Too much blood sugar in the body can result to diabetes. People often failed to reduce their blood sugar because they don’t know the natural ways to do it. Diabetes complications will lead to kidney failure, eye, and nerve diseases. Doctors suggested that using drugs to reduce blood sugar is only for short-term goal. Blood sugar will eventually get higher days after taking such drugs. The best way to reduce blood sugar with longer effect is to follow these natural ways.
1. Spread out your meals.
“I always tell my patients to spread their food out over the day, keeping carbohydrates consistent,” says Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D., C.D.E., and Lifescript’s nutrition expert. “Don’t eat small meals so you can save up for a big dinner.”
Avoid fasting or skipping meals, even on weekends or other days when your schedule is hectic. It’ll give your body enough time to regulate blood sugar levels and keep them even.
How many carbs per meal are ideal?
“It’s tailored to each individual,” says Weisenberger, who factors in medication, hormones and other key information for each patient.
A typical starting point is 45 grams per meal for women and 60 grams for men (15 grams per snack). From there, make adjustments according to your blood glucose readings.
2. Eat more food with resistant starch.
Resistant starch — found in some potatoes and some beans — bypasses the small intestine, gets metabolized by the good bacteria and then behaves as dietary fiber in the large intestine, Weisenberger says.
“Even after your next meal, your blood sugar will be lower,” she says. “It’s called the ‘second-meal effect.’”
You’ll find it in a potato that has been baked and then cooled, but not in a warm potato. So a half-cup of potato salad will bring on better blood sugar readings than the same amount of warm mashed potatoes.
Black and kidney beans also have natural resistant starch.
3. Bring on the beans.
Can something as simple and inexpensive as beans really help with diabetes control?
Yes, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA). Beans digest slowly, resulting in only a small rise in blood glucose levels. Several studies have shown that eating 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 cups of cooked beans daily improves diabetes control.
Beans also are an excellent source of folate, which is linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, a common diabetes complication. Eating 1-3 cups of cooked beans a day will lower total cholesterol 5%-19%.
Sneak beans in soups and salads, or eat them as a side dish.
But introduce them gradually into your diet, the ADA says. Chew thoroughly, drink plenty of liquids to aid digestion and take enzyme products such as “Beano” to avoid gastrointestinal distress.
For convenience, go for canned beans, which require less preparation time and are as healthy as dried.
4. Cook up cactus.
The paddle-shaped nopal cactus (also known as “prickly pear”) slows carbohydrate absorption and lowers post-meal blood glucose readings in people with type 2 diabetes, according to some studies. In Mexico, nopal is used for treating the disease.
According to a 2007 article in the journal Diabetes Care, the cactus is very high in soluble fiber, and, when eaten with other foods, slows the rate at which sugar from the meal enters the bloodstream.
Nopal, popular in central Mexico, is boiled, grilled, fried or mashed and added to soups and stews.
It’s available in supplements, but be careful: Some people experience gastrointestinal distress, and it hasn’t been studied extensively in the U.S. as an oral extract. Always talk to your doctor before trying this or any other supplement.
People who get fewer than 6 hours a night consistently are 4.5 times more likely to get abnormal blood sugar readings than those who slept longer, according to a study by the University at Buffalo, N.Y. Adults typically need 7-9 hours a night.
Lack of sleep is also linked with other health conditions, including heart disease, stroke and cancer.
More than a third of people with type 2 diabetes have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), where a collapsed airway causes a person to repeatedly stop breathing during sleep, according to James Herdegen, M.D., director for Sleep and Ventilatory Disorders at the University of Illinois in Chicago.
“Studies have demonstrated that type 2 diabetics who also suffer from OSA can dramatically reduce their glucose levels by getting treatment,” he says.
OSA can be treated with a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), a mask worn during sleep that sends air through the airway to keep it from collapsing.
Your weight-loss goals don’t have to be enormous either, Weisenberger says. Some of her patients have seen improvements in blood glucose readings with only a 5-pound loss.
7. Manage stress.
When you’re stressed out, your body creates a lot of stored energy – glucose and fat – so cells can use it when called into action.
In diabetics, this extra energy doesn’t make it to the cells, so glucose piles up in the blood and results in high readings, according to the ADA.
How can you burn off tension?
Yoga and meditation have helped lower blood sugar levels in her patients, Weisenberger says.
The ADA also recommends creating your own stress-relieving routines: talking with a supportive friend, taking a warm bath or shower, watching an enjoyable movie, listening to music or taking a walk.
“In type 2, exercise helps improve insulin resistance,” says James Beckerman, a Portland, Oregon cardiologist. “The end result is lower blood sugars.”
But exercise is important for both types because it helps prevent heart attack, stroke or diminished blood flow to the legs.
Because exercise can immediately reduce blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetics, work with your health care team to determine the right amount of activity and timing for insulin.
A combination of resistance and aerobic exercise may be the most beneficial, Dr. Beckerman says.
Mayo Clinic researchers studied how thin people burn calories and found that they have more “spurts” of daily activity, such as fidgeting, than heavier people. Just how much? Up to 350 more calories per day.
Add these short bursts of activity to your daily routine:
Park your car at the back of the lot and walk to the store’s door.
Return your grocery shopping cart to the supermarket door.
Walk to your neighbor’s house instead of calling her.
Walk your outgoing mail to a farther mailbox.
Do some sit-ups or push-ups during TV commercials.
10. Eat breakfast.
We’ve all heard that breakfast is the day’s most important meal, and this is especially true for those who have diabetes. After fasting 8-12 hours, your body needs food to balance blood sugar levels and injected insulin from the previous night.
Besides, eating breakfast can help overweight people with type 2 diabetes shed extra pounds.
Of the 4,000 participants In the National Weight Control Registry who maintained at least a 30-pound weight loss for about 5.5 years, almost all said they ate breakfast daily.
So what’s the best breakfast? One with carbohydrate, protein and fiber, according to the ADA.
Good options are cereal or an English muffin, low-fat milk or yogurt and fruit. (Save high-fat foods, such as bacon, sausage and eggs, for special occasions.)
And think beyond the breakfast box: Leftover chicken breast with fruit is just fine too, the ADA says.
What if you’re not usually hungry for breakfast? Then make your previous night’s meal smaller, so you’ll wake up hungry, the ADA says. It will spread your carbohydrates more evenly throughout the day, leading to better blood-sugar control.
Myth vs. Fact: How Much Do You Know About Diabetes?
In the United States alone, 23.6 million people have diabetes. And 5.6 million of them don’t even know it. Unfortunately, misinformation about diabetes is rampant – and mixing up the facts about this disease can have dire consequences.