15 Easy Ways to Lower Blood Sugar Levels Naturally

15 Easy Ways to Lower Blood Sugar Levels Naturally

By Arlene Semeco, MS, RD

Blonde in Green Shirt Eating Salad: High blood sugar occurs when your body can’t effectively transport sugar from blood into cells. When left unchecked, this can lead to diabetes.

One study from 2012 reported that 12–14% of US adults had type 2 diabetes, while 37–38% were classified as pre-diabetic (1). This means that 50% of all US adults have diabetes or pre-diabetes.

15 Easy Ways To Lower Blood Sugar Levels Naturally:

1. Exercise Regularly: Regular exercise can help you lose weight and increase insulin sensitivity. Increased insulin sensitivity means your cells are better able to use the available sugar in your bloodstream. Exercise also helps your muscles use blood sugar for energy and muscle contraction. If you have problems with blood sugar control, you should routinely check your levels. This will help you learn how you respond to different activities and keep your blood sugar levels from getting either too high or too low (2). Good forms of exercise include weight lifting, brisk walking, running, biking, dancing, hiking, swimming and more. Bottom Line: Exercise increases insulin sensitivity and helps your muscles pick up sugars from the blood. This can lead to reduced blood sugar levels.

2. Control your carb intake:

Bread: Your body breaks carbs down into sugars (mostly glucose), and then insulin moves the sugars into cells. When you eat too many carbs or have problems with insulin function, this process fails and blood glucose levels rise. However, there are several things you can do about this. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends controlling carb intake by counting carbs or using a food exchange system (3). Some studies find that these methods can also help you plan your meals appropriately, which may further improve blood sugar control (4, 5).

Many studies also show that a low-carb diet helps reduce blood sugar levels and prevent blood sugar spikes (6, 7, 8, 9). What’s more, a low-carb diet can help control blood sugar levels in the long run (10). You can read more in this article on healthy low-carb eating with diabetes. Bottom Line: Carbs are broken down into glucose, which raises blood sugar levels. Reducing carbohydrate intake can help with blood sugar control.

3. Increase your fiber intake:

Fruits and Vegetables on Forks: Fiber slows carb digestion and sugar absorption. For these reasons, it promotes a more gradual rise in blood sugar levels. Furthermore, the type of fiber you eat may play a role. There are two kinds of fiber: insoluble and soluble. While both are important, soluble fiber specifically has been shown to lower blood sugar levels (11, 12, 13). Additionally, a high-fiber diet can help manage type 1 diabetes by improving blood sugar control and reducing blood sugar lows (13, 14).

Foods that are high in fiber include: vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains.

The recommended daily intake of fiber is about 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men. That’s about 14 grams for every 1,000 calories (15). Bottom Line: Eating plenty of fiber can help with blood sugar control, and soluble dietary fiber is the most effective.

4. Drink water and stay hydrated

Glass of 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 (16). Drinking water regularly re-hydrates the blood, lowers blood sugar levels and reduces diabetes risk (16, 17, 18, 19). Keep in mind that water and other non-caloric beverages are best. Sugar-sweetened drinks raise blood glucose, drive weight gain and increase diabetes risk (20, 21). Bottom Line: Staying hydrated can reduce blood sugar levels and help prevent diabetes. Water is best.

5. Implement portion control: Portion control helps regulate calorie intake and can lead to weight loss (22, 23, 24). Consequently, controlling your weight promotes healthy blood sugar levels and has been shown to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes (22, 23, 25, 26, 27, 28). Monitoring your serving sizes also helps reduce calorie intake and subsequent blood sugar spikes (23, 24).

Helpful tips for controlling portions:

Measure and weigh portions.

Use smaller plates.

Avoid all-you-can-eat restaurants.

Read food labels and check the serving sizes.

Keep a food journal.

Eat slowly.

Bottom Line: The more control you have over your serving sizes the better control you will have over your blood sugar levels.

6. Choose foods with a low glycemic index:

Sweet Potato

The glycemic index was developed to assess the body’s blood sugar response to foods that contain carbs (29).

Both the amount and type of carbs determine how a food affects blood sugar levels (30, 31).

Eating low-glycemic-index foods has been shown to reduce long-term blood sugar levels in type 1 and type 2 diabetics (32, 33).

Although the glycemic index of foods is important, the amount of carbs consumed also matters (34, 35).

Foods with a low glycemic index include seafood, meat, eggs, oats, barley, beans, lentils, legumes, sweet potatoes, corn, yams, most fruits and non-starchy vegetables.

Bottom Line: It’s important to choose foods with a low glycemic index and watch your overall carb intake.

7. Control stress levels:

Woman with Eyes Closed:

Stress can affect your blood sugar levels (36, 37).

Hormones such as glucagon and cortisol are secreted during stress. These hormones cause blood sugar levels to go up (38, 39).

One study showed that exercise, relaxation and meditation significantly reduced stress and lowered blood sugar levels for students (40).

Exercises and relaxation methods like yoga and mindfulness-based stress reduction can also correct insulin secretion problems in chronic diabetes (40, 41, 42, 43, 44). Bottom Line: Controlling stress levels through exercise or relaxation methods such as yoga will help you control blood sugars.

8. Monitor your blood sugar levels:

Blood Glucose Meter and Strips: “What gets measured gets managed.”

Measuring and monitoring blood glucose levels can also help you control them. For example, keeping track helps you determine whether you need to make adjustments in meals or medications (31). It will also help you find out how your body reacts to certain foods (45, 46). Try measuring your levels every day, and keeping track of the numbers in a log. Bottom Line: Checking your sugars and maintaining a log every day will help you adjust foods and medications to decrease your sugar levels.

9. Get enough quality sleep: Getting enough sleep feels great and is necessary for good health (47). Poor sleeping habits and a lack of rest also affect blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity. They can increase appetite and promote weight gain (48, 49). Sleep deprivation decreases the release of growth hormones and increases cortisol levels. Both of these play an important role in blood sugar control (47, 50, 51). Furthermore, good sleep is about both quantity and quality. It is best to get a sufficient amount of high-quality sleep every night (49). Bottom Line: Good sleep helps maintain blood sugar control and promote a healthy weight. Poor sleep can disrupt important metabolic hormones.

10. Eat foods rich in chromium and magnesium:

Two Eggs, Broken and Whole:

High blood sugar levels and diabetes have also been linked to micronutrient deficiencies (31, 52). Examples include deficiencies in the minerals chromium and magnesium. Chromium is involved in carb and fat metabolism. It also helps control blood sugar levels, and a lack of chromium may predispose you to carb intolerance (53, 54, 55). However, the mechanisms behind this are not completely known. Studies also report mixed findings. Two studies of diabetes patients showed that chromium had benefits for long-term blood sugar control. However, another study showed no benefits (55, 56, 57). Chromium-rich foods include egg yolks, whole-grain products, high-bran cereals, coffee, nuts, green beans, broccoli and meat. Magnesium has also been shown to affect blood sugar levels, and magnesium deficiency has been linked to a higher risk of developing diabetes (31, 58, 59). In one study, people with the highest magnesium intake had a 47% lower risk of becoming diabetic (60). However, if you already eat plenty of magnesium-rich foods, then you probably will not benefit from supplements (61). Magnesium-rich foods include dark leafy greens, whole grains, fish, dark chocolate, bananas, avocados and beans. Bottom Line: Eating foods rich in chromium and magnesium on a regular basis can help prevent deficiencies and reduce blood sugar problems.

11. Try apple cider vinegar:

Apple Cider Vinegar and Apples: Apple cider vinegar has many benefits for your health. It promotes lower fasting blood sugar levels, possibly by decreasing its production by the liver or increasing its use by cells (62, 63, 64). What’s more, studies show that vinegar significantly influences your body’s response to sugars and improves insulin sensitivity (63, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69). To incorporate apple cider vinegar into your diet, you can add it to salad dressings or mix 2 teaspoons in 8 ounces of water. However, it’s important to check with your doctor before taking apple cider vinegar if you are already taking medications that lower blood sugar. Bottom Line: Adding apple cider vinegar to your diet can help your body in many ways, including reducing blood sugar levels.

12. Experiment with cinnamon extract:

Cinnamon Powder and Sticks: Cinnamon is known to have many health benefits. For one, it has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity by decreasing insulin resistance at the cellular level (70, 71). Studies show cinnamon can also lower blood sugar levels by up to 29% (72, 73, 74). It slows the breakdown of carbs in the digestive tract, which moderates the rise in blood sugar after a meal (75, 76). Cinnamon also acts in a similar way as insulin, although at a much slower rate (77). An effective dose is 1–6 grams of cinnamon per day, or about 0.5–2 teaspoons (78). However, definitely don’t take more than that since too much cinnamon can be harmful. Bottom Line: Cinnamon has been shown to reduce fasting blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity.

13. Try berberine:

Bottle of Capsules: Berberine is the active component of a Chinese herb that’s been used to treat diabetes for thousands of years. Berberine has been shown to help lower blood sugar and enhance the breakdown of carbs for energy (79, 80, 81). What’s more, berberine may be as effective as some blood sugar lowering medications. This makes it one of the most effective supplements for those with diabetes or pre-diabetes (79, 82). However, many of the mechanisms behind its effects are still unknown (81, 83). Additionally, it may have some side effects. Diarrhea, constipation, flatulence and abdominal pain have been reported (84). A common dosage protocol is 1,500 mg per day, taken before meals as 3 doses of 500 mg. You can read more about this impressive supplement here: Berberine – The World’s Most Effective Supplement? Bottom Line: Berberine works well for lowering blood sugar levels and can help manage diabetes. However, it may have some digestive side effects.

14. Eat fenugreek seeds: Fenugreek seeds are a great source of soluble fiber, which can help control blood sugar levels. Many studies have shown that fenugreek can effectively lower blood sugar in diabetics. It also helps reduce fasting glucose and improve glucose tolerance (85, 86, 87, 88). Although not that popular, fenugreek can easily be added to baked goods to help treat diabetes. You can also make fenugreek flour or brew it into tea (89). Fenugreek seeds are also considered one of the safest herbs for diabetes (87, 88). The recommended dose of fenugreek seeds is 2–5 grams per day. Bottom Line: Consider giving fenugreek seeds a try. They are easy to add to your diet and can help regulate blood glucose levels.

15. Lose some weight: It’s a no-brainer that maintaining a healthy weight will improve your health and prevent future health problems. Weight control also promotes healthy blood sugar levels and has been shown to reduce your risk of developing diabetes (22, 23, 24, 25, 26). Even a 7% reduction in body weight can decrease your risk of developing diabetes by up to 58%, and it seems to work even better than medication (90). What’s more, these decreased risks can be sustained over the years (91, 92, 93). You should also be conscious of your waistline, as it is perhaps the most important weight-related factor for estimating your diabetes risk. A measurement of 35 inches (88.9 cm) or more for women and 40 inches (101.6 cm) or more for men is associated with an increased risk of developing insulin resistance, high blood sugar levels and type 2 diabetes (94). Having a healthy waist measurement may be even more important than your overall weight (94). Bottom Line: Keeping a healthy weight and waistline will help you maintain normal blood sugar levels and decrease your risk of developing diabetes.

Take Home Message: Make sure to check with your doctor before making lifestyle changes or trying new supplements. This is particularly important if you have problems with blood sugar control or if you are taking medications to lower your sugar levels. That being said, if you are diabetic or have problems with blood sugar control, then you should start doing something about it as soon as possible.

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35 Replies

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  • Well i don't agree with berberine. A pancreas whipping medicine.

  • Berberine seems to be very effective as anti-diabetic and also anti-inflammatory supplement. It works similar to Metformin just as you mentioned "pancreas whipping medicine"; that mean berberine can be a better/safer choice for diabetics who have troubles controlling their BSL as they are natural/herbal compounds and likely to have less side effects.

  • Luckysugar

    1) berberine has antiinflammatory action or not i don't know but whipping pancreas is like whipping a tired horse. I won't prefer.

    2) metformin is not a whipping drug.

    Natural compound doesn't mean harmless.

    No. No to berberine.

  • No worries I won't give it a try. There are many other natural ways to control BSL particularly diet and exercise. What's about supplements like chromium and magnesium, do you take them?

  • Thanks shrisamarth :)

  • hmmm shrisamarth internet is full of contradictory reports...

    but let me tell u my own experience... I am consuming berberine in form of Daruharidra... 50 Mg twice a day..my sgpt and sgot levels(liver function markers) are stable...slightly improving...

    Further if it is DPP4 blocker then sure my fasting insulin should shoot up... but earlier my fasting insulin was around 10 units at fasting sugar level of 126

    Now at fasting sugar 0f 95 it shows 7 units...

  • cure

    "Since metformin also inhibits one of these enzymes to some extent, combining berberine and metformin is probably a bad idea, too. (Note I have blogged about the combined effect of metformin and prandin HERE). "

    Well you are taking metformin as well. Have a strict diet regime. I think you are biassed for berberine thanking berberine for all positive effects. I again say diet is 90% treatment. you stop berberine and see if the positive effects continue with everything what you do as it is or stop at least metformin and continue with berberine to see the results.

    Only if there is a study where normal nonD diet is given to a D and berberine is given 500 mg tds comparing lab reports before and after berberine can one reach a definite conclusion.

  • Yes....I am thinking on same line... I will be getting my blood reports done soon....if I do not see any further positive changes in liver markers I will discontinue berberine...but then may be I will shift on milk thistle....

    Let us see...

  • Bhai suramo

    here is something

    sciencedirect.com/science/a...

    Impacts of berberine on islet are controversial. Our previous work showed that berberine had no insulin secretagogue effects on β-TC3 cells in vitro 11. Berberine restored pancreatic islet hyperthophy back to normal. Our clinical trial showed that berberine lowered fasting insulin levels in the newly diagnosed type 2 diabetic patients. However, in the poorly-controlled diabetic patients with insulin injection, berberine did raise the fasting and postprandial C-peptide levels4. The data suggest although berberine did not stimulate the insulin secretion directly, it may be able to improve the islet function in patients unresponsive to oral hypoglycemic agents. Dr. Zhou's work12 indicated that berberine reduced plasma insulin levels in high-fat diet fed rats and blunted insulin secretion in MIN6 β-cells and isolated rat islets directly. However, other groups reported that berberine decreased blood glucose via islet protection in Nonobese diabetic (NOD) mice—a spontaneous type 1 diabetic model 13 and 14. The effects of increasing islet numbers and blood insulin levels were not observed in berberine treated db/db mice. Thus, these results indicate berberine may have a two-way regulation in pancreas islets. In typical type 2 diabetes with notable insulin resistance, berberine lowered blood insulin level through increasing insulin sensitivity. However, in type 1 diabetes or the late stage of type 2 diabetes characterized by poor β-cell function, berberine was able to increase insulin secretion via repairing destructed or exhausted islets, which may be related to its antioxidant and anti-lipid peroxidation properties 15.

    and here is one more..

    life-enhancement.com/magazi...

  • cure

    Good to see you bro. So happy to hear from you. Hope your D control is still as it is.

    Well. You have said so much but tell us if berberine is safe to be used or not.

  • I think yes...recently met one MD from Pune....

    some time ago my cousin had very bad liver problem....and was almost in coma...blood vomiting and all that..

    Every one said no chances for survival.... and this said doctor saved his life...

    I visited him few days ago...to show my mothers medical report...also we had lots of discussion about my results with diabetes...

    He also showed me his research work on the same subject....according to him...diabetes is problem of liver...he even said fatty pancreas also got secondary role... main issue is healing liver... and when I asked him what is best medicine to heal liver ....he said berberine... he was not convinced with milk thistle even...

    he also showed intrest to meet our Puneri gang ..hopefully we will be inviting him for our monthly meet in first week of march... when Geodiabetic shrisamarth and other members will be present to share individual experience...

    I am planning to invite few other main stream doctors for meets... my next targets is doctor Yagnik

    read here about doctor yagnik

    kemdiabetes.org/About_Landi...

  • cure

    Frankly i don't find it convincing to blame liver for t2d. The poor liver itself is a victim. Our D is the result of as anup says conked off body response to sugar. And it tends to descend into generations suggests some genetic bases.

    Well i'm not well versed with herbs so won't comment on berbeine. But surely i'd like to know how it works. A single case doesn't bode anything.

    Why to wait for the meetings ? I'd love to hear him on this forum. Is he md or dm ? Just for knowledge.

  • cure

    Ask him to join us. Let's know what he has to say about D. Ok. Let me ask him straightaway.

  • cure

    I have invited him on the forum. Hope i have done right thing.

  • that is really great....

    Let us understand his views...

    most probably we will be meeting him nextstaurday personally...

  • cure

    A very good article on berberine. Berberine is a panacea for D. It does every thing to reverse D 🐒🐒🐒. But there are many issues in the article requiring a discussion. But one that pinched me is that rats fed with high fat diet became obese !🐒🐒. And they become D. Berberine is helpful in them.

    Another article by dr yagnik is good. I'm happy such kind of research is taking place in our country. I have repeatedly said here that any disease process, be it D,hbp, obesity etc start in the childhood. It takes a long course. Now all the studies done on mice first damage nuclei with anticancer drug streptozotocin to cause D and then the drugs / herbs are studies on them. I don't agree to such studies which are basically wrong. We don't become D all of a sudden. We develop IR over many years - since childhood. What causes ir and why should beta cells die, we are not still clear. There are many articles / studies saying beta cell growth,increased insulin sensitivity etc. But if beta cell regeneration is the remedy stem cell therapy would have been successful long ago. What causes ir and why insulin sensitivity is increased with drugs / herbs nobody is still clear. Why our entire body stops responding to insulin is yet to be known.

    But with fingers crossed more studies on berberine need to be done. The Article was written in 2012. The claim that barberine has so many positive actions needs to be taken with a pinch of salt.

    Gn bro.

    Sorry i'm just debating. Don't feel i have written anything against you.😁😁🙏🙏🙏🙏

  • Nahi mere bhai.... we all are in same boat.... we all wants to find out reason/cause....and what is useful for us....

    Well at least now we know that there is some respectable way out ..i.e. diet...

    I think more interaction with exprts in this field will lead us to something more....

    ofcoz this is my hope... I really don't know the outcome...

  • cure

    Yes. Diet. I think once we all - D or nonD learn to eat right diet we can conquer D and many other metabolic diseases.

    Still there are many D whom on advising about diet asks " to phir khane ka kya ??". This is the point. Everybody including doctors and patients wants to "cure" 🐒🐒 D with drugs. Those like us who have understood the importance of diet management have fared well on our disorder. It's a long path but can be shortened if all the government machineries and medical associations start propagating diet as the only measure to control D.

    Ridiculously the government acts promptly on silly issues like stents and c sections. Why isn't anybody taking an opinion against sugar on change.org ? Will this or any government have guts to put a ban on sugar and displease the sugar lobby ? Well i'm thinking to do so. Even tobacco can't be banned !! A proven poison.

  • cure

    At present you, anup, shri, shashi and many others on this forum are experts. You guys have practically controlled your D. For others it's like teaching swimming theoretically.

  • trust me Bhai suramo I have lots of respect for you...and your analytical open mind...

    Wish few doctors like you...and be sure we can find out permanent solution for D

  • Try VENADILLO a small bitter seed in a shell .Its natural

  • hector6699

    "Conclusion

    Neither the efficacy nor the side effects of sky fruit have been fully researched. So far, sky fruit’s efficacy is affirmed mostly by anecdotal reports. Nevertheless, with a lot of consumers reporting its effectiveness in improving cardiovascular, circulation and reproduction systems and in curing impotence, sky fruit is an herbal remedy that is worth to try. The lack of conclusive research on this seed (biji buah tunjuk langit) means that its consumption should be done with caution. Where to buy sky fruit in singapore or other country?. If you want to consume this seed,"

    Sir. I repeat. No drug in the world can "cure " D as claimed by venadillo seeds. Please don't make your body / git an experimental object. The tree is highly toxic as per the information on net. Seeds too not declared safe.🙏🙏

  • bhai suramo sky fruit seeds means nothing but Mahogany tree seeds...

    Mahogany is grown in many parts of India... very precious wood for furniture...In my city we have few Mahogany trees...

    First hand experience after consumption of these seeds ...narrated by one old member Cjuan is there some where in forum...

    he told that after consuming seeds he experienced very strong hypo...

    does this implies that these seeds got some sulfonylurea like action???

    watch this about mahogany tree plantation around Pune

  • cure

    I wouldn't try any unknown substance on myself. Also don't believe in putting undigestible substances into my git and clearing by drugs.

    Venadillo is a brazilian city and the seeds found there. Would like someone to do research on those seeds and if found useful should be given in controlled manner.

    Is mahogany same as venadillo seeds ?

  • yes...same....

  • en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swiet...

    Swietenia humilis is a species of tree in the family Meliaceae. It is one of three species in the genus Swietenia, all three of which are regarded as "genuine mahogany." At 6 metres (20 ft), it is one-fifth the height of S. mahagoni and one-sixth the height of S. macrophylla. Its species name, humilis, means "small" or "dwarfish".

    Common names include Pacific Coast mahogany, caoba del Pacifico, caoba del Honduras, caobilla, cobano, gateado, sopilocuahuilt, venadillo and zapaton. In the wood trades it is known as Honduras mahogany and Mexican mahogany.

  • Great advice indeed, thanks suramo for posting!

  • very informative indeed.. wanted to check if avoiding dairy products (milk, curd, yogurt, cheese, butter, buttermilk) etc. will reduce the numbers considerably ? I attended a one day programme with Sharan (Dr.Nanditha Shah) and one lady I met there informed the audience that just by stopping all diary products, her numbers had come down in a week ? Just want to counter check !!

  • avnagaraj2006

    Milk is an instant energy because of the sugar in it. We don't say no to dairy. We recommend dairy minus sugar. Curd / yogurt a little sour and hung good for gut health. Cheese and paneer contain almost zero carbs and are great source of fats and protein, both healthy. Good source of protein for vegetarians.

    Homemade butter made by fermentation is good. Lots have been discussed about them on this forum.

    For buttermilk, I keep my fingers crossed. Though said to be good even for us, it contains milk sugar.

    You have to learn certain basic facts to control your D. The most important is that since we can't metabolise carbs efficiently we need to take as much as we can dispose off. Now find out the nutrition of the food you take and you will conquer D.

    You need to lose weight / fat. So take hypocalorie diet.

    I follow lchf diet. Low carb high fat. Need to take c : p :f in 20:20:60 proportion.

    Good luck.

  • avnagaraj2006

    If you are a vegetarian then avoiding milk and milk products will cause deficiency of B12.

    Also benefits of ghee and butter will be missed.

    Especially K2 in butter and ghee.

  • Very good information. Thanks a lot. Please provide a list of indian foods rich in magnesium and chromium.

    Ramesh Rao

  • rameshrao

    Please surf the net.

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