7 Tips for Naturally Controlling Your Blood Sugar Levels

Before we get into how to lower blood sugar, let’s first address the question: What is high blood sugar?

High blood sugar, also known as Hyperglycaemia, can occur for a variety of reasons such as lack of exercise, over-eating, stress, medications, and disease.

As the name suggests, people who experience high blood sugar have too much sugar circulating in their blood, producing symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, and blurred vision. Excessively high blood sugar can result in metabolic syndrome, pre-diabetes, and type 2 diabetes.

In the past 20 years the number of people diagnosed with diabetes in the UK has doubled. According to Diabetes UK, almost 3.7 million Brits are living with diabetes compared to 1.9 million in 1998.

Thankfully, type 2 diabetes is largely preventable and steps can be taken to normalise blood sugar levels.

There are a variety of straightforward ways that you can lower blood sugar levels. In this article, we’ll delve into 7 ways to help lower blood sugar naturally.

1) Drinking Lots of Fresh Water

Drinking lots of water has been proven to reduce the risk of high blood sugar.

The kidneys work day-and-night to keep your blood clean. High blood sugar can damage sensitive blood vessels (known as nephrons) in the kidneys.

Staying properly hydrated with fresh water helps flush out the kidneys and reduce blood sugar spikes, as well as helping prevent kidney stones and UTIs.

Fresh water hydrates the body, helps energy flow, cleanses out excess blood sugar and helps nutrients travel to vital organs.

Lowering blood sugar with water is therefore a free and easy way to naturally balance your blood glucose levels.

Incidentally, scientists in Shanghai found that 3-6 months after drinking alkaline water, individuals with high blood pressure, high blood sugar and high blood lipids had lower measures in each of these factors.

2) Get Regular Exercise

150 minutes of cardiovascular exercise per week – about 21 minutes each day – is the amount of exercise we all need as recommended by the NHS.

Getting regular exercise will encourage your muscles to use blood sugar for energy. 

Exercise also increases insulin sensitivity and helps you lose weight.

If you struggle with blood sugar issues, it is a good idea to monitor your fasting blood sugar when you wake up in the morning, to give you an idea of your base-state.

Also, monitor your blood sugar levels at other times of the day to check how you are responding to activities.

When starting it’s important to begin with light exercise, for example a brisk walk, before taking on more intensive activities like running, biking, yoga, swimming or dancing.

3) Go Keto/Reduce Carbs

Carbs are broken down into sugars in the body, so keeping carbs to a minimum is a good (and obvious) way to reduce the amount of sugar in your blood.

Meal planning (specifically with a view to reducing carbs) can help you keep a track of the number of carbs you’re eating.

Low-carb diets such as the Ketogenic diet have been repeatedly shown to reduce blood sugar. The main reason is that blood sugar will not spike when you eat a diet that is low in carbs.

The added benefit of  reducing your carb intake is that you’ll not experience a crash after the spike in blood sugar when you eat.

low carb diet has been proven to help people suffering from type 1 diabetes reduce insulin doses.

Diabetes meal plans are almost always variants of a low-carb or keto-style diet – so reduce the carbs and you’ll feel the impact.

4) Eat Plenty of Soluble Fibre

Eating a diet rich in soluble fibre can stabilise blood sugar. Plant-based foods are the highest in soluble fibre.

Eat a wide variety of plant-based foods to help stabilise your blood sugar. Good examples include legumes, potatoes, broccoli, whole grains, berries and melon.

What’s more, plant-based foods – those which are low on the glycemic index – are not just good for lowering blood sugar; they’ll also provide an assortment of beneficial micronutrients.

5) Eat Low GI Foods

To make sure you’re avoiding carbs that contribute to high blood sugar, choose low  Glycemic Index (GI) food and drinks.

The GI was developed to rank foods by how much they spike blood sugar two hours after you eat them, with 0 being the lowest GI food that’s more slowly digested and metabolised, and 100 being the highest.

Foods with a GI value of 55 or less are classified as “low GI foods”. The creators of the Glycemic Index quite rightly say that “not all carbohydrate foods are equal.”

The University of Sydney has put together a useful website that you can search to learn the GI ranking of certain foods.

Consuming low GI foods is a great way to reduce your blood sugar in the medium to long term.

6) Tackle Stress

The fight-or-flight response that is triggered when we are faced with a perceived danger can cause an acute rise in blood sugar.

Moreover, stress hormones (such as cortisol and glucagon) further exacerbate the blood sugar levels.

It’s been scientifically proven in a wide range of studies that activities like yoga, meditation, and mindfulness can reduce stress and in turn, reduce blood sugar levels – so make tackling stress a priority from here on out.

7) Supplement with Berberine

The ancient Chinese herb berberine has been used for centuries to lower blood sugar and metabolise carbs, making berberine the go-to supplement for blood sugar control.

The efficacy of berberine for people with type 2 diabetes is well established for both glucose and lipid metabolism, with Examine.com calling it “one of the few supplements in our database with human evidence that establishes it to be as effective as pharmaceuticals.”

And the benefits of berberine don’t stop there: as well as being perhaps the single most effective supplement for blood sugar, the herb can aid weight loss, lower LDL cholesterol and balance hormones.

All in All

It’s been scientifically proven in a wide range of studies that activities like yoga, meditation, and mindfulness can reduce stress and in turn, reduce blood sugar levels – so make tackling stress a priority.

If you have high blood sugar, it’s absolutely vital to quickly take measures to lower it.

If you are thinking about making lifestyle adjustments, it’s of course advisable to speak to your doctor first.

As mentioned, stress reduction, regular exercise and proper, diligent nutrition – including avoiding high glycemic index foods – are the key approaches to controlling and stabilising blood sugar levels.

Remember, high blood sugar is reversible in most cases with healthy lifestyle choices.