Hyperglycemia, better known as high blood sugar, is a health problem that is associated with chronic diseases such as diabetes. If you are looking for information on how to lower blood sugar, I recommend that you consult with your GP or endocrinologist. I’m also going to give you some recommendations, of course. But nothing better than a personalized consultation.
Sugar in the feeding cycle
By greatly simplifying the processes that occur during eating, sugar is an essential source of energy for the human body.
- Sugar is obtained during digestion, from the carbohydrates that we have eaten (rice, cereals, legumes, etc …).
- You do not have to eat sugar or sweet foods so that our body receives the recommended daily amount of sugar.
- In a healthy diet, carbohydrates are enough. In the digestive tract, different processes and enzymes work to break down carbohydrate molecules into elemental units that can enter the blood and cells. At the same time, the pancreas releases insulin, a hormone that allows sugar units to enter cells.
- Sugar can be consumed for energy, or stored as glycogens (muscles or liver). The excess is stored as fat.
- The brain can only feed on sugar and consumes approximately 25% of the total.
Why lower your blood sugar level?
Some people have trouble absorbing blood sugar into cells. It may be because they do not produce a sufficient level of insulin, or because the tissues of the cells have become insensitive to it. Those conditions are known as type I and type II diabetes, respectively.
Excess sugar in the blood has two types of very negative consequences:
- In the short term, a hyperglycemic crisis can lead to serious conditions such as dehydration and even a diabetic coma.
- In the long term, hyperglycemia can have complications such as cardiovascular disease, neuropathies, kidney failure, eye problems, and diabetic foot.
How to lower blood sugar?
People who have been diagnosed as diabetic usually have insulin doses that are injected before each meal, to help the absorption of sugar in the cells, and, therefore, avoid hyperglycemia. Obviously, there must be a diagnosis and a prescription.
Lower your blood sugar through physical activity
Sugar is a source of energy for our body, so practicing sports is one of the ways to increase its consumption and regulate its blood levels.
Importantly, in this case, I’m talking about exercising more than the recommended 30 minutes a day. To those basic sessions, I had to add another 2 or 3 a week, of moderate intensity, and of 20 to 30 minutes.
Losing weight also prevents hyperglycemia
Many studies associate the risk of diabetes with being overweight and with abdominal fat. That is, even if you are within a normal weight, you should take care of your waist.
Basically you have to watch your diet and have regular physical activity.
Foods to help lower blood sugar
To speak properly, it should be said that some foods raise blood glucose more than others. Therefore, it is not about foods that help lower blood sugar, but those that do not raise it as much, despite being carbohydrates.
An important element in this regard is the glycemic index of foods. It is an indicator that measures how fast your blood sugar level rises after eating something, compared to the maximum, glucose. In this article you have a more detailed explanation, I will limit myself to highlighting the most relevant.
- Different foods have different glycemic indexes, for various reasons. Foods that are harder to digest take longer to transfer sugar into the blood. That doesn’t just happen with complex molecules. It also happens when the food has a lot of fiber or a lot of fat, or depending on its preparation. Pasta al dente has a lower index than that which is well cooked, for example.
- The results of studies on glycemic indices are relative, because organisms do not always react in the same way. In other words, the same food can raise a person’s blood sugar level faster than another.
- A lower glycemic index gives the body more time to absorb the sugar. Fewer spikes occur.
For these reasons, it is advisable to look for foods with a lower glycemic index, and monitor their preparation. In particular, it is recommended to avoid fast sugars (sweets, chocolates, soft drinks, juices …). Avoiding saturated fat is also a good idea.
Other ways to lower blood sugar
- Avoid alcohol, which makes your blood sugar go up a lot, and very fast.
- Have good hydration.
- Consume less carbohydrates at night.
- Skipping breakfast can spike your blood sugar after lunch and dinner.
- Sleep well. The effectiveness of insulin is related to a good rest.
- Some people have caffeine-sensitive blood glucose, and they are better off avoiding coffee.
When have you had your last checkup?
The best way to take care of your health is prevention. Even if you think you’re in good shape, eating well, and doing enough sports, it’s a good idea to go in for a checkup every now and then.
For example, just with a blood test, your doctor will be able to tell you if your blood sugar or cholesterol levels show any red flags. Keep in mind that even an indicator within the range of acceptable values can show a negative trend for your health.
Don’t wait to notice symptoms. By getting a checkup from time to time, you can detect problems early. And you can take steps to change your habits. If you do it on time, you will not necessarily have to have medical treatment.
If you are in good shape and want to make sure you lower your blood sugar, just watch your diet and exercise.