If the sugar levels in the blood cannot enter the cells, they continue to rise, leaving it uncontrolled, this can lead to diabetes. Diabetes is one of the greatest diseases of our time that affect several organs in the body, including cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack, stroke and heart failure.
Here are 13 simple ways to lower blood sugar levels naturally:
1. Exercise regularly
It’s no news that exercise is healthy, but regular exercise is extra important for individuals with diabetes, overweight or other cardiovascular diseases. Exercise can help you lose weight and increase the body’s sensitivity to insulin. After a workout, especially resistance training, sensitivity to insulin temporarily increases in the muscles of the body, which leads to increased absorption of sugar (glucose) from the blood.
Increased insulin sensitivity means that the body’s cells become better at using the available sugar in the blood.
If you have problems with your blood sugar levels, you should check your levels routinely. This will help you learn how you react to various activities and keep your blood sugar levels from becoming either too high or too low
Good forms of exercise include weightlifting, fast walking, running, cycling, dancing, hiking, swimming and more.
Exercise increases insulin sensitivity and helps muscles pick up sugar from the blood. This can lead to a decrease in blood sugar levels.
2. Control your intake of carbohydrates
When you eat carbohydrates (apart from fiber) your body breaks down (splits) these into smaller sugars (mostly glucose) that are absorbed by the blood, it is only when the cells of the body come into contact with insulin that glucose can be transported into the cells.
If you get too much carbohydrates and have problems with the production or release of insulin, your blood sugar levels rise. The absorption of carbohydrates from the intestine into the blood basically occurs unhindered, which leads to high blood glucose values if you have problems with insulin. Only insulin can counteract the increases in blood sugar.
Reduce carbohydrates in the diet
Several health authorities and diabetes organisations recommend that people with and without diabetes should control the intake of carbohydrates by counting carbohydrates in everything they eat and thus reducing the intake of carbohydrates in their food.
Carbohydrates break down into glucose, which is absorbed by the body, causing rising blood sugar levels. Reducing carbohydrate intake can help you control your blood sugar.
3. Increase your fiber intake
Fibers are a carbohydrate that the body absorbs poorly, fiber rarely leads to rising blood sugar levels, but positively affects digestion. Fibers consist of sugars that are very little absorbed by the body. A rich fiber diet is also good for people with type 1 diabetes.
Foods that contain a lot of fiber include vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains. The recommended daily intake of fiber is about 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men. It’s about 14 grams for every 1,000 calories.
Eating a lot of fiber can help you control your blood sugar
4. Drink plenty of water
An observation study showed that those who drank more water had a lower risk of developing high blood sugar levels.
If you drink a lot of water, the blood filters regularly, which lowers blood sugar levels and reduces the risk of diabetes. Keep in mind that ordinary drinking water and other low-calorie drinks are the best. Sugar-sweetened drinks raise blood sugar, drive weight gain and increase the risk of diabetes.
Drinking plenty of water can reduce your blood sugar levels and help prevent diabetes.
5. Check the size of food portions
Portion control helps regulate calorie intake which can lead to weight loss. People who control the size of their food portions promote control of your body weight, which positively affects your blood sugar levels and reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Controlling food portions will help reduce caloric intake and subsequent blood sugar spikes.
Here are some useful tips for checking food portions:
- Weigh portions
- Use smaller plates
- Avoid all-you-can-eat restaurants
- Read food labels and check serving sizes
- Write down eating habits and sizes in a food diary
- Eat slowly
The more control you have over your serving sizes, the better control you will have over your blood sugar levels.
6. Choose foods with a low glycemic index
The glycemic index (GI) was developed to assess the body’s blood sugar response to foods containing carbohydrates.
Both the amount and type of carbohydrates determine how a food affects blood sugar levels. Eating foods with a low glycaemic index has been shown to reduce long-term blood sugar levels in type 1 and type 2 diabetics.
Although the glycemic index of food is important for body weight and blood sugar, the amount of carbohydrates also plays a big role.
Foods with a low glycemic index include seafood, meat, eggs, oats, barley, beans, lentils, legumes, sweet potatoes, corn, most fruits and vegetables.
It is important to choose foods with a low glycemic index and control your total intake of carbohydrates.
7. Control stress levels
One study showed that training, relaxation and meditation significantly reduced stress levels and lowered blood sugar levels for students.
Exercises and methods that help you relax such as yoga and mindfulness can also correct insulin release problems in diabetes.
Controlling stress levels through exercise or relaxation methods such as yoga helps you control blood sugar levels
8. Monitor your blood sugar levels
Measuring and monitoring blood sugar levels can also help you control them. Keeping track of your blood sugar levels helps you determine if you need to make adjustments to meals or medications. It will also help you find out how your body reacts to certain foods.
Try measuring your levels every day and keep track of the numbers in a diary or mobile application.
Check your sugar levels and write down the values in a diabetes diary, this will help you adjust foods and medications to reduce your sugar levels.
9. Get enough quality sleep
Getting enough sleep feels good and is necessary for good health.
Lack of sleep reduces the release of growth hormones and increases cortisol levels. Both of these play an important role in blood sugar control.
Good sleep helps maintain blood sugar control and promote healthy weight. Poor sleep can disrupt important metabolic hormones.
10. Eat foods rich in magnesium and chromium
High blood sugar levels and diabetes have also been linked to deficiencies in nutrients such as magnesium and chromium. Chromium is involved in carbohydrate and fat metabolism, lack of this substance can adversely affect your blood sugar levels.
However, the mechanisms behind this are not entirely known. Studies also report mixed results.
Chromium-rich foods include egg yolks, whole grains, cereals, coffee, nuts, green beans, broccoli and meat.
Magnesium has also been shown to benefit blood sugar levels and magnesium deficiency has been linked to a higher risk of developing diabetes. But if you already eat a lot of magnesium-rich foods, you probably will not benefit from the dietary supplement.
Magnesium-rich foods include dark leafy vegetables, whole grains, fish, dark chocolate, bananas, avocados and beans.
11. Try apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has many benefits for your health.
To include apple cider vinegar in your diet, you can add it to salad dressings or mix 2 teaspoons in a glass with water.
12. Experiment with cinnamon extract
Cinnamon is known to have many health benefits. Cinnamon has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity by reducing insulin resistance at the cellular level. Studies show that regular intake of cinnamon can lower blood sugar levels by up to 30%.
Cinnamon slows down the breakdown of carbohydrates in the gastrointestinal tract, slowing the increase in blood sugar after a meal. People are advised to take about 1-6 grams of cinnamon per day, or about 0.5-2 teaspoons, but definitely not take more than that because too much cinnamon can be harmful.
Cinnamon has been shown to reduce fasting blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity.
13. Lose weight
A suitable body weight leads to better health and prevents future health problems. Weight control also promotes healthy blood sugar levels and has been shown to reduce the risk of developing diabetes.
Even a 7% reduction in body weight can reduce the risk of developing diabetes by up to 58%, and it seems to work even better than medication.
The risk reduction associated with weight loss lasts for a long time, this means that if you lose weight the body will still benefit from the positive effects even if you gain weight after a while.
You should also be aware of your waist circumference, as this is perhaps the most important weight-related factor in predicting your diabetes risk.
Lifestyle choices can often help control blood sugar.
Eating a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables, maintaining a healthy weight and getting at least 150 minutes moderate to intense exercise every week can help.
Other tips for controlling blood sugar include:
- Eat regularly at lunch and dinner, do not skip a meal
- Drinking water instead of juice and soda
- Choosing fruit instead of a chocolate cake
- Control the size of food portions