Foods That Help Lower Your Blood Sugar Levels
One way to lower your blood sugar levels is to alter your diet, shifting it so that you decrease sugary foods and replace them with healthier foods that are known to affect blood sugar levels.
Here is a list of these types of foods:
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.
Get A Handle On Stress
When youre stressed out, your blood sugar tends to rise, Crandall Snyder says. According to the Diabetes Teaching Center at the University of California in San Francisco, when youre stressed, insulin levels fall, certain hormones rise, and more glucose is released from the liver, which ends up in the blood stream and can cause disruptions for up to eight hours.
How can you burn off tension? Yoga and meditation can help people lower their blood sugar levels, Weisenberger says. A December 2014 study published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science involving 27 nursing students and found a combination of yoga and meditation practiced for one hour once a week led to reduced levels of stress and lower blood glucose levels after 12 weeks.
Crandall Snyder also suggests taking a few deep breaths, going for a walk, playing with your dog for a few minutes, or listening to a fun song. Basically whatever you can do to distract yourself for a few minutes and just lower your breathing rate will help, she says. Indeed, the CDC notes that less water in your body is liked with a higher blood sugar concentration.
A Low Blood Sugar Level Without Diabetes
A low blood sugar level is uncommon in people who do not have diabetes.
Possible causes include:
- a gastric bypass
- other medical conditions, such as problems with your hormone levels, pancreas, liver, kidneys, adrenal glands or heart
- some medicines, including quinine
See a GP if you think you keep getting symptoms of a low blood sugar level. They can arrange some simple tests to check if your blood sugar level is low and try to find out what’s causing it.
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Try The Best Diet For Diabetes
The phytochemical index is one of the simplest ways to rate the quality of your diet . Its the percentage of your calories from whole plant foods, 0 is the worst, 100 is the best . For reference, the average American diet is a 12.
Studies show that the higher your score, the lower your insulin resistance and the lower your beta-cell dysfunction.
This helps explain why diets based on plants are excellent for preventing type 2 diabetes . These diets emphasize the following:
- Legumes: beans, chickpeas, and lentils
- Whole grains
- Nuts and seeds
- No or minimal animal products
Not only can vegetarian diets help prevent type 2 diabetes, but they can also help treat it. A systematic review found that eating vegetarian diets is associated with improved blood sugar .
In one trial, researchers studied the effect of a strictly plant-based diet based around brown rice versus a conventional diabetic diet. Patients with type 2 diabetes were randomized for the control diet or the plant-based diet for 12 weeks .
- The diabetic control group received specific calorie and portion controls.
- The plant-based group could eat as much as they want.
After controlling for improved abdominal fat loss, the plant-based group did better than the control group. Those who stuck with the plant-based diet reduced their A1c levels by 0.9% vs 0.4% in the control group. This is similar to taking the leading diabetes drug, but with only positive side effects.
But most diabetics dont make it to dialysis.
Symptoms That Require Emergency Room Treatment
If your high blood sugar level does not come down within an hour of the above temporary measures and is accompanied by any of the following symptoms, seek emergency room treatment immediately:
- Fruity-scented breath
If left untreated, high glucose levels or hyperglycemia could cause life-threatening dehydration loss of consciousness and death. Ketoacidosis cannot be self-treated. You will require intravenous fluids and insulin.
Please do not listen to other diabetics who may tell you that they had high glucose readings and “were fine.” Every body responds differently.
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Foods That Lower Insulin Levels Add These To Your Diet
When lowering insulin levels, we often look at what foods we consume. So in this article, were going to take you through 12 foods that lower insulin levels.
But lets start with the list, then well head into more details about each option.
Foods and tips that lower insulin levels:
You have a quick list of ways to lower insulin levels, but we need to cover why lowering insulin is important.
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How Long Will It Take To Lower My Blood Sugar
If you have high blood sugarin a non-emergency situationthere are several things you can do to lower your blood sugar right away. Follow these steps in order:
Sometimes people with diabetes can go into diabetic ketoacidosis or hyperglycemic hyperosmolar syndrome, a medical emergency requiring immediate medical care. The symptoms are subtle but look out for:
- Shortness of breath
- Excessive urination
- Abdominal pain
If you experience these symptoms, call your healthcare provider immediately and follow their guidelines. If you cannot reach a physician emergently, call 911.
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Signs That Blood Sugar Levels Are High
People with high blood sugar may:
- pee a lot. When blood sugar levels get too high, the kidneys flush out the extra glucose into your urine , which is why people who have high blood sugar levels need to pee more often and in larger amounts.
- drink a lot. Because you’re losing so much fluid from peeing so much, you can get very thirsty.
- lose weight. If there isn’t enough insulin to help the body use glucose, the body starts to break down your muscle and fat for energy and you lose weight.
- feel tired. Because the body can’t use glucose for energy properly, you may feel really tired.
High blood sugar levels don’t always cause these symptoms. Sometimes you can have high blood sugar levels without even knowing it. But if left untreated, they can cause serious health problems. That’s why it’s important to work with your parents and diabetes team to keep your blood sugar levels in a healthy range. This can mean checking your blood sugar levels a few times a day, even when you feel fine.
How Common Is Low Blood Glucose
Low blood glucose is common among people with type 1 diabetes and among people with type 2 diabetes who take insulin or some other diabetes medicines. In a large global study of people with diabetes who take insulin, 4 in 5 people with type 1 diabetes and nearly half of those with type 2 diabetes reported a low blood sugar event at least once over a 4-week period.2
Severely low blood glucose, defined as when your blood glucose level drops so low you cant treat it yourself, is less common. Among U.S. adults with diabetes who take insulin or some diabetes medicines that help the pancreas release insulin into the blood, 2 in 100 may develop severely low blood glucose each year.3
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Insulin Isnt The Bad Guy
Naturally, the fear of giving oneself an injection or shot, can increase anxiety and stress. But what if I told you that once you get past that initial fear of giving yourself an injection, insulin will help you manage your diabetes and live a longer, healthier life?
If your doctor tells you that you have to go on insulin injections, remember that there is a reason for it. Your doctor has your best interests in mind when he recommends insulin to you. Before getting to this point, you have probably already tried diet and exercise, several oral medications, and maybe even a GLP-1 weekly injection.
With time, your body has started making less and less of its own insulin, and as a result, more and more of your beta cells have died out. At this point, when the beta cells in the pancreas have stopped making insulin, it becomes inevitable that you need to take insulin injections to keep your A1C in a range that decreases the chances of future diabetes complications.
Not A Replacement For Doctor
These are temporary measures for lowering your glucose level and should not be used as a replacement for doctor-prescribed treatment.
Keep your blood sugar levels within acceptable levels by taking appropriate medication, regular exercise, plenty of water and a healthy diet monitored by your diabetic counselor.
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How Exercise Impacts Glucose In The Moment
When you exercise, your body relies on two sources of fuel: glucose and fat. How your blood sugar changes during exercise depends on the intensity level of your workout and the fuel source your body is using.
Steady-state cardio exercises, like jogging or gentle swimming, donât rely on your body having to produce quick bursts of energy. In these cases, it gets more of its energy from fat, so your blood sugar will usually stay at the same level or decrease.
Higher-intensity exercises like HIIT, strength training, and sprinting cause your body to release a surge of adrenaline. To ensure that you have enough energy readily available for this, your body releases glucose from your liver, increasing your blood sugar levels.
Put more simply, your body works through exercise using supply and demand. During high-intensity exercises, it doesnt have the supply of energy on hand to fuel your workout. So, it releases glucose, immediately meeting the energy demand to fuel your workout while causing a short-term spike in blood sugar. During low-intensity exercise, your body has enough energy on hand to meet the demand, so blood glucose typically stays steady or decreases.
Short-term level changes like these are not harmful, just a standard part of our physiology.
Its Not Just About Carbs
I find that many people whove been diagnosed with insulin resistance get caught up in trying to strictly limit their carbs. This especially true with my patients with PCOS and prediabetes two of my specialties. After all, we know that carbs raise blood sugar, and elevated blood sugar causes you to secrete insulin. And some people become resistant to the insulin, so their bodies have to pump out more and more insulin to keep blood sugar within a normal range. This is called insulin resistance and may lead to type 2 diabetes as well as other health problems.
But here is the mistake: All the focus gets put on CARBS! We might load up on fat and protein in our quest to avoid carbs. Or forget about other lifestyle factors that can INCREASE or DECREASE insulin resistance. Hint: physical activity, getting in daily steps, adequate sleep, stress management, losing even a little bit of weight if overweight just to name a few.
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What And When To Eat To Reduce Insulin
Heres a startling truth. I can make you fat. Actually, I can make anybody fat. How? I simply prescribe insulin injections. Giving people extra insulin inevitably leads to weight gain. In type 1 diabetes, when insulin levels are extremely low, patients lose weight no matter how many calories they eat. Give insulin gain weight. No insulin lose weight . The implication is clear. Insulin causes weight gain. Knowing this is crucial, because if insulin causes weight gain, then lowering insulin should help with losing weight. But this very different than just counting calories.
So heres the situation. Medicine tells you that obesity is a caloric balance problem and that you should eat less and move more. Medicine tells you to eat a low-fat diet, and to eat six or more times a day. This advice doesnt work for most people. When it doesnt work, Medicine frequently assumes its your fault for not being able to stick with the advice. Our advice was good, Medicine tells you. You just didnt do it right.
Imagine, though we have a classroom of 100 pupils. One fails. Its likely his fault. Maybe he played too many video games. But if 99 students fail, then its not a problem with the students. The problem is with the teacher. In obesity, the problem of rampant obesity means that it is obviously not the fault of the people. The fault lies with the official dietary advice.
Easy Ways To Lower Blood Sugar Levels Naturally
High blood sugar, also known as hyperglycemia, is associated with diabetes and prediabetes. Prediabetes is when your blood sugar is high, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes.
Your body usually manages your blood sugar levels by producing insulin, a hormone that allows your cells to use the circulating sugar in your blood. As such, insulin is the most important regulator of blood sugar levels .
However, multiple factors can impair blood sugar management and lead to hyperglycemia.
Internal causes for high blood sugar include when your liver produces too much glucose, your body makes too little insulin, or your body cant effectively use insulin. The latter is known as insulin resistance (
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 13% of U.S. adults live with diabetes and that another 34.5% have prediabetes. This means that close to 50% of all U.S. adults have diabetes or prediabetes .
Blood sugar management is especially important for people with diabetes, as chronically high blood sugar levels can lead to limb and life threatening complications (
Increased insulin sensitivity means your cells can more effectively use the available sugar in your bloodstream.
Exercise also helps your muscles use blood sugar for energy and muscle contraction .
Whats more, researchers recommend doing so-called exercise snacks to lower blood sugar and prevent the damage that sitting all day can do .
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Eat At The Best Time For Blood Sugar Control
Eating at 8 pm can cause twice the blood sugar response as eating the same meal at 8 am . This is because your glucose tolerance peaks in the morning and declines the rest of the day.
Because of circadian rhymes in glucose tolerance, a low-glycemic food at night can cause a higher blood sugar spike than a high-glycemic meal in the morning . The worst combination is eating high-glycemic foods at night.
Eating as late as 11 pm can disrupt your circadian rhythm enough to disturb your glucose tolerance the next morning . This means youll have higher blood sugar levels after breakfast than after eating an identical meal at 6 pm.
Your muscles are most sensitive to insulin in the morning. In the morning, your muscles pull blood sugar from your bloodstream to boost glycogen reserves. Your muscles are the least sensitive to insulin at night. At night, your muscles pull less blood sugar from your bloodstream.
Skipping breakfast worsens blood sugar control in both diabetics and non-diabetics . And breakfast-skippers appear to have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes . If youre going to practice intermittent fasting, it may be safer to skip dinner over breakfast.
High Blood Sugar Symptoms
The most common symptoms of hyperglycemia are:
- Increased thirst and/or hunger
“If someone has hyperglycemia, it would mean they would be very thirsty, tired, they might be urinating more frequently and basically not feeling well,” says Sam Zager, M.D. a family medicine physician in Maine.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Hyperglycemia
The signs and symptoms include the following:
- High blood sugar
- High levels of sugar in the urine
- Frequent urination
- Increased thirst
Part of managing your diabetes is checking your blood sugar often. Ask your doctor how often you should check and what your blood sugar levels should be. Checking your blood and then treating high blood sugar early will help you avoid problems associated with hyperglycemia.
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