Keeping blood sugar levels in check is the holy grail for diabetes sufferers. Never a short-term goal, the continuous monitoring of blood sugar levels and analyzing the results helps diabetics make lifestyle and medication changes that improve their levels and stay within their target range. Whether you’re a newly-diagnosed diabetic or a veteran, this article will show you how to lower your blood sugar levels naturally to help delay or prevent complications of diabetes. Read on for more.
What Causes Blood Sugar Levels to Go High?
When the body has too little insulin—a hormone that allows your body to regulate sugar (glucose)— it causes high blood sugar or what’s medically known as hyperglycemia. Untreated, it can lead to complications affecting many different parts of the body including the heart, eyes, nerves, and kidneys. Here’s a small list of what can cause a type one diabetic to have high blood sugar:
- Not enough insulin taken for the carbohydrates you eat
- Eating more than usual
- Less exercise than normal
- Emotional or physical stress
- Illness or injury
- Medications (such as steroids)
What is the Recommended Target Range?
The information below is based on the Diabetes Canada 2018 Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Prevention and Management of Diabetes in Canada. However, your target range may not be the same as the examples in this blood sugar levels chart. It’s best to talk to your health-care provider about the blood sugar target ranges that are specific to you.
|A1C**||Fasting blood glucose (sugar)/ blood sugar before meals (mmol/L)||Blood sugar two hours after eating (mmol/L)|
|Target for most people with diabetes||7.0% or less||4.0 to 7.0||5.0 to 10.0 (5.0 – 8.0 if A1C** targets not being met)|
** A1C is a measurement of your average blood sugar control for the last two to three months and approximately 50 per cent of the value comes from the last 30 days.
What Are the Symptoms and Signs of High Blood Sugar?
Recognizing the symptoms and signs of high blood sugar and knowing how to lower blood sugar levels can help prevent diabetes-related complications. The most common signs below are the same for both type 1 and type 2:
- Increased thirst
- Increased hunger
- Tired all the time
- Frequent urination
- Dry mouth
- Blurred vision
- Fruity or sweet odor on the breath
How Can I Lower Blood Sugar Levels Naturally?
Diet and exercise are the two main ways to lower blood sugar levels naturally. When you choose the right foods, stay hydrated and get regular exercise you can keep your blood sugar levels consistent and within a healthy range. If you lose just five pounds, you can even reduce your need for medication or insulin. Here are some other tips to try:
- Avoid foods that are high in carbohydrates and have no other nutrition;
- Drink apple cider vinegar. Having two tablespoons mixed in water can help lower your blood sugar;
- Eat foods high in fibre (for example, nuts, berries, and beans). Fibre slows down the digestion of carbohydrates and sugar and can help lower your levels;
- Control your Stress. Hormones such as glucagon and cortisol are secreted during stress and can cause blood sugar levels to go up;
- Eat chromium-rich foods such as egg-yolks, whole-grain products, broccoli and meat which have positive benefits for long-term blood sugar control;
- Cinnamon is known to have many health benefits, including lowering blood sugar levels by as much as 29%;
- Regular exercise such as swimming, walking, running and biking can help you lose weight and increase insulin sensitivity, which means your cells are better able to use the available sugar in your bloodstream.
Did you find this article useful? Get more helpful tips and tricks to make managing diabetes easier by visiting our blog. Or learn more about our pain-free lancing device Genteel. It’s perfect for diabetics of all ages and can be used with your existing blood glucose meter and test strips.