Ways To Lower Your Blood Sugar Naturally
- To lower your blood sugar, it’s important to exercise regularly and lose weight.
- You should make sure to drink lots of water, eat less unhealthy carbohydrates, and increase your fiber intake.
- It’s also important to manage stress if you want to lower blood sugar and keep it under control.
- This article was medically reviewed by Jason R. McKnight, MD, MS, a family medicine physician and clinical assistant professor at Texas A& M College of Medicine.
- This story is part of Insider’s guide to Diabetes.
High blood sugar occurs when your body cannot convert sugar in the blood to energy for cells. This is a common issue for those with diabetes, or those at risk. If you don’t lower your blood sugar, you will be at an increased risk for serious health complications such as heart disease, kidney disease, and vision loss.
That’s why, if you already have diabetes, it’s important to frequently check your blood sugar to make sure your levels stay in a normal, healthy range.
Plus, about one-third of Americans have prediabetes or elevated blood-sugar levels and 84% of them don’t know they have it. If you have prediabetes, it’s also important to lower your blood-sugar levels to reduce your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
Here are six ways you can lower your blood sugar over time:
How To Treat A Low Blood Sugar Level Yourself
Follow these steps if your blood sugar level is less than 3.5mmol/L or you have hypo symptoms:
You do not usually need to get medical help once you’re feeling better if you only have a few hypos.
But tell your diabetes team if you keep having hypos or if you stop having symptoms when your blood sugar level is low.
Treating Mild To Moderate Hypoglycemia
If you start feeling any of the symptoms listed above, check your blood sugar as soon as possible, then follow the chart below to treat low blood sugar. If you have any concerns, or cant test immediately, its best to treat first and check when possible.
If your blood sugar is
What to do next
51 to 70 mg/dL
10 to 15 grams of fast-acting carbs, such as 4 ounces of fruit juice, 6 to 8 hard candies, or 3 to 4 glucose tablets.
Test your blood sugar again in 15 minutes. Repeat the treatment if necessary.
Under 50 mg/dL
Eat 20 to 30 grams of fast-acting carbs, such as 8 ounces of fruit juice, 12 to 16 hard candies, or 6 to 8 glucose tablets.
Test your blood sugar again in 15 minutes. Repeat the treatment if necessary.
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What Is Diabetic Ketoacidosis
If you think you may have low blood sugar, check it even if you dont have symptoms.
When too many ketones are produced too fast, they can build up in your body and cause diabetic ketoacidosis, or DKA. DKA is very serious and can cause a coma or even death. Common symptoms of DKA include:
- Fast, deep breathing.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Stomach pain.
If you think you may have DKA, test your urine for ketones. Follow the test kit directions, checking the color of the test strip against the color chart in the kit to see your ketone level. If your ketones are high, . DKA requires treatment in a hospital.
DKA happens most in people with type 1 diabetes and is sometimes the first sign of type 1 in people who havent yet been diagnosed. People with type 2 diabetes can also develop DKA, but its less common.
How Can I Be Better Prepared For Hypoglycemia
You can take some steps to be ready for hypoglycemia:
- Be aware of the symptoms and treat them early.
- Carry some fast-acting carbs with you all the time.
- Check your glucose levels frequently, especially around meals and exercise.
- Inform family, friends and co-workers so they know what do if you need help.
- Talk to your healthcare provider regularly to make and update your plan.
- Wear a medical bracelet that lets people know you have diabetes. Carry a card in your purse or wallet with instructions for hypoglycemia.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Hypoglycemia is quite common in people with diabetes. If not treated, it can cause troubling symptoms, and even serious health problems. Fortunately, you can avoid hypoglycemic episodes by monitoring your blood sugar. You can also make small adjustments to eating and exercising routines.
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The Dangers Of Low Blood Glucose
At some time, most people with diabetes experience the sweating and shakiness that occurs when blood glucose levels fall below 70 mg/dl a condition known as hypoglycemia. The average person with type 1 diabetes may experience symptoms of low blood glucose up to two times a week. However, not all are aware that these symptoms can rapidly progress to seizures, coma and even death if hypoglycemia is severe. Though hypoglycemia can be common and occur repeatedly in some people with diabetes, symptoms of low blood glucose should always be taken seriously. People with diabetes and their families, friends or coworkers should be prepared to act quickly and responsibly at the earliest signs of low blood glucose.
Check Your Blood Sugar
If you take medication that may cause low blood sugar , its highly advisable to check your blood sugar levels before you try to bring your sugar levels down.
This is just in case your blood sugar is normal or low, which can be the case in some situations.
Testing of blood sugar before bringing your levels down is particularly important if you take insulin.
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Natural Steps To Lower Blood Sugar
The good news?
Blood sugar imbalances are totally reversible, and the majority of people can find remission without pharmaceuticals through a focus on enhancing nutrition and lifestyle factors.
Here are 3 steps to lower blood sugar naturally:
Step 1: Understand How Certain Foods Affect Your Blood Sugar
Step 2: Identify Underlying Causes
Step 3: Re-evaluate Your Nutrition & Lifestyle
Heres how to get started:
How Do I Treat An Episode Of Hypoglycemia
The American Diabetes Association recommends the 15-15 rule for an episode of hypoglycemia:
- Eat or drink 15 grams of carbs to raise your blood sugar.
- After 15 minutes, check your blood sugar.
- If its still below 70 mg/dL, have another 15 grams of carbs.
- Repeat until your blood sugar is at least 70 mg/dL.
If you have symptoms of hypoglycemia but cant test your blood sugar, use the 15-15 rule until you feel better.
Note: Children need fewer grams of carbs. Check with your healthcare provider.
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Strategies Proven To Lower Blood Sugar
If youre consistently struggling with high blood glucose, either as a result of insulin resistance like in prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, or due to insufficient insulin production from type 1 diabetes or type 1.5 diabetes, there are some consistent, evidence-based strategies you can implement to help.
What Causes Blood Sugar To Be High
Many things can cause high blood sugar , including being sick, being stressed, eating more than planned, and not giving yourself enough insulin. Over time, high blood sugar can lead to long-term, serious health problems. Symptoms of high blood sugar include:
- Feeling very tired.
- Having blurry vision.
- Needing to urinate more often.
If you get sick, your blood sugar can be hard to manage. You may not be able to eat or drink as much as usual, which can affect blood sugar levels. If youre ill and your blood sugar is 240 mg/dL or above, use an over-the-counter ketone test kit to check your urine for ketones and call your doctor if your ketones are high. High ketones can be an early sign of diabetic ketoacidosis, which is a medical emergency and needs to be treated immediately.
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Go For Whole Fruit Over Juice
A glass of orange juice is not the same as eating a whole orange. “People generally drink more juice and therefore consume more calories and sugar than they would by just eating fruit,” says Wylie-Rosett. Plus, you get more fiber from the whole fruit. For instance, there’s about 4 grams in a large orange, compared to less than 1 gram in 8 ounces of juice. A small amount of juice is OK, but it shouldn’t be your go-to beverage, she says. When you do drink it, make sure you’re serving it up in an actual juice glass rather than a large cup.
Increase Your Fiber Intake
High fiber is key to the foods that lower blood sugar, so increasing your soluble fiber intake will help you lower your blood sugar. Focus on eating foods that stabilize blood sugar such as unrefined carbohydrates like whole grain bread or pasta, sweet potatoes, legumes, lentils, nuts, and non-starchy vegetables.
Another perk? High fiber foods can help you feel fuller. That can help you avoid overeating or craving foods that can negatively affect your blood sugar. Men should aim for 30 to 38 grams daily, and women 21 to 25 grams daily, according to the Mayo Clinic.
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Add More Resistant Starch To Your Plate
Resistant starch found in some potatoes and beans bypasses the small intestine and ferments in the large intestine, which means it doesnt raise glucose levels and promotes the growth of good bacteria in the body, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. Its a fiber-filled starch and helps with glycemic control, says Joelle Malinowski, RD, a certified diabetes care and education specialist with Ellis Medicine in Schenectady, New York. And the effect will last through your next meal, Weisenberger says. Its called the second-meal effect, she says.
Interestingly, resistant starch can change with heat, and some foods, like rice, are higher in resistant starch when cooked and cooled than when cooked and served warm, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.
Resistant starches are also found in:
Just be sure to keep carb count in mind when incorporating foods with resistant starch into your diet.
What Causes Low Blood Glucose
- Symptoms occur when blood glucose levels fall below 70 mg/dl a condition known as hypoglycemia.
- In most cases, low blood glucose results from overtreatment: Either taking too much diabetes medication or not eating enough food. Higher doses of medicine than the person actually requires can also lead to hypoglycemia.
- People who aim for too-low values on their A1C test tend to experience more frequent drops in blood glucose.
- Vigorous exercise doesn’t just burn calories, it also burns blood glucose! Hypoglycemia can occur unless blood glucose levels are carefully monitored during and after exercise.
- Not eating on a regular basis can deprive the body of glucose and make it difficult to prevent hypoglycemia. Eat balanced meals throughout the day and always keep a snack on hand.
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How To Lower Blood Sugar
High blood glucose can happen for many reasons.
However, high blood glucose can also happen as a result of other factors like:
- Stressful situations
- A lack of exercise
- Actively fighting a cold or flu
If you have diabetes, dealing with high blood glucose can be frustrating, and part of a larger plan to improve your overall health. However, even if you have not been diagnosed with diabetes, high blood glucose can be a warning sign of future chronic disease.
In this article, well discuss how to identify a blood sugar spike, and some warning signs on how to tell if your hyperglycemia needs immediate, emergency intervention.
Then, well touch on the most effective, evidence-based strategies to lower your blood glucose through simple lifestyle changes, and some daily tips to help make them happen.
How To Recognize Hypoglycemia
The first signs of hypoglycemia include feeling sweaty, shaky, and hungry. However, not everyone has these symptoms or notices them in time to prevent low blood sugar from getting worse. Its also important to know that your symptoms of hypoglycemia will change the longer you have T1D.
As hypoglycemia gets worse, symptoms can include:
- Feeling weak
- Having difficulty walking or seeing clearly
- Acting strange or getting disoriented
- Having seizures
Severe hypoglycemia may make you faint or pass out. This is dangerous if you are driving, climbing stairs, or doing other activities where you need to stay aware of things around you.
Hypoglycemia can happen at night. If it does, you are likely to wake up, but its important not to rely on your body to wake you up. A continuous glucose monitor, or CGM, can alert you and those around you with an alarm to let you know if your blood sugar starts getting low while you are sleeping.
Its a good idea to check your blood sugar often when lows are likely, such as in hot weather or when you travel. Your CGM can also let you know when your blood sugar is getting lower.
Watch out for hypoglycemia unawareness.
You might not have early warning signs of low blood sugar. This is called hypoglycemia unawareness, and it raises the risk of having severe lows. It is more likely if:
- You have had diabetes longer than 5 or 10 years
- You have frequent episodes of hypoglycemia
- You take certain medicines, such as beta blockers for high blood pressure
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Natural Ways To Lower Blood Sugar
Various ways can help lower blood sugar, with many of them involving food solutions. The most natural, healthy ways to lower blood sugar for the long haul include the following tips.
1. Eat appropriate portions of carbohydrates.
In other words, eating carbs in moderation is the easiest way to manage blood sugar. An appropriate portion is about 1/2 to 1 cup or 1 slice of bread products. Eating 1 to 2 servings in a single eating experience a couple times spread throughout the day is generally healthy.
2. Choose quality carbs.
Choosing plant-based carb sources like vegetables, fruits, and whole grains also include components that are correlated with actually lowering blood glucose!
3. Increase fiber intake.
Both kinds of fiber, soluble and insoluble, help to drastically reduce the breakdown of carbs into sugar and promote fullness.
4. Balance carbs with protein and healthy fats.
Just like fiber, fat, and protein to an even larger extent, help slow the release of glucose into the bloodstream.
5. Eat foods high in chromium and magnesium.
Interestingly, high blood sugar is linked to deficiencies in these two minerals, likely because they help regulate the metabolism and uptake of carbs.
Foods high in chromium include meat, whole grains, fruit, veggies, and nuts. Magnesium-rich foods are leafy greens, squash, pumpkin seeds, tuna, dark chocolate, bananas, beans, and avocados.
6 Add cinnamon.
7. Try resistant starches.
8. Consider a berberine supplement.
9. Exercise regularly.
Healthy Ways To Lower Your Blood Sugar
Make these simple lifestyle tweaks to minimize blood sugar swings and control your sugar levels.
Whether you have diabetes or prediabetesor just generally suffer ill effects from crazy blood sugar swingsyou want to know what really works to control your blood sugar levels. It can make all the difference in living well and staying off the blood sugar roller coaster that can drag down your mood and energy and skew your hunger levels. Here are a dozen tips that will help your blood sugar and your overall health.
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S To Take In An Emergency
If your symptoms persist or worsen, immediately seek out medical attention. If left untreated, hyperglycemia can lead to more serious conditions like diabetic ketoacidosis, hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state , or a diabetic coma.
Fortunately, if caught quickly, a spike in your blood glucose tends to be easily treated by medical professionals.
How Can I Prevent Low Blood Glucose
All people with diabetes:
- If you experience low blood glucose often, ask your doctor if setting a higher goal for your A1C level may be appropriate.
- Ask your doctor to look at the test results from your home blood glucose monitor. These results reveal how often you have low blood glucose and when these episodes occur. Your doctor will look for patterns to see if low glucose happens after exercise or at certain times of day, for example.
- If you’ve had low blood glucose in the past, consider wearing a medical alert bracelet so that others will know that you have diabetes in the event of an emergency.
- Keep a fast-acting carbohydrate in your bag, desk drawer, car and other places for easy access. Good options include hard candy, fruit juice or glucose paste or tablets, which can be purchased at most pharmacies.
- Ask your doctor for an emergency glucagon kit. This kit contains a fast- acting medication that can be injected in case of loss of consciousness because of low blood glucose. Keep one kit at home and one at work or school.
- Monitor your blood glucose regularly so that low levels can be corrected before symptoms progress.
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