In This Article Well Take A Closer Look At What Foods Can Help Lower Blood Sugar Both Immediately And Over Time
While there isnât one food that will magically protect your body from developing diabetes, there are some foods that research has proven can help promote healthy blood sugar levels over time. Keep reading to learn what foods help lower blood sugars, and which foods to eat in the moment when your blood sugar is higher than youâd like.
*This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis, opinion, treatment or services. This article and the links contained in it provide general information for educational purposes only. The information provided in this article is not a substitute for medical care. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or registered dietitian.*
How To Get Your Blood Sugar Up
A quick way to do it is the 15-15 rule:
But donât eat too much That could send your blood sugar sky-high. Stick with repeat doses of 15 grams until youâre back to normal.
If your blood sugarâs very low or the 15-15 method doesnât work, you may need a shot of glucagon. This is a hormone your body makes that raises your blood sugar fast. Ask your doctor if you should have a glucagon rescue kit on hand. Be sure the people in your life know how to use it if you faint.
Tell your diabetes team any time you have low blood sugar, especially if itâs serious. They can suggest things to do so it doesnât happen as often.
Preventing Low Blood Sugar Levels
Here are some other tips to help you avoid low blood sugar levels:
- Eat all your meals and snacks on time and try not to skip any.
- Take the right amount of insulin.
- If you exercise longer or harder than usual, have an extra snack.
- Dont take a hot bath or shower right after an insulin shot.
- Stick to your diabetes management plan.
- Check your blood sugar levels regularly, so you can tell if your blood sugars are running too low and your treatment plan needs adjustment.
- Carry something containing sugar with you at all times and take it right away if you have symptoms. Dont wait to see if the symptoms will go away they may get worse!
Alcohol and drugs can cause major problems with your blood sugar levels, so avoiding them is another way to prevent diabetes problems. Drinking can be particularly dangerous even deadly for people with diabetes because it messes up the bodys ability to keep blood glucose in a normal range. This can cause a very rapid drop in blood glucose in people with diabetes. Drug or alcohol use is also dangerous because it may affect someones ability to sense low blood sugar levels.
Learning how to recognize the signs of low blood sugar levels and get them back to normal is an important part of caring for diabetes. Keeping track of your blood sugar levels and recording lows when they occur will help you and your diabetes health care team keep your blood sugar levels in a healthy range.
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When To Contact Your Healthcare Provider
If you have two blood sugar readings of 300 mg/dL or more or have blood sugar above your target range for more than a week, seek immediate medical help.
Hyperglycemia can turn into a medical emergency like DKA and HHS that requires immediate intervention by your practitioner or a local emergency department.
Signs of hyperglycemia include:
- Ketones in your urine
- Stomach pain, nausea, or vomiting
- Shortness of breath
Almonds Are One Of The Best Blood Sugar Stabilizing Foods
Almonds are high in monounsaturated fats which are associated with stable blood sugar levels. They are also a good source of several vitamins and minerals that can have a wide range of beneficial effects on the body. Magnesium is one mineral in particular that can lower your blood sugar. The fats in almonds are metabolized slowly by your body, as well as the protein and carbs. One cup of almonds has 45 grams of fat, 28 grams of which are healthy monounsaturated fat, 20 grams of protein, and 20 grams of carbohydrates. This is an excellent balance of carbohydrates, protein and fat which makes almonds almost like a small complete healthy meal. A perfect snack to keep your blood sugar stable throughout the day and keep you energized between meals without putting on weight.
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Why Is Blood Sugar Regulation Important
When the blood sugar levels in the body are continually unstable, there is a risk of illnesses, like heart disease and diabetes. Unstable levels of glucose can mean the cells are not being fueled properly on one extreme, and on the other, the bloodstream is overloaded with glucose.
Normal blood sugar: Although blood sugar levels vary between individuals, people without diabetes should have levels around 70 to 80 mg/dl . This reading is typically seen in the daytime, and before you sit down to eat.
High blood sugar: Did you know that a lot of people in the U.S. are considered prediabetic? This means that their blood sugars are continually on the higher end of the scale. Also called hyperglycemia, this can mean an increased chance of a damaged pancreas, stroke, and risk of atherosclerosis.
What can too much sugar in the body do?
- Slow wound healing
- And at worst, loss of consciousness
Understanding Your Blood Sugar
The best way to understand how your blood sugar changes day-to-day is to regularly use a blood glucose meter to check your blood sugar level. If youre newly diagnosed, its also helpful to keep a food journal in addition to a blood sugar log, as well as tracking any physical activity.
Your blood sugar patterns are unique to you. Over time youll have a better understanding of which foods raise your blood sugars the most, as well as how your blood sugar responds to different types of exercise.
Some people with diabetes choose to use a continuous glucose monitor to monitor their blood sugar trends.
A continuous glucose monitor is a device with a sensor worn under the skin which measures blood sugar levels every 5-15 minutes. This is useful for identifying trends in blood sugar levels and can help predict and identify hypoglycemia sooner.
Using a CGM can reduce the amount of finger prick glucose tests needed each day, which is an added benefit.
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What’s The Best Diet For Diabetes
There isn’t a specific diet or meal plan that works for everybody. Your health care provider may have you see a registered dietician or a diabetes educator who can help design the best eating plan for you. The plan will consider:
- Any medicines that you take
- Any other health conditions you have
- Your lifestyle and tastes
All eating plans for diabetes have a few things in common, including eating the right foods in the right amounts at the right times.
How Do I Treat Low Blood Glucose
If you begin to feel one or more symptoms of low blood glucose, check your blood glucose level. If your blood glucose level is below your target or less than 70 mg/dL, follow these steps
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What To Eat When Your Blood Sugar Is High
Usually, you can still eat all the regular fat, fiber, and protein-rich foods youâd typically eat when your blood sugar is elevated. There is no need to restrict food or eliminate carbohydrates in these moments, but it does warrant being more aware of the foods youâre eating and really ensuring weâre filling your plate with complex carbohydrates and nutrient-rich protein sources. Next time your blood sugar is high and youâre wondering what foods help lower blood sugars or what to eat for your next meal try one of these meals:
Have Oatmeal For Breakfast
Oats are another good choice for people with diabetes because of their low glycemic index value and high fiber content.
A 2015 review found eating whole oats with at least 3 grams of soluble fiber daily can help Type 2 diabetes patients control blood glucose levels by increasing insulin sensitivity.
You should make sure to opt for steel-cut or rolled oats, as these varieties of oatmeal are less processed, which means they absorb into the bloodstream more slowly.
Try to avoid instant oatmeal with added sugar, and if you’re mixing in fruit or other ingredients into your oatmeal, be mindful of their added sugar and total carbohydrate content.
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Risks Of Very High Blood Sugar
Hyperglycemia can be dangerous, especially for people with type 1 diabetes. It can lead to a deadly condition known as diabetic ketoacidosis .
The risk for DKA starts at 240 mg/dL, but is more likely in much higher blood sugar levels.
Signs of DKA include nausea or vomiting, fruity-smelling breath, extreme thirst, and frequent urination. You can test for ketones at home using a urine test. If you have high ketones, call your doctor or go to the emergency room.
In people with type 2 diabetes, high blood sugar can cause hyperglycemic hyperosmolar syndrome . HHS is potentially fatal and can occur after several days or weeks of sustained high blood sugar.
In people with diabetes, high blood sugar is caused by things like:
- Eating too many carbohydrates
- Not getting enough physical activity
- Stress from an illness or infection
- Taking a corticosteroid, like prednisone
- Skipping or not taking enough glucose-lowering medication
Get More Quality Shuteye
Poor or limited sleep affects body chemistry, and getting more slumber helps with blood sugar control, Weisenberger says. Chronic lack of sleep may contribute to the risk of type 2 diabetes, according to a small study published in Diabetologia in February 2015. Healthy volunteers who slept only four hours for three nights in a row had higher levels of fatty acids in their blood, which reduced insulins ability to regulate blood sugar by about 23 percent, the researchers found. Lack of sleep is also linked with other health conditions, including obesity, heart disease, and stroke, according to the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends aiming for seven to nine hours of uninterrupted sleep per night.
Having sleep troubles? Follow these recommendations from the National Sleep Foundation:
- Sleep in a cool, dark room.
- Avoid consuming alcohol or caffeine in the hours before bed.
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, even on the weekends.
- Dont look at screens for at least a half hour before bedtime, including TV, tablets, cell phones, and computers.
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Engage With Your Blood Glucose Levels With Nutrisense
Your blood sugar levels can significantly impact how your body feels and functions. Thatâs why stable blood glucose levels can be an important factor in supporting overall wellbeing.
With Nutrisense, youâll be able to track your blood glucose levels over time using a CGM, so you can make lifestyle choices that support healthy living.
Ready to take the first step? Start with our quiz to see how Nutrisense can support your health.
How Does Diabetes Affect Metabolism
Diabetes is a metabolic disorder, which means it directly impairs the bodys ability to release and store energy from food. This happens due to problems with insulin production.
When a person eats carbohydrates, the body begins to break them down into their simplest form, which is glucose. This glucose then enters the bloodstream, delivering energy to cells around the body.
Usually, if blood glucose levels are too high, the pancreas releases insulin. This hormone tells the liver to remove glucose from the blood and turn it into glycogen, which the body can use later.
However, in people with diabetes, insulin levels become lower than they need to be. This leaves high levels of glucose in the blood, which serious consequences if left untreated.
There are two main types of diabetes:
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Best Foods For Low Blood Sugar
For patients with diabetes, monitoring blood sugar levels is a part of daily life.
Low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, can occur for many people with diabetes who are on certain medications, including insulin. It can occur for a variety of reasons including skipping a meal, exercising strenuously, taking too much insulin or consuming alcohol, especially on an empty stomach.
Low blood sugar can be as minor as a slight inconvenience or as serious as a life-threatening emergency. Thats why it is important to boost blood sugar before it becomes problematic.
Angela Norton, a diabetes educator at Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center, has diabetes herself, so she knows firsthand the tips and tricks of keeping blood sugar on track. Although blood glucose is considered normal if above 70 mg/dL, Norton says patients with diabetes should not wait until they reach below that threshold to take action.
Treat when you feel the symptoms, even if your blood sugar is not below 70, because as long as it is less than 100, it may be dropping fast, she says.
When it comes to treatment, Norton shares these five foods to help boost low blood sugar.
1. CandyWhen hypoglycemia occurs, patients should follow the 15-15 rule. Consume 15 grams of carbohydrates to raise blood glucose and check your levels again after 15 minutes. When the numbers return to normal, eat a snack to stay on track.
Gummy candies contain carbohydrates, which have a large impact on blood sugar levels.
Treating Severely Low Blood Sugar
Blood sugar below 55 mg/dL is considered severely low. You wont be able to treat it using the 15-15 rule. You also may not be able to check your own blood sugar or treat it by yourself, depending on your symptoms. Make sure your family members, friends, and caregivers know your signs of low blood sugar so they can help treat it if needed.
Injectable glucagon is the best way to treat severely low blood sugar. A glucagon kit is available by prescription. Speak with your doctor to see if you should have a kit. Be sure to learn how and when to use it. Let family members and others close to you know where you keep the glucagon kit and make sure theyve been trained in how to use it too.
Its important to contact a doctor for emergency medical treatment immediately after receiving a glucagon injection. If a person faints due to severely low blood sugar, theyll usually wake up within 15 minutes after a glucagon injection. If they dont wake up within 15 minutes after the injection, they should receive one more dose. When the person is awake and able to swallow:
- Feed the person a fast-acting source of sugar .
- Then, have them eat a long-acting source of sugar .
Its also important that friends, family, co-workers, teachers, coaches, and other people you may be around often know how to test your blood sugar and treat severely low blood sugar before it happens.
If any of the following happens, your friend, relative, or helper should call 911:
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How Does Diabetes Affect Protein Metabolism
In addition to carbohydrates, the body can use protein as an energy source. In some situations, the body can break down protein from its own muscles for energy. Experts term this catabolism.
An older 2008 article notes that people with type 1 diabetes who do not have enough insulin from their medication may experience catabolism, leading to a significant reduction in muscle mass. This same effect does not occur in people with type 2 diabetes.
Things That Cause High Blood Sugar
High blood sugar can be caused by a variety of factors. The most common factors that contribute to high blood sugar include:
- Overeating/eating large portion sizes
- Using old, expired insulin
- Injecting insulin incorrectly
Most patients with high blood pressure dont have a known cause. This is called essential hypertension or primary hypertension, Dr. Raja adds.
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