High blood sugar levels, also known as hyperglycemia, can be the root of a variety of symptoms - from a rapid heart rate to constant fatigue. If you find yourself tackling high blood sugar levels on an ongoing basis, there’s a possibility that you might be living with diabetes.

As type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition, there is no cure, though there are certain factors that can be implemented to help symptoms. When it comes to type 2 diabetes, there are certain lifestyle changes that can be made to control your blood sugar levels.

Interested in how to lower blood sugar levels naturally? Here are our top tips on how to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.


How To Lower Blood Sugar Levels: 13 Top Tips


Stay Active


When it comes to controlling and lowering your blood sugar levels, staying active is one of the best things you can do! [1]

In a nutshell, when your muscles are put to work, glycogen is released by the muscle tissue and used by the body - this helps to lower and control your overall blood sugar levels.

Aim to incorporate at least 30 minutes exercise into your day to day routine for 5 days a week. Afterwards, be sure to test your blood sugar levels - if they’re normal or low, have a small snack to avoid hypoglycemia.


Drink Plenty Of Water


Want to avoid increasing your blood sugars? Opt for water instead of sugary drinks [2].

There are plenty of benefits associated with drinking water; each of which will have a positive effect on your blood sugar levels:

  • Promotes kidney health

  • Combats dehydration

  • Controls your appetite


Be Aware Of Your Portion Sizes


Body weight has a significant impact on blood sugar control, so portion size matters! [3]

Everybody’s nutritional needs are unique - your weight, gender, body composition and activity levels all make a difference to how much you should consume. Being aware of your recommended portion sizes will help keep your blood sugars at a regular level.


Monitor Your Stress Levels


Both physical and emotional stress play a role in your overall blood sugar level control [4].

If you find yourself living with high stress, cortisol - your fight or flight hormone, is released. High levels of circulating stress hormones can work in two ways:

High levels of circulating cortisol in the blood may lead to an imbalance in the delicate collaboration between insulin and glucose in the blood.

When we’re under a lot of stress, we tend to crave bigger portions, and sugary food, which of course contributes to raising our blood sugar levels! The complete science behind this is largely unknown but it’s thought to be connected to the body’s reward centre in the brain.


Take It Easy!


According to research, practising meditation and mindfulness techniques may have a positive effect on lowering your blood sugar levels [5].

So, whether you prefer sweaty high impact exercises or simply going for a walk, try to incorporate 10-15 minutes of relaxation each day to rejuvenate and become mindful of how you’re feeling.


Get Good Quality And Quantity Of Sleep


When it comes to sleep and your blood sugar levels, it’s all about both quality and quantity! [6]

Here’s how it works:

  • A lack of sleep can lead to slower fat metabolism and a more sluggish processing of glucose, which is also known as insulin resistance.

  • If you have high blood sugar, you may be living with symptoms such as a high body temperature, a frequent need to urinate, extreme thirst and irritability, this may make it more difficult for you to sleep, and so the cycle of poor sleep and high blood sugar continues.


Keep An Eye On Your Weight


If you’re overweight, there is a possibility that you could develop insulin resistance. The pancreas produces insulin to help keep our blood sugar under control. In cases of insulin resistance, the body does not respond to insulin in the same way.

If the body starts to ignore the signals that insulin is trying to send out, blood sugar levels may rise to high and uncontrolled levels.

For overweight type 2 diabetic patients, losing weight can have a significant impact on both blood sugar levels and health outcomes down the line. [7]


Choose Carbs Wisely


The wrong types of carbs have the ability to lead to sugar spikes and hence high blood sugar levels. [8]

The Glycemic Index is a ranking of how quickly carbohydrates in specific foods make your glucose levels rise after eating them. Foods that have a “high glycemic load”should be avoided if you have high blood sugar, these refined carbohydrates include:

  • White bread

  • Pasta

  • White rice


Opt For Low Glycemic Foods


Following on from above, choosing low glycemic foods can help to lower and maintain your blood sugar at a healthy level.

For people who are prediabetic or are living with type 2 diabetes, foods that fall into the low glycemic load category, coupled with protein can make the perfect meal.

A few examples of foods with a “low glycemic load” include:

  • Beans, such as black beans and kidney beans

  • Carrots

  • Peanuts

  • Cashews

  • Low fat milk

  • Legumes, such as lentils

  • Oranges

  • Apples

  • Non refined cereals, such as bran-based cereals


Swap Refined Sugars For Natural Herbs and Spices


Swapping refined sugars for natural herbs and spices is a key change you can make for controlling your blood sugar levels.

Switch refined sugar sources for herbs and spices that will help settle your sweet tooth. When it comes to refined sugar sources, it’s best to speak with your doctor about your particular health history as they’ll be the best at advising how much sugar you can have on a daily basis.


Incorporate More Fibre Into Your Diet


Incorporating more fibre into your diet is not only good for regulating your digestion but it also has an impact in lowering and maintaining blood sugar levels. [9]

There are two types of fibre - soluble and insoluble. We particularly recommend soluble fibres for those who are trying to lower their blood sugar levels.

Examples of soluble fibre include:

  • Oats

  • Barley

  • Beans (those that are bought in brine or water)

  • Peas

  • Apples

  • Oranges

  • Lemons

  • Grapefruit

  • Limes

  • Lentils


Keep An Eye On Your Symptoms


Being aware of your symptoms, or your body’s warning signs of high blood sugar, is one of the most powerful things you can do for your overall health.

Keep an eye on these symptoms of high blood sugar levels:

  • Constantly feeling thirsty

  • Feeling tired

  • Feeling weak

  • Frequent headaches

  • Concentration issues

  • Fasting blood sugar level of 100mg/dl (5.6mmol/L) or more


Test Your Blood Sugar On A Regular Basis


Testing your blood sugar levels on a regular basis gives you the best chance to know if the above steps are having an impact in decreasing your blood sugar levels.

LetsGetChecked offers an HbA1c test which measures your blood sugar over the previous 3 months from the time of taking the test.


Check your blood sugar levels from the comfort of home, with support and guidance at every step of the way from our onsite medical team because it’s good to know.


Browse Home Diabetes Tests


Written by Hannah Kingston | Medically Reviewed by Dr. Susan O' Sullivan


References

  1. Mayo Clinic Staff. Diabetes and exercise: When to monitor your blood sugar. Online: Mayoclinic.org, 2018

  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Manage Blood Sugar. Online: Cdc.gov, 2019

  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Manage Blood Sugar. Online: Cdc.gov, 2019

  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Diabetes and Mental Health. Online: Cdc.gov, 2018

  5. N. Raja-Khan, K. Agito, J. Shah Et al. Mindfulness‐Based Stress Reduction in Women with Overweight or Obesity: A Randomized Clinical Trial. Toronto: Obesity Society, 2017

  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 10 Surprising Things That Can Spike Your Blood Sugar. Online: Cdc.org, 2019

  7. American Diabetes Association. Extra Weight, Extra Risk. Online: Diabetes.org

  8. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Diabetes and Carbs. Online: Cdc.org, 2019

  9. M. F. Picco, MD. Nutrition and Healthy Eating. Online: Mayoclinic.org, 2018