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What To Eat To Balance Blood Sugar

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Balancing Your Blood Sugar: What’s Healthy How To Measure And More

The Perfect Diet to Balance Blood Sugars

Your blood sugar is affected by a range of factors. Here’s how to tell if yours is healthy.

Caroline Roberts

Digital Editorial Intern

Caroline Roberts writes articles and notifications for CNET. She studies English at Cal Poly, and loves philosophy, Karl the Fog and a strong cup of black coffee.

High blood sugar levels are a problem, even if you don’t have a family history of diabetes. Blood sugar that’s consistently higher than ideal can coexist with Type 2 diabetes and cause serious health conditions like kidney disease, nerve problems or stroke.

While that’s no reason to panic, when it comes to our health, it’s important to know exactly what’s going on inside of our bodies. Let’s get into what blood sugar means, how to measure it and everything else you need to know.

Take A Shot Of Apple Cider Vinegar

Swigging apple cider vinegar might not sound appealing, but it could help keep your blood sugar in balance if taken before you eat. Some research has found that consuming ACV reduced post-meal blood sugar levels by about half in healthy patients. The theory is that acetic acid, a component of the vinegar, slows down the conversion of carbohydrates into sugar in the bloodstream. Pro tip: Mix a tablespoon or two into a glass of watertaking it straight will burn!

Beginners Guide To Blood Sugar

Without knowing exactly what it means, youve probably heard of the term. Balancing blood sugar is keyit plays a role in energy, feelings, cognitive function, and more. In fact, you may already be familiar with spikes and dips in blood sugar. Hello, hanger! That said, few recognize its affects on a daily basis.

High level, blood sugar is the amount of sugar in your blood at any given time. As mentioned, its the bodys main source of energy. Sugar is produced when we break down any form of carbohydrate. Be it fruit, a slice of cake, or piece of toast, that carb is absorbed into our bloodstream. Immediately or eventually, carbohydrates are used as a source of energy.

Also Check: What Is High Blood Sugar For Type 1 Diabetes

Healthy & Optimal Blood Sugar Ranges

Safe levels of blood sugar are high enough to supply your organs with the sugar they need, but low enough to prevent symptoms of hyperglycemia or complications of diabetes. This is regulated by your endocrine and digestive system.

Conventional medical ranges say that a blood sugar level less than 100 mg/dL is normal fasting , Levels between 100 and 125 mg/dL indicate prediabetes. Levels equal to or greater than 126 mg/dL are diagnostic for diabetes.

Fasting blood sugar is considered borderline high when its between 100-125 mg/dL, and anything above 126 mg/dL is high. People with borderline high fasting blood sugar may be considered to have prediabetes. Postprandial blood sugar is considered high when its above 140 mg/dL within two hours of starting a meal.

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Whats important to know is that In functional medicine. there is a more tightly controlled optimal range in which you want your blood glucose both fasting and after meals . Here are the optimal ranges for blood sugar:

Optimal: 7285 mg/dL May have increased risk of prediabetes: 90100 mg/dL Prediabetes: 100125 mg Diabetes: > 125 mg/d

Once fasting glucose has gotten to 100 mg/dL, you probably have insulin resistance. Make sure you also request hemoglobin A1c next time you get blood drawn. A way to measure blood glucose averages over the preceding three months. The optimal range is under 5& , and normal is under 5.5%.

See more on optimal lab ranges for metabolic health here.

Be Cautious With Carbohydrates


While it’s important to eat complex carbohydrates for energy and fuel, carbohydrates are more readily digested and can elevate blood sugar levels and potentially lead to a surge, said endocrinologist Joseph Aloi, MD in an interview with Everyday Health. Be mindful of portion sizes and pair with protein for a slower digestion. “Use fruit as your carb choice to balance blood sugar,” says holistic health coach and personal trainer Jen Bruno with J.B. Fitness and Nutrition, to Bustle over email.

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Perfect Breakfast Option : Focus On Fiber And Nutrient Density

If you fall in the medium, high, or very high categories of baseline insulin resistance, pay attention to how many green light foods you eat every day. The more green light foods you eat, the more fiber can help slow the absorption of glucose into your blood, which in turn will help to reduce unwanted blood glucose elevations. Here are our tips for eating a breakfast meal that is optimized for fiber and nutrient density:

Eat fruit with greens and/or non-starchy vegetables. When youre living with a higher level of insulin resistance, include foods that slow the absorption of glucose into your bloodstream while still meeting your calorie needs. This can be accomplished by eating 3 to 4+ servings of fruit with significant portions of leafy greens or non-starchy vegetables .

Eat intact whole grains with fruit. An intact whole-grain fruit bowl is another great option for breakfast. This breakfast meal contains an intact whole grain such as quinoa, wild rice, or millet as the base, topped with fruits like berries, apples, peaches, or pears. We have found that eating instant oatmeal can cause unwanted blood glucose elevations in people living with a medium, high, or very high level of baseline insulin resistance. The presence of intact whole grains also delays the rate at which glucose enters your blood, which protects against unwanted blood glucose elevations when you are living with high levels of insulin resistance.

How To Balance Your Blood Sugar Naturally

The goal is in balanced blood sugar is to determine your carb tolerance: how many carbs you need in a day to fuel you, yet not too many to cause elevated blood sugar. This will help you maintain stable blood sugar day to day.

Your first step to balance your blood sugar is to determine your fasting and post prandial blood sugar levels. Get yourself a glucometer and check your blood sugar first thing in the morning before you eat breakfast or drink anything but water. This is your baseline. Then measure blood sugar 1-2 hours after eating. It should be 140 or below, ideally 110-120. Measure it again 3-4 hours after eating and it should return to your baseline range . If you hit these targets, youre great! If not, lets take a deeper look.

You can also use a continuous glucose monitor that you stick to your arm, and it collects data on your blood glucose levels throughout the day and night which it sends to your phone. There are many options available via google or prescription.

If youre not meeting the target levels, start by removing the main foods that spike blood sugar:

  • Refined carbs like white bread, pasta, white rice, pastries
  • Soda, fruit juice, and sugar sweetened beverages
  • High glycemic foods

Third include plenty of foods that lower blood sugar:

Unsuspecting foods that may spike blood sugar:

Focus on these lifestyle strategies to balance blood sugar:

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Avocados And Blood Sugar Balance

Avocados are one of my favorite foods and I consume around 2-3 every day. They are loaded with minerals, fiber, and healthy fats that all help to stabilize blood sugar levels. Avocados are also a significant source of B vitamins which are important for energy production.

A lesser-known fact about avocados is that they contain a special type of sugar molecule called D-mannoheptulose. In fact, this type of sugar may actually have the ability to lower insulin levels. For some of my favorite ways to use avocados on a daily basis, check out this article here.

How To Achieve Steady Blood Sugarand Why Is It Important

WHAT I EAT IN A DAY Balancing Blood Sugar

This will vary from person to person, but generally speaking, steady blood sugar comes from adequate nourishment and balanced meals. You also want to try avoiding these habits that tend to cause blood sugar to spike. So, why is blood sugar balance important? You want to keep your blood sugar levels in your target range, as often as possible. This helps prevent or delay long-term, serious health problems. On a day-to-day basis, staying in your target range is also equally important. It can improve your energy, balance hormones, and stabilize your mood. Research shows it helps with fertility, too. Speaking of hormones, if you struggle with intense PMS symptoms, this could be a result of mismanaged blood sugar.

Image by Michelle Nash

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Why Should I Be Physically Active If I Have Diabetes

Physical activity is an important part of managing your blood glucose level and staying healthy. Being active has many health benefits.

Physical activity

  • burns extra calories so you can keep your weight down if needed
  • improves your mood
  • can prevent falls and improve memory in older adults
  • may help you sleep better

If you are overweight, combining physical activity with a reduced-calorie eating plan can lead to even more benefits. In the Look AHEAD: Action for Health in Diabetes study,1 overweight adults with type 2 diabetes who ate less and moved more had greater long-term health benefits compared to those who didnt make these changes. These benefits included improved cholesterol levels, less sleep apnea, and being able to move around more easily.

Even small amounts of physical activity can help. Experts suggest that you aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate or vigorous physical activity 5 days of the week.3 Moderate activity feels somewhat hard, and vigorous activity is intense and feels hard. If you want to lose weight or maintain weight loss, you may need to do 60 minutes or more of physical activity 5 days of the week.3

Be patient. It may take a few weeks of physical activity before you see changes in your health.

Understanding Blood Sugar Levels

Think of your blood sugar levels like a horizon. When your blood sugar levels spike too quickly, they fall just as fast, leading to a crash. Those crashes can bring along feelings of fatigue, irritability, and cravings for foods that will spike your blood sugar levels again. This is why breakfast is especially important.

If you start the day with a balanced meal, youre less likely to hop on the blood sugar rollercoaster, which means fewer cravings, more energy, and more control over your food choices.

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Never Skip Eating Breakfast

Cameron Whitman/Stocksy

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.

Dont Forget To Keep Moving

Blood Sugar Imbalance

Being more physically active goes hand in hand with eating healthier. It can help you manage your diabetes and also reduce your risk of heart problems. This is because it increases the amount of glucose used by your muscles and helps the body use insulin more efficiently.

Try to aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week. This is any activity that raises your heart rate, makes you breathe faster and feel warmer. You should still be able to talk and only be slightly out of breath. And you dont have to do all 150 minutes in one go. Break it down into bite-size chunks of 10 minutes throughout the week or 30 minutes 5 times a week.

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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.*

Diabetes: 10 Foods And Drinks To Help Manage Blood Sugar

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Diabetes friendly food options are as close as your kitchen.

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When you have prediabetes or diabetes, a healthy diabetes meal plan is key to managing your blood sugar. Sometimes it can be tricky to know which foods and drinks are good choices, but these 10 picks can help keep your numbers in check.

1. Beans

Whether they’re lentils, kidney, pinto, black or garbanzo, beans are a low-glycemic index food. That means their carbohydrates are gradually released so they’re less likely to cause blood sugar spikes. They’re so beneficial that one study found that eating a daily cup of beans for three months as part of a low-glycemic index diet lowered HbA1c by half a percentage point.

Try it! Swap in beans for half the meat in tacos or your favorite chili recipe.

2. Apples

You might think that there’s no room in a diabetic meal plan for fruit, but apples are also low glycemic. Aiming for foods like apples that are low or medium on the glycemic index is one way to manage blood sugar levels. And eating an apple a day has its benefits they are high in fiber, vitamin C as well as fat-free! Not to mention a portable and easy snack option.

Try it! Toss an apple in your lunch bag or grab one between meals. Bake them and add cinnamon for warm treat.

3. Almonds

Try it! For healthy snacking on-the-go, pack one-ounce portions of almonds into single-serve containers.

4. Spinach

5. Chia Seeds

6. Glucerna® Shakes and Bars

7. Blueberries

8. Oatmeal

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The Fab 4 Fundamentals With Kelly Leveque

Kelly LeVeque is a holistic nutritionist, wellness expert, celebrity health coach, and the best-selling author of Body Love and Body Love Every Day. She has a deep desire to help her clients through her passion for human nutrition and curiosity about how the human body works. She helps people understand the latest research and rationale behind important nutrition principles and provide delicious recipes and recommended products to fuel properly. Her Fab 4 Fundamentals course simplifies the science of nutrition to empower participants to confidently take charge of their health.

Eat More Pungent Bitter And Astringent Foods

4 Healthy PCOS Smoothies to Balance Blood Sugar

Including these foods in your diet a little more often will help balance blood sugar and offset your addiction to sweets. Pungent herbs and spices include basil, cinnamon, cumin, chili, garlic, ginger, pepper, oregano, thyme, and turmeric.

Bitter and astringent fruits and veggies are things like leafy greens , celery, broccoli, beans, lentils, apples, and pomegranate seeds.

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What Is Medical Nutrition Therapy

Medical nutrition therapy is a service provided by an RD to create personal eating plans based on your needs and likes. For people with diabetes, medical nutrition therapy has been shown to improve diabetes management. Medicare pays for medical nutrition therapy for people with diabetes If you have insurance other than Medicare, ask if it covers medical nutrition therapy for diabetes.

Eat More Fruit And Veg

We know eating fruit and veg is good for you. Its always a good thing aim to eat more at meal times and have them as snacks if youre hungry. This can help you get the vitamins, minerals and fibre your body needs every day to help keep you healthy.

You might be wondering about fruit and if you should avoid it because its sugary? The answer is no. Whole fruit is good for everyone and if you have diabetes, its no different. Fruits do contain sugar, but its natural sugar. This is different to the added sugar that are in things like chocolate, biscuits and cakes.

Products like fruit juices also count as added sugar, so go for whole fruit instead. This can be fresh, frozen, dried or tinned . And its best to eat it throughout the day instead of one bigger portion in one go.

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The Best Order To Eat Your Meal In For Blood Sugar Balance

You’re probably wondering: Does eating a meal in a certain order really make that much of a difference? Well, we’ll let the research speak for itself: “Science shows that if you eat the constituents of a meal in a specific order, you can reduce the glucose spike of the meal by 75%,” says Inchauspe. “So you’re eating the exact same food, but there are much fewer consequences on your body.” Neat, no?

The ideal order is as follows:

  • Vegetables first
  • Protein and fats second
  • Starches and sugars last
  • Wondering what this looks like in practice? Let’s say you’re sitting down for a home-cooked meal, and you have a healthy serving of salmon, spinach, and brown rice, with a slice of cake for dessert . According to Inchauspe’s theory, you’ll want to eat the spinach first, then the salmon, then the rice, and finish it off with dessert.

    If you’re at a restaurant, on the other hand, Inchauspe recommends another blood sugar hack: Don’t eat the complimentary bread before consuming a meal. “People eat the bread on an empty stomach create a big glucose spike,” she explains. “So by the time they’ve finished their main course, they’re smack in the middle of a massive glucose crash, and they feel really hungry, and they have cravings.” That’s not to say you must skip the bread basket altogetherif you wait to have it alongside your protein, fats, and vegetables, you’ll have a much steadier glucose response.

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