For people with diabetes, we all know how unpleasant it is to have blood sugar spikes throughout the day. It can be challenging to focus and control blood sugar levels on a daily basis. You may even feel weary or irritated when your blood sugar levels fluctuate up and down frequently.
Regardless of whether you are aware of your blood sugar levels, they can still increase your risk for a variety of serious health problems. So here's how to tell if you have a healthy blood sugar level and a number of simple ways to keep it that way--naturally and effectively.
Signs of Sugar Level Imbalance
It's easy to think that you are in control of your blood sugar level, but everyone needs a few checkpoints. Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) and hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) can occur when people don't manage their glucose levels well enough, which is why it's important to check for side effects.
While everyone's body chemistry will be unique, there are some common side effects of having a blood sugar imbalance that includes:
- Concentration difficulties
- Mood swings
- Blurred vision
- Frequent urination
- Increased thirst
Blood sugar imbalance can cause both unpleasant and inconvenient symptoms throughout the day. However, there is some good news: you should feel much better soon after making some adjustments to your lifestyle.
Changing your lifestyle and diet can help you achieve better blood-sugar control. Check out these tips on how to avoid spikes in your blood sugar.
Tips to Maintain Your Blood Sugar Levels Healthy
You'll be happy to know that keeping your blood sugar level balanced can be so easy and natural. It's also one way you can have more energy, better concentration skills for school or work tasks, improved moods with fewer cravings for carbs—and all without the need for medicine.
1. Eat plenty of high-quality protein
Protein is essential for blood sugar stability. The effect of protein on insulin levels causes a more gradual rise in blood sugar levels after meals, and it also gives you a fuller feeling after eating. It is especially important to eat a protein-rich breakfast since it can set a positive tone for the rest of the day.
You can find protein in lots of different foods such as:
- Eggs and egg whites (cholesterol-free)
- Low-fat dairy products
- Lean meat from chicken, turkey, and other fish sources
2. Consume healthy fats
Similar to protein, it's essential to incorporate some healthy fat into your diet to fuel you through the day.
Healthy fats are a great way to prevent blood sugar spikes because they help slow down digestion so that glucose enters your bloodstream gradually rather than all at once. Healthy fats include things like: olive oil, avocado oil, grass-fed butter or ghee, fatty fish, and coconut oil, to name a few.
3. Fiber-load your body
Fiber can help keep blood sugar levels stable because it slows down the digestion of carbohydrates even more so than healthy fats. Fiber is a great way to control your appetite because it will make you feel full for longer, which means fewer cravings and fewer blood-sugar spike-ups after meals.
Many high-fiber foods include:
- Veggies like broccoli, asparagus, and spinach (steamed or cooked)
- Berries (fresh or frozen)
- Nuts like walnuts and almonds (chopped up over cereal or salads)
- Sweet potatoes
4. Drink plenty of water
Water is absolutely essential for blood glucose control. Inadequate water intake can lead to blood-sugar spikes, which will have you feeling fatigued and moody in no time at all. Drinking water prevents dehydration as well as aids your kidneys in flushing out excess sugar through urine.
You should aim to drink around half of your body weight (in ounces) each day, so if you weigh 200 pounds, then a good goal would be 100 ounces per day.
5. Exercise regularly
As you get active, the blood cells have more energy to transport glucose to where it needs to go--which is the equivalent of getting your blood sugar in shape. It's important that you choose an exercise routine that works with your schedule, but some great options are brisk walking, riding a bike, or taking an aerobics class.
Take note: For those who are just getting started with their fitness routine or for thrivers on the go - take some time each day for light cardio workouts like walking. Going straight to intense exercises is not a good idea for people with poor blood sugar control, so it's best to start with moderate activities and work up from there as your fitness level improves.
6. No naked carbs
High carb diets are generally to blame for blood-sugar problems because glucose is released very quickly into the bloodstream, making it difficult for you to maintain stable blood sugar levels. So what does this mean? You should try to limit carbohydrate-rich meals that are “naked” meaning they are too big of portions or are without protein, fiber and fat. Meals or snacks that consist of bread, pasta, rice, and junk food by themselves should be limited.
Low GI foods that are high in fiber and protein:
- Chickpeas, lentils, and beans
- Whole grains like brown rice or quinoa
- Fruits and vegetables
- Nuts and seeds (chopped up over cereal)
Food with a low GI score can help you keep blood sugar levels steady, and this will also make it a lot easier to maintain a healthy diet and enable you to control your food cravings and appetite.
7. Cut back on processed foods
For a healthier blood sugar level, one of the first steps is to eliminate packaged foods and replace them with high-quality whole foods such as vegetables, fruit, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, lean meats, and fish. The vast majority of processed meals are loaded with sugar, refined carbs, refined grains, and artificial additives, with little fiber or protein to stabilize blood sugar levels, so taking them out of your diet will make a massive difference in your body weight and overall health.
8. Avoid sugary beverages
Even though they're packed with calories, sugary drinks don't provide any nutrients and health benefits to help blood sugar levels. Sugar is just empty calories that raise your blood sugar quickly and leave you feeling hungry soon after.
The recommended amount of added sugars should only be less than 10 percent of your daily calorie intake, which is about 12 teaspoons for a 2,000 calorie diet.
9. Move more, stress less
If you have a sedentary job or lifestyle, then this can be one of the biggest factors in blood-sugar control—especially if you already struggle with low blood sugar issues. So try getting up from your desk every hour at work, taking walks around the office building when possible, using stairs instead of elevators, etc.
It is also important to manage stress because emotional distress is often accompanied by overeating and weight gain. Reduce your mental tension through activities like:
- Meditating or practicing yoga
- Getting enough rest
- Listening to calming music and taking regular walks outside
10. Add cinnamon to your food
Cinnamon may do more than add a little zing to your favorite dishes. In fact, a 2013 study has shown that this flavorful spice could be the key ingredient in preventing high blood sugar levels and even improving insulin production.
11. Get enough sleep
There are no shortcuts when it comes to blood sugar control. Getting a healthy amount of restful sleep is essential for regulating blood glucose levels effectively throughout the day. To ensure you are getting enough rest and sleep, aim for at least seven hours per night.
Optimizing your blood sugar level starts with getting quality shut-eye on a regular basis, so make sure that you're hitting the hay early every evening and feel rested in the morning.
12. Plan your meals
Be prepared for the unexpected, and carry a nutritious snack with you at all times. As a preventative measure, granola bars and glucose tablets are recommended as they reduce the risk of your blood sugar level dropping too low.
It's important to plan your meals ahead of time to ensure that you eat the right balance of essential nutrients every day. It also makes blood sugar control much easier and prevents sudden sugar spikes.
13. Get yourself an apple cider vinegar shot
As a health supplement, apple cider vinegar has been touted for its antibacterial and antiviral properties. Not only will it help you to lose weight by burning fat, but it also reduces blood sugar levels by supporting insulin production, accelerating kidney function to flush out toxins from the body, and also aids in digestion.
The acetic acid in apple cider vinegar can help promote glucose acceptance in your cells, improve insulin sensitivity, inhibit digestive enzymes that break down carbs, and boost healthy gut bacteria.
To get started, simply mix 2 teaspoons of raw organic ACV in 8 ounces of water or drink before each meal.
Optimizing blood-sugar levels starts with making simple changes to what you're putting into your body. Just remember, blood sugar is affected by your lifestyle and diet--from stress management and sleep habits all the way down to water intake and exercise routines.
So try out these tips one at a time until you find something that works well for you.
Good Idea is a sparkling water that has been clinically proven to lower blood sugar by 20-30% in healthy individuals. For more information read about the science.