10 Ways To Lower Your Blood Sugar Naturally
A person has high blood sugar when his or her body fails to make an adequate amount of insulin. Insulin is produced by your pancreas, and it helps to regulate the blood glucose as well as the uptake of the glucose into your cells. High blood sugar (hyperglycemia) is a major feature of diabetes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at least 13% of adults in the United States have diabetes, while no less than 34.5% have pre-diabetes (1). This implies that over 50% of adults in the United States have either prediabetes or diabetes.
Here are 10 ways you can lower the level of sugar in your blood, naturally.
1. REGULAR EXERCISE
Exercise helps with weight maintenance. It also increases your insulin sensitivity. When your insulin sensitivity is high, your cells will be able to use the sugar available in your bloodstream. What’s more? Exercise helps your muscles to utilize the sugar in your blood for muscle contraction and energy.
If you’re unable to manage your blood sugar as you should, then you must carry out routine checks on your blood sugar level. By so doing, you can respond adequately to different activities and prevent your blood sugar from rising or falling to unhealthy levels (2). Good forms of exercise include brisk walking, weightlifting, biking, running, hiking, dancing, swimming, etc.
2. WATCH YOUR CARB INTAKE
Carbs in your body are broken down into glucose. Insulin, produced by your pancreas, then causes the uptake of glucose into your cells. When you eat a lot of carbs, or your pancreas fails to produce an adequate amount of insulin, then the carb metabolism process will fail, leading to a rise in glucose levels. But then, there are many things you can do about this.
According to the American Diabetes Association, carb intake should be managed by regular counting of carbs and knowing precisely how many carbs you need (3). Several studies have shown that carb counting can help you plan your meals the right way, thus enhancing blood sugar management (4, 5). Studies have also shown that a low-carb diet prevents spikes in blood sugar levels (6, 7, 8, 9). Also, a low-carb diet helps in the long-term management of blood sugar levels (10).
3. EAT MORE FIBER
Fiber slows down the digestion of carbs, as well as sugar absorption. Thus, it enhances an increase in blood sugar levels. What’s more? The type of fiber you eat is also an important factor. There are two major kinds of fiber: insoluble and soluble fiber.
Both have their advantages, but soluble fiber tends to be more involved in blood sugar management as compared to insoluble fiber (11, 12, 13). What’s more? A fiber diet improves the management of type 1 diabetes by helping with the regulation of blood sugar (13, 14).
Foods that are rich in fiber include:
- Whole grains
4. STAY HYDRATED
Proper hydration keeps your blood sugar levels at healthy limits. While it prevents hydration, drinking water also flushes out excess sugar from your blood via the urine. A particular study showed that people who drink enough water had a lower risk of developing hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) (15).
Regular intake of water rehydrates your blood, lowers the level of sugar in your blood, and reduces your risk for diabetes. Note that the best beverage you can take is water. Sugar-sweetened drinks drive weight gain, raise blood glucose, and increases your risk for diabetes.
5. CHOOSE FOODS THAT HAVE A LOW GLYCEMIC INDEX
The Glycemic index is a measure of how we digest or absorb foods. The glycemic index of food affects the rate at which your blood sugar level rises after eating that food (16). It is important to note that the amount of carbs and even the type of carbs determines the effect which that food has on blood sugar level (17).
Studies have shown that foods with a low glycemic index reduce blood sugar levels especially in diabetic individuals (18). As important as the glycemic index of a food is, the number of carbs eaten is also important (17).
Foods with a healthy glycemic index include:
- Wheat pasta
6. MANAGE YOUR STRESS
Stress has an adverse effect on blood sugar levels (18). When you are stressed, the level of cortisol and glucagon in your body rises. These hormones cause a spike in your blood sugar levels (18, 19).
Results from a particular study showed that relaxation, exercise, and meditation had a significant reducing effect on stress, and also lowered the levels of blood sugar in students (20). Relaxation methods like yoga can correct problems with insulin secretion in people with diabetes (20, 21, 22, 23).
7. WATCH YOUR BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS
One of the best ways to manage your blood glucose level is by measuring and monitoring it. For instance, tracking your blood glucose level helps you determine whether there’s a need to adjust your medications or meals (24). You’ll also be able to find out your body’s specific reaction to certain foods (25, 26). You must measure your sugar levels daily. You can keep track of the figures in a log.
8. GETTING ENOUGH SLEEP IS IMPORTANT AS WELL
There’s nothing as good as sleeping well. It gives that great feeling and also improves your health (27). Not sleeping well can affect your blood sugar level. It can also affect insulin sensitivity. Poor sleep habits also increase appetite and trigger weight gain (28, 29).
People who are deprived of sleep usually have very low growth hormone secretion and high cortisol levels. Both factors are highly involved in blood sugar management (30, 31, 32). What’s more? Adequate sleep involves both the quality of sleep and the quantity. So, you have to sleep well every night (33).
9. EAT MAGNESIUM- AND CHROMIUM-RICH FOODS
Micronutrient deficiencies contribute to diabetes and high blood sugar levels (34). Examples of micronutrient deficiencies that may lead to diabetes include magnesium and chromium deficiencies. Chromium plays an important role in fat and carb metabolism. It also plays an important role in the regulation of blood sugar levels. Chromium deficiency is a major predisposing factor to carb intolerance (34).
How it happens is not entirely understood. There are mixed reports from studies carried out so far. Several studies have found that diabetes patients benefit immensely from chromium. Results from the studies showed that it helped in long-term blood sugar management (35, 36, 37, 38). Examples of foods that are rich in chromium include whole grains, meats, fruits, nuts, and vegetables. Studies have also shown the benefits of magnesium in maintaining blood sugar levels. Magnesium deficiency increases a person’s risk of developing diabetes (34, 39, 40).
What’s more? High intake of magnesium has been linked with a 47% reduction in the risk of developing type 2 diabetes (41). If your natural diet is already rich in magnesium, you probably do not need the supplements (42). Examples of foods that are rich in magnesium include tuna, dark leafy greens, whole grains, pumpkin seeds and squash seeds, beans, bananas, and dark chocolate.
10. APPLE CIDER VINEGAR
Apple cider vinegar has immense benefits. First, it lowers fasting blood sugar levels by decreasing the production of glucose by the liver or by increasing cellular utilization of glucose (43, 44, 45). Also, several studies have found that vinegar has a significant influence on the body’s response to sugar. It also improves the body’s sensitivity to insulin (46, 47). You must consult your healthcare provider before taking apple cider vinegar, as it may interact with some medications.