bring down blood sugar levels? Living with diabetes, a chronic metabolic
disorder in which blood sugar levels can fluctuate easily – requires
comprehensive strategy and treatment plan to keep its complications at bay. The
good news, it is manageable and there are plenty of ways to deal with!
course, consulting with a medical professional first is wise to get more
comprehensive information about this. But in general, here are some important
pillars to bring down your blood sugar level and keep it into a safe zone!
A few lifestyle
practices would help a lot to prevent and soothe a blood sugar spike. Along
with medications (if necessary), implementing certain lifestyle measures is
almost always step one of treating diabetes!
very important to follow these lifestyle modifications consistently in long
term. And one of primary goals on this is to maintain your healthy weight or
bring about weight loss if you’re overweight.
Here your appropriate diet would play a key role! It controls or reduces your dietary carbohydrate so you can keep your weight off and improve your blood sugar control. This may also control your triglycerides (a bad fat linked to the risk of heart problems) .
probably no ‘official’ diet for diabetes or high blood sugar. But a variety of
approaches on this have been found to be effective, some basic things to
remember are as follows:
particularly true for foods that cause a dramatic spike in your blood sugar
common culprits are usually foods with high glycemic index (GI) scores. They’re
likely to cause quick and unstable release of glucose in the bloodstream, which
is bad for blood sugar control in diabetics. These include
sweets such as candy, sugary cookies, and cake.
juice high in sugar.
processed, refines carbohydrates (e.g. pasta and white bread).
snack products like popcorn, potato crisps, and rice crackers.
and soft drinks.
common foods with high GI; rice milk, specialty grain bread, couscous, cornflakes,
instant oat porridge, potato (instant mash), and honey!
about fruits? Typically it’s OK to moderately eat 2 or 3 servings of whole
fruit a day. Just strictly restrict fruits very high in GI score such as
Carbohydrate gives more impact on your blood sugar level than the other macronutrients (fat and protein) . For this reason, it’s worth a try to go with the same amount of carbohydrates at every meal so you’re likely to have steady glucose levels.
For example for this menu plan: sticking to about 45 g of carbohydrates (breakfast), 45 g of carbohydrates (lunch), 15 g of carbohydrates (between-meal snack), and 60 g (dinner) – do this every day!
Or ask your dietitian /doctor if necessary since energy requirements may vary by individual.
method’s name suggests, it is aimed to help control your meal portions
throughout the day.
help emphasize more good things in your diet every day by dedicating specific
portions (percentages) of your plate to certain healthy foods – the main ones
are fiber, lean protein, non-starchy vegetables, and whole grains.
to keep your body well-nourished. That’s why it’s important to understand on
what nutrients you need most. With appropriate portions, you can still satisfy
your appetite without causing a dangerous spike in your blood sugar.
plan for this plate portion method may vary from person to person. But in
general, this could be ;
50 percent of the plate is non-starchy vegetables (e.g. cauliflower, okra, carrot,
yard-long beans, broccoli, etc).
quarter to complex carb (e.g. brown rice, sweet potato, barley, or quinoa).
quarter to lean protein such as 3-4 ounces of lean red meat, baked /grilled
fish, or roasted skinless chicken.
a bit healthy (unsaturated) fats is also good idea on this. Try olive oil or
avocados for examples – still, watch the portion size (eat in moderation)!
high blood sugar levels may drive you to confusion or obsession over what you
eat. Again, each person is different in responding foods.
news, many diabetics are able to find the right balance with foods they enjoy.
there are several ‘super’ foods that may help bring down your sugar levels more
quickly and keep the level off. The following are a few examples (they may contain
extra-beneficial combos of certain healthful properties to help your glycemic
Unlike saturated fats, unsaturated fatty acids are considered as healthy fats since they can help promote better cholesterol levels and could be a health booster for your cardiovascular system. Plus, they may help improve your glycemic control.
Salmon is rich in these healthy fats. Benefits of eating salmon to boost heart health and blood sugar control are better than when you take omega-3 supplements, according to the American Diabetes Association .
potential benefit from fish for diabetes is free of carb and harmful things for
your overall health. This is particularly true for cold-water fish such as Pollock,
cod, or haddock. One study showed that cold fish might work much better to help
manage diabetes than other types of meat .
thing of most breads; they’re very high in carbs! As a result they have high
score in GI.
story is completely different for pumpernickel bread. It has low GI score with
less processing for the ingredients (relatively high in fiber). Its high fiber
content is useful to slow digestion, making your stomach and gut full longer. So
it’s relatively safe for diabetics.
2014 suggests that ancient wheat diet, as well as einkorn and emmer, might
effectively delay or reduce the risk of developing type-2 diabetes .
including beans, are healthy goodies for everything including in diet for
diabetes or weight loss. They are rich in fiber and protein, two heroes of
nutrients to drive satiety. Bonus – they’re also very low in GI scores.
clinical research in 2012 showed that eating beans in moderation might help
reduce HbA1c by about 0.5 percent. HbA1c is one of variables to calculate
diabetes risk! Your dietary beans might also reduce the risk of coronary heart
you’re not a fan of beans, try other legumes such as peas, lentils, and
chickpeas – they are also quite magical to help your glycemic control.
and omega-3 fatty acids can help boost the health of cardiovascular system.
Here flaxseeds are great idea for this.
According to one study 2011 , people with a daily consumption of ground flaxseed powder (1.5 tablespoon, about 10 g) for four weeks got a 19.7% decline in their fasting blood sugar test.
are also rich in fiber but low in carbohydrate, making a blood sugar spike less
likely. Plus, it’s easy to combine them with your favorite meal to get an extra
nutritional boost. For instances, add them to salads, baked goods, or smoothies.
oats – or combine them with flaxseeds! Oats are healthy choice for everyone,
they’re low in GI score (55 or probably lower). They may carry strong positive
effects in people with type 2 diabetes for glucose control and improve lipid
oats have a powerful thing called B-glucancs which may help; maintain insulin
sensitivity, improve glycemic control, and maintain healthy blood lipids
it’s still important to consume oats in moderation since they also have carbs.
One cup of oats has about 28 g of carb!
clear yet whether cinnamon has a beneficial effect to help bring down blood
sugar levels. But some experts say that it might carry improvement in insulin
sensitivity and glucose control.
safe, enjoy it by sprinkling powdered cinnamon on oatmeal, cereal, or yogurt.
Cinnamon supplements are also available (but ask your doctor first)!
garlic, another promising thing found in your kitchen for blood sugar control. This
popular kitchen ingredient is thought as ‘super’ herb for a wide variety of
different medical conditions.
Consumption of garlic in moderation might induce a decline in both post-meal and fasting blood glucose levels – one study in 2013 showed . People usually use it to expand the food flavor (in cooked meals) or add it to salads.
about ginger? This spice is a popular spicy thing in the culinary world. Since
it’s also loaded with bioactive compounds, it’s commonly considered as herb.
And ‘yes’ it might help control or lower blood sugar levels.
might have potent properties to block certain enzymes that cause a blood sugar
spike when we eat carbohydrates – one mini-review suggests . So it’s worth a try to include
it in diet for diabetes, but again do this in moderation!
Yogurt is a fermented food high in healthy boosters especially probiotics (good bacteria). It’s a good thing for your healthy digestion. Also, it’s probably helpful to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
moderate consumption of yogurt (three to five ounces per day) might decrease
the risk by about 14 percent, according to one study published on the Oxford
Academic . Unfortunately it’s not clear
yet why and how yogurt provides this beneficial effect.
yogurt is a dairy product, it’s much better to choose plain (unsweetened)
yogurt to gain the benefits most. For example, choose plain Greek yogurt since
it has low GI score.
other hand, don’t choose flavored or sweetened yogurts since they are quite
high in sugar!
‘super’ foods mentioned earlier, the following foods are also probably helpful to
improve your glycemic control:
most fruits (in moderate consumption) are OK for diabetics. Fruits are good
source for fiber, vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, and other important
nutrients. Just make sure to avoid fruits high in GI scores such as melons and
potatoes, another alternative for complex carbohydrates. Unlike regular
potatoes, they are not only great source for energy but also high in fiber (low
pumpkins! Pumpkin seeds contain magnesium which might help reduce the risk of
type 2 diabetes.
particular true if you have potassium deficiency. Lack of potassium might
contribute to increase the risk of diabetes.
Curcumin found in turmeric might have
potential benefit in improving insulin resistance. In fact, turmeric has been
used in traditional medicines (Chinese and Ayurvedic medicines for examples) as
a diabetes remedy.
way of how you eat your meals may help too. To keep blood sugar stable, avoid
eating huge meal at one time. Instead, go with small meals and spread these out
over the day. Never skip your meals, so eat them regularly!
necessary, ask your healthcare team or doctor about your carb counts! The appropriate amount of carbs per meal is
tailored to each individual.
In addition, always keep hydrated! This is critical for everything, including for your glycemic control. With adequate fluid in the body, your kidneys will work more optimally to help flush out the unnecessary excess glucose from the bloodstream through urine.
changes do have a role. But lowering the level is not just short-term goal. You
need to keep the level stable in long term to reduce the risk of diabetes
with healthy-balanced diet, regular exercise will bring more beneficial effects
to manage or bring down your blood sugar level.
with adequate physical activity are likely to have better insulin sensitivity . Exercise is also a booster to
keep your weight off.
remember, make sure you’re ready for exercise since this could be
counterproductive when you push yourself too hard and if your body is not ready
yet. To keep safe, talk with your diabetes care team before trying a new
of factors may be taken into consideration for diabetics before following an
exercise program, some are as follow:
or not you’re taking diabetic medications.
type of diabetes. You may need more intensive care of medications if you have
current fitness status.
status of your current blood glucose level. Exercise could be dangerous when
you have too high or too low glucose levels.
necessary to start off immediately with long or heavy exercise, particularly if
you’re not in a good shape or hasn’t exercised for a while. Instead, start off
slowly so you can minimize the risk of injuries and prevent other
with a moderate duration, 5 to 15 minutes are probably enough (just make sure
it’s comfortable to your situation). Then increase this gradually!
you’re ready, try to regularly have a moderate physical activity (brisk walking
for example) for about 30 minutes (5 to 7 times per week) .
you’re overweight and just starting up a program of exercise, you will usually
lose a few extra pounds of your weight. And losing weight in obese people is
essential to help improve glycemic control.
you don’t lose weight, your exercise can still bring beneficial effects.
Besides weight control benefit and improving insulin sensitivity – regular
exercise in diabetics would help; improve sleep, provide a good mood booster,
carry them more energy, or ease minor health problems (e.g. aches and pains) .
level of physical activity is also necessary to encourage your muscles in using
glucose for energy more effectively. So keep active, don’t become a sedentary
exercise alternatives to boost your physical activity level with fun. Do mild
aerobic physical activities such a pushing a stroller, daily chores of
housework, or even dancing!
physical activity will affect your blood glucose levels. The next question, how
much? Well, this varies by individual since everyone’s situation is different.
Talk more with your healthcare team (if necessary) about this.
you may need to check the level before and after exercise. A golden rule,
listen your body! Stop right away when you have injury or experience abnormal
symptoms (breathing trouble for example).
no instant thing to deal with diabetes, it’s a lifelong process. Here your
stress management plays a role!
chronic condition like diabetes can add more stress tension in life. And if
you’re not able to control your stress, you have a major extra barrier to
control your blood glucose level.
Uncontrolled stress would make a blood sugar spike more likely.
Actually, your stress is fight-or-flight response which is necessary when your body need quick response to respond emergency situation. It drives nerve cells to fire and boosts hormone levels.
this response, stress hormones are released and your heart beats increase so your
body is ready to respond emergency situation. This also boosts more glucose
into the bloodstream for energy!
With diabetes, the body is poor in converting glucose (in the bloodstream) to become energy. As a result, blood glucose levels can rise easily during stress. That’s why good stress management is important!
stress in our daily life is often inevitable, we can manage it. For examples,
the following ideas may help:
mediation. Mediating is a good way to get rid of negative thoughts, reducing
your mental stress. Sit in a sofa or chair, close your eyes for a while and
then say a ‘magic mantra’ to keep motivated like “everything is going OK”
another good idea. Adding this India traditional therapy to your daily routine
may provide relief for your physical stress.
you’re caught in high emotional state, keep calm. If possible, go away from the
current environment and find a quiet space. Inhale deep breaths, and then
release slowly & loudly so you can drive yourself to your stable emotional
state, slowing your heartbeat down!
necessary, join into in-person support group (check this diabetes foundation) to help manage and relieve your
diabetes-related stress more comprehensively!
Do also the
following glycemic control do’s list in your lifestyle management for more
stable blood sugar level:
enough high-quality Zzz’s! Lack of slumber at night is bad for your glycemic
and blood glucose control. Because your sleep is important for lots of things
associated with your body chemistry. Sleep deprivation may also increase your
risk of heart disease, a common complication of diabetes!
smoke contains countless harmful chemicals and toxins, which some might have a
role in provoking high blood sugar especially for people with type 2 diabetes .
So quit smoking if you’re a smoker!
skip your breakfast. After long hours of fasting at night, you need to restore
the balance of your energy, and here breakfast plays a key role. Breakfast is
also the starting point to make sure you eat your meals regularly throughout
about cinnamon and apple cider vinegar?
clear yet to if and how cinnamon has an effect to lower blood glucose level.
Studies on this show mixed results, some find that cinnamon might help while
But as a
spice, it’s not bad idea to add a sprinkle cinnamon since there’s no harmful
side effect in diabetes as long as you take it in moderation.
The similar thing goes for apple cider vinegar. The jury is still out as to if this vinegar has an effect to bring down blood sugar levels. But many studies suggest that it might help. One study released in the Journal of Functional Foods showed that apple cider vinegar might help reduce fasting blood glucose level .
on your situation, a few medications may be necessary to bring down your blood sugar
level more effectively and keep it off.
of medications for treating diabetes have been developed to boost better
prognosis and outcome of patients. These medications are particularly necessary
when lifestyle modifications are not enough to control blood glucose levels.
common medications to bring down or control blood glucose levels are as