Choose Low Glycemic Index Foods
The glycemic index measures and ranks various foods by how much they cause blood sugar levels to rise. Research shows that following a low glycemic index diet decreases fasting blood sugar levels.
Low glycemic index foods are those that score below 55 on the glycemic index. Examples of low glycemic foods include:
- sweet potatoes
How To Lower Blood Sugar Immediately
Michael Menna, DO, is a board-certified, active attending emergency medicine physician at White Plains Hospital in White Plains, New York.
If you have high blood sugar, a condition also known as hyperglycemia, theres too much sugar in your blood and not enough insulin in your body to lower it. In people with diabetes, hyperglycemia can be caused by things like eating too many carbohydrates, lack of physical activity, stress from an illness or infection, nondiabetes medications , or skipping or not taking enough glucose-lowering medication.
Hyperglycemia requires immediate treatment to prevent serious complications, including nerve, tissue, and organ damage diabetic ketoacidosis and hyperglycemic hyperosmolar syndrome . While taking rapid-acting insulin is the quickest way to lower your blood sugar, there are other ways like exercising and staying hydrated that can help. In cases of an emergency, contact your doctor immediately.
Foods That Can Lower Your Blood Sugar Naturally
It’s no exaggerationbalancing your blood sugar could be a matter of life or death. Chronic high blood sugar levels are toxic to your body, destroying organs and blood vessels and paving the way to a heart attack, type 2 diabetes, stroke, dialysis, nerve damage, erectile dysfunction, or even blindness. The good news? Out-of-control sugar levels can be reined in and regulated with the right foods.
We turned to The Carb Sensitivity Program, leading naturopathic doctor Natasha Turner’s breakthrough book, to find the most potent blood sugarlowering foods so you know how to lower your levels naturally.
BlueberriesBlood sugar benefit: A groundbreaking study published in the Journal of Nutrition in 2010 found a daily dose of the bioactive ingredients from blueberries increases sensitivity to insulin and may reduce the risk of developing diabetes in at-risk individuals. That’s important because eating too many carbs produces too much insulin, which could lead to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
Chia SeedsBlood sugar benefit: This ancient gluten-free grain stabilizes blood sugar, manages the effects of diabetes, improves insulin sensitivity, and aids symptoms related to metabolic syndrome, including imbalances in cholesterol, higher blood pressure, and extreme rises in blood sugar levels after meals. Tiny chia seeds are also potent anti-inflammatory agents and contain fiber, magnesium, potassium, folic acid, iron, and calcium.
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Add Resistant Starch To Your Diet
Resistant starch is a type of starch that is not digested in the stomach or small intestine. Because it’s not digested, it does not raise glucose levels. Instead, resistant starch acts as an energy source for gut bacteria, and promotes beneficial bacteria growth within the gut microbiome.
The amount of resistant starch in foods varies depending on ripeness and preparation methods. As bananas ripen, the amount of resistant starch decreases. Some starches develop higher levels of resistant starch if allowed to cool after cooking.
Try incorporating these sources of resistant starch into your next meal:
- Green bananas, plantains
- Oats and barley
- Cooked and cooled rice
This caprese lentil and spinach salad is full of hearty lentils, and is a delicious way to increase your intake of resistant starch.
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 (
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Is Sugar Bad For You
If you are a chocoholic and/or have a huge sweet tooth and have diabetes, you do not have to give these items up forever. The key is to understand that sugar compounds will increase your blood sugar levels more quickly than other carbohydrates, but the total amount of carbohydrate intake is most important. Consequently, if people with diabetes can keep a serving size small, they can enjoy their favorite foods as long as they take into account that the overall total carbohydrate intake and calories do not exceed their usual dietary levels. This means a small serving of sweets should be offset by eating other foods that contain no “sweets.”
How To Lower Morning Blood Sugar Without Medication
Dr. Danielle Weiss is the founder of Center for Hormonal Health and Well-Being, a personalized, proactive, patient-centered medical practice with a unique focus on integrative endocrinology. She enjoys giving lectures and writing articles for both the lay public and medical audiences. Dr. Weiss is Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Diego.
Diabetes is a chronic disease where the level of glucose in the blood is too high . People with this condition often worry about high blood sugar levels in the morning. This is so common that it has a name: the dawn phenomenon. As our body prepares to wake up in the morning, it releases a surge of hormones, which can work against insulin and cause blood sugar level to rise. Also called the dawn effect, this can affect anyone and isn’t usually a problem because the body naturally produces insulin to correct it, but the bodies of people with diabetes may not be able to respond the same way. This results in consistently high blood sugar levels in the morning.
It is possible to lower your blood sugar level without medications through lifestyle and dietary changes. If simple lifestyle changes don’t work, people with diabetes should consult with their healthcare provider to determine the best approach to lower their blood sugar level in the morning.
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Easy Ways To Lower Blood Sugar Levels Naturally
High blood sugar occurs when your body doesnt make enough or effectively use insulin, a hormone that regulates blood glucose and helps it enter your cells for energy.
High blood sugar is associated with diabetes.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 13% of U.S. adults live with diabetes, and 34.5% have prediabetes (
This means close to 50% of all U.S. adults have diabetes or prediabetes.
Here are 15 easy ways to lower blood sugar levels naturally:
Never Skip Eating Breakfast
Weve all heard that breakfast is the days most important meal. This is especially true for those who have diabetes. I think eating breakfast is important, especially with potential risk for hypoglycemia and avoiding potential highs related to fasting for too long a period of time, Crandall Snyder says.
A high-protein breakfast has an edge over breakfasts that are high in carbohydrates, according to research from The University of Missouri-Columbia. In the research, women ages 18 to 55 consumed meals with similar calories, fat, and fiber contents but differing amounts of protein. Researchers monitored the amount of glucose and insulin in the participants blood for four hours after they ate breakfast. The best breakfasts contained 39 g of protein and led to lower post-meal glucose spikes than the meals with less protein, the researchers found.
Besides, eating breakfast may help overweight people with type 2 diabetes shed extra pounds. Of the participants in the National Weight Control Registry who maintained at least a 30-pound weight loss for at least one year, 78 percent said they eat breakfast daily.
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What Are The Symptoms Of High Blood Sugar
High blood sugar, also known as hyperglycemia, usually occurs when the body cannot use insulin properly or has extremely low levels of insulin. Insulin is the hormone responsible for moving glucose, or sugar, into the bloodstream where it can then be delivered to cells and used for energy. High blood sugar is usually associated with diabetes.
Symptoms of high blood sugar may include:
- Frequent urination
- Feeling thirsty all the time
- Increased hunger
- Tingling and numbness in hands and feet
- Skin changes, such as blisters and dryness
- Swollen and bleeding gums
- Abdominal pain
Patients can have symptoms of headache and dizziness with high blood pressure, but patients can also be completely asymptomatic, adds Dr. Raja.
Eat More Fibre On A Morning
Like protein, fiber is a great way to lower blood sugar levels in a morning /natural way to lower blood sugar. This can be difficult to get, especially without added sugar. Think about the way you eat your oats. There are high chances that you pile on sugar refined or natural or bake it into a bar with dried fruits and other ingredients.
Its time to get your fiber in natural forms and consider low-GI options. That can mean cutting back on the fruit, especially first thing in a morning. Look for fruits that are lower on the glycaemic index to eat with your breakfast, such as apples and pears.
You should also look at enjoying oats with more savoury ingredients. Nuts and seeds are the perfect alternatives, packing your breakfast full of protein and fats, as well as fiber.
When you have these three ingredients working together, they will break down in the body slowly. You will find that they reduce the amount of glucose released into the body, so you dont have the same insulin response.
The extra fiber will also help you feel fuller for longer. This is important in the long term, as it will help you lose weight.
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Other Ways To Naturally Regulate Blood Sugar
- Drink calorie-free beverages such as water, unsweetened teas, etc. and avoid sugary beverages such as soda, fruit juice, and sweetened coffee drinks.
- Get at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise most days of the week.
- Engage in weight or resistance training once or twice per week.
- Get adequate sleep .
- Eat balanced meals and snacks, similar to the plate method.
- Eat-in response to hunger and fullness cues, not based on what time it is.
- Read food labels to identify added sugars in foods and drinks.
- Consume low glycemic index food.
- Lower intake of processed foods and saturated fat.
- Consider using herbs, which have shown potential for improving blood sugar levels .
Upswing: Steroids And Water Pills
Steroids, commonly used to treat rashes, arthritis, asthma, and other medical conditions, can cause blood sugar levels to rise. Corticosteroids such as prednisone may trigger the development of diabetes in people with a tendency toward diabetes. Diuretics may raise blood sugar levels, while antidepressants may either raise or lower them. If you need to take these medications and have diabetes, carefully monitor your blood glucose levels to see how these medications affect you.
Foods With A Low Glycemic Load
We mentioned previously that blood sugar levels can be controlled by considering a foods glycemic load.
The glycemic load is calculated by multiplying the foods carbohydrate content by its glycemic indexa measure of how much a food affects blood sugar levels and then dividing by 100.
White, processed bread, for example, tend to have a higher glycemic index because they largely contain a mixture of carbohydrates but often lack fiber32. Sprouted grain or whole wheat bread, on the other hand, has a lower glycemic index due to the presence of fibers.
Its important to consider a foods glycemic index, but also to look beyond it when designing your diet.
Studies looking into the effectiveness of a diet enriched for low glycemic index foods found a mild but significant decrease in participants blood sugar levels compared to those who ate a regular diet containing more carbohydrates33.
This may be because a food with a high glycemic index may not deliver a large amount of sugar when eaten in moderate proportions.
Instead of glycemic index, it may be better to focus on a foods glycemic load. Foods with a low glycemic load include oats, barley, beans, and non-starchy vegetables such as asparagus and Brussels sprouts.
Try To Control Your Stress Levels
Depression can affect your blood sugar levels.
When you are stressed, your body produces hormones called glucagon and cortisol, which cause blood sugar levels to rise.
Other studies involving a group of students have shown that exercise, relaxation, and meditation significantly reduce stress and lower blood sugar levels.
Exercise and relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation-based stressors may also help to correct insulin production problems in people with chronic diabetes.
Add Probiotics To Your Diet
Probiotics have significant effects on reduction of glucose, HbA1c, insulin levels and insulin resistance in diabetics, according to research. Probiotics encourage a healthy gut microbiome, which improves glucose metabolism. This positively benefits lipid profile, glycemic control, inflammation and blood pressure in diabetes type 2 patients.
Mixing Aerobic And Strength Training Into Your Weekly Routine
Put simply, the human body needs fuel to operate.
Nowhere is this more obvious to us than when we exercise.
The harder your body works, the more energy-depleted you may feel. And for good reason too:
Exercise forces your muscles to burn through the bodys energy, beginning with glucose from the bloodstream followed by the use of the stored reserves. Following the workout, the muscles continue to draw in glucose from the bloodstream to refill their energy storehouse.
In this way, exercise may help lower your average blood sugar levels3.
How does exercise lower blood sugar?
Cells that need energy can take sugar out of the bloodstream for immediate use, or they can take the sugar and save it for a time when they may need energy fast.
The cells in your liver and your muscles are particularly good at hoarding sugars like this1.
When you exercise, you put a high energy demand on your muscle cells by asking them to flex repeatedly and engage against heavy weights.
The amount of energy they burn is proportional to the intensity of the exercise. To meet this need, they pull from their stockpiles and make themselves more sensitive to insulin which then helps them to quickly grab large amounts of sugar from the bloodstream.
The liver will also contribute to the effort by pumping sugar into the bloodstream from its reserves. If the bodys sugar levels decrease past a certain threshold, it will then turn to other high energy molecules, including various types of fat1,2,3.
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What Causes High Blood Sugar
Blood sugar levels are constantly shifting based on many factors, including:
- Time of day
However, the two most common and important causes are high carbohydrate meals and insulin resistance. These are actually kind of one in the same as will be explained shortly.
Although frequently misunderstood, glucose is a vital nutrient because it is the only form of fuel the brain and red blood cells can use for fuel. Glucose is the preferred source for all other organs as well. However, glucose cannot move from the blood into cells without insulin because this hormone unlocks parts of cells that allow sugar to enter.
For reference, people with type 1 diabetes stop producing insulin due to an autoimmune reaction. On the other hand, people with type 2 diabetes do not produce enough insulin and/or their cells are desensitized to the hormone. Without proper insulin use, glucose cannot enter the cell so it remains in the blood.
Thus, carbohydrates are not evil as often depicted, but quantity and quality are important. Over time, eating too much carbohydrate and consuming low-quality, refined, and/or processed and packaged carb sources can contribute to chronically elevated blood glucose levels.
In turn, this can lead to insulin resistance and resulting complications like diabetes, ketoacidosis, high blood pressure, heart disease, kidney problems, neuropathy, blindness, and more.
Foods That Raise Blood Sugar
This is a wonderful transition into
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 big cup.
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When To See A Doctor
According to the University of Michigan, blood sugar levels of 300 mg/dL or more can be dangerous. They recommend calling a doctor if you have two readings in a row of 300 or more.
See your doctor if you have consistently high blood sugar levels. Symptoms of this include:
- increased thirst
- high levels of sugar in urine
Ask your doctor how often to check your blood sugar and about your ideal blood sugar levels.
If you dont currently see a doctor who specializes in diabetes, known as an endocrinologist, you can find one by searching the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists website.
You can find a certified diabetes educator by visiting the American Diabetes Associations website and searching by zip code.
Talk to your doctor if you have consistently high blood sugar readings or symptoms of chronic hyperglycemia.
Checking your blood sugar and then treating hyperglycemia early will help prevent any complications.
Health problems can arise when someone has high blood sugar regularly and without treatment.
Examples of complications include:
- nerve damage, called diabetic neuropathy, that may affect sensations in the feet and hands
- diabetic retinopathy, or damage to the blood vessels in the eyes that affects vision
- increased risks for kidney problems
- increased risks for heart problems
Taking steps to keep your blood sugar at target levels can help to minimize the likelihood that these complications will occur.