10 Ways to Lower Blood Sugar

Diabetes is a disease of high blood sugar. Keeping blood sugar levels in target range can help reduce the risk of diabetes complications[1] and improve your quality of life.

For example, Dr. Richard Bernstein, author of Dr. Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes[2] at age 12. He figured out strategies lowering[3] his blood sugar levels and is now 83 and still working, lifting weights, teaching, and writing. He has had no major complications.

With the right approach, you might be able to do something similar. Here are ten ways to lower blood sugar:

1. Eat fewer carbs

Sugar in the blood is called glucose. Glucose comes from the carbohydrate in food, and refined carbohydrates — often white foods[4] like sugar and white bread — contribute a large amount of carbs to the diet. These foods get in your system too fast for your body to respond. But all carbs break down into glucose eventually. Starches, including starchy vegetables like squash and sweet potatoes, also contain carbohydrate. These foods just take longer to get into your system.

The best way to lower your sugar is to reduce the amount of carbohydrate you eat. When you do have carbohydrate-containing foods, they should be healthful items, such as green vegetables and whole grains. Avoid refined sugars as much as you can. You can learn more about low-carbohydrate eating for diabetes by reading “Carbohydrate Restriction: An Option for Diabetes Management.”[5]

2. Move more

Glucose is our bodies’ main fuel source. You have to burn that fuel or it will stay in your blood (or be stored as fat) and cause problems. Aerobic exercises like walking or bicycling are good, but just moving more throughout the day — taking stairs instead of elevators, parking farther away, doing gardening or housework, standing at your desk, and so on — will also ower blood sugar.
The most important time to walk may be after meals[6]: You’ve just taken in sugar; now use it. See ideas for starting exercise here[7].

3. Get strong

Muscles burn more glucose than any other type of tissue, even when they’re not exercising. Some studies show strengthening improves balance, sleep, and mental health. Weights or resistance training make you stronger and help lower your blood sugar[8].

4. Try plant medicines (with your doctor’s OK)

These include items such as bitter melon[9], okra, guava, cinnamon[10], mulberry, ginger, turmeric, and many others that can help lower glucose in a variety of ways. Some keep glucose out of the system; others help cells use it. You can read about some herbs that may be helpful for managing blood sugar here[11].

4. Use your prescription medicines[12] as directed

Prescription diabetes medications can help lower blood sugar levels, and in some cases, they are necessary, as in the case of insulin for people with Type 1 diabetes. Medicines have side effects, though, and many are expensive. Work with your doctor to figure out what’s right for you, and remember that medicines are never the only aspect of treating diabetes. You still have to care for yourself through diet, exercise, stress management, and other lifestyle measures.

5. Sleep.

Lack of sleep is known to cause insulin resistance, raising blood sugars. Sleep is not a waste of time; it’s your body’s time to heal. Learn ways to get better sleep here[13] .

6. Reduce stress.

Get out of bad life situations, or change them, or get help with them — for example, talking with your partner about an issue between you, instead of letting it fester. You can also manage stress with exercise, meditation[14], prayer, time in nature, pleasurable activities, therapy, or other ideas you can read about here[15].

7. Eat more fiber[16]

Fiber is carbohydrate that is largely indigestible by our bodies, and it is good for diabetes and digestive health. Good sources include green vegetables, beans, and whole grains.

8. Take vinegar[17]

Studies show that taking vinegar before meals lowers the after-meal spike in sugar levels. Taking it at bedtime can lower your fasting glucose.

9. Monitor smart

Glucose monitoring can show you what raises your blood sugar and what lowers it, but you need to do it right. Routine checking at the same times every day doesn’t do much good, unless you’re taking insulin, when you need to do it for safety. Monitor intelligently[18] to learn how different foods, activities, and stresses affect you.

10. Get a good blood sugar monitor and learn how to use it

Learn about monitoring before[19] and after a food or activity to see the effect it has on you. Learn about “Making Your Blood Glucose Monitor Work for You.”[20]

Want to learn more about managing blood sugar? Read “What Is a Normal Blood Sugar Level?”[21] and “Managing Your Blood Glucose Ups and Downs,”[22] then see our blood sugar chart[23].

Endnotes:
  1. diabetes complications: https://dsm.diabetesselfmanagement.com/managing-diabetes/complications-prevention/
  2. Type 1 diabetes: https://dsm.diabetesselfmanagement.com/diabetes-resources/definitions/type-1-diabetes/
  3. figured out strategies lowering: http://www.diabetes-book.com/
  4. white foods: https://dsm.diabetesselfmanagement.com/nutrition-exercise/meal-planning/white-foods/
  5. “Carbohydrate Restriction: An Option for Diabetes Management.”: https://dsm.diabetesselfmanagement.com/nutrition-exercise/meal-planning/carbohydrate-restriction/
  6. after meals: https://dsm.diabetesselfmanagement.com/blog/lower-blood-sugar-take-10-minute-walk-meals-study-says/
  7. starting exercise here: https://dsm.diabetesselfmanagement.com/nutrition-exercise/exercise/add-movement-life/
  8. lower your blood sugar: https://dsm.diabetesselfmanagement.com/blog/strengthening-helps-diabetes/
  9. bitter melon: https://dsm.diabetesselfmanagement.com/blog/bitter-melon-diabetes/
  10. cinnamon: https://dsm.diabetesselfmanagement.com/blog/cinnamon-and-diabetes-an-update/
  11. some herbs that may be helpful for managing blood sugar here: https://dsm.diabetesselfmanagement.com/blog/herbs-for-diabetes/
  12. prescription medicines: https://dsm.diabetesselfmanagement.com/blog/making-diabetes-pills-work/
  13. get better sleep here: https://dsm.diabetesselfmanagement.com/managing-diabetes/general-health-issues/getting-the-sleep-you-need/
  14. meditation: https://dsm.diabetesselfmanagement.com/managing-diabetes/emotional-health/meditation-and-the-art-of-diabetes-management/
  15. read about here: https://dsm.diabetesselfmanagement.com/blog/stress-good-bad-ugly/
  16. Eat more fiber: https://dsm.diabetesselfmanagement.com/blog/how-fiber-helps-with-diabetes/
  17. Take vinegar: https://dsm.diabetesselfmanagement.com/blog/apple-cider-vinegar-and-diabetes/
  18. Monitor intelligently: https://dsm.diabetesselfmanagement.com/managing-diabetes/blood-glucose-management/blood-glucose-monitoring-when-to-check-and-why/
  19. monitoring before: https://dsm.diabetesselfmanagement.com/managing-diabetes/blood-glucose-management/blood-glucose-self-monitoring-part-3/
  20. “Making Your Blood Glucose Monitor Work for You.”: https://dsm.diabetesselfmanagement.com/managing-diabetes/blood-glucose-management/making-your-meter-work-for-you/
  21. “What Is a Normal Blood Sugar Level?”: https://dsm.diabetesselfmanagement.com/blog/what-is-a-normal-blood-sugar-level/
  22. “Managing Your Blood Glucose Ups and Downs,”: https://dsm.diabetesselfmanagement.com/managing-diabetes/blood-glucose-management/managing-your-blood-glucose-ups-and-downs/
  23. blood sugar chart: https://dsm.diabetesselfmanagement.com/managing-diabetes/blood-glucose-management/blood-sugar-chart/

Source URL: https://dsm.diabetesselfmanagement.com/blog/ten-ways-lower-blood-sugar/


David Spero: David Spero has been a nurse for 40 years and has lived with multiple sclerosis for 30 years. He is the author of four books: The Art of Getting Well: Maximizing Health When You Have a Chronic Illness (Hunter House 2002), Diabetes: Sugar-coated Crisis — Who Gets It, Who Profits, and How to Stop It (New Society 2006, Diabetes Heroes (Jim Healthy 2014), and The Inn by the Healing Path: Stories on the road to wellness (Smashwords 2015.) He writes for Diabetes Self-Management and Pain-Free Living (formerly Arthritis Self-Management) magazines. His website is www.davidsperorn.com. His blog is TheInnbytheHealingPath.com.

Disclaimer of Medical Advice: Statements and opinions expressed on this Web site are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the publishers or advertisers. The information, which comes from qualified medical writers, does not constitute medical advice or recommendation of any kind, and you should not rely on any information contained in such posts or comments to replace consultations with your qualified health care professionals to meet your individual needs.