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How To Reduce Blood Sugar Levels Naturally - Sugar.Fit

Blood sugar levels are a primary concern for people with diabetes. High blood sugar or hyperglycemia, occurs when a person’s blood sugar is over 170 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). High blood sugar levels can be dangerous if not promptly managed and can lead to both short-term and long-term problems. In this article, we look at some different ways to help you lower your blood sugar levels using lifestyle changes, diet, and exercises.

High Blood Sugar Levels or Hyperglycemia

Insulin is the hormone that breaks down the glucose molecules in the bloodstream thus keeping your sugar levels in check. As and when we eat, the carbohydrates break down in the form of glucose molecules which are then bound to the insulin that is secreted. Due to insufficient insulin, there is excess glucose in the blood which increases the level of blood sugar, also called Hyperglycemia.

Hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar (mostly above 170 mg/dl), has several potential risks. Even if in the short term it may not seem very potent or disturbing and all you may have to do is take your correction doses to feel better, the long-term effects of this issue can be fatal. From cardiovascular issues to neuropathy or retinopathy to kidney damage – hyperglycemia can present itself differently in different people. To learn more about your blood sugar values and affecting factors, checkout our blog  101 Guide - Healthy Blood Sugar Ranges.

What makes Blood Sugar Levels rise?

In diabetes, the first and most visible consequence seen is a rise in Blood Sugar Levels. So reducing blood sugar levels efficiently is a key requirement here. The surprising part is that there are many other things apart from eating carbohydrates that can make our sugar levels shoot up. Some of the common reasons that an cause this are-

·  Improper Carb Counting

·  Excessive Exercise

·  Not Enough Insulin

·  Illness/Injury

·  Stress

·  Hormonal Changes

Natural Ways to Control or Reduce High Blood Sugar Levels

Tried and tested ways through which your blood sugar levels can be kept in control.

1. Healthy & Nutrient Dense Diet

It is hardly a secret that the management of diabetes need your attention and focus on the kind of diet you consume. This is because the carbs, maida, and sugar content in the diet have a direct impact on increasing blood sugars. Without a healthy diet, all the efforts that you may be putting in in terms of working out or regular walks, or even medication and insulin, can prove to be futile. 

a) Manage your Carbohydrate Intake

Carbohydrate molecules break down and turn into glucose in the bloodstream. This is the reason why higher carbs could directly lead to an increase in blood sugar. If you have been newly diagnosed, you might be tempted to reduce your carbs in their entirety. This happens to most new diabetics before they learn to regulate their food intake. Stopping carbs or reducing them a lot suddenly could be what causes low blood sugar in many people. Manage your carb intake by focusing on low-carb snacks, reducing the consumption of refined wheat flour, not eating sweets and candies, bread, biscuits, etc.

b) Eat the Right Kind of Carbohydrates

Choose to consume Complex Carbohydrates (whole grain oats, sweet potatoes) so that your body takes longer to break them down. This results in slowing down the pace at which the sugars consumed are released into the body thus controlling any rapid rise of your blood sugar levels. do not rapidly rise after eating them.

Complex Carbohydrates

c) Choose Low Glycemic Index Foods

Glycemic Index measures the extent to which a Food can cause your blood sugar levels to rise. The higher the GI, the more it can cause a spike in sugar levels. Therefore, in diabetes it is always recommended to choose and consume foods that have a Low Glycemic Index, which means they score less than 55 on the Glycemic Scale. Some examples of Low GI Foods include Sweet Potatoes, Quinoa, Legumes, Low-Fat Milk, Leafy Greens,Non-Starchy Vegetables, Nuts and Seeds, Lean meats and Fish.

d) Eat more Dietary Soluble Fiber

For diabetics, any food that has a low glycemic index would be ideal. Such food categories do not rapidly spike the blood glucose levels giving the external insulin time to work. Fibrous foods, therefore, are the best option. Pairing a low GI diet with a (moderately) high one could also be done. This would result in the satisfaction of the cravings and also help maintain a balanced diet. Fruits, salads, leafy vegetables, sprouts, etc are the food items you should be targeting. Another good food type to include in your diet that has the same effect as soluble fibre is Resistant Starch. To know more, check out our blog on Benefits of Resistant Starch on Blood Sugar Management and Weight Loss.

2. Exercise

Physical activity and regular movement of body muscles can be another helpful aspect if you are learning how to reduce blood sugar level. If you have been newly diagnosed, or know someone who is just starting, it would be primitive that they check their levels before and after working out. When you are still figuring things out, a high-intensity workout or even a regular one can have effects and can cause dangerously low blood sugar. If you have diabetes and ever felt dizzy, nauseous, unusually breathless, or super tired during your workouts, it would be wise to do a glucometer check rather than simply rely on your judgment. Some exercise options could be – Aerobics, Yoga, Swimming, or even just going for a brisk walk will do the trick. 

Exercising

3. Weight Control

Controlling sugar levels with weight control would help in better absorption of the insulin that you are taking extraneously. If you weigh more than the amount required for your height and weight and age, it can cause you to take extra insulin. Additionally, it can also cause lethargy and other related issues that may affect glucose levels. Weight, even though underrated, is a very important aspect of sugar control.

Weight Management

4. Water

Drinking water up to 2-3 liters for an average adult with diabetes is important. These water molecules carry oxygen to your cells, and help in smoothening and cushioning the joints. They also protect your tissues and organs, and get rid of the toxins and ketones in case of high blood sugar. 

Hydration

5. Get Enough Sleep

Blood sugar levels tend to surge in the early morning hours, and under normal circumstances the hormone Insulin takes care of it by telling the body what to do with the excess sugar thus regulating our blood sugar levels keeping them normal. But when we are sleep deprived or don't get adequate sleep, the insulin in our body can malfunction leading to a situation similar to insulin resistance. To read more on how Sleep is connected to Diabetes, check out our blog on The Pivotal Role of Sleep in Diabetes.

6. Manage Stress

Normally when when we are under any kind of duress or stress, our adrenal glands produce the hormone Cortisol that provides the body with glucose (gluconeogenesis) or energy needed in a fight or flight type circumstance. Individuals under consistent and Chronic Stress over a long period of time, tend to have elevated cortisol levels leading to increased blood sugar levels.

Cortisol not only controls our stress response, metabolism and immunity, but is also a known antagonist undermining the actions of Insulin. Since Insulin is the key hormone keeping blood sugar levels in check, the Cortisol secreted by our body due to stress, actively suppresses Insulin functions thus causing a steep rise in blood sugar levels. When too much cortisol has been secreted over an extended period it leads to adrenal fatigue.

Cortisol - The Stress Hormone

Bottomline

Diabetes is a complex condition and it can be different for different people. What works for someone in your family may not be right for you and vice versa. So be patient and remember that this is a learning process, that needs your time, energy and some effort to the best of your capabilities.

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