- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
How to Lower Blood Sugar Levels
Although diabetes may be a silent disease, while it silently progresses, it can produce ravaging effects upon your body. High blood sugar levels can cause damage to the eyes, kidneys, nerves, blood vessels, and other parts of the body. Furthermore, high blood sugar levels can make you feel more tired and irritable. Therefore, controlling your blood sugars not only can extend your life, but it can improve your emotional well-being and energy.
Testing Blood Sugar Levels
How to Lower your Blood Sugar Level with Exercise
Especially for Type II diabetics, exercising is one of the best ways to lower blood sugars levels. Exercise can improve blood sugar levels in several ways. First, when you perform aerobic exercise, muscles take up glucose 20 times faster. Secondly, stength training can help build more muscle. Consequently, the more muscle you have, the more glucose is burned. In one recent study of Hispanic men and women, researchers found that 16 weeks of strength training improved blood sugar levels comparable to taking diabetes medication. However, if your blood sugar level is 250 mg/dL or above, check your ketones first. If ketones are evident, do not exercise. Furthermore, if your blood sugar 300 mg/dL or higher, even without any evidence of ketones, do not exercise.
How to Lower your Blood Sugar Level with Food
In addition to exercise, certain foods may help lower blood sugar levels. These foods are:
- Nuts - May lower insulin resistance
- Avocado - May improve insulin sensitivity
- Sweet potatoes - Contain cartenoids, powerful antioxidants, which may reduce insulin resistance.
- Onions - Lowers blood sugar levels
- Flaxseed - Lowers blood sugar levels
- Brussel sprouts
- Kidney beans
How to Lower your Blood Sugar Level with Fiber
Eating a high fiber diet helps lower blood sugars. In addition to filling you up faster so you don't eat much, filber also helps lower blood sugar levels. When we eat refined foods that are stripped of all the fiber, they are processed easier and allow the blood sugar levels to spike. Unfortunately, in response the pancreas creates more insulin. When our insulin surges, rather than burning the excess energy, we store it as fat instead. If the increased insulin causes too much blood sugar to be utilized, our blood sugar level drops. Since blood sugar levels also regulate appetite, when the blood sugar level drops to low, we become hungry and tired. In turn, we tend to choose a sugar-laden food to reduce the appetite and act as a pick me up. Consequently, a viscious circle begins.
Unlike refined foods which cause blood sugars to spike, fiber helps diabetics in two ways. First, fiber slows down the absorption of glucose so the blood sugars are more consistent. Secondly, fiber fills you up so you don't eat as much. An adult should have 12 grams of fiber per day.
How to Lower Blood Sugar Levels with a Low Glycemic Diet
Carbohydrates can be one of diabetic's worst enemies. However, following a low glycemic diet may help. The glycemic index measures how fast food rises the blood sugar level. Accordingly, foods are given a glycemic index score. Glucose is assigned a score of 100. Foods are scored dependent how fast they raise the blood sugar level. Consequently, when you're a diabetic, you want to choose foods with a low glycemic index because they rise the blood sugar less quickly. The following list are the glycemic index score of some common foods:
One slice of white bread 70
Cream of Wheat 71
1 cup Cornflakes 84
1/2 cup canned corn 55
1 cup skim milk 32
Refined foods usually have a higher index than foods with fiber. Protiens have lower glycemic index than carbohydrates.
Diet Pop and Blood Sugar Levels
The Farmington Heart Study in Massachussetts found that consumption of diet soda is correlated with increased metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is combination of disorders that can increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes. As little as one diet pop per day could cause this correlation. Out of 9,000 male and female research particpants, they found 48% had a higher risk for weight gain and elevated blood sugar levels. They also noticed the particpants ate less healthy. Furthermore, the diet soda may increase the cravings for other sweet foods.
How to Lower your Blood Sugar Levels with Red Wine
Red wine not only protects against heart disease, but now, researchers at the Univerisity of Massachussetts believe it might be helpful for Type II diabetics. Typically, after a meal, blood sugar levels rise. However, researchers believe that red wine may slow the absorption of food in the intestine, consequently, leading to lower blood sugar levels. They believe the lowering effect is due to an antioxidant in red wine called polyphenolics. Red wine has ten times more polyphenolics than white wine. Teas also have polyphenolics. In addition to lowering the blood sugar, polyphenolics may help with other complications from diabetes like high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.
How to Lower Blood Sugar Levels with Coffee and Tea
For coffee and tea lovers, research has shown that drinking tea and coffe can reduce your risk developing diabetes. Drinking 7 cups of coffee per day can cut your risk of developing diabetes in half. On the other hand, drinking tea can improve insulin sensitivity up to 15 times. Although all kinds of tea are effective, black tea appears to have the biggest effect. However, researchers warn not to drink tea with milk. Apparently, milk interacts with the chemicals responsible for the blood sugar lowering effect by making these chemicals unavailable to the body.
Herbs that Lower Blood Sugar Levels or Improve Diabetes
Natural herbs can reduce blood sugars. In fact, some diabetic nutritional formulas contain some of these herbs. Below are some herbs for you to research further. However, before trying any of these, make sure you consult your physician first.
- Juniper berries
- Golden seal
- Saw palmetto
- Holy basil
- Aloe vera
- American ginseng
- Siberian ginseng
- Panax ginseng
- Bilberry -
- Bitter Melon
- Blond psyllium
- Red raspberry
- Pau d'arco
- Cascara sagrada
- Konnyaku root
- Uva ursi leaves
- Red sandalwood
- Pterocarpus marsupium
- Blueberry leaves
- Devil's claw
- Gymnema sylvestre
- Prickley pear cactus
How to Lower Blood Sugar Levels with Weight Loss
Type II diabetics are often insulin resistant. Weight loss can lower insulin resistance. Even losing just 5 to 10 percent of your body weight can make a significant difference. Some studies suggest that fat secretes hormones that counteract the action of insulin. Furthermore, if you're not diabetic, losing 5 to 7 percent of your body weight can prevent or delay diabetes by 60%. Secondly, losing weight can also help improve high blood pressure and high cholesterol which often go hand in hand with diabetes.
If you don't have the right mindset, diabetes can be hard to control. Everything we put into our mouth is transformed into glucose in the blood to some extent. Unfortunately, since we can't just stop eating, a diabetic needs to learn to control their diet. By watching what we eat, monitoring carbohydrate intake; eating more high glycemic foods and fiber; and exercising and losing weight if needed, most people can significantly lower their blood sugar levels. Furthermore, using herbs and vitamins can also help. Although it may be difficult, these lifestyle changes can improve both our mental and physical being. Don't underestimate the power you have to change the course of your diabetes. Just a one percent drop in your blood sugar levels can lower the risk of vision loss, kidney failure, and nerve damage by 35% to 45%. Consequently, don't put off till tomorrow what you can do today.