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19 Ways To Naturally Balance Your Blood Sugar Levels (Even If You Love Carbs)

High blood sugar is extremely unhealthy and has been exposed more and more in recent years as very damaging to the body. Blood sugar is supposed to stay fairly even in a tightly-controlled range, not tumultuous with dramatic spikes and crashes. But often, people eat processed starches and sugary foods that spike their blood sugar and put them at risk of chronic blood glucose elevation.

But wait - don’t completely vilify carbs like starch! There are ways to still enjoy carbs while keeping your blood sugar stable.

But wait - don’t completely vilify carbs like starch! There are ways to still enjoy carbs while keeping your blood sugar stable.

Why High Blood Sugar is Bad and You Don’t Want Yours To Spike

Along with making you fat, elevated blood sugar can cause a host of other health problems and damage your body in numerous ways. Here's a small list of possible complications from chronically elevated blood sugar and insulin resistance:

Above is only a partial list and you can bet that high blood sugar can affect your health nearly every way because of the damage it can exert on all parts of your body. High blood glucose can cause destructive:

Besides being at risk for disease, you will also feel like crap if you're not metabolizing sugar like you’re supposed to. If too much sugar is in your blood and not being taken into your cells by insulin, your cells can’t be energetic and perform their duties. For example, your sluggish brain might be causing hazy thinking and your sluggish liver might not be able to process toxins efficiently.

Very Low Blood Sugar - Less Common but Still Dangerous

Fewer people have lower blood sugar when compared to high blood sugar but the hypoglycemia can be acutely dangerous to the functioning of your vital organs.

Sometimes diabetics are given too aggressive of protocols to manage their blood sugar and medications like insulin, when given excessively, can cause a dangerous drop in blood sugar. A minority of people can also experience what is called “reactive hypoglycemia” which usually occurs when blood sugar rises dramatically and the body overreacts with too much insulin, causing blood sugar to plumate.

If blood sugar drops too low, you can feel weakness, sweating, fast heart rate, and tremors to confusion, irritability, or in severe cases, even coma and death.

Stay Lean and Keep Your Blood Sugar Levels Stable

Preventing glucose and insulin spikes will help you keep lean since insulin is a fat-storing hormone that builds up tissue as well as lowering fat-burning. If your glucose is chronically high, your insulin will typically be chronically high and your body will even become insensitive to insulin, so more of it will be required. It’s a vicious cycle!

With insulin chronically high, your body is constantly getting the signal to store more fat and not burn fat [1].

Ways To Keep Your Blood Sugar Level

Enough with the background info. Let’s look at ways by which you can promote healthy, stable, and controlled blood sugar levels. And by keeping your blood sugar level and not high, you can lose extra pounds.

Part 1: Lifestyle and Diet for Even Blood Sugar

Follow these lifestyle and dietary tricks to keep glucose levels in their healthy range.

1. Eat unprocessed, natural plant foods like veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, and whole grains

Eating whole and natural foods is a great step in the direction of lowering blood sugar to a healthy level. The fiber and phytochemical antioxidants in these foods slow down sugar absorption and you don’t get the dramatic spikes that processed grains like white bread, pasta, or white rice give you. Whole plant foods that promote slower sugar absorption are called “low-glycemic” foods because they don’t raise blood sugar as quickly as processed or high sugar foods.

The slow-release sugar in high-fiber natural foods are a very important foundational step in fighting hyper and hypoglycemia. Also, the American Diabetes Association, in looking out for people’s blood sugar levels, has endorsed the eating of low glycemic foods.

By eating whole plant foods, you can still enjoy luscious carbohydrates in the form of whole grains and fruit, but the sugars will be released slower than in processed foods.

By eating whole plant foods, you can still enjoy luscious carbohydrates in the form of whole grains and fruit, but the sugars will be released slower than in processed foods.

2. Exercise

Exercise can accelerate the movement of glucose out of the blood and lower blood glucose  to the healthy range [2]. High intensity exercise has also been shown to “improve” blood sugar levels in both diabetics and nondiabetics [3]. Exercise also activates an enzyme called AMPK that upregulates the burning of fat, so exercise could help with weight loss [4].

3. Don’t overeat or reduce calories

Yes, it sounds old fashioned, but simply eating less has been shown to improve glucose control [5]. It might take discipline but on the bright side, you won’t have to spend as much effort on food. And when you eat modestly you’re body will have a much easier time processing the lower amount of sugar so that levels will not rise too high.

4. Eat Nuts With Your Carbs

This one is important!

The way you combine the foods you eat has a tremendous effect on how high your blood sugar rises after meals. Combining nuts with grains can be a healthy way to regulate your blood sugar while still indulging in carbs.

For instance, when almonds are added to bread, post-meal glucose hikes are substantially lowered [6]. Fat-storing insulin is also kept low by almonds in this study [6].

For instance, when almonds are added to bread, post-meal glucose hikes are substantially lowered [6]. Fat-storing insulin is also kept low by almonds in this study [6].

Eating nuts may also lower fasting blood sugar levels in a healthy way [7].

5. Eat Beans with Your Carbs

Several clinical trials have shown that combining beans with starch, like rice, “significantly” lowers the blood sugar spike from starch alone [8][9]. The high fiber content of beans are thought to slow down the sugar absorption from starch. The high antioxidant content of beans probably also slows down sugar absorption.

6. Add Olive Oil to Your Starch

Adding olive oil to high-glycemic meals can blunt the glucose spike that occurs [10]. In general, colorful antioxidant-rich plant foods often help reduce sugar spikes. So eat color!

7. Eating Your Heart Out on Meat May Not Be the Solution

Meat isn’t a carbohydrate so it won’t raise your glucose or insulin, right? Not so fast.

Carbohydrates aren’t the only thing that raises insulin - or even blood sugar!

The amino acids in protein also require insulin to be delivered to cells and large portions of meat can spike insulin and meat consumption is associated with higher fasting glucose and insulin [28][29]. Harmful substances in cooked meat called advanced glycation end products can also interrupt insulin’s action. And low-carbohydrate diets that are heavy in meat have been evidenced to decrease insulin sensitivity [30].

When red meat is added to a meal, glucose spikes even higher than similar carby food with no meat [31].

Researchers found, in another study, that “after overnight fasting, the consumption of several varieties of meat caused significant increases in blood glucose levels” [32].

Part 2: Herbs and Natural Compounds that Stop Blood Sugar Spikes

There are also specific natural ingredients that aid in lowering high blood and can help you lose weight. These herbs and nutrients can also be used to get your blood sugar within the healthy range.

8. Gymnema Sylvestre

This is a wonderful anti-diabetic herb that is native to the tropical forests of Sri Lanka and India. Gymnemic acids in this herb block sugar absorption in your intestines, preventing some of the rise in blood sugar after eating, and can also block the taste of sugar to your tastebuds, reducing cravings for unhealthy foods [11].

The effects of gymnema in rats are exciting. The herb reduced glucose levels to normal in diabetic rats and also had strong antioxidant effects [12].

Gymnema sylvestre is evidenced to be effective against obesity and researchers think this is largely because it prevents sugar absorption from the intestines into the blood [11].

9. Alpha-Lipoic Acid

This acid is naturally in your body, where it functions as an antioxidant and enables energy production in your mitochondria. As a supplement, it can exhibit impressive detoxification and antioxidant effects and can also lower blood sugar and insulin [13]. In one study, fasting blood glucose was “significantly” reduced in type II diabetes patients [13].

Alpha-lipoic acid also causes “significant” weight loss in obese people [14]. A review of numerous studies on alpha lipoic acid and weight loss showed that the antioxidant does likely promote weight loss [15].

10. Bitter Melon

A variety of animal studies have shown the blood sugar-lowering effect of bitter melon and researchers believe that part of the reason for this is the induction of the AMPK enzyme [16]. AMPK is an energizing enzyme that triggers the burning of fat and sugar. Bitter melon also has been shown to fight obesity and reduce body weight [16].

11. Chromium

Chromium is a trace element that facilitates proper insulin production in the pancreas [17]. Insulin is needed to move glucose out of the blood and into cells to be used. Supplementation with chromium lowers fasting glucose levels [18].

12. Guggul

Guggul is an herb that is revered in traditional Indian ayurvedic medicine. It has a variety of anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, cardioprotective effects, and other effects. Like these other ingredients, guggul helps lower blood sugar [19]. It also helps improve the health of diabetic patients by reducing body weight [19].

Guggul has been shown to lower some of the negative effects of diabesity and obesity like elevated blood triglycerides (fat) [20].

13. Juniper Berry

Antioxidants in fruits and veggies often improve glucose utilization in the body and can help lower blood sugar. Berries are often rich in antioxidants and juniper berries, perhaps unsurprisingly have been shown to lower blood sugar [21]. In rats, blood sugar levels dropped substantially after administration [21]. An alcohol extract of Juniper Berry also caused a drop in blood sugar [22].

14. Biotin

Biotin is a B vitamin that is integral in sugar metabolism [23]. In humans, biotin reduces a diabetes marker - HbA(1c) - which is an indication of how much damage sugar has done to the hemoglobin protein in red blood cells [23]. Higher blood sugar levels cause this damage (HbA1c) to increase. Biotin also reduces blood sugar levels [23]. Remember these results are in humans - overweight people with diabetes - so it's a good indication that biotin fulfills its duty for real.

Biotin has also been shown to improve blood sugar control in patients who were already taking insulin by had poor sugar control [24].

15. Magnesium

This mineral has received a lot of attention over the past decade because of how essential it is to virtually all bodily processes. Magnesium is essential for over 300 enzymatic processes that enable your cells to perform their duties.

Blood sugar does not escape magnesium's influence. Magnesium has been found to be very important in enabling insulin to function properly [25]. A large review on magnesium's beneficial effects in diabetes patients found that most studies have demonstrated that magnesium has beneficial effects [25]. Magnesium deficiency is connected to diabetes and worsening insulin resistance and magnesium deficiency is also correlated with high blood sugar [25] [26].

16. Taurine

Taurine is an amino acid that is found in all tissues in the body. It may seem surprising that a simple amino acid can affect blood sugar and diabetes, but studies have shown that taurine protects against many side effects of diabetes and high blood sugar [27].

Taurine’s antioxidant effects are thought to prevent the damage caused by high blood sugar and it appears that taurine enhances insulin’s ability to ferry glucose into cells [27].

17. Berberine

This is a phytocompound that can be extracted from specific plants and it has been used for a few thousand years in Ayurvedic medicine in fighting a variety of ailments.

This herbal compound has been found to be shockingly effective in lowering high blood sugar levels. Research has even shown it to be practically considered a diabetic medication.

A clinical study has shown it to be as effective as metformin, a popular diabetes drug, at lowering numerous parameters of diabetes like insulin, glucose, and plasma triglycerides [33]. Once again, lower insulin and glucose means less fat storage.

Berberine also activates an enzyme, AMPK, that increases glucose and fat energy usage in cells [34]. AMPK is important for keeping a lean body because it reduces fat storage and lowers insulin resistance.

18. White Mulberry

The powdered leaves of this exotic herb are often used to Chinese medicine.  They work much like prescription medicines for type 2 diabetes in that they slow the breakdown and release of sugars into the blood and therefore helping keep blood sugar levels within a more desirable range.

Mulberry tea has been shown to reduce post-meal blood sugar spikes [35].

19. Cinnamon

In addition to being a flavorful spice added to many dishes, cinnamon has also been shown to lower fasting glucose levels by 3-5% in addition to helping lower LDL (bad cholesterol), triglycerides and lipid levels [36].

If You Play it Smart, You Can “Have Your Cake and Eat it Too”

You can still enjoy carbs if you practice the right food combining and sometimes make use of sugar-stabilizing nutrients. Have no fear and eat comfortably!

These nutrients that prevent blood sugar spikes will also discourage excessive blood sugar drops since the body doesn’t have to overcompensate for high blood sugar levels.