10 Ways To Naturally Lower Your Blood Sugar
How to Lower Your Blood Sugar Naturally
Here's how your blood sugar works: You eat something and the stomach and intestines breaks the food down into glucose. The cells need glucose for energy, but for the cells to be able to use glucose they also need insulin which the pancreas emits in the response to glucose.
The body, however, can become resistant to using the insulin if there are certain factors occurring, in particular excess fat. So the glucose stays in the blood, which makes the pancreas secrete more insulin. Eventually the pancreas gets tired, very tired and gives up. That's when pre-diabetes becomes diabetes. What a bummer.
Keeping glucose sugar levels balanced also helps promote weight loss as having low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) will trigger binge eating, which causes the rebound effect of high blood sugar or glucose. The body will rapidly store this high blood sugar as fat.
With a few tricks up your sleeve, you can easily control your glucose levels and avoid more serious health problems.
This lens offers a lot of great solutions. Pick several that you think will help and apply them for three weeks. See what kind of results you get, then fine tune with a few more as you need to. My favorite daily techniques are exercise, Stevia, Zypan (for pancreas support) and eating small and often. On challenging days I add the other supplements as needed. Find what works for you and be consistent.
Note: In 2007 my health care provider said I had metabolic syndrome and was prediabetic. I gave myself 6 months to turn it around naturally and, if not successful, I was going to go with allopathic medicines. This lens shares what I did to turn it around permanently. These are tools that helped me but are not meant to replace the care of your medical provider.
Photo used with permission from http://free-images.gatag.net/
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All About High Blood Sugar
Hyperglycemia versus hypoglycemia
High blood sugar is called hyperglycemia versus low level blood sugar which is called hypoglycemia.
Blood sugar levels are considered high when they're above 110 mg/dl first thing in the morning (assuming you weren't midnight snacking). You can get a simple kit to monitor your blood sugar and find out what foods might be affecting you negatively and what your fasting blood glucose level is.
Besides high blood sugar making you feel wonky, it can negatively affect many organs over a longer period of time.
Hyperglycemia can cause damage to the vessels that supply blood to vital organs, which can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke, kidney disease, vision problems, and nerve problems.
In this site, natural solutions to balancing or lowering blood sugar are listed in the grey boxes, with explanations following. These are tried and true solutions and extremely powerful. If you get overwhelmed with all the information, start with exercise and getting processed grains and sugar out of your diet. Then add some supplements, some sweeteners that are okay, and start eating Chia seeds! Finally add some "tricks" for those special times when you've had sugar (i.e. the herb supplement called Salacia) To your health!
Check Your Blood Sugar Accurately and Easily
Get Your Muscles Involved
Muscles are Glucose Burners! - Take a dance class to burn glucose
If Americans are the biggest consumers in the world, muscles are the glucose consumer equivalent. Getting physically active is one of the easiest ways to use up glucose and "force" the body out of insulin resistance. Exercise vigorously for 20-30 minutes a day to get optimal benefits.
Zumba has a great program for Baby Boomers or someone who's seriously out of shape. It's called Zumba Gold. I just ordered it so I can continue exercising during the winter in Montana.
You gotta love Zumba!
Eat small, eat often.
No Highs Or Lows: Keep Your Blood Sugar Even
Eat small amounts throughout the day
The body does much better eating smaller amounts of food, more often throughout the day. It's easier on the intestines, the pancreas, and the digestive enzymes.
Depending on your caloric intake you could eat 4-6 meals, of 400-600 calories each. Eat at least every four hours.
Also increase your water. Being chronically dehydrated is hard on the blood, the carrier of not only the blood sugar but also insulin itself.
Get Rid of the Belly Fat
Getting Rid of Belly Fat
Belly Fat, Stress, and Insulin Resistance
Belly fat increases heart disease and insulin resistance. It is particularly hard to get rid of by women in their menopause years. Insulin resistance means that the blood sugar stays in the blood instead of getting into the tissue cells.
Belly fat can increase dramatically under acute and chronic high stress because of the hormone release of cortisol from the adrenals. Exercise helps reduce stress levels as does massage, meditation, yoga, relaxing baths, etc.
The recommended waist measurement for men is less than 40 inches and for women, less than 35 inches.
Prevention's Flat Belly Diet
Know the Foods that Lower Blood Sugar
The Power of Super Food: Chia - A Chia Recipe for Your Optimal Health
The following recipe is a fantastic way to start the day. Chia Seeds are a super food when it comes to health benefits. Along with balancing your blood sugar, it will keep your blood sugar from spiking throughout the day. Chia is high in fiber, protein, boron and magnesium. It's also great for weight loss, your thyroid (which can affect your pancreas, if it's not healthy) and intestinal regularity. You can throw 2 T of Chia in a smoothie but the following recipe makes a fantastic start to your day and takes just minutes to prepare. Chia Seeds are odorless and have no taste so plan on adding nuts and dried fruit to give the following a great flavor!
Pour about 1/2 Cup of boiling water over 2 Tablespoons of Chia Seeds and 2 Tablespoons of Hemp Seeds and let sit for 3-4 minutes.
Add 1 teaspoon coconut oil, coconut flakes, raw nuts such as cashews, dried fruit, yogurt and fresh fruit.
Eat Low Glycemic Foods - Choosing the right foods can significantly lower your blood sugar
The glycemic index (GI) is a numerical system of measuring how fast a carbohydrate triggers a rise in circulating blood sugar-the higher the number, the greater the blood sugar response. A low GI food will cause a small rise, while a high GI food will trigger a dramatic spike. Below is just a small list of foods to give you an idea of low, medium and high GI. Stick to low and medium to keep your blood sugar down.
Less Than 50
- Artichoke <15
- Asparagus <15
- Avocado < 15
- Broccoli <15
- Cauliflower <15
- Celery <15
- Cucumber <15
- Eggplant <15
- Green beans <15
- Lettuce, all varieties <15
- Low-fat yogurt, artificially sweetened <15
- Peanuts <15
- Peppers, all varieties <15
- Snow peas <15
- Spinach <15
50 to 70
- Canned kidney beans 52
- Kiwifruit 52
- Orange juice, not from concentrate 52
- Banana 53
- Sweet potato 54
- Brown Rice 55
- Linguine 55
- Popcorn 55
- Sweet corn 55
- Muesli 56
- Bagel 72
- Corn chips 72
- Watermelon 72
- Honey 73
- Mashed potatoes 73
- Bread stuffing mix 74
- Cheerios 74
- Cream of Wheat, instant 74
- Graham crackers 74
- Doughnuts 75
- French fries 76
- Frozen waffles 76
- Pretzels 81
- Rice cakes 82
Power Food Stevia - A Sweetener that Balances your Blood Sugar
Refined sugar and corn syrup quickly increase blood glucose, forcing the pancreas to secrete large amounts of insulin. The insulin tells the body to remove blood sugar fast (at which point it is stored as fat) which then causes a dramatic drop in blood sugar. Eventually the pancreas can't create insulin (diabetes) or the body becomes insulin resistant (like the boy who called wolf, too many times).
Read food labels...many foods have added sugars and corn syrup. The less processed your foods you eat the better for your health to avoid these traps.
There are sweeteners that can be used that don't dramatically increase the blood glucose level. Some have additional health benefits as well. Stevia is a plant based sweetener that not only doesn't increase your blood sugar, it actually helps to balance it. If I know I might have erratic meal times such as when I'm traveling, I carry Stevia packets that I can add to my water. I'm a big fan of green tea, so I add it to my tea that I sip on all day.
Stevia has additional benefits. It protects the teeth from decay and helps lower blood pressure, something sugar has been shown to elevate.
Food Combinations that Can Lower Blood Sugar
Fiber and Protein
Foods that quickly raise the blood sugar levels are refined foods, primarily white sugar and flour. But any food that converts rapidly into glucose will cause a sudden leap in glucose or blood sugar levels including juice, and refined breakfast cereals.
Which brings us to the first food friend:
Fiber: Eat foods high in fiber including apples, oatmeal, whole, unrefined grains, bulky vegetables, nuts and seeds. Take a digestive aid such as Zypan (made by Standard Process), if your digestive system has a hard time digesting lots of fiber and wants to make gas instead.
Protein: If you just can't resist that Krispy Kreme donut, eat it with a slice of cheese or a hard boiled egg. The protein will slow the break down of the carbohydrates into glucose. Not recommended for cheating every day, but it can help you cheat once in a while!
Avoid insulin resistance. Get your cholesterol in right balance and check your thyroid.
Metabolic Syndrome and How It Relates to Your Blood Sugar - A precursor to insulin resistance
Lots have been written about cholesterol and its effect on the blood vessels, if certain cholesterol is too high (while others are too low). HDL is the "good" cholesterol and trigylcerides are the bad.
High cholesterol (of the bad sort) is part of a group of symptoms that together have been labeled metabolic syndrome. This condition is the precursor to heart disease and a host of other problems including diabetes.
Technically speaking, getting your cholesterol in right balance doesn't really lower your blood sugar levels. It does speak to overall improved health and less likelihood of becoming insulin resistant (which does affect high blood sugar).
Chinese tonic herbs are very beneficial for helping the body to come into balance. Two in particular are "kings" when it comes to health benefits for the body including balancing cholesterol.
Ron Teeguarden's Dietary Supplement Pure Gynostemma, also known as Southern Ginseng and the Miracle Herb , is a quintessential adaptogenic herb. Gynostemma has been shown to have a double-direction activity with regard to weight. Gynostemma can be useful in reducing excessive body fat, when combined with a reasonable exercise program and a healthy diet that modulates caloric intake. Gynostemma accelerates the body’s metabolism and helps adjust blood sugar and blood fat levels.
The Link Between High Blood Sugar and the Thyroid
Your Doctor Won't Tell You This
There is a link between your thyroid and your pancreas. If your thyroid is not working properly, it can create a pancreatic imbalance which leads to insulin resistance in the body.
Get it checked and get the thyroid balanced. Women, as they age, seem to lose more of their thyroid capability.
Use Secret Weapons
Super Foods Cinnamon and Salacia
Two amazing plants
Two food/dietary supplements are stand out helpers in improving blood sugar levels.
Salacia: This aryuvedic herb from India helps normalize blood sugar and insulin levels, and supports healthy blood lipids. Salacia contains two potent alpha-glucosidase inhibitors that may help regulate carbohydrate-metabolic imbalances. Salacia will bring down glucose levels within 20 minutes after taking. It's best to use this super helper as needed versus every day. Salacia can be ordered from Amazon.
Cinnamon: This wonderful tasting spice has been shown to lower fasting blood sugar levels AND balance cholesterol levels. A fabulous two-fer! Cinnamon is recommended at amounts of 1 gram a day and if taken for 40 days will continue to promote benefits for an additional 20 days. One delicious way to take cinnamon is to make tea with cinnamon sticks (boiling 2-3 sticks in 4 cups of water for 20 minutes). Or just add it to oatmeal, smoothies, or cinnamon toast (use whole grain bread such as Ezekiel and one of the recommended sweeteners above). Cinnamon capsules can be be ordered on Amazon (just click on any Amazon product here and navigate to Cylon Cinnamon). As suggested by a reader, you want to get Ceylon Cinnamon for the most effective glucose balance.
If you're not new to the problem of insulin intolerance and high blood sugar, you've probably learned a few tricks of your own. Please share those with us.
Last updated on October 17, 2014
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