Blood Sugar Levels – How to Keep Them Healthy

Hypoglycemia or high blood sugar is a dangerous and potentially deadly condition if left untreated and managed.

It is particularly worrisome for people suffering from diabetes type I and II.

Frequent high blood sugar can cause damage to the organs, nerves, blood vessels, and can cause serious conditions, coma and even death (1).

But high blood sugar can be dangerous for people who are not diagnosed with diabetes too.

According to the CDC, skipping breakfast, no getting enough sleep, drinking coffee, not drinking enough water, inactivity and other simple things can cause instability in the blood sugar levels (2).

Other causes for blood sugar spikes include eating high carb foods, high sugar foods, drinking alcohol, being ill, or taking certain medications, as well as mundane things like sunburn, or exercising strenuously.

When left unchecked, high blood sugar can lead to diabetes.

According to a study from several years ago, about 14% of the adults in the US have diabetes type II, and another 38% were pre-diabetic, which means that about half of the adults in the USA either are diabetic or are pre-diabetic (3).

Thankfully, there are some ways to lower your blood sugar levels naturally, including:

Exercise on a regular basis

Exercising regularly can help you lose that extra weight and also increase insulin sensitivity, which will allow your body cells to properly use the sugar in the bloodstream.

Exercise can help your muscles use up more of the blood sugar for contracting.

Physical activity of any kind can help reduce blood sugar levels and keep them in control. Activities like running, brisk walking, cycling, weight lifting, swimming, and even dancing can help you control the sugar levels in the blood (4).

So, as your muscles pick up the sugar from your bloodstream, this can lead to a reduction of blood sugar levels overall.

Please note, that in order to lower your blood sugar through exercise you need to engage in steady cardio rather than in high-intensity interval training, because the latter can actually raise the blood sugar levels even higher (5).

Limiting the carbohydrates

Since the human body breaks down the carbs into glucose and other sugars, followed by the insulin which moves the sugars to the cells, eating too many carbohydrates, or having problems with the insulin functioning can cause the blood glucose levels to rise.

The easiest way to control the carb intake, according to the American Diabetes Association is to count them or use a food exchange system (6).

Studies have found that using these plans can help improve your blood sugar management in the long run (78, 9).

There are also multiple studies which have concluded that a low carb diet can help prevent blood sugar spikes, and help reduce blood sugar levels (10, 11, 12).

Increase the intake of fiber

Fiber slows down the digestion and absorption of sugar and carbohydrates by the body which helps prevent blood sugar spikes and allows for the sugar to be properly absorbed.

Soluble fiber has been proven to be especially beneficial for lowering blood sugar levels (131415).

Also, a high fiber diet can help improve the blood sugar level management in people with type I diabetes (1617).

It can also help prevent the development of diabetes type II (18).

Adding soluble fibers like black beans, lima beans, kidney beans, Brussels sprouts, avocados, broccoli, sweet potatoes, pears, turnips, nectarines, apricots, apples, flaxseeds, oats or other soluble fibers can help bring the blood sugar down to normal levels, and keep it there (19).

You can also try out some highly viscous soluble fibers like glucomannan found in shitake noodles or supplements, for reducing your blood sugar levels (20, 21).

Make sure you stay properly hydrated

Drinking sufficient amounts of water on a daily basis will help you stay hydrated, and will also help your kidneys release the excess sugar from your blood through the urine. (22232425).

A study showed that people who drink more water are at a lower risk of developing diabetes, and a consequent study concluded that people who drink too little water are more likely to have high blood sugar (26, 27).

Please note, that these studies and conclusions are for drinking water and other zero calorie beverages, and not sugary drinks, which can actually cause your blood glucose to rise, and can increase or risk of diabetes (2829).

The recommended daily water intake is at least 6-8 glasses per day. If you forget to drink water you can set your alarm to remind you to do so every other hour.

Get more sleep

Getting sufficient amounts of sleep is essential for your overall health and wellbeing (30).

Sleeping too little can increase your appetite, lead to weight gain, and affect the blood sugar levels and your insulin sensitivity (31, 32, 33).

Deprivation from sleep and rest also inhibits the release of growth hormones and boosts the cortisol levels which can affect your blood sugar levels (34, 35, 36).

According to one study, if you sleep for four hours or less three days in a row, there is a higher risk of having higher fatty acids in your blood, and they make the insulin less effective (37).

So, you should try to get at least seven hours of sleep in order to regulate the fatty acids, hormones, and stress, which will help keep your blood sugar in control.

Use portion control for your meals

Portion control is highly effective for weight loss and for the proper regulation of the caloric intake (28, 29, 40).

By controlling your weight you will help improve and normalize your blood sugar levels and will reduce your risk of developing diabetes type II (41, 42, 43, 44).

Also, by monitoring the portions you eat, you can help prevent the sudden blood sugar spikes (45, 46).

In order to successfully implement portion control, you need to measure or weigh your portions, read the food labels, eat slowly, and if possible eat in smaller plates and keep a food journal.

Add electrolytes to your diet

This is especially important if you suffer from high blood sugar levels or from blood sugar spikes, during which you urinate more and lose more electrolytes and water than usual.

Since electrolytes are essential for hydration, you should make sure you keep them properly replenished, by drinking a low carb electrolyte drink as a quick fix, or by adding more sweet potatoes, bananas, seeds and nuts to your diet.

Also, make sure you have a proper magnesium balance to help lower your blood sugar levels (47). You can obtain the necessary amounts of magnesium via supplements, or by adding more high magnesium foods like pumpkin seeds, yogurt, almonds, spinach, and cashews to your daily diet.

Eat low glycemic index foods

The food glycemic index was developed to assess the human body’s blood sugar response to carbohydrates (48).

Overall it is both the type of carb you eat and how much of them you eat that have an effect on your blood sugar levels (49, 50).

Eating foods with low glycemic indexes has proven to reduce blood sugar levels in people suffering from diabetes type I and II (51, 52).

So, make sure you check out the glycemic index of the food you eat if you want to have normal blood sugar levels (53).

Some of the foods with the lowest glycemic index include meat, seafood, eggs, oats, beans, barley, legumes, corn, sweet potatoes, lentils, non-starchy veggies, and certain foods.

A study found that eating a diet consisting of 20% carbohydrates, 30% protein, and 50% fat prevents the blood sugar from spiking and lowers the fasting blood sugar (54).

Another study concluded that after two years on a low carb diet, many type II diabetics managed to resolve their condition or manage it without medications (55).

Deal with stress accordingly

This is easily said than done, but keep in mind is that stress can cause numerous physical health problems including high blood sugar (5657).

A great way to reduce anxiety and stress is through meditation, and even a single session can help reduce blood sugar levels (58).

Plus, people who do yoga on a regular basis have been found to have significant decreases in the blood glucose levels too (59).

Lose some weight and watch your waistline

Losing any excess weight can have multiple benefits for your health, including lowering your blood sugar levels.

A reduction of just 7% of your body weight can help decrease your risk of developing diabetes by nearly 60% (60).

Also, keep an eye on your waistline, because women with measurements of 35 inches or more and men with measurements of 40 inches and more are found to have an increased risk of developing high blood sugar levels, insulin resistance, and diabetes type II.

In fact, a healthy weight measurement can be even more important than having a healthy weight when it comes to blood sugar levels and risks of developing diabetes (61, 62).

Add apple cider vinegar to your daily regimen

As you probably know, apple cider vinegar has multiple benefits for the health, including promoting lower fasting blood sugar levels by decreasing the production of the liver and increasing its use by the human cells (63, 64).

Multiple studies show that apple cider vinegar can help improve insulin sensitivity and the response of the body to sugars (65666768).

You can easily incorporate apple cider vinegar into your diet by adding it to your salads, or by drinking 2 teaspoons of it mixed in 8 ounces of water.

Monitor your blood sugar levels regularly

By staying informed about your blood sugar levels you can control and manage them easier.

Monitoring your blood sugar levels can help you adjust your diet or your medications, and can also help you find out how your body responds to specific types of foods (69, 70).

If you have problems with high blood sugar, it is a good idea to keep a log of the measurements as well as the specific foods you have eaten throughout the day.

Take probiotics

Having a healthy gut flora microbiome is crucial for your health. It affects how well your immune system responds to inflammation and diseases, and how your body’s metabolism is operating, including how your blood sugar levels are.

Clinical reviews have found that the daily intake of probiotics can help decrease blood sugar significantly (71).

Final words

If you are diabetic or are taking medications for your high blood sugar, make sure you speak to your endocrinologist or other doctor about any diet or lifestyle changes.

If you are worried about fluctuations in your blood sugar levels and about the sudden spikes you have been experiencing, then you can follow the abovementioned steps to naturally lower your blood sugar levels, and lower your risk of developing diabetes.

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