6 Ways to Lower Your Blood Sugar Naturally
In 2007, my health care provider said I had metabolic syndrome and was prediabetic. I gave myself six months to turn it around naturally, and, if I was unsuccessful, my plan was to go with allopathic medicines.
In this article, I will share what I did to turn it around permanently. These techniques did wonders for me; however, I want to emphasize that you should always consult your doctor before pursuing a new treatment or health strategy. It is very important that you discuss your specific situation with your doctor.
Consult Your Doctor
Always consult your doctor before pursuing a new treatment or health strategy. It is very important that you discuss your specific situation with your doctor.
How to Lower Your Blood Sugar Naturally
Here's how your blood sugar works. First, you eat food; second, the stomach and intestines break the down the food into glucose. The cells need glucose for energy, but in order for the cells to be able to use the glucose they also need insulin—which the pancreas produces in the response to glucose.
The body, however, can become resistant to insulin in certain circumstances; in particular, if there is excess fat. So, the glucose stays in the blood, which makes the pancreas secrete even more insulin. Eventually, the pancreas gets tired—very tired—and gives up. That's when prediabetes becomes diabetes.
Keeping glucose sugar levels balanced can help promote weight loss, because having low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) triggers binge eating. Binge eating causes a rebound effect of high blood sugar or glucose, and the body will rapidly store this high blood sugar as fat.
With a few tricks up your sleeve, however, you can easily control your glucose levels and avoid more serious health problems.
In this article, I will share some solutions that worked for me. Pick several that you think might help and try applying them for a few weeks. See what kind of results you get; then fine-tune with a few more, as needed. My favorite daily techniques are exercise, Stevia, Zypan (for pancreas support), and eating small and often. On challenging days I add the other supplements, as well. Learn what works for you and be consistent.
Hyperglycemia vs. Hypoglycemia
High blood sugar is called hyperglycemia. Low blood sugar is called hypoglycemia.
Blood sugar levels are considered high when they're above 110 mg/dl first thing in the morning (assuming you weren't midnight snacking). You can get a simple kit to monitor your blood sugar and find out which foods might be affecting you negatively. You can also learn what your fasting blood glucose level is.
High blood sugar can not only make you feel wonky, it can negatively affect many organs over a longer period of time.
Hyperglycemia can cause damage to the vessels that supply blood to vital organs, which can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke, kidney disease, vision problems, and nerve problems.
In this article, I will share six natural solutions to balancing or lowering blood sugar. These are tried-and-true solutions that are extremely powerful. If you get overwhelmed with all the information, start with exercise and removing processed grains and sugar from your diet. Then add some supplements, some sweeteners that are okay, and start eating Chia seeds! Finally, add some "tricks" for those special times when you've had sugar (i.e., the herb supplement called Salacia). To your health!
Tip # 1 - Get Your Muscles Involved!
If Americans are the biggest consumers in the world, muscles are the glucose consumer equivalent. Getting physically active is one of the easiest ways to use up glucose and "force" the body out of insulin resistance. Exercise vigorously for 20-30 minutes a day to get optimal benefits.
My favorite kind of exercise is Zumba. They have a great program for baby boomers—or anyone who's seriously out of shape—called Zumba Gold. I just ordered it so I can continue exercising during the winter in Montana. You gotta love Zumba!
Tip # 2 - Eat Small, Eat Often
The body does much better eating smaller amounts of food, more frequently, throughout the day. It's easier on the intestines, the pancreas, and the digestive enzymes.
Depending on your caloric intake, you could eat 4-6 meals of 400-600 calories each. Eat at least every four hours.
In addition, you should increase your water intake. Being chronically dehydrated is hard on the blood, which carries not only blood sugar but also insulin.
Tip # 3 - Get Rid of Belly Fat
Belly fat increases heart disease and insulin resistance. It is particularly hard for women to get rid of belly fat once they've reached their menopause years. Insulin resistance means that the blood sugar stays in the blood instead of getting into the tissue cells.
Belly fat can increase dramatically under acute and chronic high stress because of the hormone release of cortisol from the adrenals. Exercise can help reduce stress, as does massage, meditation, yoga, relaxing baths, etc.
The recommended waist measurement for men is fewer than 40 inches. For women, the recommendation is fewer than 35 inches.
Tip # 4 - Know the Foods that Lower Blood Sugar
Eat Low-Glycemic Foods
The glycemic index (GI) is a numerical system of measuring how fast a carbohydrate triggers a rise in circulating blood sugar. The higher the number, the greater the blood sugar response. A low GI food will cause a small rise, whereas a high GI food will trigger a dramatic spike. Below is just a sampling of foods to give you an idea of low, medium, and high GI foods. Stick to low and medium to keep your blood sugar down.
Low GI Foods (less than 50)
- Green beans
- Lettuce, all varieties
- Low-fat yogurt, artificially sweetened
- Peppers, all varieties
- Snow peas
Medium GI Foods (50-70)
- Canned kidney beans
- Kiwi fruit
- Orange juice, not from concentrate
- Sweet potato
- Brown rice
- Sweet corn
High GI Foods (more than 70)
- Corn chips
- Mashed potatoes
- Bread stuffing mix
- Cream of Wheat, instant
- Graham crackers
- French fries
- Frozen waffles
- Rice cakes
Chia Seeds Are a Super Food
Chia is a super food when it comes to health benefits. Along with balancing your blood sugar, it will keep your blood sugar from spiking throughout the day. Chia is high in fiber, protein, boron, and magnesium. It's also great for weight loss, your thyroid (which can affect your pancreas, if it's not healthy), and intestinal regularity. You can throw 2 T of Chia in a smoothie, but the following recipe makes a fantastic start to your day and takes just minutes to prepare. Chia seeds are odorless and have no taste, so plan on adding nuts and dried fruit to give the following a great flavor!
- Pour about 1/2 cup of boiling water over 2 Tablespoons of Chia seeds and 2 Tablespoons of Hemp seeds. Let sit for 3-4 minutes.
- Add 1 teaspoon each of coconut oil, coconut flakes, raw nuts such as cashews, dried fruit, yogurt, and fresh fruit.
Stevia - A Sweetener That Balances Your Blood Sugar
Refined sugar and corn syrup quickly increase blood glucose, forcing the pancreas to secrete large amounts of insulin. The insulin tells the body to remove blood sugar fast (at which point it is stored as fat), which then causes a dramatic drop in blood sugar. Eventually the pancreas can't create insulin (diabetes) or the body becomes insulin-resistant (like the boy who cried wolf too many times).
Read food labels. Many foods have added sugars and corn syrup. The less processed your foods, the healthier you will be.
There are sweeteners that can be used that don't dramatically increase the blood glucose level. Some have additional health benefits, as well. Stevia is a plant-based sweetener that not only doesn't increase your blood sugar, it actually helps to balance it. If I know I might have erratic meal times, such as when I'm traveling, I carry Stevia packets that I can add to my water. I'm a big fan of green tea, so I add it to my tea that I sip on all day.
Stevia has additional benefits. It protects the teeth from decay and helps lower blood pressure, something sugar has been shown to elevate.
Fiber & Protein: Working Together to Lower Blood Sugar
Foods that quickly raise the blood sugar levels are refined foods, primarily white sugar and flour. But any food that converts rapidly into glucose will cause a sudden jump in glucose or blood sugar levels. Examples include juice and and refined breakfast cereals.
Which brings us to the first food friend:
Fiber: Eat foods high in fiber including apples, oatmeal, whole, unrefined grains, bulky vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Take a digestive aid such as Zypan (made by Standard Process), if your digestive system has a hard time digesting lots of fiber and wants to make gas instead.
Protein: If you just can't resist that Krispy Kreme donut, eat it with a slice of cheese or a hard boiled egg. The protein will slow the break down of the carbohydrates into glucose. Not recommended for cheating every day, but it can help you cheat once in a while!
Tip # 5 - Check Your Cholesterol and Your Thyroid
Cholesterol and Blood Sugar
Lots has been written about cholesterol and its effect on the blood vessels. HDL is the "good" cholesterol and trigylcerides are the bad.
High cholesterol (of the bad sort) is one of a group of symptoms that together have been labeled metabolic syndrome. This condition is the precursor to heart disease and a host of other problems, including diabetes.
Technically speaking, getting your cholesterol in the right balance doesn't really lower your blood sugar levels. It does, however, speak to overall improved health and a decreased likelihood of becoming insulin-resistant (which affects high blood sugar).
Link Between Thyroid and Pancreas
There is a link between your thyroid and your pancreas. If your thyroid is not working properly, it can create a pancreatic imbalance, which leads to insulin resistance in the body.
Ask your doctor to check your thyroid to make sure it is balanced. Women, as they age, seem to lose more of their thyroid capability.
Tip # 6 - Use Secret Weapons
Cinnamon and Salacia are stand-out helpers in improving blood sugar levels.
Salacia: This aryuvedic herb from India helps normalize blood sugar and insulin levels, and it also supports healthy blood lipids. Salacia contains two potent alpha-glucosidase inhibitors that may help regulate carbohydrate-metabolic imbalances. Salacia will bring down glucose levels within 20 minutes after taking. It's best to use this super helper as needed versus every day. Salacia can be ordered from Amazon.
Cinnamon: This delicious spice has been shown to lower fasting blood sugar levels and balance cholesterol levels. A fabulous two-fer! Cinnamon is recommended at amounts of 1 gram per day. If taken for 40 days, it will continue to promote benefits for an additional 20 days. One wonderful way to incorporate this spice into your diet is to make tea with cinnamon sticks (boiling 2-3 sticks in 4 cups of water for 20 minutes). Or just add it to oatmeal, smoothies, or cinnamon toast (use whole grain bread and one of the recommended sweeteners above). Cinnamon capsules can also be be ordered on Amazon. As suggested by a reader, you want to get Ceylon Cinnamon for the most effective glucose balance.
Share Your Tricks!
If you're not new to the problem of insulin intolerance and high blood sugar, you've probably learned a few tricks of your own. Please share those with us.
I have shared a lot of information about how to lower your blood sugar naturally with food choices, supplements, and other tips. So that I can continue to improve this article for you, please let me know who you are and why you came here. If you didn't find what you want, be sure to let me know in the comments section below.