The 17 Best Foods To Lower Your Blood Sugar
For people with prediabetes, diabetes, or other conditions that affect blood sugar, diet is a major part of maintaining healthy blood sugar levels.
Although factors like body weight, activity, stress, and genetics also play a role in blood sugar maintenance, following a healthy diet is critical for blood sugar control .
While some foods, including items high in added sugar and refined carbs, can contribute to blood sugar fluctuations, others can optimize blood sugar control while promoting overall health (
What Foods High In Protein Are Good For Type 2 Diabetes
The American Diabetes Association recommends lean proteins low in saturated fat for people with diabetes. If youre following a vegan or vegetarian diet, getting enough and the right balance of protein may be more challenging, but you can rely on foods like beans , nuts and nut spreads, tempeh, and tofu to get your fix, notes the Cleveland Clinic. Just be sure to keep portion size in mind when snacking on nuts, as they are also high in fat and calories, according to Harvard Health. The American Heart Association counts a small handful of whole nuts as one serving. If you opt for unsalted almonds, 1.5 ounces will provide 258 calories and nearly 23 g of fat, per estimates from the U.S. Department of Agriculture .
Meanwhile, processed or packaged foods should be avoided or limited in your diabetes diet because, in addition to added sugars and processed carbohydrates, these foods are often high in sodium, according to the AHA. Getting too much sodium in your diet can increase your blood pressure and, in turn, the risk of heart disease or stroke, notes Harvard Health. And heart disease and stroke are two common complications of diabetes, according to the Mayo Clinic. Its important to keep your blood pressure in check when managing diabetes.
Best options, according to the ADA:
Best options , per the ADA and the NIDDK:
- Wild or brown rice
Keep A Healthy Weight
At present, two out of three adults in the US are considered to be overweight or obese .
Being overweight or obese can make it more difficult for your body to use insulin and control blood sugar levels.
This can lead to blood sugar spikes and a corresponding higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
The precise ways it works are still unclear, but theres lots of evidence linking obesity to insulin resistance and the development of type 2 diabetes .
Weight loss, on the other hand, has been shown to improve blood sugar control.
In one study, 35 obese people lost an average of 14.5 pounds over 12 weeks while they were on a diet of 1,600 calories a day. Their blood sugar dropped by an average of 14% .
In another study of people without diabetes, weight loss was found to decrease the incidence of developing type 2 diabetes by 58% .
Being overweight makes it difficult for your body to control blood sugar levels. Even losing a little weight can improve your blood sugar control.
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Work In Fermented Foods
A 2018 review of animal and human studies concluded that fermented foods such as kimchi, kefir, black garlic, and fermented soybeans may have favorable effects on people with diabetes.
In particular, scientists pointed out that these foods have the potential to help prevent complications associated with diabetes, such as heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease, by increasing antioxidant intake and fighting inflammation.
Probiotic foods are known for containing bacteria that support a healthy gut microbiome. Unbalanced gut microbiomes have been linked to impaired blood glucose control and the development of Type 2 diabetes.
In fact, scientists are still studying the effects that particular bacteria in the gut may have on the development and treatment of diabetes.
Beans Peas And Lentils
Legumes are nutrient dense and have a low glycemic index, making them a great addition to diabetic-conscious meals. Some common legumes are lentils, beans, peas, and chickpeas. Legumes are also high in fiber, which helps keep blood sugar from spiking since the fiber slows the breakdown of the foods. Try making a hearty lentil soup or having a chickpea hummus to dip veggies into.
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What Causes High Blood Sugar
To better manage hyperglycemia, its helpful to know potential triggers. Probably the first thing most people think about is foodin particular, carbohydratesand I would say even more specifically, simple carbohydrates would be the most likely culprit, says Dr. Hong. Foods that have a high glycemic index include things like white bread, potatoes, or rice.
Beyond that, a common cause for a rise in blood sugar is a missed insulin dose, but its not always a matter of forgetting an injection. For example, in patients who are using an insulin pump, if the pump malfunctions or if there is a kink in the tubing or the infusion site is lodged and they are not aware that the insulin is not infusing, then that may happen, says Lorena Wright, M.D., an endocrinologist and the director of the LatinX Diabetes Clinic atUW Medicine. Insulin that is exposed to heat wont work as well either. Its not toxic, but its just not as effective, says Dr. Wright. That means your typical dose might not be as potent as youre used to, making the insulin less effective.
What about stress or hormone fluctuations? Yes, absolutely, stress can certainly cause a rise in blood sugars, says Dr. Hong. In regards to hormonal fluctuations, some female patients with type 1 diabetes will experience differences in their blood glucoses depending on where they are in their menstrual cycle but this effect is not often seen in patients with type 2 diabetes.
How To Lower Glucose In Blood
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- Recipes To Lower Blood Pressure
- Optimal Glucose Level
- Foods To Lower A1c And Cholesterol
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Glycemic Index And Glycemic Load
When it comes to assessing foods based on how they increase your blood sugar, there is a tool for that called the glycemic index. The glycemic index assigns a number value to foods based on how quickly and how high they raise your blood sugar. Foods with a high glycemic index increase blood sugar quickly.
Glycemic load accounts for both the glycemic index and the quantity of carbohydrates in a serving. While it is generally best to eat low-glycemic foods to manage blood sugar, glycemic load might be a better indicator when making food choices. For example, while watermelon is considered a high-glycemic food, it is low on glycemic load.
High Blood Sugar Causes
Sometimes the cause of a blood sugar spike is clear . But other times, the cause is a little more mysterious.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, losing sleep, skipping breakfast, not drinking enough water, or drinking coffee can cause blood sugar instability.
Even weirder, sometimes a sunburn can cause a spike! The pain of a burn causes stress, and high levels of stress can mess up your blood sugar. So bust out the sunscreen for the sake of your pancreas!
Other causes include eating high-sugar/high-carb foods, drinking alcohol, getting sick, and changing medication. A diet low in fiber and high in refined carbs or sugars and a sedentary lifestyle also make high blood sugar more likely.
So, what can you do when your blood sugar gets too high? Here are some natural ways to get your sugar back into a safe zone.
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Reduce Your Sugar Intake
The average American consumes 22 teaspoons of added sugar per day. That translates to around 350 calories .
While some of this is added as table sugar, most of it comes from processed and prepared foods, such as candy, cookies and sodas.
You have no nutritional need for added sugar like sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup. They are, in effect, just empty calories.
Your body breaks these simple sugars down very easily, causing an almost immediate spike in blood sugar.
Studies show that consuming sugars is associated with developing insulin resistance.
This is when the cells fail to respond as they should to the release of insulin, resulting in the body not being able to control blood sugar effectively .
In 2016, the US Food and Drug Administration changed the way foods have to be labeled in the US. Foods now have to display the amount of added sugars they contain in grams and as a percentage of the recommended daily maximum intake.
An alternative option to giving up sugar entirely is to replace it with sugar substitutes.
Sugar is effectively empty calories. It causes an immediate blood sugar spike and high intake is associated with insulin resistance.
Whipped Cottage Cheese With Berries And Pistachios
Dairy foods, like cottage cheese, are convenient sources of protein that also contain essential vitamins and minerals. And data has shown that protein-rich dairy products may improve insulin secretion in individuals with type 2 diabetes.
Whipped cottage cheese combined with the antioxidants found in berries and the fiber, protein, and healthy fats from pistachios make this dish a perfectly satisfying diabetes-friendly dish.
If you want to skip traditional pasta but you still want to enjoy pasta dishes, then this recipe is for you. This zoodles veggie stir fry offers a low-carb and fiber-rich dish that is bursting with flavor. Top this with some lean protein for a dish that won’t spike your blood sugars and will be oh so satisfying to eat.
Get the recipe from Katie’s Cucina.
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Causes Of High Blood Sugar
Keeping your blood sugar levels in the optimal range is very important. If your blood sugar levels are too high or too low, they can lead to health problems, like kidney diseases, vision loss, and heart disease.
There are many quick and natural ways to lower your blood sugar levels. However, youll have to make some lifestyle changes to ensure your sugar levels dont go above or below the standard range.
Hyperglycemia or high blood sugar levels can be due to many reasons. If you have type 2 diabetes, your body lacks the ability to use its natural insulin properly. As a result, there will be a high concentration of sugar in your blood since the bodys insulin is not breaking it down at the required rate.
Likewise, if youre eating too many carbs and your body isnt producing enough insulin, you may experience hyperglycemia. If youre not as active as you used to be, that can also be the reason behind high blood sugar levels.
Besides this, physical and emotional stress can also lower your bodys sugar levels. For instance, if you have an infection or the flu, your blood sugar levels may be lower than average. Likewise, emotional stress from personal problems or family conflicts can also impact your blood sugar levels.
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What Is A Normal Blood Sugar Reading
A normal blood sugar reading for the A1C test is 5.7%. Your doctor will diagnose you with prediabetes if your A1C is between 5.7% and 6.4%, or with diabetes if your A1C is 6.5% or higher.
If you take the random blood sugar test, you will be diagnosed with diabetes if your blood sugar level is 200 milligrams per deciliter or higher.
Dr. Raja says, A normal fasting blood sugar reading should be < 200 mg/dL.
A normal blood sugar reading for the fasting test is less than 100 mg/dL. A reading between 100 and 125 mg/dL may be diagnosed as prediabetes, and a reading of 126 mg/dL or higher may be diagnosed as diabetes.
If you take the oral glucose tolerance test, a normal reading is anything lower than 140 mg/dL. A reading between 140 and 199 mg/dL is prediabetes, and a reading of 200 mg/dL or higher is diabetes.
Simple Tips To Prevent Blood Sugar Spikes
Blood sugar spikes occur when your blood sugar rises and then falls sharply after you eat.
In the short term, they can cause lethargy and hunger. Over time, your body may not be able to lower blood sugar effectively, which can lead to type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes is a rising health problem. In fact, 29 million Americans have diabetes, and 25% of them dont even know they have it .
Blood sugar spikes can also cause your blood vessels to harden and narrow, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
This article looks at 12 simple things you can do to prevent blood sugar spikes.
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Take The Medication Unless Your Doctor Tells You Otherwise
Your doctor isnt medicating you for the sake of it. There are certain health problems that will require medication to help you control your levels. This is the case with diabetes.
Its important to visit your doctor regularly. Arranged for morning appointments when you have your checks to get your morning levels recorded on a regular basis. This way your doctor can see if your medication is still needed and whether there are other things you can do instead.
Only stop taking your medication if your doctor tells you so. Youll get a good idea by your glucose levels. Track them yourself to see if theyre getting lower one week to the next. If you see a significant drop, talk to your doctor about your options for cutting back or out your medication and trying more holistic options.
If you believe you need a second opinion, dont be afraid to get one from someone reputable. Just follow the advice from those who have the degrees!
What Is High Blood Sugar
Your blood sugar level can be determined by taking a blood sample, either in a fasted state, or two hours after eating.
- If your blood sugar is less than 100 mg/dL after an eight-hour fast or less than 140 mg/dL two hours after eating, youre in the normal range.
- If you conduct a test in the morning, after sleeping for eight hours, and your blood sugar is at 126 mg/dL or higher, youve got high blood sugar.
An estimated 29 million people in the U.S. have type 2 diabetes, which is the result of blood sugar levels being consistently high. Another 86 million have prediabetes, which can lead to type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Prediabetes, however, can be reversed by finding ways to naturally lower blood sugar.
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Eat The Majority Of Your Calories Early In The Day
Dinner may be thought of as the biggest meal of the day, but if you have elevated blood sugar, you should stop thinking of things that way. And don’t “save” your calories for a big meal either.
“Eating more of your calories earlier in the day can improve blood sugar levels since our bodies follow a circadian rhythm where we process food better during daylight hours,” Harris-Pincus explains. “People who eat a larger breakfast and lunch with a smaller dinner have been shown to improve blood sugar more than people consuming the same amount of calories but during evening hours.”
Plus, when you jam everything in later in the evening at dinner, especially if you eat dinner close to bedtime, your belly might feel too full, and GI distress could prevent you from falling asleep comfortably.