If you’re like a growing number of humans on earth, you need to lower your blood sugar levels. Half of Americans and half of all Chinese people suffer from diabetes or prediabetes. But high blood sugar levels are not just a symptom for diabetics but a condition in its own right. Lowering your blood sugar levels may not just improve your health. It may help you live longer, stabilize your mood, and avoid Covid-19. But how do you actually go about it?
Here are six strategies to help lower your blood sugar level effectively and safely.
Yes, you guessed it: the dreaded exercise. But what you may not have guessed is that not all exercise is created equal. This is why it’s important to track your blood sugar levels to know which exercises work best for you. It’s also beneficial to know if you’ve lowered your blood sugar so much that you need a snack to stay in range and avoid a crash.
Firstly, regular exercise is important. Even if it’s just 15 minutes a day, secondly, it’s better to start slow with steady, endurance-based exercises like light cardio, including brisk walking, swimming, and biking. Lightweight training is great for maintaining muscle, and yoga will help with stabilization and stress control. More on that later.
Perhaps the most obvious way to lower your blood sugar is to put less sugar into your body. Prioritize foods with a lower “glycemic index.” Lowering your carbohydrate intake in general is a good idea. Here’s a good shorthand: if it tastes sweet, its effects are not. But if your sweet tooth is too powerful, try supplementing sugar with artificial sweeteners or add cinnamon to your coffee instead for a real boost.
There are so many pesky nutrients to keep track of! So here’s a laundry list of supplements to add. Try eating foods rich in fiber, Chromium, and Magnesium. Fiber slows the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream. Foods with good “soluble fiber” include vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains. Deficiencies in Chromium and Magnesium might be the culprit behind your high blood sugar so seek out egg yolks, coffee, nuts for the former, and whole grains, bananas, and avocado for the latter. If you’re feeling really adventurous, add to your pantry these exotic-sounding supplements: apple cider vinegar, Berberine, Fenugreek seeds. If you want even more information, here’s your next grocery list.
Perhaps everyone’s least favorite health tip is reducing calories. But portion control is worth mentioning since it’s the most effective way to lose weight, and healthy weight promotes healthy blood sugar levels. Try using smaller plates, avoiding restaurants, keeping a food journal, and eating slowly. But make sure not to stress out too much about it.
Eating at certain times in the day may promote healthy blood sugar levels. Breakfast is important to avoid a crash later and cravings before lunch. But blood sugar levels are highest in the early morning. So make sure your breakfast is lower on the glycemic index despite the ubiquity of sugary breakfast foods.
Intermittent fasting has been helpful for many in lowering their blood sugar. The mechanism of action may involve the change in signaling pathways, the production of ketones, or the steadying of a metabolic rhythm. It’s important to mention that fasting comes with risks because it affects many people differently. Tracking your blood sugar levels is integral to reducing calories to avoid a crash.
This is perhaps the easiest of all the tips to follow. Water helps your kidneys flush out the excess blood sugar through urine. Increased hydration is directly linked to a lowered risk of high blood sugar levels. Try to down about eight glasses a day. Enough said!
At this point in the list, it’s important to remember that you can’t do everything all the time. Forgiving yourself for not having perfect blood sugar levels is actually an important way to… lower blood sugar levels! Relaxation, exercise, and meditation have actually been shown to lower blood sugar levels in students.
A huge part of relaxation is sleeping well and long enough. Getting enough quality sleep can stave off sugar cravings, boost mood, and increase weight loss. Make sure your dreams are sweet, and your foods are not!
Perhaps the most important aspect of lowering your blood sugar levels is to track your blood sugar levels. All of the previously mentioned strategies are based on scientific evidence and statistical averages. But you are not a statistical average. Each individual is different and requires individualized treatment. What may work for many others may not work for you. Perhaps you get a bigger reduction in blood sugar from exercise than from reducing calories. This is invaluable information that no article can predict for you. Blood glucose monitors are now available to help you optimize your health. A tiny wearable device on your arm can tell you in real-time everything you need to know. So take your health into your own hands or arms for that matter.