How to Lower Glucose Levels

How to Lower Glucose Levels

In today’s American society, prediabetes is a true threat to many individuals. People diagnosed with pre-diabetes by a physician are those who have high blood sugar levels also known as hyperglycemia, but are not to the point of diabetic.

This condition is more common than most Americans realize. Some studies predict that one in three Americans are pre-diabetic; other studies say the numbers are one in four, meaning there is a chance you have unhealthy glucose levels and are not even aware of it [1 and 2]. Either way, the numbers are frighteningly high.

Dangers of Hyperglycemia or High Glucose

The effects of high blood sugar or glucose are very serious. Not only can pre-diabetes eventually lead to type 2 diabetes, there are many other health risks and conditions which can develop. Among these medical conditions are stroke, nerve damage, blindness, kidney failure, joint problems, and cardiovascular disease [3]. Ultimately, knowing how to lower glucose levels is a matter of life and death.

If your blood sugar is consistently high, it is important to begin fighting the condition. If not, then over time your glucose levels will tip from prediabetic to diabetic. Learning how to lower glucose levels is the first step. As with many health conditions, diet and exercise are the most effective and common ways to lower unhealthy glucose levels.

Dieticians and scientists have determined a number of foods lower glucose levels. One unexpected discovery was the affect of cinnamon on blood sugar and glucose. Cinnamon actively lowers glucose levels in the body, and cinnamon helps prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes [1].

A Spicy Answer

Cinnamon is commonly on lists for how to lower glucose levels because it does such a good job of managing your blood sugar. The secret to cinnamon’s power over your blood sugar is its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and the capability to assist insulin in detecting and using glucose [4].

There are several kinds of cinnamon, many of which are available at the grocery store or spice shops. The different cinnamons are of various effectiveness on glucose levels [1]. As well, dieticians are still trying to determine if effects on blood sugar are lasting or temporary [2].

 

Consuming too much cinnamon can have negative health consequences. Therefore, anyone who wants to utilize cinnamon in greater amounts to lower glucose should consult a physician before consuming over 1 teaspoon a day [2].

Another spice with a proven track record for how to lower glucose levels is fenugreek. Rather, less well-known by the American general public than cinnamon, fenugreek seed is shown to be anti-diabetic in a number of studies [3]. It was effective for people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, as well as pre-diabetic individuals.

The spice is commonly most commonly added to dishes from Southeast Asia, along with more familiar spices such as turmeric. When consumed, it lowers glucose by decelerating the digestion of carbohydrates [1]. This in turn limits the amount of sugars (or glucose) that is released into the blood stream when carbohydrates are consumed.

Eat High Fiber Foods

The next dietary answer to how to lower glucose levels is not a single food, but found in many. In some studies, fiber was as effective at lowering glucose as diabetes medications [5]. These impressive results were in individuals who dramatically, doubled, their fiber intake. However, even lesser increases of high fiber foods can answer how to lower glucose levels naturally for many people.

Much of the basis for a high fiber diet as a way for how to lower glucose levels came from looking at the diet of human ancestors [6]. Fiber works to slow the absorption of glucose and sugars into the blood stream. It simultaneously speeds up the rate at which food leaves the body as feces and urine. Together, this results in the body needing less insulin to do the same amount of work [6].

One high fiber food is oatmeal. It is an easy breakfast solution that is packed with soluble fiber, the best kind for lowering glucose levels [4]. Many other breakfast cereals, health bars, and granola-based bars are fortified with fiber. These can be found in most grocery stores.

Whole grains such as brown rice and whole-wheat pasta are alternatives at dinnertime. As well, many types of beans will do the trick. In particular, lima beans have a high dose of soluble fiber [4].

Even Out Glucose with Vinegar

When it comes to how to lower glucose levels, vinegar was highly effective in different studies. Including, one study that found vinegar lowered the glucose levels of pre-diabetic people by almost half [5]. The active ingredient behind vinegar’s impressive effects on glucose levels is acetic acid. After it enters the digestive system, acetic acid evens out blood sugar [4].

In addition to directly affecting insulin and blood sugar levels, vinegar impacts feelings of fullness and hunger. When consumed in conjunction with carbohydrates it makes a lot of people feel fuller, sooner [3]. Thus, lessening how much you eat.

Dieticians recommend adding vinegar at the start of a meal for best results. When taken before food, it is most likely to lower glucose. All vinegars will have acetic acid and curb hunger, but try the popular balsamic vinegar on salads or as a dip for bread.

Walk It Off

Your blood sugar, diet, and exercise routine are innately intertwined. While eating certain foods can lower glucose levels, any doctor will recommend an accompanying exercise routine for how to lower glucose levels without medication. However, what exercise might matter. A study of hikers in the Alps found that while going uphill people reduced the amount of fats in their blood stream, but it was going downhill that affected the amount of sugar in the blood stream [7].

While, the specific nature of the study makes it a bit difficult to imagine how it could be replicated in the everyday world. The recommendation is to take the stairs in one direction and the elevator back up to the top level. This is great news for those who are prediabetic or have developed typed 2 diabetes because cardiovascular exercise, such as going up the stairs, can be particularly difficult [7].

 

References:

[1] http://www.healthline.com/health-slideshow/foods-lower-blood-sugar

[2] http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2013/12/30/255778250/cinnamon-can-help-lower-blood-sugar-but-one-variety-may-be-best

[3] http://www.msn.com/en-us/health/nutrition/10-foods-that-can-lower-your-blood-sugar-naturally/ss-AAfrwXb

[4] http://www.today.com/health/foods-lower-blood-sugar-2D80222628

[5] http://www.menshealth.com/nutrition/12-diabetes-powerfoods

[6] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mark-hyman/fiber-health-the-super-fi_b_594153.html

[7] http://www.nbcnews.com/id/6795822/ns/health-fitness/t/walking-downhill-may-lower-sugar-levels/#.WHBzk9znhpk

 

Anthony Alayon
 

Anthony Alayon is a Certified Personal Trainer & Certified Sports Nutritionist with the ISSA. He’s written for Natural Muscle Magazine, Bliss Magazine, Bodybuilding.com, About.com (A New York Times Company), Labrada.com, and several other popular fitness websites. He’s taught thousands how to eat better, and build the physique they could only dream of (including numerous pro athletes). Today, he’s here to share his knowledge and experience with you!

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