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How to Lower Blood Sugar Naturally and Healthfully

How to Lower Blood Sugar Naturally and Healthfully

If you find yourself in a situation where you need to lower your blood sugar naturally and healthfully, you might be a diabetic or you might have hyperglycemia, a condition characterized by high blood sugar levels. In people who do not have diabetes, the pancreas releases a chemical called insulin into the bloodstream. This regulates blood sugar levels. In diabetic patients, the body has lost its ability to do this. Levels can climb dangerously high, ultimately causing organ damage if left unchecked.

You can successfully control your blood sugar. Working with your doctor and using tips from this list, you can manage your sugar levels effectively. Then you can spend more time enjoying life rather than managing complications from high blood sugar.

Change Your Diet

Your diet plays a crucial role in regulating your blood sugar.

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  • Choose more complex carbohydrates, but don’t go overboard. Whole grains and bran are good choices.
  • Beans help, too. They add fiber to the diet and help delay glucose (simple sugar) absorption.
  • Fruits and vegetables add needed nutrients for the body to process sugar more effectively.
  • Some people try only eating raw foods and they often experience great results.
  • Avoid sugary desserts and eliminate refined sugars in the form of cake, ice cream, soda, and more.

Enlist the help of your doctor to come up with a diet plan that will complement your own body’s specific needs. It’s more about choosing to eat foods that are more healthful. They don’t have to be boring or bland.

Eat Smaller Meals More Often

Eating more frequently allows blood sugar levels to stay more level throughout the day. Nutrients need to enter the bloodstream at regular times. This also means that you should not wait too long between meals, skip them or fast.

Doing this also helps to keep blood sugar from spiking too high and then getting too low once the body releases insulin.

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Exercise

When you follow a regular exercise program, the effects on overall health are tremendous. Exercise has the added benefit of helping to regulate blood sugar levels throughout the course of a day. You can begin a walking routine, swim or ride a bike, among other things.

Some people have difficulty incorporating a regular exercise program due to work or family obligations. If this is the case, it’s important to build in opportunities throughout the day to get more exercise. Some ideas are as follows:

  • use the push mower to cut the grass
  • park far away from the grocery store entrance and then walk the basket back to the door when you’re finished
  • take the stairs instead of the elevator
  • walk the dog around the block twice a day
  • jog in place while watching TV
  • do jumping jacks before beginning your morning routine
  • don’t make your kids get the groceries: get them yourself and take smaller loads so that you make more trips
  • get a kettlebell, It works like a weight that will help to increase your heart rate in a smaller span of time.

Try Apple Cider Vinegar

This is a folk remedy, but many people swear by it. Get some organic apple cider vinegar (the kind with “The Mother” – it will say so on the bottle – which is the pulpy mass you see at the bottom of the bottle and is said to imbibe the vinegar with more nutrients). Start with 1 teaspoon to an 8 oz. glass of water. If you can’t stand the taste, try adding it to tea without sugar, or try organic stevia. Gradually increase the vinegar amounts in a glass of water, up to two tablespoons. Monitor your sugar levels closely – you might not need that much to maintain acceptable levels.

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The vinegar helps with digestion and absorption of sugar, and also has many other health benefits.

Limit Alcohol Intake

Alcohol can raise blood sugar levels because the body has to busy itself eliminating the alcohol toxins from the body. It cannot focus on regulating sugar levels as effectively. Consuming too much alcohol can cause hypoglycemia, a condition where blood sugar levels are too low. This happens because the body releases insulin to combat the alcohol sugars and can over compensate. Over time, however, the body begins to lose its ability to use insulin to reduce the amount of sugar in the blood. The opposite can develop: hyperglycemia.

Get More Sleep

You may have heard that people who often don’t get enough rest tend to weigh more and are at higher risk for being overweight. With that come the complications: diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and more. Be proactive about getting enough sleep. In general, your body functions better, which will also help your blood sugar levels. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night.

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Implementing the suggestions from this list and being proactive about managing blood sugar levels are crucial to maintaining healthy blood sugar. From revamping your diet to getting more exercise, it takes a bit of effort. It’s worth it so that you don’t develop long-term complications down the road.  It’s important to work with your doctor, as well, to develop a customized plan of action so that you can live the healthiest life possible.

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Cyndi Calhoun

Cyndi is a passionate writer who writes about lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on July 28, 2020

14 Low GI Foods for a Healthier Diet

14 Low GI Foods for a Healthier Diet

Diet trends may come and go, but a low-GI diet remains one of the few that has been shown to include benefits based on science. Low GI foods provide substantial health benefits over those with a high index, and they are key to maintaining a healthy weight.

What is GI? Glycemic index (GI) is the rate at which the carbohydrate content of a food is broken down into glucose and absorbed from the gut into the blood. When you eat foods containing carbohydrates, your body breaks them down into glucose, which is then absorbed into your bloodstream.[1]

The higher the GI of a food, the faster it will be broken down and cause your blood glucose (sugar) to rise. Foods with a high GI rating are digested very quickly and cause your blood sugar to spike. This is why it’s advisable to stick to low GI foods as much as possible, as the carbohydrate content of low GI foods will be digested slowly, allowing a more gradual rise in blood glucose levels.

Foods with a GI scale rating of 70 or more are considered to be high GI. Foods with a rating of 55 or below are considered low GI foods.

It’s important to note that the glycemic index of a food doesn’t factor in the quantity that you eat. For example, although watermelon has a high glycemic index, the water and fiber content of a standard serving of water means it won’t have a significant impact on your blood sugar.

Like watermelon, some high GI foods (such as baked potatoes) are high in nutrients. And some low GI foods (such as corn chips) contain high amounts of trans fats.

In most cases, however, the GI is an important means of gauging the right foods for a healthy diet.

Eating mainly low GI foods every day helps to provide your body with a slow, continuous supply of energy. The carbohydrates in low GI foods is digested slowly, so you feel satisfied for longer. This means you’ll be less likely to suffer from fluctuating sugar levels that can lead to cravings and snacking.

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Let’s continue with some of the best examples of low GI foods.

1. Quinoa

GI: 53

Quinoa has a slightly higher GI than rice or barley, but it contains a much higher proportion of protein. If you don’t get enough protein from the rest of your diet, quinoa could help. It’s technically a seed, so it’s also high in fiber–again, more than most grains. It’s also gluten-free, which makes it excellent for those with Celiac disease or gluten intolerance.

2. Brown Rice (Steamed)

GI: 50

Versatile and satisfying, brown rice is one of the best low GI foods and is a staple for many dishes around the world. It’s whole rice from which only the husk (the outermost layer) is removed, so it’s a great source of fiber. In fact, brown rice has been shown to help lower cholesterol, improve digestive function, promote fullness, and may even help prevent the formation of blood clots. Just remember to always choose brown over white!

3. Corn on the Cob

GI: 48

Although it tastes sweet, corn on the cob is a good source of slow-burning energy (and one of the tastiest low GI foods). It’s also a good plant source of Vitamin B12, folic acid, and iron, all of which are required for the healthy production of red blood cells in the body. It’s healthiest when eaten without butter and salt!

4. Bananas

GI: 47

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Bananas are a superfood in many ways. They’re rich in potassium and manganese and contain a good amount of vitamin C. Their low GI rating means they’re great for replenishing your fuel stores after a workout.

They are easy to add to smoothies, cereal, or kept on your desk for a quick snack. The less ripe they are, the lower the sugar content is! As one of the best low GI foods, it’s a great addition to any daily diet.

5. Bran Cereal

GI: 43

Bran is famous for being one of the highest cereal sources of fiber. It’s also rich in a huge range of nutrients: calcium, folic acid, iron, magnesium, and a host of B vitamins. Although bran may not be to everyone’s tastes, it can easily be added to other cereals to boost the fiber content and lower the overall GI rating.

6. Natural Muesli

GI: 40

Muesli–when made with unsweetened rolled oats, nuts, dried fruit, and other sugar-free ingredients–is one of the healthiest ways to start the day. It’s also very easy to make at home with a variety of other low GI foods. Add yogurt and fresh fruit for a nourishing, energy-packed breakfast.

7. Apples

GI: 40

Apple skin is a great source of pectin, an important prebiotic that helps to feed the good bacteria in your gut. Apples are also high in polyphenols, which function as antioxidants, and contain a good amount of vitamin C. They are best eaten raw with the skin on! Apples are one of a number of fruits[2] that have a low glycemic index. Be careful which fruits you choose, as many have a large amount of natural sugars[3].

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8. Apricots

GI: 30

Apricots provide both fiber and potassium, which make them an ideal snack for both athletes and anyone trying to keep sugar cravings at bay. They’re also a source of antioxidants and a range of minerals.

Apricots can be added to salads, cereals, or eaten as part of a healthy mix with nuts at any time of the day.

9. Kidney Beans

GI: 29

Kidney beans and other legumes provide a substantial serving of plant-based protein, so they can be used in lots of vegetarian dishes if you’re looking to adopt a plant-based diet[4]. They’re also packed with fiber and a variety of minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and other beneficial plant compounds. They are great in soups, stews, or with (whole grain) tacos.

10. Barley

GI: 22

Barley is a cereal grain that can be eaten in lots of ways. It’s an excellent source of B vitamins, including niacin, thiamin, and pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), fiber, molybdenum, manganese, and selenium. It also contains beta-glucans, a type of fiber that can support gut health and has been shown to reduce appetite and food intake.

Please note that barley does contain gluten, which makes it unsuitable for anyone who is Celiac[5] or who follows a gluten-free diet. In this case, gluten-free alternatives might include quinoa, buckwheat, or millet.

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11. Raw Nuts

GI: 20

Most nuts have a low GI of between 0 and 20, with cashews slightly higher at around 22. Nuts, as one of the best low GI foods, are a crucial part of the Mediterranean diet[6] and are really the perfect snack: they’re a source of plant-based protein, high in fiber, and contain healthy fats. Add them to smoothies and salads to boost the nutritional content. Try to avoid roasted and salted nuts, as these are made with large amounts of added salt and (usually) trans fats.

12. Carrots

GI: 16

Raw carrots are not only a delicious low GI vegetable, but they really do help your vision! They contain vitamin A (beta carotene) and a host of antioxidants. They’re also low-calorie and high in fiber, and they contain good amounts of vitamin K1, potassium, and antioxidants. Carrots are great for those monitoring their weight as they’ve been linked to lower cholesterol levels.

13. Greek Yogurt

GI: 12

Unsweetened Greek yogurt is not only low GI, but it’s an excellent source of calcium and probiotics, as well. Probiotics help to keep your gut microbiome in balance and support your overall digestive health and immune function. Greek yogurt makes a healthy breakfast, snack, dessert, or a replacement for dip. The most common probiotic strains found in yogurt are Streptococcus thermophilus[7] (found naturally in yogurt) and Lactobacillus acidophilus[8] (which is often added by the manufacturer). You can also look into probiotic supplements for improving your gut health.

14. Hummus

GI: 6

When made the traditional way from chickpeas and tahini, hummus is a fantastic, low-GI dish. It’s a staple in many Middle Eastern countries and can be eaten with almost any savory meal. Full of fiber to maintain satiety and feed your good gut bacteria, hummus is great paired with freshly-chopped vegetables, such as carrots and celery.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking to eat healthier or simply cut down on snacking throughout the day, eating low GI foods is a great way to get started. Choose any of the above foods for a healthy addition to your daily diet and start feeling better for longer.

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Featured photo credit: Alexander Mils via unsplash.com

Reference

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