5 Ways to Naturally Lower Blood Sugar
Hyperglycemia, more commonly known as high blood sugar, is a serious risk factor for patients with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. If allowed to progress unchecked, high blood sugar can exacerbate the symptoms of diabetes, leading to organ, nerve, and blood vessel damage, along with ketoacidosis, or a building up of acids in the bloodstream.
While drugs exist to help manage blood sugar, they are expensive and not without side effects. With that in mind, you may consider taking natural steps towards lowering your blood sugar.
1. Fiber and Carbohydrates
While different foods can have varying effects on blood sugar, there is one guiding principle you should familiarize yourself with before learning these specifics. Namely, make selections that both maximize your fiber intake while also avoiding excess carbohydrates.
In addition to lowing blood sugar, low carb/high fiber diets are extremely effective for controlling body weight, a significant risk factor for both type 2 and gestational diabetes. For the latter condition, an OB/GYN can assist you in making food selections that follow this rule while still providing adequate nutrition for your growing child.
When choosing bread, stick with whole grain rather than white bread, as it packs significantly more fiber without the presence of refined sugars. Other sources of fiber that are comparatively low in carbohydrates include nuts, seeds, and leafy vegetables.
2. Avoid Foods That Raise Blood Sugar
Not all foods are created equal. While low carb/high fiber is a good rule of thumb, some foods that meet this description are still a poor choice if you have high blood sugar. While many legumes are rich in fiber and protein, peas and lentils also pack enough carbohydrates to raise blood sugar, making them less than ideal. Instead, stick to snow peas and green beans.
Vegetables are a great way to add fiber and vitamins to your diet, but potatoes, yams, and other starchy veggie options simply contain too many sugars. Likewise, though indulging in some berries is fine, having an apple or banana can also raise blood sugar significantly, so choose wisely with fruit.
3. Eat Foods That Lower Blood Sugar
Conversely, there are a number of foods that have been demonstrated to lower blood sugar as a side benefit to being overall nutritious and healthy choices. Avocados, while high in calories, are packed with monounsaturated fat, a vital nutrient that slows the release of sugars into the blood, thereby managing the body's insulin response. As a side benefit, avocados are also helpful in lowering cholesterol.
Mangoes and blueberries may be sweet, but these delicious fruits can actually help patients with high blood sugar. Blueberries are rich with bioactive ingredients that increase insulin sensitivity and lower the risk for diabetes in predisposed individuals. While the exact reason is unknown, consuming about 10 grams of mango a day has been demonstrated to lower the blood sugar levels in obese patients.
4. Dietary Supplements
Even with a varied diet, it's hard to include every single vitamin and nutrient the body needs. This is particularly true if you have high blood sugar, as several dietary supplements can help lower levels. For patients with type 2 diabetes, cinnamon, chromium, and Alpha lipoic acid can all be used to improve insulin sensitivity and control blood sugar levels.
Unless you're spending a good deal of time outside, chances are you're deficient in Vitamin D. This essential nutrient, in addition to supporting both cardiovascular and mental health, has also been demonstrated to combat insulin resistance in obese patients.
5. Fitness and Exercise
While an exercise program can't compensate for a poor diet, it's still an essential part of lowering blood sugar and maintaining cardiovascular health. Furthermore, the extra calories burned can help accelerate weight loss and compensate for any slip-ups in your diet plan.
Thankfully, when it comes to exercise, a little goes a long way. While recommendations vary depending on age and other factors, the general guideline is to perform 30 minutes of exercise five times a week. This doesn't have to be an intense run on the treadmill, either; a brisk half-hour walk around the block a few times a week is enough to support weight loss and promote cardiovascular health.
People with diabetes may be more prone to high blood sugar, but it's a condition that can affect anyone. Likewise, the steps needed to control blood sugar can be taken regardless of other health or lifestyle conditions. Rather than relying on medications, simply adjusting your diet and adding exercise will not only improve blood sugar, but also promote weight loss, cardiovascular health, and a host of other benefits that will improve your overall quality of life.
Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and blogger for business, home, and family niches. Dixie lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband. Dixie recommends visiting an OB/GYN from a place like Lifecycles OB/GYN, PC if you have low blood sugar when you’re pregnant.