.
Oats are a good choice of cereal grain for those looking for ways to lower their blood sugar. These grains have a relatively low GI.
Oatmeal and other oat-containing products are great to add to your diet, but you should avoid instant oats with lots of sugar.
Always check the label of oat products to ensure you’re not unwittingly consuming lots of sugar in the form of flavorings.
Nuts and seeds generally have low carbohydrate values which means they do not cause a spike in blood sugar.
Nuts and seeds with a low glycemic index include peanuts, walnuts, macadamia nuts, almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, and flaxseeds.
Legumes generally contain lots of dietary fiber which helps to slow the digestion process and reduce sharp increases in blood sugar.
Legumes to add to your diet for lower blood sugar include chickpeas, kidney beans, pinto beans, lima beans, split peas, edamame, and tofu.
Research suggests that consuming garlic has a positive effect on the management of blood sugar.
Adding garlic to your diet can be done in a few ways. It can be used in recipes for pasta, soup, and a stew as a seasoning. It may also be added to bread to make toasted garlic bread and could be added to juices and smoothies if you can stand the taste!
Studies have shown that fatty fish is a good choice for people living with diabetes due to its ability to improve blood sugar regulation.
Salmon, sardines, herring, and mackerel are all good examples of fatty fish to add to your diet. Fatty fish is a healthy addition to your diet and can protect against many health conditions including cardiovascular disease.
As long as you are choosing low sugar yogurt options consuming yogurt will not increase your blood sugar levels.
With a high protein content and low carb value, yogurt does not cause spikes in blood sugar. It is also a probiotic (provided you choose a product with live cultures) which can help to lower blood sugar.
Eating snacks between meals can actually help to reduce the incidence of blood sugar spikes, but it is important that these snacks are healthy.
Choosing options like a handful of almonds, a hard-boiled egg, avocado, carrot sticks and hummus, and roasted chickpeas can all help to keep your blood sugar levels low in between meals.
There are some foods that are thought to have a direct impact on blood sugar levels, helping to improve insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance.
We have listed a few common ones below that you should consider adding to your diet to lower blood sugar levels.
Eating smaller portions more frequently can help to keep your blood sugar at a more balanced level. Indeed portion control is often cited in type 2 diabetes care for maintaining good glycemic control.
Eating at regularly scheduled intervals allows your body to get the nutrition it needs as well as allowing it the time to break down and store glucose as energy.
Eating at irregular intervals can result in there being more glucose in your blood than the body can break down. Eating at regular intervals means staying within the limits of the body’s ability to break down glucose.
Skipping meals is incredibly harmful to your blood sugar levels, especially for those with diabetes.
Not eating a meal, whether breakfast, lunch, or dinner, can result in dangerously low blood sugar levels which could be life-threatening to those with diabetes.
With all the vitamins and supplements on offer today, it may feel easier to just take a handful of them each day to meet your dietary needs, but it is actually better for you to try and get all of your vitamins and minerals from the food you eat instead.
Making sure you have a healthy and well-rounded diet is key to maintaining healthy levels of blood sugar.
Remember to speak with your doctor if you are thinking of trying a new diet to ensure it is safe for you.
Hydration is essential to staying healthy but drinking more water may also help your kidneys to flush out excess sugar, helping you to maintain lower levels of blood sugar.
Research suggests that those who drink more water are actually at a lower risk of developing high blood sugar.
Physical activity and health go hand-in-hand. Getting more exercise can help you to reduce your body weight and may improve your body’s sensitivity to insulin. It also ensures that your muscles use up the blood sugar you’ve stored for energy.
Chronic stress wreaks absolute havoc on your body, including having a negative impact on your blood sugar levels. Reducing stress can help you to manage your blood sugar levels as well as many other health conditions and it can improve your overall health.
There are many ways to reduce stress including practicing mindfulness techniques, meditating, trying some yoga, and exercising more frequently.
Getting quality sleep is integral to maintaining good health. A lack of sleep can increase your risk of a range of health conditions, including type 2 diabetes.
In addition, lack of sleep increases the amount of the stress hormone, cortisol, in your body which has a direct link to blood sugar regulation.
Research suggests that healthy body weight can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and reduce your need for diabetes medication, like rapid-acting insulin.
If you struggle with weight management, you could try following a time-restricted eating diet, like the 16:8 intermittent fasting method, which has been shown to help people to lose weight who have previously found it difficult.
Losing weight helps to reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes as well as other illnesses like heart disease.
Getting regular checkups from your doctor is a good way of maintaining your overall health as well as keeping a check on your blood sugar levels.
If you are concerned about developing diabetes or have experienced any symptoms of diabetes, speak with your doctor as quickly as possible to avoid a medical emergency.
Signs of high blood sugar include:
High blood sugar, or hyperglycemia, can occur for a number of reasons, including illnesses like colds, stress, lack of exercise, or undiagnosed diabetes.
Seek urgent medical attention if you are feeling or being sick, have a fever, have signs of dehydration, or are having trouble staying awake and have high blood sugar.
These symptoms could be indicative of something more serious, including diabetic ketoacidosis which can affect those with both type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes.
Diabetic ketoacidosis constitutes a medical emergency and is caused by a lack of insulin which results in the breakdown of fatty acids for fuel rather than blood sugar, leading to the release of ketones into the body.
It affects those with type 1 diabetes more often than those with type 2 diabetes.
Lowering your blood sugar is a great way of reducing your risk of developing type 2 diabetes but it can also help reduce your risk of other illnesses including heart disease, vision loss, and kidney disease.
Long-term, high blood sugar can also cause damage to organs, blood vessels, and nerves.
Whether you’re trying to prevent the development of diabetes or you want to manage your blood sugar or type 2 diabetes, you probably want to know how long it's going to take to lower your blood sugar naturally.
Without taking diabetes medication, like long-acting insulin, you can successfully begin to lower your blood sugar naturally in 2 - 3 weeks.
There is some evidence to suggest that you could reverse diabetes with natural blood sugar-lowering methods, though it may take longer and is unlikely to be permanent.
If you’re wondering how to lower blood sugar levels, then our eighteen tips should give you some great ideas to get started.
Whether you’re trying to manage your glycemic control with type 2 diabetes, or you just want to be healthier, getting your blood sugar under control is essential.
Check out our tips and see how much better you feel with lower blood sugar!
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