Health & cooking

Blood Sugar Levels – What Can You Do to Lower Them?

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For those diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, the term “blood sugar levels” becomes part of their everyday vocabulary. However, the term is vaguely understood maybe because of its seemingly technical slant.

To make it easier to understand let us start at the beginning.  What is blood glucose?  First, blood sugars are natural and everyone has these. They are, in fact, necessary for normal functioning since glucose is the principle fuel of the body and brain.  Your body makes glucose by breaking down other types of sugar, carbohydrates, and protein.  Fat serves as an alternate fuel for several organs.

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Many vegetables and fruit contain fiber also, (low-GI) and this manages to slow down the digestion of starches and sugars, leading to a gradual increase in blood sugar.  This slow rise in blood sugars is accompanied by a moderate insulin increase and is classed as normal and healthy.

Simple sugars or pure sugars, (high-GI), are digested very quickly and lead to fast and high increases in blood sugar levels.  When levels rise rapidly your body responds with a surge of insulin which often reduces your blood glucose level to below where it was originally, making you even hungrier.  Starches in white bread, pasta and macaroni, pizza, bagels, muffins and potatoes are also digested quickly.

Therefore, some foods help to slow your glucose level, while others result in levels that rise very quickly.

So in order to keep stable blood glucose levels:

1.  Favor foods with a low glycemic index (low-GI).  These include beans, zucchini, sweet potato, green leafy vegetables eg. spinach, broccoli, bean sprouts, asparagus, and lettuce.  Nearly all fruits, exceptions are watermelon and pineapple, are low-GI.  Pumpernickel and rye breads also have a lower-glycemic index value.  Some breakfast cereals include old-fashioned oatmeal and bran cereals.

2.  Eat meals and snacks at consistent times each day.   And eating consistent amounts of low-GI carbohydrates in these meals and snacks helps to manage your blood glucose also.

3.  Reduce or eliminate sweetened or naturally sweetened beverages.  Avoid regular soda and fruit juices because liquid carbohydrates cause a rapid spike in your blood sugars.

4.  Eating smaller meals three times a day plus two snacks, rather than two or three large meals will also help you maintain stable blood sugar levels.  And your pancreas will not need to go into overdrive to produce high amounts of insulin.

5.  Increase your physical activity.  This improves your muscles’ sensitivity to insulin almost immediately making it easier to store sugar in your muscles rather than have it in your circulation.  The impact of physical activity is best when performed at least three to four times per week.

Meals will always cause a temporary rise in blood glucose; what you are looking for is a gradual trend downwards as your insulin sensitivity improves.

A very common reason for the person with type 2 diabetes to have a rise in his blood sugar levels is infection, so do not hesitate to contact your health care provider as he may need to adjust your medications. 

Lower blood glucose levels and a reduction in medications and the risk of complications is achievable. Research has shown that it is possible to heal type 2 diabetes although it does start with adopting a healthy lifestyle. This includes measures to improve insulin resistance, such as weight loss, a low-fat, low-GI, high-fiber diet and regular exercise.

If you would like some information to help you with your type 2 diabetes, click here now to download my free E-Book: Answers to Your Questions

Beverleigh Piepers is a registered nurse who would like to help you understand how to live easily and happily with your Type 2 Diabetes.

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