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High blood sugar is a problem that has been affecting millions, especially people suffering from diabetes. However, it can also be a sign of pre-diabetes, which many people have without even knowing it. Whatever the case, high blood sugar levels indicate that something is not right, and that some changes are needed.
So here, we will tell you how to naturally lower blood sugar, so you can improve your health and keep those levels in control.
What Is Hyperglycemia?
Hyperglycemia is the medical term used for high blood sugar (glucose). It usually indicates that the pancreas is not producing enough insulin or that the body is not using the insulin properly.
According to the World Health Organization, these are the blood glucose levels that indicate that you have hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar:
- If your blood glucose levels are higher than 7.0 mmol/L (126 mg/dl) when fasting (which usually means in the morning, before you had breakfast)
- If your blood glucose levels are higher than 11.0 mmol/L (200 mg/dl) 2 hours after eating
What Are The Symptoms Of High Blood Sugar?
There are many different signs that can indicate that your blood sugar levels are higher than they should be.
These are the most common symptoms of high blood sugar:
- Needing to go to the toilet very often
- Feeling very thirsty
- Dry mouth
- Feeling weak, tired or not well
- Blurred vision
What Can Cause High Blood Sugar?
An increase in blood sugar levels can be caused by many different things such as:
- Eating too much carbohydrates and sugary foods or drinks
- Being stressed
- Skipping/forgetting your insulin or other glucose lowering medications
- Having an infection or being sick
- A lack of exercise
Natural Ways To Lower Blood Sugar
Drink More Water
Water can help the body to flush out excess sugar through urine. And at the same time, it also helps to prevent dehydration.
Studies have shown that low water intake was indeed linked to hyperglycemia.
Exercising regularly is vital to help you keep normal blood sugar levels.
This is because when we exercise, our heart beats faster, we breathe harder and so our muscles use more glucose for energy, which helps to lower the sugar levels in the blood.
Exercise also increases insulin sensitivity, which means that our cells can better use the sugar present in the bloodstream.
Walking is one of the best ways you can try to start lower your blood sugar. If your condition allows it, you could try doing some light exercices such as stretching, lifting weights (light ones) or yoga.
But it is usually better to avoid high intensity excercises as these could have the opposite effect.
A good routine includes walking or exercising for at least 30 minutes a day and 5 days a week.
Change Your Eating Habits
Eating a healthy, balanced diet is key to keep normal blood sugar levels. This is what you can try:
- Control your intake of carbohydrates
Normally, our body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose and then the insulin, which is made by the pancreas, takes the sugars to the cells. But when we eat too much carbs at once or if we have insulin problems, then instead of going into the cells, the glucose stays in the bloodstream. Which leads to high blood sugar (glucose) levels.
There are actually 2 types of carbs: simple and complex.
Simple carbs get digested very quickly and cause a spike in blood sugar, which is why you should try to avoid these. They are often called refined and “bad carbs”.
Foods with simple carbs include: table sugar, syrup, sweets, products made with white flour, soft drinks
Complex carbs take longer to break down, so they keep you full for longer. This is because complex carbohydrates also contain fiber, which slows down digestion and causes glucose to be released gradually in the bloodstream. For this reason, they are often called “good carbs”.
Foods with complex carbs include: starchy vegetables (such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, corn…), legumes, whole grains
You should therefore try to make sure that you don’t eat too much carbohydrates and choose complex carbs instead of simple carbs.
- Eat more fiber
Fiber is known to slow down the digestion of carbohydrates and the absorption or sugar. Therefore, it can prevent blood sugar levels from rising too quickly.
There are actually 2 types of fiber: soluble and insoluble.
Soluble fiber absorbs water and therefore expands inside the stomach by forming a gel that slows down digestion. It can therefore help you to lose weight by keeping you full for longer.
Insoluble fiber does not absorb water and is not digestible. But it adds bulk to the diet and helps the food to pass through the digestive system more quickly (has a laxative effect). It is considered good for weight management as the bulk it adds to the digestive system can prevent you from getting hungry too quickly and also helps to keep a healthy gut.
Both types of fiber are important to help you keep good blood sugar levels, especially soluble fibre.
A high-fiber diet has been shown to be effective at reducing blood sugar levels.
High fiber foods include:
– Whole grains (such as whole wheat, wheat bran, couscous, bulgur, barley, oats, brown rice…)
– Legumes (such as lentils, beans, peas, chickpeas…)
– Nuts (such as almonds, walnuts, cashew, hazelnuts, macadamia, pistachio…)
– Seeds (such as sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds…)
- Eat good-quality protein
Good animal protein sources include, grass-fed beef, wild-caught fish and pasture-raised chicken and eggs. These are all complete proteins, which means that they contain all 9 essential amino-acids that our body cannot make on its own.
Good plant-based protein sources include lentils, legumes, nuts and seeds.
However, you should avoid protein powders. This is because they often also contain a lot of unhealthy ingredients, and you can easily get too much of it, which may actually cause a spike in blood sugar.
- Choose healthy fats
As fat is high in calories, eating too much fatty foods can cause weight gain and therfore can make it more difficult to control your blood sugar levels.
But, fat actually plays an important role in the body so you should still have a small amount of it included in your diet. However, the type of fats you choose makes all the difference. You should choose foods that contain unsaturated fats such as:
– Avocados and avocado oil
– Olives and olive oil
– Nuts (such as almonts, peanuts, walnuts, pistachios)
– Seeds (such as pumpkin, sunflower, sesame)
– Vegetable oils (such as sunflower, canola, rapeseed)
– Fatty fish (such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, tuna)
- Check the labels and avoid unhealthy food
This one is also really important and can make a huge difference.
Pre-packaged, highly processed foods often contain a lot of sugar and saturated fats, so you need to avoid these as much as you can. Because as well as increasing your blood sugar levels, these are also likely to cause weight, cholesterol and heart problems.
Anything that contains ingredients such as glucose syrup or fructose syrup should also be avoided.
Physical stress (such as illness, surgery or injury) and mental stress can both cause an increase in blood sugar levels.
Mental stress causes the body to produce high levels of stress hormones, which in turn causes an increase in blood sugar levels as well.
Moreover, when you are stressed in general, you might not be as careful with your diet, exercise and medications, which could indirectly bring changes in your blood sugar levels.
Yoga and meditation,for example, are good stress relievers.
A lack of sleep has also been shown to increase blood sugar levels.
In fact, studies have shown that people who sleep less than 6 hours are much more likely to develop diabetes.
It is therefore important that you try to sleep well, for example by establishing a routine and going to sleep on time.
Supplements That Help Lower Blood Sugar
Along with the lifestyle changes that you can make to help lower your blood sugar levels naturally, there are some natural supplements that can be taken to further help keep your blood glucose levels balanced. Although if you have already been diagnosed with diabetes and or taking insulin or other medications, you should ask your doctor before adding any of the following to your diet.
Gymnema Sylvestre is a woody vine mostly found in India, Africa and Australia, that has been used for centuries in traditional medicine, especially for treating diabetes. Actually, in India, the name translates to “destroyer of sugar”.
Today, Gymnema is mostly used to stop sugar cravings and to help lower blood sugar levels.
Studies have shown that it has antiobesity and antidiabetic properties as it contains a component that has the ability to help lose weight and inhibit the absorption of glucose.
Possible side-effects of Gymnema Sylvestre:
It is uasually safe to take, however, you should be particularly careful if you are already taking blood glucose lowering medications as combining these could cause your blood sugar levels to get too low (hypoglycemia). In that case, you should ask your doctor before you start taking a Gymnema supplement.
Bitter melon, also called sour gourd or karela, has also been used for a long time as a food and medicine in Asia, parts of Africa, South America and the Caribbean. Among all fruits and vegetables, it is considered to be the most bitter.
Bitter melon is actually rich in vitamins (especially A, C, E and B vitamins) and minerals (potassium, calcium, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus and iron) and is a good source of fiber.
It has antidiabetic, as well as antiobesity, antioxidant and antibacterial properties.
Studies have shown that bitter melon contains bioactive compounds that have the ability to help control and reduce blood sugar levels.
Possible side-effects of bitter melon:
For most people, if taken according to the recommended dosage, bitter melon is usually safe to take.
Although too much of it can cause an upset stomach and diarrhea (especially with bitter melon juice).
Where to buy bitter melon supplement?
You could try these natural bitter melon capsules.
Cinnamon is a spice that has been used for thousands of years for its numerous health benefits.
Cinnamon is extremely rich in antioxidants and also has anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, antibacterial and antifungal properties.
One of cinnamon’s best known benefits is its ability to help lower blood sugar.
Studies have shown that cinnamon can lower blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity.
There are actually 2 main types of cinnamon: Ceylon cinnamon (also called true cinnamaon) and cassia cinnamon.
Even though both types have health benefits, Ceylon cinnamon is usually considered to be more effective ansd safe to take, as cassia cinnamon contains higher amounts of coumarin, which can be toxic in high doses.
Cinnamon can also:
– Support heart health
– Support brain function
– Support skin health
– Lower cancer risk
Possible side-effects of cinnamon supplement:
If you are already taking blood sugar lowering medications, ask your doctor before trying a cinnamon supplement in order to prevent your blood sugar levels from getting too low.
Cinnamaon can also interact with other medications, so again, seek advise from your doctor first.
Taking too much cinnamon can also cause mouth sores, breathing and allergy problems, and liver damage.
It is usually safer to take ceylon cinnamon, as cassia cinnamon contains higher amounts of coumarin, a component which can be toxic at high doses and could cause liver damage.
Chromium is an essential trace mineral that is often taken as a supplement to enhance the effects of insulin in the body and help lower blood glucose levels.
As studies have shown, chromium is particularly effective at lowering blood sugar levels and improving insulin sensitivity in people with isulin resistance (prediabetes) and type 2 diabetes. It has also been proven to be more effective in people with chromium deficiency, which can be caused by a poor diet.
Foods that contain chromium include:
– Vegetables such as potatoes, broccoli and green beans
– Fruits such as apples, bananas and grape juice
– Dairy products such as milk and cheese
– Whole grains
Possible side-effects of chromium:
If taken according to the usual dosage (200-1000 micrograms daily), chromium is usually safe.
Occasionally, somme side-effects can include irregular heartbeats, headaches, sleeping problems and allergic reactions.
Taking too much of it could also cause kidney or liver damage.
Where to buy chromium supplement?
We suggest you try these chromium tablets blended with organic whole foods for more effectiveness.
Fenugreek is a plant mostly found in western Asia, the Mediterranean region and southern Europe. Its seeds have been used for centuries in cooking and as a medicine.
Fenugreek seeds are high in fiber, protein, B vitamins, manganese and iron. They have been found to help lower blood sugar levels and increase the amount of insulin released.
Fenugreek seeds can be used in cooking and in powder form for baking. Fenugreek can also be taken as a supplement.
Possible side-effects of fenugreek:
Fenugreek is usually safe to consume in amounts used in cooking.
Some possible side-effects include upset stomach, diarrhea, gas, bloating, headache, diziness, allergic reaction, coughing, wheezing, nasal congestion and “maple syrup smell” in urine.
Fenugreek is not considered safe to use during pregnancy.
American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) is another plant whose roots have been used for centuries in traditional and Chinese medicine for their many health benefits. Although it is native to America, it is also widely cultivated in China.
American Ginseng has been shown to increase insulin production as well as decrease insulin resistance in people suffering from diabetes, thanks to its numerous components. Some studies also suggest that it may stimulate the immune system and help to fight cancer.
Ginseng is often used to help with stress, colds, flu and boost the immune system in general. It is also taken as a stimulant.
Possible side-effects of ginseng:
If taken in high doses, ginseng can cause upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, muscle tension, headache, dizziness, nervousness and insomnia.
Ginseng should not be used if you are taking blood-thinning medications, have a hormone-sensitive health problem (such as breast cancer or endometriosis) or are pregnant.
Always ask your doctor first if you are already taking blood glucose-lowering medications or as a matter of fact, any other medication to prevent interaction.
Where to buy ginseng supplement?
Here’s a good quality, completely natural American ginseng supplement that you can buy on iHerb. It also contains spirulina for added benefits.
Or you can buy this one from Amazon, which is also organic and free from any other added ingredients.
Specially Formulated All-Natural Supplement To Lower Blood Sugar
If you are suffering from type 2 diabetes, there is actually another supplement that would be worth trying.
Formulated by CLE Holistic Health, Naavudi is the world’s first all natural supplement that has been clinically proven to lower blood sugar. It contains a combination of different organic plants and herbs ( including bitter melon and fenugreek) that work together to effectively lower blood sugar and help keep normal blood sugar levels. Not only that, but it can also improve insulin sensitivity, help reduce sugar cravings and stress as well as lower cholesterol, all at the same time.
If you are interested and want to see it for yourself, you can find this all-natural supplement here. An added bonus is, they ship worldwide.
The Importance Of Keeping Normal Blood Sugar Levels
Keeping blood sugar levels in check is extremely important for your health in general. Having high blood sugar levels for extended periods of time can start causing damage to the nerves, blood vessels and internal organs. It can also make you more vulnerable to skin infections, slow down the healing of cuts, wounds and sores as well as damage your vision.
Luckily, for most people, it is possible to lower blood sugar naturally by making some diet and lifestyle changes. These can indeed help prevent the development of diabetes. And if you have already been diagnosed with the condition, wether it is type 1 or type 2, bringing these changes can help you drastically improve your health and everyday life.
Just remember, depending on the severity of your condition, it may not be possible to avoid blood-lowering medications.
If you are thinking about taking any of the supplements listed above, always ask your doctor first, especially if you have other health problems, take medications, are pregnant or breast-feeding.
If you have ever tried any of the lifestyle changes or supplements listed above to lower your blood sugar, don’t hesitate to tell us about it in the comments below!