Why Do I Need Sugar In My Blood
If you are looking for ways how to bring blood sugar down, here are 7 foods that help lower your blood sugar effectively. Blood sugar comes from food. Its your bodys main source of energy. These sugars are carried to the cells throughout your body by your blood, providing them with the energy they need to function optimally.
For a person with diabetes or pre-diabetes, their body does not effectively regulate blood sugars. This causes levels to become either too high or too low. Long term, frequent high blood sugar can lead to a number of serious health complications. Kidney disease, cardiovascular disease, nerve damage, vision impairment, joint damage, are just a few. Learning to regulate your blood sugar, as well as how to lower high blood sugar, is essential for your health. It is important to know how to bring blood sugar down once it has gotten too high.
What Should My Blood Sugar Level Be
When you’re first diagnosed with diabetes, your diabetes care team will usually tell you what your blood sugar level is and what you should aim to get it down to.
You may be advised to use a testing device to monitor your blood sugar level regularly at home.
Or you may have an appointment with a nurse or doctor every few months to see what your average blood sugar level is. This is known as your HbA1c level.
Target blood sugar levels differ for everyone, but generally speaking:
- if you monitor yourself at home with a self-testing kit a normal target is 4 to 7mmol/l before eating and under 8.5 to 9mmol/l 2 hours after a meal
- if your HbA1c level is tested every few months a normal HbA1c target is below 48mmol/mol
The Diabetes UK website has more about blood sugar levels and testing.
Have A Protein/ Fat Combined Snack
Many people find that a bedtime snack helps lower morning highs.
This is most likely because it shortens the fasting time and may slow down the livers own glucose production. If youre not using the apple cider vinegar method above, try having a mix of protein and fat combined before going to bed.
Here are a few ideas:
- A tablespoon of natural peanut butter
- A small piece of chicken with avocado or 5 olives
- A small handful of macadamia nuts
- A couple of slices of cheese
These are all simple snacks that contain both protein and fat.
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Is Your Fasting Blood Sugar High Every Morning
I recently had an issue where no matter what I did, my fasting blood sugar levels were always high every morning. They were in the range of between 12 mmol/L to 16 mmol/L. At first I chalked it up to overdoing it around the holiday season. Eating way more carbs than usual, especially late at night and very close to bedtime. I figured that I was off with my bolus for the meals I ate at night. However, after I cut out the extra carbs and still got high readings in the morning, I knew something was off.
I realized that every morning religiously, I would wake up between 3 am and 4 am with a high blood sugar. Unfortunately if my blood sugar is above 8 mmol/L I cannot sleep. This problem prevented me from getting good quality sleep. I would often have to correct and monitor before I could go back to bed. I started to analyze my diet and my habits to see where I was going wrong. If you are experiencing a similar issue you can start with the below recommendations.
Why Is It Important To Reduce The Size And Duration Of These Spikes
Reducing these spikes may help you to increase the amount of time you spend in your target blood sugar range , which will have a positive impact on your future health. You should consult your healthcare team to understand the best target range for you, as this will differ from person to person. However, the International Society for Paediatric and Adolescent Diabetes recommends a target of 5.0-10.0 mmol/L .
Symptoms of a high blood sugar level also vary in individuals, but they may cause you to feel thirsty, tired, stressed and need to go to the toilet a lot. In the short term, by avoiding prolonged high blood sugar readings after eating, you should also reduce the occurrence of these symptoms and improve your energy, cognitive and athletic ability and overall mood.
Ways To Better Control Blood Sugar After Eating
Do you find it difficult to stabilize your blood sugar levels after eating? Follow these mealtime tips to help keep your blood sugar in range.
When you have type 2 diabetes, life can often feel like a juggling act: You have to balance how much you eat, and when you eat it, with the right amount of exercise all while taking your medications consistently. Strike a good balance and your blood glucose can remain stable. If you don’t make it work, your risk of diabetes complications rises.
Food makes your blood sugar levels rise soon after eating. The particular food you eat, how much you eat, and the timing of your medication around the time you eat make a difference in your levels, too.
Damage to your body from high blood sugar can happen pretty quickly, and the higher the level, the greater your risk of complications, according to a 2015 review in the Diabetes & Metabolism Journal. The higher the blood sugar levels reach, the more likelihood for damage to vessels and other parts of the body.
And problems can develop when the numbers stay high for just a few days, according to the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston. The specialty medical center advises making changes to your treatment plan if blood glucose levels stay over 180 mg/dl for three days in a row.
Additional reporting by Andrea Peirce
Get Your Minerals And Vitamins From Foods
Theres no evidence that mineral and vitamin supplements help you manage your diabetes. So, unless youve been told to take something by your healthcare team, like folic acid for pregnancy, you dont need to take supplements.
Its better to get your essential nutrients by eating a mixture of different foods. This is because some supplements can affect your medications or make some diabetes complications worse, like kidney disease.
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Not Taking Enough Meal Time Insulin
This is the first thing to look into. Make sure that you correctly determine the number of carbohydrates in your last meal of the day and take the insulin to suit. Be sure to also look out for sources of hidden carbs as well. Our bodies react to food and insulin differently at different times of the day. Many individuals including myself have a different carb to insulin ratio at night. I normally have to take a bit more insulin at night especially if the meal is high in carbohydrates.
Try eating your last meal at least 2 hours before bed so that you can check the 2 hour post dinner blood sugar reading. This will indicate if you are indeed giving the correct amount of insulin. If you have a good reading before bed but its much higher in the morning, then there is definitely another issue.
Raw Cooked Or Roasted Vegetables
These add color, flavor, and texture to a meal. Choose tasty, low-carb veggies, like mushrooms, onions, eggplant, tomatoes, Brussels sprouts, and low-carb squashes, like zucchini.
Try them with dips such as low-fat dressings, hummus, guacamole, and salsa, or roasted with different seasonings such as rosemary, cayenne pepper, or garlic.
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Correcting High Blood Sugar Levels With Insulin
If you take insulin, one way to reduce blood sugar is to inject insulin.
However, be careful as insulin can take 4 hours or longer to be fully absorbed, so you need to make sure you take into account how much insulin you may already have in your body that is yet to be absorbed by the blood. Insulin that is yet to be absorbed by the blood is called active insulin.
If you decide to correct with insulin, watch you dont over correct as this can lead to hypoglycemia and can be dangerous, particularly so before bed.
Limit Baked Goods And Packaged Snacks
Aside fromthe above foods to avoid with high blood sugar, next on our list are packagedand baked foods. Pretzels, chips, cookies, pastries, crackers, and doughnutsare loaded with unhealthy trans fats. Thus they are responsible to spike yourbad cholesterol levels, block your arteries and cause a heart attack. Diabeticpeople are more prone to cardiovascular diseases thus they should limit theirintake of saturated fats.
Now you cancheck the amounts of trans fat in any packaged product on the ingredient list.Check labels and steer clear from hydrogenated oils too. Seek out for healthyfats present in seeds and nuts, olive and canola oils, avocado and fatty fishes.
Key Nutrients For Blood Sugar Balance: Protein Fat Fiber
Just because carbohydrates and sugar spike your blood sugar doesn’t mean you have to avoid them all the time. The best way to balance out your blood sugar is to pair your higher-carb foods and sugar with protein, healthy fats and ideally fiber. When you pair carbohydrates with protein or fat, the rate that the sugar or carbs are absorbed is slowed, making it easier on your blood sugar, according to Shapiro. When you look at your plate, the goal is to balance the ratio of carbs with healthy protein and fat so you know that your blood sugar won’t spike too high, which can result in a crash or dramatic dip later.
Broccoli Or Broccoli Sprouts
Sulforaphane is a sulfur-containing compound naturally found in cruciferous vegetables, including broccoli and broccoli sprouts. Sulforaphane can help lower blood sugar by increasing glucose uptake from the bloodstream by regulating signaling proteins that control liver cells and their response to insulin.
Liver cells produce ceramides, fatty lipid molecules that can cause insulin resistance. Sulforaphane has been shown to block an enzyme involved in the synthesis of ceramides. By inhibiting this gene, sulforaphane can decrease ceramide levels and improve insulin sensitivity by decreasing insulin resistance. When insulin sensitivity is increased, the body has an improved ability to release insulin when blood sugar is high to bring levels back down.
Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli also contain glucosinolates, sulfur, and nitrogen compounds that can improve insulin sensitivity and reduce glucose levels in the blood.
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Stay Away From Stimulants
Stimulants can affect your sleep cycle in a few different ways. Some stimulants have light addictive properties which create a decreased quality of sleep. Also, the brain needs time to wind down and feel relaxed for quality shut-eye so these drugs will not only make you anxious but they’ll also keep you up at night with the inability to fall asleep. One of the well-known stimulants is caffeine that can be found in Cola, coffee, and some teas. Stay away from this and other stimulants before bedtime to have a more natural night’s sleep.
Avoid Alcohol Before Nighttime
Another good habit is to avoid alcohol before going to bed. This can cause your blood sugar to increase quickly but leave you with low levels overnight. Avoiding alcohol for a few hours before bedtime will help keep the glucose in balance and prevent fluctuations.
If you do drink alcoholic beverages before going to bed try to eat a healthy snack with some carbohydrates to catch that low blood sugar after drinking alcohol.
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Ways To Lower Your Blood Sugar With Breakfast
Say goodbye to spikes and crashes before lunchtime.
High blood sugar, or hyperglycemia, can affect those with type 1 and 2 diabetes as well as prediabetes. It can happen when you eat something with too much sugar or too many simple carbs, forget to take your insulin, or even when youre sick or stressed.
Whatever the reason, everyone can agree the signs and symptoms of high blood sugar are no fun. According to the American Diabetes Association, indications that your blood sugar is too high include extreme thirst, a frequent need to urinate, and exhaustion. And if left untreated, high blood sugar can quickly develop into a life-threatening condition called ketoacidosis. Yikes!
Best Ways To Lower Blood Sugar Quickly
When treated early, you can bring high blood sugar levels down and prevent complications, including DKA.
Some sources suggest that drinking water or eating a high protein snack can quickly lower your blood sugar levels, though there isnt enough research to support this.
If you have high blood sugar and need to lower it fast, try the following methods:
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Foods And Drinks High In Refined Carbs Can Throw Blood Sugar Levels Soaring
If you have type 2 diabetes, you know the importance of counting carbohydrates for blood-sugar control. But its not just the number of carbs in a given food that determines how that food will affect your blood sugar levels.
While all carb-rich foods convert to sugar in our body, a foods fiber, protein, and fat content all influence the impact of that food on blood-sugar levels, says Vandana Sheth, RDN, CDCES, whos based in Los Angeles. All these are factors play a role in setting a foods glycemic index, a ranking of how drastically it raises blood sugar levels compared to straight glucose, which has a GI of 100. Low GI-foods score 55 or lower while anything 70 and up is considered a high GI food, per the Mayo Clinic.
While GI offers an idea of how a food impacts the body, its not the whole story, which is where glycemic load comes in, says Sara Thomas, PhD, RDN, a research scientist and dietitian specializing in diabetes at the healthcare company Abbott. GL is an equation that considers the portion size of a food, as well as the GI. A foods GL equals its GI value divided by 100 and multiplied by the total grams of carbohydrate, a definition supported by researchers at the University of Sydney, who pioneered research on GL.
Fortunately, if you have type 2 diabetes, you dont need to whip out a calculator or start searching the internet for the glycemic load of every food out there.
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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The Basics Of Balancing Blood Sugar
The goal with blood sugar is to keep your levels as steady as possible throughout the day. If you eat something that is made up of carbohydrates or sugar, then your blood sugar will rise.
“Our blood sugar rises when we eat foods that contain sugar or foods that break down into sugar, basically anything that contains carbohydrates ,” says Shapiro. Raising your blood sugar isn’t bad in itself, but you want to avoid spiking your sugar too high, as it can make you feel bad and lead to a “crash” later on.
“Once our blood sugar rises the hormone insulin is released to help our cells take up the sugar from our blood into the cells themselves to use/store for energy,” Shapiro explains. Insulin is one way your body keeps sugar in check, but other activities affect your blood sugar too, including exercise and how much you move or walk around.
Understanding High Blood Sugar At Night
Blood sugar, also called glucose, is the body’s main source of energy. The body gets most of its glucose by metabolizing the carbohydrates in food, per Kaiser Permanente. For people with diabetes, their systems struggle to manage glucose correctly, leading to high blood sugar. But the treatment of diabetes can also cause low blood sugar .
“Some diabetes medications lower blood glucose levels during the night,”Jo-Anne Rizzotto, a registered dietitian nutritionist and director of educational services at Harvard’s Joslin Diabetes Center, tells LIVESTRONG.com. “But if blood sugar levels drop too low, the liver responds by releasing stored glucose.” This nocturnal release of glucose can cause high blood sugar during the night and into the next morning, known as the Somogyi effect. The good news? “People with type 2 diabetes don’t have this issue unless they’re on glucose-lowering medications,” says Rizzotto.
The Somogyi effect should not be confused with the so-called “dawn phenomenon,” another cause of high morning blood sugar, Rizzotto says. The dawn phenomenon is a product of human evolution it occurs in all people and involves the body pumping out extra glucose in the early morning hours to get the body ready to wake up.
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