How To Lower Your Blood Glucose Levels
Diabetes mellitus is a serious condition that affects millions of people and costs millions of dollars. Diabetes type 2 means the body became insulin resistant. This can be prevented and managed for those who struggle. I know the difficulties you face every day, I am a diabetic too. There are a good number of foods that lower blood glucose. I know some of you might be familiar with these Foods and others may not. Vegetables are one of the greatest foods for the body that’s why every nutritionist and dietitian will recommend a raw food diet. The more vibrant the coloring of the vegetable, the more nutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants are in it to heal us.
Foods That Lower Blood Glucose Levels
Having a great big salad with plenty of lettuce, tomatoes, olives, and cucumbers will lower your blood glucose levels. The secret behind this is that green vegetables have a very low glycemic index. The glycemic index is a measurement of how high a particular food will raise your blood glucose and how fast it happens.
I eat a salad every day, I get a mix of romaine, iceberg, and butter lettuce. These are just the ones that I happen to like. There are over a dozen varieties of lettuce. Have you ever heard of bitter melon? It looks very much like a cucumber with bumps and it is been scientifically proven to lower the blood sugar. You can eat bitter melon raw or cooked, it’s up to you.
I know one of my father’s favorite foods were artichoke hearts, I personally never tried them. But one of the great health benefits of artichokes is it has been scientifically proven to improve blood sugar control and diabetes. Artichokes have a carbohydrate in the form of inulin, it is a starch that is handled differently in the body and other sugars. Inulin is not used for energy metabolism, instead, they increase production of beneficial short-chain fatty acids.
Inulin can also be found naturally in burdock, chicory, dandelion root, leeks, onions, and asparagus. Speaking of asparagus, I have some growing in my front garden and at first, I had no idea what it was. My husband would go out and pick it and start chewing on it. There are 300 varieties of asparagus in the world and only 20 varieties are edible. If you purchase your asparagus from the local grocery store it must be North in a day or two. I personally suggest that for most raw vegetables.
Over the past 10 years or so I have eaten more varieties of food than I did growing up. In order for food to be powerful, it does not need to be big or for you to consume a large quantity. One of these strong and powerful foods for me is alfalfa sprouts, I love them. They are one of the few foods that I can eat raw. I usually prefer to sauté my vegetables. Alfalfa sprouts will lower your blood glucose levels. In fact, I learned a very interesting fact the other day, deer eat alfalfa sprouts. You can grow your own alfalfa sprouts organically that way you always have a fresh supply.
Another small, powerful, and very delicious food is olives. These days you can get them garlic stuffed, Jalapeno stuffed, feta cheese stuffed and the list goes on and on. I could sit there snack on a fleet of olives, cheese, and salami easily for lunch. I pretty much grew up on it. Creating your own salad dressing with olive oil is great, simple and easy. Olives supply you with the necessary healthy fats that will help lower your bad cholesterol and supplies you with the antioxidants that you need to reverse the damage caused by oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is directly linked to type 2 diabetes.
Blueberries lower blood glucose levels. They contain vitamin-c, flavonoids, and lots of antioxidants that will reduce the toxins that build up in the liver causing diabetes.
Almonds are a great snack food. Almonds help balance your blood sugars so they don’t spike. They also help give you energy throughout the day. You can put sliced almonds on your salad. If you must have chocolate covered, go for the dark chocolate, it’s lower in sugar and better for your heart.
Dark Chocolate in moderation as a substitute for milk chocolate candies is better for you. I don’t know many chocoholics that can stay away totally from chocolate for long periods of time. The cacao content will vary from 65-84% dark. The more cacao, the less sugar leaving this treat bitter but satisfying. It helps increase insulin sensitivity and lowers blood pressure.
Flax Seeds contain omega-3 fats, usually, you get this type of healthy fats from fish but flax is the best plant source for this. A component that is beneficial for your brain and lowers glucose levels is called Alpha-lipoic Acid. You can find this in supplement form as well. I take it every day and love it. ALA in the flax seeds helps reduce inflammation in the body.
Brussel Sprouts have enough vitamin-c and vitamin-k to meet your RDA. Most green vegetables boost the immune system, reverse cellular damage and detox your body. The detox part is important and we need the high levels of vitamins for this. Inflammation can be caused by stress, this causes cell death and bad cells. Bad cells attack good cells and assimilate them to be bad and this is the root of illness’. Diabetes is more than just insulin sensitivity, it took time for this type of damage to occur. The proper diet can reverse the damage.
Try to consume 4-6 servings of vegetables a day plus 2-3 servings of fruits, plenty of protein sources like eggs and meats, healthy omega 3 fats like sunflower oil instead of canola. Fermented foods are excellent for digestion and balance of gut flora, which will be discussed in another post. Grocery stores should carry farm fresh organic produce for customers. When shopping, it’s best to stay on the outside aisles and start in produce, pick up seafood, spices, meats, and dairy. I prefer going directly to the farm but that may not be feasible for all. The dietary changes I suggest to you is to boycott the fast food chains, eliminate processed foods, prepare foods at home, plan meals ahead of time and involve the whole family.
10 Foods You Should Avoid
- Processed Foods also known as food products are pre-packaged, powered, instant, enhanced, enriched and factory made foods. They are found in boxes, bags, containers, and wrappers. If you are unsure if what you are buying is processed, look at the ingredient list. Foods from nature don’t have an ingredient list.
- White Rice is a starch that breaks down into simple sugars in the body and unless you are working out, your body stores this glucose in your fat cells. Our belly fat is a prime example of store glucose.
- Potatoes are another starchy vegetable that will increase the glucose in your blood.
- White Flour is the product you get after the bleaching and so-called enrichment. They enrich it with toxic components and claim it to be vitamins and minerals. Again this has been turned into empty starchy carbohydrates that not only make you obese but creates the high glucose readings you see on your meter.
- Desserts, whether they are store bought or baked from a box, contain several types of sugar with ingredients such as MSG that has been directly linked in studies to cause cancer.
- Hard Candy is created from white sugar and food dyes. Some dyes have been linked to other such diseases like autism.
- Sugar-Free Products are a marketing ploy to get dieter to buy these new foods. If you truly want sugar free, eat raw vegetables. These food products are substituted with sugar alcohol and sweeteners. Most of them are artificially made in a lab, no part comes from nature. The sweeteners become addictive because the person thinks they don’t raise glucose levels and are 0 calories.
- Deli Meats have added sugar, corn syrup, added salt, oils, artificial flavoring and very little nutritious value. That’s not even mentioning the nitrates that cause health problems. I know most of us grew up on sandwiches of ham and bologna. If our parents didn’t know what was in it, how would we have known as kids? Now we know better.
- Fast Food isn’t real food, it’s over processed meat parts ground into mush and sold as meat. I remember getting chicken nuggets as a kid from McDonald’s and wondering why the meat was gray. It’s not only the meat that is full of antibiotics, growth hormones, GMO fed commercial livestock but the sweeteners. Yes, sweeteners in drinks, dressings, buns, ketchup, pickles etc.
- Soft Drinks are possibly the worst thing you can drink especially if you are a diabetic. The carbonation alone is bad for you never mind the high fructose corn syrup and food coloring. Everyone I know that went on a diet, drinking diet soda believing there was no sugar in it, they gain 50-80 lbs and developed diabetes. Soda is addicting but full of sugar and empty calories. Soda damages your liver and disrupts your natural insulin production.
Does Exercise Lower Blood Sugar?
Yes! Our muscles depend on glucose for energy and exercising stimulates the liver to release it into the bloodstream so that you can work out. Exercising for at least 30 minutes daily will create a way for the body to continuously burn the glucose in your blood. Your body becomes more insulin sensitive for at least 24 hours after your workout session so if you build a regimen and stick to it, you burn 247. This is beneficial to all of your body systems.
Losing weight will be a great help in your battle to reverse your diabetes. Body fat stores glucose. The type of exercise you choose is up to you. If it’s something you don’t enjoy but feel that you “have” to do it, stop. None of us stick to things we don’t like for very long. I prefer walking in the woods vs running on a treadmill. Here are a few suggested activities:
- ride a bike
- walk nature trails
- tai chi
- aerobic class
- weight lifting
Reducing The Stress
You may have heard me say it a few times but it’s true. To become healthier, you must reduce the stress and I mean the bad stress. Believe it or not, there is good stress and bad stress. I’m not sure there is such a thing as a stress-free life. When stress lingers for days on end, it’s chronic and it takes a great toll on your health. Receiving the diagnosis that you are now diabetic is stressful, then to hear of all the foods that you used to eat are not an option anymore, is stressful so now what? Now we take a deep breath and tackle that stress.
Find The Origin
Observe yourself when you are stressed out and find the root. Sometimes it appears that we are stressed for no apparent reason. Other peoples stress can affect us. Our environment has an impact on us. The workplace can be the worst aggravator of stress. Whatever it is, discover it and you are one step closer to controlling it. Do you have clutter in your life, perhaps in your house or office? Clutter can stress you out.
Accept What You Cannot Control
There will always be things in life that you wish you could control and that causes so much stress. I never thought of myself as a control freak but I discovered that some of my stress came from me. I had thoughts of “if they would only listen to me and do what I told them to do” and I would drive myself nuts all day. This may be normal for many people but that doesn’t make it healthy. We can’t control other people. Their opinions of us are none of our business. How others act towards you is a reflection of them, not you.
You Can Change For The Better
There is a saying “You can’t live a positive life with a negative mind”. You have the power to change how you think and react. Remove the negativity or transform it into positive thoughts and actions. Your body will respond to this positive energy change. I stop myself often from complaining or whining when things don’t go my way. If you have a habit of saying “I can’t”, try saying to yourself “I can”.
What Should I Do?
I suggest meditation and tai chi. Both of these activities are easy on the body, teach us to focus and be present. Deep breathing exercises give us the necessary oxygen to fully relax and release the tension that we hold from stress. If you prefer guided meditations like I do, that’s a great start. Let go of the past, it no longer serves a purpose. If you are able to perform yoga and love it, then by all means. I understand that not everybody is able to perform such an exercise as yoga, Pilates or weight lifting at first.
Talk about it. Have a deep conversation with someone, a friend, partner or therapist and let it out. Crying and screaming can work to release stress as well but I noticed that not everyone can handle that. Laughter is really the best medicine for stress sometimes, so have a good laugh.
I have dealt with an enormous amount of stress in my life since I was little. Even though I was very active as a kid and teenager, it changed as I started my twenties. I would emotionally eat to handle everything that stressed me out. Relationships that ended badly to jobs that suck the life out of you, even a psychologically abusive mother. I thought I was leaving that all behind when I moved out of my mothers’ house and got married, I was wrong. I transferred my job and shortly after getting married we found out we were pregnant. My husband lost his job after our daughter was 6 months old. I was harassed at my job and hated it but had great health insurance benefits that were needed for our daughter who was diagnosed with Marfans at 15 months. Our daughter is about to have her 6th surgery this summer. It’s been a rough road. I did not handle the stress as well I should have, the food was my therapy. I have the experience and the education. Now as I graduate school, I have the knowledge to share with others and the passion to help those who want it.
Changes don’t happen overnight. It likely took years for you to develop type II Diabetes and will take at least a few months to reverse the damage and start the healing process. Transforming your old habits into new healthy ones will take time, patience and dedication. This is a lifestyle change, not a fad diet. If you prefer one on one counseling on nutrition, use the contact me form and I will get back to you as soon as possible. You are not alone, thousands are on this journey with you and you can do it. I am doing this with you, for me and my family.