10 Easy Ways to Lower Blood Sugar Levels Naturally
High blood sugar occurs when your body can’t effectively transport sugar from blood into cells.
When left unchecked, this can lead to diabetes.
Here are 10 easy ways to lower blood sugar levels naturally:
- Exercise Regularly
Regular exercise can help you lose weight and increase insulin sensitivity.
Increased insulin sensitivity means your cells are better able to use the available sugar in your bloodstream.
Exercise also helps your muscles use blood sugar for energy and muscle contraction.
If you have problems with blood sugar control, you should routinely check your levels. This will help you learn how you respond to different activities and keep your blood sugar levels from getting either too high or too low (2Trusted Source).
Good forms of exercise include weight lifting, brisk walking, running, biking, dancing, hiking, swimming and more.
Exercise increases insulin sensitivity and helps your muscles pick up sugars from the blood. This can lead to reduced blood sugar levels.
- Control Your Carb Intake
Your body breaks carbs down into sugars (mostly glucose), and then insulin moves the sugars into cells.
When you eat too many carbs or have problems with insulin function, this process fails and blood glucose levels rise.
However, there are several things you can do about this.
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends controlling carb intake by counting carbs or using a food exchange system (3).
Some studies find that these methods can also help you plan your meals appropriately, which may further improve blood sugar control (4Trusted Source, 5Trusted Source).
Many studies also show that a low-carb diet helps reduce blood sugar levels and prevent blood sugar spikes (6Trusted Source, 7Trusted Source, 8Trusted Source, 9Trusted Source).
What’s more, a low-carb diet can help control blood sugar levels in the long run (10Trusted Source).
You can read more in this article on healthy low-carb eating with diabetes.
Carbs are broken down into glucose, which raises blood sugar levels. Reducing carbohydrate intake can help with blood sugar control.
- Increase Your Fiber Intake
Fiber slows carb digestion and sugar absorption. For these reasons, it promotes a more gradual rise in blood sugar levels.
Furthermore, the type of fiber you eat may play a role.
There are two kinds of fiber: insoluble and soluble. While both are important, soluble fiber specifically has been shown to lower blood sugar levels (11Trusted Source, 12Trusted Source, 13Trusted Source).
Additionally, a high-fiber diet can help manage type 1 diabetes by improving blood sugar control and reducing blood sugar lows (13Trusted Source, 14Trusted Source).
Foods that are high in fiber include vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains.
The recommended daily intake of fiber is about 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men. That’s about 14 grams for every 1,000 calories (15).
Eating plenty of fiber can help with blood sugar control, and soluble dietary fiber is the most effective.
- Drink Water and Stay Hydrated
Drinking enough water may help you keep your blood sugar levels within healthy limits.
In addition to preventing dehydration, it helps your kidneys flush out the excess blood sugar through urine.
One observational study showed that those who drank more water had a lower risk of developing high blood sugar levels (16Trusted Source).
Drinking water regularly re-hydrates the blood, lowers blood sugar levels and reduces diabetes risk (16Trusted Source, 17Trusted Source, 18Trusted Source, 19Trusted Source)
Keep in mind that water and other non-caloric beverages are best. Sugar-sweetened drinks raise blood glucose, drive weight gain and increase diabetes risk (20Trusted Source, 21Trusted Source).
Staying hydrated can reduce blood sugar levels and help prevent diabetes. Water is best.
- Implement Portion Control
Portion control helps regulate calorie intake and can lead to weight loss (22, 23Trusted Source, 24Trusted Source).
Consequently, controlling your weight promotes healthy blood sugar levels and has been shown to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes (22, 23Trusted Source, 25Trusted Source, 26Trusted Source, 27Trusted Source, 28Trusted Source).
Monitoring your serving sizes also helps reduce calorie intake and subsequent blood sugar spikes (23Trusted Source, 24Trusted Source).
Here are some helpful tips for controlling portions:
Measure and weigh portions.
Use smaller plates.
Avoid all-you-can-eat restaurants.
Read food labels and check the serving sizes.
Keep a food journal.
The more control you have over your serving sizes the better control you will have over your blood sugar levels.
- Choose Foods With a Low Glycemic Index
The glycemic index was developed to assess the body’s blood sugar response to foods that contain carbs (29Trusted Source).
Both the amount and type of carbs determine how a food affects blood sugar levels (30Trusted Source, 31Trusted Source).
Eating low-glycemic-index foods has been shown to reduce long-term blood sugar levels in type 1 and type 2 diabetics (32Trusted Source, 33Trusted Source).
Although the glycemic index of foods is important, the amount of carbs consumed also matters (34Trusted Source, 35Trusted Source).
Foods with a low glycemic index include seafood, meat, eggs, oats, barley, beans, lentils, legumes, sweet potatoes, corn, yams, and non-starchy vegetables.
It’s important to choose foods with a low glycemic index and watch your overall carb intake.
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- Control Stress Levels
Stress can affect your blood sugar levels (36Trusted Source, 37Trusted Source).
Hormones such as glucagon and cortisol are secreted during stress. These hormones cause blood sugar levels to go up (38Trusted Source, 39Trusted Source).
One study showed that exercise, relaxation and meditation significantly reduced stress and lowered blood sugar levels for students (40Trusted Source).
Exercises and relaxation methods like yoga and mindfulness-based stress reduction can also correct insulin secretion problems in chronic diabetes (40Trusted Source, 41Trusted Source, 42Trusted Source, 43Trusted Source, 44Trusted Source).
Controlling stress levels through exercise or relaxation methods such as yoga will help you control blood sugars.
- Monitor Your Blood Sugar Levels
“What gets measured gets managed.”
Measuring and monitoring blood glucose levels can also help you control them.
For example, keeping track helps you determine whether you need to make adjustments in meals or medications (31Trusted Source).
It will also help you find out how your body reacts to certain foods (45, 46Trusted Source).
Try measuring your levels every day, and keeping track of the numbers in a log.
Checking your sugars and maintaining a log every day will help you adjust foods and medications to decrease your sugar levels.
- Get Enough Quality Sleep
Getting enough sleep feels great and is necessary for good health (47Trusted Source).
Poor sleeping habits and a lack of rest also affect blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity. They can increase appetite and promote weight gain (48Trusted Source, 49Trusted Source).
Sleep deprivation decreases the release of growth hormones and increases cortisol levels. Both of these play an important role in blood sugar control (47Trusted Source, 50Trusted Source, 51Trusted Source).
Furthermore, good sleep is about both quantity and quality. It is best to get a sufficient amount of high-quality sleep every night (49Trusted Source).
Good sleep helps maintain blood sugar control and promote a healthy weight. Poor sleep can disrupt important metabolic hormones.
- Eat Foods Rich in Chromium and Magnesium
High blood sugar levels and diabetes have also been linked to micronutrient deficiencies (31Trusted Source, 52Trusted Source).
Examples include deficiencies in the minerals chromium and magnesium.
Chromium is involved in carb and fat metabolism. It also helps control blood sugar levels, and a lack of chromium may predispose you to carb intolerance (53Trusted Source, 54, 55Trusted Source).
However, the mechanisms behind this are not completely known. Studies also report mixed findings.
Two studies of diabetes patients showed that chromium had benefits for long-term blood sugar control. However, another study showed no benefits (55Trusted Source, 56, 57Trusted Source).
Chromium-rich foods include egg yolks, whole-grain products, high-bran cereals, coffee, nuts, green beans, broccoli and meat.
Magnesium has also been shown to benefit blood sugar levels, and magnesium deficiency has been linked to a higher risk of developing diabetes (31Trusted Source, 58Trusted Source, 59Trusted Source).
In one study, people with the highest magnesium intake had a 47% lower risk of becoming diabetic (60Trusted Source).
However, if you already eat plenty of magnesium-rich foods, then you probably will not benefit from supplements (61Trusted Source).