High blood sugar, also known as hyperglycemia, can have a detrimental effect on a person’s health, especially in diabetics. There are two primary kinds of hyperglycemia. Fasting hyperglycemia occurs after a person has not eaten or drank anything for at least eight hours. Postprandial hyperglycemia occurs after a person eats.
Ongoing or frequent high blood sugar can lead to several lifelong health conditions, including:
- Worsened vision or blindness.
- Vaginal and skin infections.
- Painful nerve damage.
- Stomach and intestinal problems.
- Damage to the kidneys and/or blood vessels.
While maintaining a healthy blood sugar level is important for everyone, it is a lifelong concern for diabetes. Therefore, it is important to learn how to lower and maintain your blood sugar through a healthy diet, routine exercise and natural remedies.
There are several nutritious snacks for diabetics that are recommended, including healthy carbohydrates, heart-healthy fish and fiber-rich foods. Some of the best foods for diabetics are rich in fiber in order to assist in how the body digests and controls blood sugar. In addition to eating more of the right foods, diabetics and those with higher levels of blood sugars should avoid foods such as:
- Foods that are high in saturated and trans fats, including baked goods, processed snacks, bacon, sausage and hot dogs.
- Foods that are high in cholesterol, including egg yolks, liver and other organ meals.
- Foods that are high in sodium.
While there is no reversing diabetes, some diabetics can regulate blood sugar levels without the need of diabetic medication through diet and regular exercise. Exercise assists the body in regulating blood sugar as more glucose is used during moderate exercise. In addition to diet and exercise, there are several home remedies that have shown to be effective in reducing and maintaining blood sugar levels.
Eating a Healthy Diet for Diabetics
Committing to a diet for diabetes can help reduce blood sugar levels and maintain a healthy level. These diets can also often lead to weight loss, due to conscious healthy decision as well as a reduction in carbohydrates and fatty foods.
If you struggle with high blood sugar, it is important to commit to change right away, especially if you are not yet diabetic. Conditions such as pre-diabetes can be reversed. While reversing diabetes altogether is possible, it can only occur if sufferers commit to controlling their blood sugar not just for a short time but for a lifetime.
It is important to eat regularly to maintain blood sugar levels as blood sugar can rise after a period of eight hours of not eating or drinking. Therefore, it is important to spread out meals evenly throughout the day and stick to a schedule. Healthy snacks can be added between meals as needed.
The best foods for diabetes include:
- Healthy carbohydrates, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and low-fat dairy products.
- Food that is rich in fiber, including vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans and whole grains.
- Heart-healthy fish, including salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines.
- Healthy fats, such as nuts, avocados and peanut and olive oils.
If you have high blood sugar, you should avoid certain foods, including:
- Foods high in saturated fats, including butter, beef, bacon, hot dogs and sausage.
- Foods high in trans fats, including baked goods, sticks of margarines and shortening.
- High cholesterol foods, such as high-fat animal proteins, high-fat dairy products, egg yolks, liver and other organ meats.
Additionally, it is important to aim to consume less than 2,300 mg of sodium each day. Depending on any other medical conditions that you have, your doctor may recommend a lower sodium intake.
The best diet for diabetes involves counting carbohydrates. Carbohydrates break down into glucose, impacting blood sugar and blood glucose levels. Therefore, your doctor will likely recommend a range for carbohydrates. Too many carbohydrates can quickly throw off blood glucose levels.
Experts also recommend the “table plate method”. The table plate method is offered by the American Diabetes Association to help diabetics eat more vegetables when preparing a plate of food. Experts recommend that you fill half of your plate with non-starch vegetables, such as tomatoes, carrots or spinach. A quarter of your plate should be filled with a protein based food, such as tuna, lean pork or chicken. Finally, the last quarter of your plate should contain a whole grain foods, such as a starchy vegetable or brown rice.
Learn About Natural Remedies for Diabetes
While there is no natural cure for diabetes, there are home remedies that can reduce blood sugar levels and alleviate some of the symptoms of diabetes. Natural remedies for diabetes include:
- Chromium. Studies have suggested that chromium may help insulin work better and improve diabetes control.
- American ginseng. Studies have suggested that American ginseng lowers average blood sugar levels over a three month period.
- Magnesium. Studies have shown that low magnesium may worsen blood sugar control in Type 2 diabetics as experts hypothesis that its low magnesium interrupts insulin secretion by the pancreas as well as raises the body’s insulin resistance.
- Vanadium. Studies with diabetic individuals have shown a modest increase in insulin sensitivity, thus lowering the need for insulin medication.
Additionally, herbs for diabetes that may reduce blood sugar levels and help with weight loss include:
- Garcinia cambogia.
- Memordica charantia.
- Sauropus andogrynus.
- Aristolochic acid.
However, experts recommend speaking with your doctor before taking any type of herbal treatment and to avoid products that are made with more than one herb. You should stop taking a natural remedy and contact your doctor right away if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- A fast heartbeat.
- Feeling more anxious or worried than usual.
- Inability to sleep.
- Skin rashes.
Other common natural remedies for diabetes include:
- Cinnamon. Cinnamon extracts can improve sugar metabolism and trigger insulin release.
- Olive oil extracts. Olive oil extracts have been found to reduce glucose, cholesterol, LDL and triglyceride levels.
- Coffee. Studies have shown that an unidentified compound within coffee that is not related to caffeine may enhance insulin sensitivity and even lower the chances of developing type 2 diabetes.
Exercising to Maintain Low Blood Sugar Levels
You can lower blood sugar naturally and maintain blood sugar levels by becoming more active and engaging in routine exercise. However, if diabetic, you are strongly encouraged to speak to your doctor prior to starting any new exercise routine as an adjustment of your diabetes medication may be necessary.
High blood sugar is lowered with moderate exercise due to the fact that muscles use more glucose, reducing blood sugar levels over time. However, strenuous exercise may actually temporarily increase blood sugar, so it is important for diabetics not to overdo it when it comes to exercise. Generally, exercise is best after a meal where blood sugar levels may be at their highest point.
If you are interested in engaging in a routine exercise routine, experts recommend exercises such as:
- Swimming or water aerobics.
- Yoga or tai chi.
- Resistance training with light weights or elastic bands.
If you do not currently engage in routine exercise, doctors recommend that you start exercising 10 to 15 minutes at least three days a week and slowly build up from there. Ultimately, a healthy exercise goal is at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week.
Exercise acts as a natural cure for diabetes over time. Check your blood sugar levels before and after exercise. Over time, you will likely be able to see how exercise can improve your blood sugar levels.
If you have trouble staying motivated, consider asking a friend or family member to engage in your exercise routine with you. This way, you are less likely to skip a routine when another person is counting on your participation. You may also enjoy your routine more with a friend beside you.
If you have high blood sugar, you should always check your blood sugar before your workout. If your blood sugar is below 100, you should talk to your doctor to see if you may need to eat a snack before your routine.
You should always drink plenty of water before, during and after a workout in order to avoid dehydration. Where appropriate, where comfortable and well-fitting shoes as well as cotton socks that do not rub against your skin, especially if you have already been diagnosed with diabetes.