How To Lower Morning Blood Sugar Without Medication
Dr. Danielle Weiss is the founder of the 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.
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.
Healthy Gut Healthy Heart
While it may come as no surprise that eating a balanced and varied diet will come with tons of health benefits, studies have recently shown that the gut microbiome plays an important role in promoting good HDL cholesterol and triglycerides.
Certain unhealthy species in the gut microbiome may also contribute to heart disease by producing trimethylamine N-oxide .
TMAO is a chemical that contributes to blocked arteries, which may lead to heart attacks or stroke.
Certain bacteria within the microbiome convert choline and L-carnitine, both of which are nutrients found in red meat and other animal-based food sources, to TMAO, potentially increasing risk factors for heart disease.
However, other bacteria within the gut microbiome, particularly Lactobacilli, may help reduce cholesterol when taken as a probiotic.
Exercise To Lower Blood Sugar Fast
Regular exercise improves and increases your sensitivity to insulin. This means the cells in your body can better absorb and use the glucose in your body to make energy.
When your muscles contract during movement, glucose is the preferred source of fuel. Thatâs why when your glucose spikes after eating a sugary treat or a large meal with lots of high-glycemic foods, you can bring your glucose back down to a normal range if you exercise within 30-60 minutes after eating.
Any type and duration of exercise can improve insulin sensitivity and helps stabilize your glucose afterward.
That said, if youâre fit enough and able to handle high intensity, short bursts of movement performed at 80% of your max effort can burn up to four times the amount of glucose compared to what youâd burn slumping on the couch.
If you want short and sweaty to bring down your blood sugar quickly, follow along with our 10-minute full-body or dumbbell leg workout. These get-âer-done-fast efforts combine strength training with cardio in a circuit-style workout that stabilizes glucose in less time.
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Blood Sugar Spike: What To Do
Its important to know the symptoms of hyperglycemia. If you suspect that you have high blood sugar, perform a finger stick to check your level.
Exercising and drinking water after eating, particularly if youve consumed a lot of starchy carbs, can help lower your blood sugar.
You can also use an insulin injection, but be careful only to use this method while closely following the recommendation of your doctor regarding your dose. If used improperly, insulin can cause hypoglycemia .
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.
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When Blood Sugar Is Too Low
Glucose is a sugar that comes from the foods we eat, and it’s also formed and stored inside the body. It’s the main source of energy for the cells of our body, and is carried to each cell through the bloodstream. Our brains depend on glucose to function, even when we’re sleeping.
The is the amount of glucose in the blood. When these levels drop too low, it’s called hypoglycemia . Very low blood sugar levels can cause serious symptoms that need to be treated right away.
Best Bites To Boost Low Blood Sugar
Also known as hypoglycemia, low blood sugar is a diabetes complication that needs to be treated quickly. Here’s what to munch on if your blood sugar dips whether you’re at home or on the go.
Picture this: You’re in the mall, shopping with friends, chatting and having a great time when suddenly you start to feel a bit strange. You might become irritated or nervous, your skin may feel clammy or sweaty and your vision may even seem blurred. If you have diabetes, you’ll recognize these as the warning signs of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar.
Hypoglycemia occurs when blood sugar levels in the body drop too low, says Kelly O’Connor, RD, a dietitian and certified diabetes educator at LifeBridge Health’s Northwest Hospital in Baltimore. Glucose is your brains main energy or fuel source. If the level of glucose in the body is too low, it can begin to affect your brains functioning. The resulting symptoms are more or less your bodys warning system that you need to take quick action in order to correct the problem.
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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.
Don’t Exercise Before Breakfast
Exercise is an important part of blood sugar management, and when done regularly it can help improve insulin sensitivity and lower your A1C levels. How exercise affects your blood sugar depends on how long youre active, and varies from person to person. But generally exercise will lower your blood sugar and make your body more sensitive to insulin for up to 24 hours after a workout, according to the ADA.
If you tend to work out in the morning, its important to test your blood sugar levels before and after your workout to see how your body responds. If your blood sugar tends to quickly drop off after a workout, its smart to have breakfast before you head to the gym to keep you fueled and your blood sugar steady.
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Get A Boost From Refined Grains
White bread, cooked white pasta and rice, pancakes, soda crackers and breakfast cereals made with refined grains can quickly raise your blood sugar levels. Refined grain products typically raise your blood sugar levels faster than their whole grain counterparts because they are lower in dietary fiber, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. Rice cakes, hard pretzels, cornflakes and bagels are convenient choices to carry with you in case you begin experiencing symptoms of low blood sugar.
Signs That Your Blood Sugar Is Not Stable
Besides feeling hangry, Shapiro says there are other signs that your blood sugar is low, often as a result of spiking it too high previously. “If you eat a large load of sugar or carbs solo , you may feel energized for a bit but in an hour or so you might find yourself sweating, tired, shaky, confused. These are signs of low blood sugar, a quick drop in energy that leaves your body weak,” explains Shapiro.
People may joke about “hanger,” but the feeling is very real, according to Shapiro. When your blood sugar is low, “You may also find you feel agitated, and hungry, which makes you feel angry or grumpy too.”
At the end of the day, you shouldn’t feel extremes in either direction. If you’re eating balanced meals, you should feel good most of the time and when you get hungry, it should happen slowly rather than being a dramatic feeling all at once, according to Shapiro.
Healthy sources of protein like fish and healthy fats like nuts and avocados can help keep your blood sugar balanced.
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Maintaining Balanced Blood Sugar Levels Is Absolutely Critical For Us All Not Just Diabetics
The extreme blood sugar highs and lows that cause blood sugar dysregulation not only increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, but they also suppress the immune system, weaken the vascular system, slow metabolism, inhibit the ability to lose weight, and cause a host of cognitive issues from lethargy to impaired memory.
What Foods Contribute To Blood Sugar Swings
What comes up must go down and what spikes up must crash down. Such is the case with low blood sugar treated with high glucose foods. Here are examples of such foods. They are classified as high glycemic.
- cornflakes, grape nuts, puffed wheat,
- boiled rice, rice cakes
- white baguette, bagel, wonder bread
Every food on this list is so easily digestible that it instantaneously raises blood glucose. This is great news if you have severe hypoglycemia symptoms, but bad news if you use those foods as your staple.
Besides being nutritionally useless , they can also dysregulate your sugar metabolism. These foods, including breakfast cereals, chips, pretzels, and baked goods are big contributors to sugar swings, weight gain and related symptoms.
High glycemic index foods contribute to sugar ups and downs leading to a permanent state of sugar dysregulation. Unless you stop using them you will have to choose between putting on weight and dealing with hunger pangs.
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Symptoms Of Fluctuating Blood Sugar
Symptoms of high blood sugar without diabetes are,
- Increased thirst, dry mouth
A person with low blood sugar may also have a tendency to faint or lose consciousness.
So its important to keep an eye on any of the above symptoms to figure out for yourself if you have high or low blood sugar. If necessary, you can check it yourself. Remember the normal levels are 80 to 100 mg/dl. Any lower that, you should speak to a doctor as soon as possible.
How Can I Tell If My Blood Sugar Is Irregular
Again, only a doctor can diagnose a problem with your blood sugar. But you may be wondering how to know if it’s something you should get checked out. There can be two main issues with your blood sugar — either it’s consistently too high or too low. Even if you don’t have diabetes, there are some signs that your blood sugar levels are not functioning normally.
Hypoglycemia is a condition in which your blood sugar is too low. Signs include an irregular heartbeat, fatigue, shakiness and tingling or numbness in your face. If you consistently feel this way when you get hungry or between meals, talk to your healthcare provider.
On the flipside, hyperglycemia happens when your blood sugar is too high, and can happen to nondiabetics. Symptoms include frequent urination, increased thirst and headache. If you think you’re hyperglycemic and can’t keep fluids or food down, call for emergency medical assistance.
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Sprinkle On Some Cinnamon
Research on cinnamon’s blood-sugar-stabilizing powers is a little mixed, and it may not be a wonder spice. But if you’re adding it to an already healthy diet, then it can have a subtle benefit, especially if you add a lot of it into your diet .* Some studies suggest that cinnamon promotes healthy blood sugar by increasing insulin sensitivity, or making insulin more efficient at moving glucose into cells.* Try sprinkling it onto oatmeal or into low-sugar smoothies . Bonus: It tastes delicious!
What You Can Do
Most of the sugar or glucose in your blood comes from carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are the sugars and starches in grains, beans, vegetables, fruit, milk and milk products, honey, and sugar. If you dont have diabetes and youre feeling the unpleasant effects of a drop in blood sugar, eat or drink something with carbohydrates. Good choices are a piece of fruit, a few whole wheat crackers, a glass of milk, or a carton of yogurt.
In people with diabetes, hypoglycemia can come on suddenly and needs to be treated right away so it doesnt get worse. Eat or drink a quickly digested carbohydrate food, such as:
½ cup fruit juice
½ cup of a regular soft drink
1 cup of milk
5 or 6 hard candies
4 or 5 saltine crackers
2 tablespoons of raisins
3 to 4 teaspoons of sugar or honey
3 or 4 glucose tablets or a serving of glucose gel
Each of these choices provides about 15 grams of carbohydrate. Wait for 15 or 20 minutes, then check your blood sugar with a blood glucose meter. If your blood sugar is still low, have another portion of carbohydrates.
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Food Items That May Help To Control Blood Sugar
When your blood sugar levels are higher than normal, carbohydrates such as cereals, pasta, fruits, milk, dessert and bread are usually responsible. When one is diabetic, a meal plan is very important because it guides you on what kind of foods to eat. It should be good enough to fit in your eating habits and also your schedule. A good meal plan should include:
- Glycemic index
- Carb counting
- Plate method
Foods with low glycemic index values are better choices for stabilizing blood sugar than foods with high glycemic index values. The glycemic index basically depends on the physiological ability of dietary carbohydrate to lower or increase the level of blood sugar in reference to the type of food consumed by the diabetic patient. Relatively high glycemic index foods have ratings above 50, and often between 75-100.
The purpose of a good meal plan is to help keep your weight on track, improve your cholesterol level, blood sugars and also blood pressure. According to past research & health educators from the American Diabetes Association , a healthy diet along with a healthy lifestyle of exercising to maintain a healthy weight can help to reduce diabetes type 2.
Here is a list of 45 foods that can help you to maintain/reduce your blood sugar:
The 10 Best Foods To Control Diabetes And Lower Blood Sugar
If you have diabetes, you know how difficult it can be to manage your diet and control your blood sugar levels. Certain foods cause massive spikes while others actually lower blood sugar, but many people go through years of trial and error before they find out what works for them. Luckily, thanks to years of scientific findings, weve been able to determine what foods are better than others. In this article, well discuss the 10 best foods to control diabetes and lower blood sugar.
To get the most out of your food, consider diabetic meal planning. Planning and preparing meals ahead of time will reduce the likelihood of snacking or unhealthy eating and will help you save time and energy throughout the week.
Non-starchy vegetables are one of the best foods you can eat as a diabetic. Not only will they fill you up, but theyre full of essential vitamins and minerals that help regulate your blood sugar. Since theyre a whole food with trace amounts of sugar and high levels of fiber, you can eat as many non-starchy vegetables as you want without having to worry about high blood sugar spikes. To get the most out of your non-starchy vegetables, choose fresh, canned, or frozen vegetables that have no added salt or sauce.1 Some examples of non-starchy vegetables include the following:2
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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!