Blood sugar or blood glucose is the amount of sugar (glucose) present in the blood. Your body creates blood sugar by digesting foods into a sugar that circulates in your bloodstream. Sugar is a major source of energy for every cell in your body. The sugar that isn’t needed to fuel your body right away gets stored in cells for later use. But even though we need sugar for energy, too much or too little glucose in the blood can be harmful to the body.
The normal range for blood sugar is between 60 mg/ml and 120 mg/ml, depending on when a person last ate. At two hours after eating, a blood sugar level of below 140 is considered normal. This range indicates that the body is using and metabolizing glucose properly.
If the blood sugar tests in the range of 140-199, it can be a sign of pre-diabetes. Results over 200 means the blood sugar is in the diabetic range. Anytime the blood sugar drops below 70, it signals hypoglycemia which can be a dangerous condition.
Having low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) may result in seizures, loss of consciousness or death. While high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) can lead to chronic complications, such as heart disease, diabetes, nerve damage, kidney damage, blindness, and amputations. Therefore, it is important keep your blood sugar within a healthy range.
1. Exercise Regularly
According to a study conducted by the CDC, brisk walking regularly can prolong the lives of people with diabetes. Walking makes your cells more receptive to insulin, which leads to better control of blood sugar. Half an hour of walking everyday will help to lower blood sugar levels. It is not only help better sugar absorption, but it also increase your metabolism and overall insulin sensitivity.
2. Limit Your Carb Intake
Your body breaks carbs down into sugars, and then insulin moves the sugars into cells. When you eat too many carbs or have problems with insulin function, blood glucose levels rise which lead to high blood sugar.
Many studies support low-carb diets for the treatment of diabetes. Those findings show dramatic improvements in blood sugar levels when carbs were restricted to 20 grams per day. Research shows that more moderate carb restriction, such as 70–90 grams of total carbs, or 20% of calories from carbs, is also effective.
3. Choose Low Glycemic Index (GI) Foods
Glycemic Index is a measure of how fast and how high a particular food can raise your blood sugar levels. A food with a low GI will typically prompt a moderate rise in blood sugar, while a food with a high GI may cause your blood sugar level to increase above the optimal level.
A substantial amount of research suggests a low GI diet provides additional blood sugar-control benefits because eating lower-glycemic foods helps keep blood sugar levels under better control and decreases the need for insulin.
Foods with a low glycemic index include pasta, corn, beans, lentils, legumes, whole grains, most fruits and vegetables.
4. Include Chromium In Your Diet
Chromium is an essential mineral that helps the body regulate blood sugar levels. It is involved in carb and fat metabolism. Most Americans aren’t getting enough of this nutrient. Including chromium in your daily supplement regimen is highly recommended as a way to normalize blood sugar naturally.
The best source of Chromium include broccoli, green beans, nuts, egg yolks, meat, cereals, and whole-grain products.
5. Stay Well-Hydrated
Dehydrated results in high blood sugar level. Monitor your urine and if you feel it is dark then drink enough water. 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. Keep in mind that water and other non-caloric beverages are best. Sugary drinks raise blood sugar and increase diabetes risk.
6. Drink Unsweetened Tea
Unsweetened black, white or, green tea contain EGCG which has been shown to help control blood sugar spikes that come from eating high-glycemic starchy foods like breads, bagels, potatoes, or pastries.
7. Sip Apple Cider Vinegar
Research has shown that adding apple cider vinegar to your diet may also help maintain your blood sugar levels. One theory suggests that vinegar inactivates the digestive enzymes that break down carbohydrates into sugar, thus slowing the absorption of sugar from a meal into your bloodstream and preventing sugar levels from spiking.
To incorporate apple cider vinegar into your diet, you can mix 2 teaspoons of ACV in 8 ounces of water or add it to salad dressings.
However, it’s important to check with your doctor before taking apple cider vinegar if you are taking any prescription medications because it may interfere with the effects of the medications.
8. Try Cinnamon
Cinnamon is one of the well-known spice for balancing blood sugar. It contains compounds that promote insulin function and allow cells to use glucose more effectively.
Studies show that consuming one gram of cinnamon daily can help lower blood sugar by 20%. Try adding a half of a teaspoon of cinnamon to your drinks, or sprinkle it on top of just about anything.
9. Manage Stress
Stress in the body results in the secretion of cortisol and glucagon, both of which affect your blood sugar levels. Excessive stress can not only contributes to high blood sugar by raising cortisol, but also tends to increase cravings for foods. Some of the best stress-relief techniques include exercise, yoga, and meditation.
10. Get Enough Sleep
Poor sleep has been shown to increase blood sugar levels and the risk of diabetes. Higher blood sugar means less long-lasting fat metabolism in the night and even less sleep. Researchers at Boston University School of Medicine found that people who slept less than 6 hours a night had more blood sugar complications compared to those who received 8 hours of sleep.
A lack of sleep can also raise stress and stimulates the release of appetite hormones, which causes you to eat more. On the other hand, if you keep your blood sugar level stable, you will sleep better. It is a virtue cycle.
By keeping blood sugar levels within a healthy range, you can reduce the risk of developing the complications and live a healthy lifestyle.