There are seven natural ways to control blood sugar levels. These are often overlooked in our focus on popping pills to solve every health problem. While some people do have problems with low sugar level, generally when we talk about ways to “control” blood sugar levels we really are taking about ways to reduce blood sugar.
So many diabetics believe that the only way to maintain steady blood sugar numbers is through medication. Some medical professionals do take a holistic approach but still so many simply prescribe drugs when a patient is diagnosed with diabetes.
However, it is also possible for a person with diabetes to maintain good blood sugar numbers by changing the way they live to include the natural steps outlined below in their daily lifestyle.
Just think about this for a moment. A person diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes developed the condition over period of time. How did it develop? Usually, the answer is that life style factors lead to the condition or, at least in part, contributed to the development of diabetes. So, isn’t it logical to presume that changes in lifestyle will provide natural ways to control blood sugar. Of course!
Of the many natural ways to control blood sugar the following are the seven key factors that can are in the hands of individual diabetics to work on.
7 Hours or More of Sleep
We still don’t know why humans sleep. We have general statements like we need to refresh our bodies but we still don’t fully understand the biological basis of sleep. What we are rapidly coming to understand is that insufficient sleep contributes to so many medical conditions. For one thing, sleep deprivation messes up our hormone levels and leads to a rise in the level of cortisol. High cortisol levels have been linked to higher incidence of stroke and heart attacks as well as elevated blood sugar levels.
Unfortunately, time spent sleeping is seen by too many in our society as lost or wasted time. Some people brag that they can get by on 5 or 6 hours of sleep a night. They love being night owls. But what they don’t understand is that their current health issues, such as diabetes or high blood pressure may be the result of only sleeping a few hours a night.
Getting an adequate amount of sleep on a regular basis, not just every now and then, is very important. It is probably one of the most important of the 7 natural ways to control blood sugar because adequate sleep helps maintain so many aspects of our health.
To maintain optimal health, including ideal blood sugar numbers, everyone should sleep at least 7 or more hours per night. It’s all about habit and routine. Try to maintain a regular schedule of going to bed by 10 pm. Turn off the TV and the lights and avoid any distractions that may be stopping you from falling asleep. Ideally a person should fall asleep within 20 minutes of going to bed.
Of course, you know that you need to avoid sweets and refined sugars when you’re a diabetic. Of the 7 natural ways to control blood sugar this one is the most obvious. And the most direct!
This step alone will lower your blood sugar. Avoiding sugar is an entire topic in its own right. Without tackling it at length here, basically avoiding sweets means avoiding all sugars wherever possible. In other words, as well as avoiding sugary snacks, treats, and candies, you also have to minimise secondary sugars foods such as white pastas and breads.
The best way to cut out sweets is to instantly stop using sugar and don’t use any substitute. For many diabetics that is too great a step. When we sought comments from readers regarding sugar substitutes we were flooded with suggestions. A sample of the suggestions can be found here.
Boost Your Fiber Intake
Slowing down your digestion is one of the less obvious of the 7 natural ways to control blood sugar. How do you slow down your digestion? The simplest way to do it on an ongoing basis is to increase the fiber in your diet.
When your body takes in more fiber, it will slow down the rate of digestion in your body, which will help to lower your blood sugar naturally. You can find out how much fiber is in a food by reading food labels. Most food and food products will display their dietary fiber gram counts. Ideally, a person should have about 20 grams each day for the most health benefit.
Reduce Your Caffeine Intake
Caffeine, whether in traditional, age-old beverages such as coffee and tea, or from the energy drinks that have appeared in recent decades, is a social drug of western culture. The morning caffeine hit or afternoon boost that so many of us enjoy is greatly misunderstood.
There is conflicting information in the media which has led to some confusion. It is true that some teas and coffees can have beneficial anti-oxidants, however, like so many things we tend to overdo things.
For a diabetic it is not enough to skip the sugar in coffee as the coffee itself because of the caffeine it contains, in combination with other dietary and lifestyle factors, does adversely affect blood glucose. Reducing your caffeine intake is another one of the less obvious of the 7 natural ways to control blood sugar.
A single shot of caffeine a day probably won’t gave a detrimental effect on your health but don’t overdo it. It is an addictive substance.
The more caffeine you have, the harder it can be to regulate your caffeine intake. If you have ever tried to reduce your caffeine intake you will be familiar with the headaches that develop as a withdrawal system.
By pushing through those withdrawal symptoms you will not only be following one of the 7 natural ways to control blood sugar. If you’re also attempting to follow the six other natural ways to control blood sugar, reducing caffeine intake will lead to a cumulative effect by making it easier for beneficial effects on blood glucose level of other natural measures, for instance, reductions in blood sugar levels from reducing sugar intake will be evident faster if caffeine intake is being reduced at the same time.
Exercise is another one of most obvious of the 7 natural ways to control blood sugar. It is also one of the most difficult to implement. It seems that some individuals are exercise junkies, some are sedentary couch potatoes, while many others have the best intentions and do one exercise session, maybe two, find an excuse not to do the next one and several months pass with no additional effort to exercise.
We all know the general benefits of exercise as well as the specific benefits for controlling diabetes. When you exercise, your body is better able to regulate your blood sugar. Daily exercise will ensure you are able to keep your blood sugar levels at their optimum numbers. However, it’s another one of those ‘habit things’. We either do it or we think a lot about why we should do it but don’t. The same could be said of several of the 7 natural ways to control blood sugar.
If only there were an easy way to go about it. The counter intuitive thought processes that will allow you to stick with an exercise program is simply to think how easy and enjoyable exercise it. Tell yourself that you will do a minute of whatever it is you want to do – cycling, walking, gym exercises, whatever! Then stop after the minute and take it all in. See how easy that minute was. Now, do another minute. Stop again to reflect how easy that was.
Why not do five minutes next? And so on! By breaking up, say, a fifty minute or hour session you will end up doing what you thought would have been hard. But you’ve only done a piece at time without focusing on the full session and full effort involved. At each step you did not commit to do the whole session so you didn’t have a daunting, long, strenuous task in your mind.
The next day start again with no commitments in your mind to do an entire session. Each day it will be easier to stick to your exercise program for four reasons:
- Your mental picture of barriers and difficulties is being cut down to size into bite-sized chunks, so your perceptions won’t hold you back.
- You’re raising your level of physical fitness, which not only makes each session seem easier than the last but each subsequent session actually is easier on you physically than the last.
- You will start enjoying exercise more and more. That’s the natural endorphins kicking in – nature’s natural high.
- Your pattern of behaviour is changing to make exercise a normal part of your day. That is, you are developing new habits.
Exercise is potentially one of the most enjoyable of the 7 natural ways to control blood sugar.
Eating Low Carb Meals
Easting low carb meals is growing in importance as one of the 7 natural ways to control blood sugar.
The general benefits of restricting carbs has been known for some time. Now, new research is showing that diabetics are finding it much easier to maintain lower blood sugar numbers when they pay closer attention to the amount of carbs they eat throughout the day.
Low carb diets and recipes and lists of low carb foods and ingredients are easily obtained because of the general focus in the community on lowering carb intake, so we won’t go into the detail here. Most of the information you find in general regarding carbs applies to diabetic diets. Of the 7 natural ways to control blood sugar, carb reduction is perhaps the easiest to obtain detailed information about.
As you do your grocery shopping remember to check the labels on products to find out how many carbs there are per serving. There are also many websites that you can search through to find new and very tasty low carb recipes.
As a precaution, for your own situation, check with your physician to see how many carbs you should eat at each meal, given your diabetic condition and any other conditions that you may have.
If you can, it would also be handy to get some advice from a dietician that focuses on diabetes. A dietician’s advices would help not only in planning meals to reduce carbs but would give your diet an overall balance while you also follow the other 7 natural ways to control blood sugar, notably the diet-related measures – increase fibre intake and reduce sweets.
There is a simple rule when viewing stress in the context of general health. When your mind is stressed, your body will be stressed too.
What this means is that when stress levels are high, bodily functions are compromised. That includes the body’s insulin production and control of sugar levels. If you are trying to follow the 7 natural ways to control blood sugar and don’t get stress under control, your body will be fighting the effects and implementation of the other six measures.
Try to find ways to relieve the stresses in your life that work for you. Everyone has different responses and different stress triggers. For some, peace and quiet, perhaps quiet meditation is best. For others, a high level of activity or deep engagement in something that brings pleasure can fill a person’s mind and push out any thoughts of the things that causes them stress. Stick with whatever takes your mind away from your stress triggers.
Anything can cause stress if an individual is receptive to it. The mere fact that you are trying to change your lifestyle by following the 7 natural ways to control blood sugar may introduce an element of stress. If that’s the case, narrow your focus by tackling one building block at a time. It makes the task appear more manageable and ‘do-able’. For instance, if you are adjusting diet related factors to control blood sugar, to make the task easier you may try focusing on one meal of the day at a time. For instance, you may decide that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and make you changes their first. (See breakfast menu ideas.)
While it is true that making changes to your lifestyle may add to your stress levels, the opposite is also true. If you succeed in lowering your stress level, there will be a cumulative effect in making it easier for you to pursue the other 7 natural ways to control blood sugar.
Natural Ways versus Medication to Control Blood Sugar
If you are on medications to control blood sugar, we do not advocate throwing away your medication and focusing solely on natural way to control blood sugar – at least not immediately. As with all measures you take to improve your health, seek guidance from your physician and/or other appropriate health care professionals.
Naturally controlling your blood sugar may allow you to lower the dosages of your medication in the future. In addition, the more you regulate your blood sugar, the healthier your body will be. While there will certainly be times when you will not be perfect in your diet or life-style, the more you pick up healthy habits, the better it will be for your overall health goals. There is a cumulative effect in controlling blood sugar by natural means.
Making changes to one part of your lifestyle is difficult. Making changes to more than one factor at a time increases the degree of difficulty. Ideally, for maximum beneficial impact, you should attempt to focus your attention progressively, and separately, on each one of the 7 natural ways to control blood sugar.