Natural Methods for Controlling Blood Sugar
Drug-free Key to Managing Diabetes
Ten years ago, my brother was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. His doctor sent him home with a prescription for metformin and a DVD to inform him about lifestyle changes he could make to lower his blood sugar.
Twice daily, my brother began taking the prescribed metformin. But he also chose to watch the DVD. He took his diabetes seriously and decided to follow the dietary instructions provided in the DVD. He also religiously checked his blood sugar every day.
After three months, he had lost 30 pounds and reduced his metformin to once daily, because his blood sugar was dropping too low. Meanwhile, he continued following the dietary plan on the DVD.
After six months, my brother went back to the doctor for a checkup. His doctor declared his diabetes reversed and took him off metformin altogether. For the past ten years, his blood sugar levels have tested normal due to the changes he made in his lifestyle and continues to follow.
Happily, he doesn’t have to worry about all the terrible complications associated with diabetes and he isn’t strapped with an ever-increasing monthly drug bill. He also doesn’t have to deal with some of the nasty side-effects of taking diabetes medications.
Here are 10 ways to control your blood sugar naturally!
1.Reduce your carb intake.
If you do nothing else, do this! Carbohydrates are what drive blood sugar up. Your body turns carbs into sugar. This is not some fad diet, but real science! The link between carb intake and blood sugar has been established for a long time.Our Diabetes Solution Kit takes the guesswork out of carb-counting and shows you exactly how much to eat through a three-phase plan. By reducing your carbs as a way of life, you’re not just lowering your blood sugar to pass an A1c test, but lowering it long-term.
2. Lose weight.
Losing weight can help you control and lower your blood sugar levels. In fact, for some people all they have to do is lose their extra pounds and their blood sugar levels drop for good. In some cases, losing weight works better than medications. If you are overweight, but don’t yet have diabetes, you can decrease your risk of getting type 2 diabetes by up to 58% just by losing 7% of your body weight.Losing weight and keeping it off requires more than a crash diet. What you really need is some lifestyle changes—changes that will keep the pounds off for good. A number of actions in this list work together to help you lose weight and keep it off.
3. Avoid high glycemic foods.
The glycemic index measures the impact of a carbohydrate on blood sugar. The higher the glycemic value, the greater that carb’s impact on your blood sugar. Most vegetables, fruits, and all meat, dairy (unless it’s sweetened), seafood, beans (legumes), nuts, and seeds have a low or very low glycemic value. Carbs like white bread, white rice, potatoes, white pasta, white flour, etc. all have a high glycemic value. But here’s the good news, you can replace those foods with whole grain alternatives: whole wheat bread, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, whole wheat flour, and sweet potatoes. You still have to watch how much of these you eat, but these whole grains contain a secret ingredient—fiber!
4. Eat more fiber.
Even though fiber is a type of carbohydrate, fiber doesn’t raise blood sugar at all because the body can’t digest it. Fiber also does not add calories. Foods that contain fiber include: fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. In fact, if you are counting carbs and a food item has 6 carbs and 3 grams of fiber, for instance, you can subtract the fiber from the carbs. Doing so will tell you how many carbs will actually affect your blood sugar. Fiber is also very good for your gut and cholesterol. Eating lots of fiber may help you lose weight too, because it makes you feel full, but adds no calories! A clinical study demonstrated that people with diabetes who eat 50 grams of fiber a day were able to control their blood sugar levels better than those who ate far less fiber.
5. Exercise regularly.
There are several ways in which exercise lowers blood sugar. Your muscles require energy during exercise. They rely on glucose (sugar) for that energy. So exercise helps deplete blood sugar. Exercise also increases insulin sensitivity, so insulin can do its job getting sugar out of the blood and into the cells where it can be used. A workout can lower your blood sugar levels for 24 hours or longer because of its positive impact on insulin. And, of course, regular exercise can help you lose weight! Engage in moderate exercise at least three times per week for 45 minutes. Find an activity or activities you can enjoy and that don’t require a huge financial outlay or are a hassle to perform. Exercise with a friend to increase your enjoyment and accountability.
6. Practice portion control.
This little trick can make a huge difference! Either grab a smaller plate, or just reduce your portion sizes—especially carbs. While you’re at it, agree not to go back for seconds. Reducing your overall calorie intake can help you reduce carbs and lose weight.
7. Monitor your blood sugar.
It’s true, “You can’t manage what you don’t measure!” If you don’t monitor your blood sugar, you’ll have no idea how certain foods, habits, exercise, or other factors are impacting your blood sugar. You won’t know whether you’re making progress.Be aware that everybody is different. What raises your blood sugar may not bother someone else and vice versa. Taking those daily readings can tell you a lot. Keep a diary or journal with your glucometer so you can record your body’s response to various factors.
8. Lower your stress level.
Stress is very hard on the body. When you’re under stress, your body releases hormones like glucagon and cortisol. These hormones cause blood sugar levels to rise. None of us can totally avoid stress, but we can minimize stress in our lives by making small adjustments like leaving for work earlier, putting money away in a savings account, and taking care of our bodies. Physical exercise is also one of the best ways to counteract the effects of stress on the body. Also try relaxation techniques.
9. Get plenty of sleep.
Lack of sleep raises blood sugar levels and makes it more difficult to control blood sugar. Not getting enough good sleep can actually increase insulin resistance and raises the levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) in your blood. This, in turn, induces a variety of stress responses that also elevate blood sugar. Most people need seven to eight hours of sleep per night. You might think you can get by on less, but you’re probably getting by with a sleep deficit. Establish a consistent schedule when you go to bed and when you get up. Maintain a good sleep environment in which to sleep. Avoid eating or drinking right before bed.
10. Try natural supplements.
The operative word here is “supplement.” The following herbs and spices cannot take the place of the above lifestyle changes, but they can help complement them.
- Try apple cider vinegar (ACV), which has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity. Take 2 teaspoons of organic, non-filtered ACV daily—either in 8 oz. of water, or in foods you eat.
- Cinnamon may also improve your sensitivity to insulin and help regulate your blood sugar. Take 1 to 6 grams of cinnamon per day.
- Berberine is another herb that can help lower blood sugar levels. Take 500 mg three times per day before meals.
- Try taking chromium. This is an essential mineral that also helps control blood sugar levels. Take 500 mg twice daily.
When my brother gained control of his blood sugar through totally natural means, his doctor was amazed. But he wasn’t amazed because these methods worked. His doctor was amazed because my brother actually followed his advice! His doctor told him, “People don’t realize that if they’d just make these lifestyle changes they could lower their blood sugar naturally and avoid all the complications of type 2 diabetes!”