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Health and Fitness News

Get in the Safe Zone

Simple ways to lower your high blood sugar.

Every ounce of your blood contains sugar, also known as glucose. Supplied by the foods you eat, glucose provides energy to the cells in your body, and it’s your body’s responsibility to maintain a very narrow safe zone of blood glucose. Too much or too little puts you at risk for all sorts of health problems.

Throughout the day, your blood sugar levels fluctuate up and down. Your levels are at their lowest when you first wake up, and they rise after eating. Certain foods and drinks can cause significant spikes.

A normal blood sugar reading is less than 100 mg/dL after fasting for eight hours and below 140 mg/dL when measured two hours after a meal. Measurements over these are considered high. Consistent high blood sugar is a telltale sign of diabetes. Most often caused by a lack of insulin, high blood sugar can also occur if you overeat, don’t exercise, are stressed or sick, or forget to take your diabetes medication.

If you have diabetes, it’s essential that you keep a close watch on your blood sugar levels and take necessary steps to prevent potential damage to your organs, nerves, and blood vessels. What steps can help you? Look below to find out.

Eat More Fiber

Foods high in simple carbs and sugars cause a spike in blood sugar levels. Instead of eating white bread or candy, eat foods high in fiber. High-fiber foods are digested and absorbed at a slower rate, which causes blood sugar levels to rise gradually, in a more controlled manner. Soluble fiber is especially effective at maintaining blood sugar levels. Black beans, lima beans, avocados, Brussels sprouts, pears, and figs are good foods that are rich in soluble fiber.

Get More Exercise

Exercise is a key player in blood sugar control. Physical activity increases insulin sensitivity so your cells use up the extra sugar in your blood. When you exercise, your muscles draw energy from blood sugar, thus lowering high levels of sugar in the blood. Find a workout you enjoy and stick to it. Struggle to stick with it? Your personal trainer can change that.

Take Berberine

If you have diabetes and are considering supplements, berberine should be first on the list, as the herb may be as effective as medications at lowering high blood sugar. The Chinese have been taking berberine for thousands of years to treat diabetes. Why it has this effect is unknown, but a 500 mg supplement taken three times a day may help keep your blood sugar levels under control.

Drink More Water

High-sugar beverages raise your blood sugar, while water and other sugar-free drinks help keep your blood sugar at healthy levels. H2O does this by increasing the rate at which your kidneys filter blood by flushing excessive sugar out through your urine.

Manage Stress

Interestingly, stress triggers the release of hormones that increase blood sugar levels. Practicing healthy stress management is one life-improving way to lower high blood sugar. Relaxation techniques, exercise, and meditation are several effective ways to lower stress.

Try Cinnamon

Studies show that cinnamon improves insulin sensitivity by decreasing insulin resistance. Cinnamon seems to mimic the actions of insulin and may lower fasting blood sugar levels. Too much cinnamon, however, can be harmful, but a 1- to 6-gram supplement of cinnamon is considered a safe daily dose. (Note: This is not an excuse to eat a cinnamon roll.)

Get More Sleep

Skimp on sleep and you may have trouble managing your blood sugar. Without enough sleep, fatty acids that reduce the effect of insulin build up in the blood, causing a rise in blood sugar. When you’re tired, you’re also more susceptible to stress and crave unhealthy foods for energy. Plan to get seven to nine hours of sleep each night for blood sugar management.