Whether you are trying to combat Type 2 diabetes, are trying to loose weight, or if you are interested in your health overall and would like to know where to start, here are a few tips on how to regulate your blood sugar naturally and live a balanced and optimized life.
1) Exercise– In fact, moderate to intense exercise may cause your blood glucose to drop for the next 24 hours following exercise. In the 15 minutes of exercise, fuel comes from blood or muscle, which is stored as glycogen, a sugar storage molecule, and is then converted back to sugar. After 15 minutes the fuel starts to come from glycogen stored in the liver. After 30 minutes, the liver stores of glycogen start to deplete and the body begins to use free fatty acids as fuel. As a result, exercise can deplete sugar levels and glycogen stores.
2) Eat more high fiber foods- foods high in fiber help maintain even blood levels and eliminate the big spikes that come from simple sugar and carbs. Leafy greens, broccoli, beets, carrots, and artichokes are very high in fiber. However it is best to eat local seasonal vegetables.
3) Only eating complex carbs after 3pm– picture your blood sugar as a straight line. This is the ideal shape for your blood sugar to be throughout the day….no spikes up or down. Now think of a typical American breakfast—a big bowl of cereal and milk. Cereal breaks down into sugars starting in your mouth, and the milk, especially skim milk, is full of sugars. This will immediately spike the blood sugar way over the line. Then too much insulin is released into the blood stream, the sugar moves into cells of the body, and the blood sugar levels plummet below the line. This is the 11 am sleepiness and reaching for a candy bar. Not eating complex carbs until after 3 pm will make a few things will happen. First, this cycle will not happen all day long and there will not be bouts of sugar high and crash a few hours later. Second, when you wake up, your blood sugar is relatively low and your body is primed to utilize stored blood sugar and fat reserves. A breakfast high in protein and good fats (like avocado or coconut oil) will keep the blood sugar level and low. Lastly, cortisol is a stress hormone that is naturally higher in the morning, to help us wake up naturally. Cortisol increases insulin’s ability to store fat. That means that bowl of cereal will turn into more fat in the morning than it will in the evening, when cortisol levels are at its lowest, preparing the body to sleep.
4)Anti-Oxidants – The most well researched anti-oxidants that help regulate blood sugar are Alpha-lipolic Acid (ALA) and Polyphenols. ALA protects your body from cell damage and is found in foods like liver, spinach, broccoli and potatoes. ALA supplements have been shown to reduce pain, numbness and burning associated with the most common type of diabetic neuropathy. Polyphenols aid in cardiovascular health as well as glucose control and can be found in foods like tea and dark chocolate. EGCG, found in green tea, is a polyphenol and has been shown to lower blood glucose in mice.
5) Apple Cider Vinegar has been shown to lower blood sugar during fasting and after meals. If you can’t handle the taste or feel a little burning after swallowing, mix 2 teaspoons with 6-8 oz of water and lemon juice (I like to add a little stevia too and make it a lemonade.)