Diabetes is one of the most commonly prevalent diseases in the world, which is essentially caused by rise in blood sugar level. The blood sugar increases when the body is not able to produce adequate insulin or it is not able to use it in the effective manner. Diabetes is a serious disease which can have life threatening implications like heart disease, hypertension, kidney damage, nerve damage and vision loss.
Its risk is elevated by factors like high blood pressure, wrong diet, heredity, poor lifestyle, obesity and high cholesterol. A blood sugar of 70-130 mg/dl before meals and less than 180 mg/dl after meals is considered normal. Though medication and insulin are used as conventional therapies for this purpose, it is best to employ natural measures to keep the sugar level within the normal range. Natural ways to control blood sugar revolve around the basic of a balanced diet, weight control, regular exercise and healthy lifestyle for long-term relief.
Eating a Balanced Diet
The principal cause of high blood sugar levels is wrong diet; therefore, the best way to nip this disease in the bud is switching over to a healthy, balanced diet. The following dietary tips can take you towards safer blood sugar levels:
1. More healthy carbohydrates and less processed foods
The first step towards optimizing blood sugar levels is to have more of unrefined whole grains and less of refined sugars and processed foods. Whole grains like oats and bran are complex carbohydrates, which tend to raise the blood sugar level very gradually. On the other hand, processed foods and refined sugar cause rapid spikes in blood sugar levels. Glycemic Index of foods is another important factor to consider. Low GI foods increase the blood sugar levels gradually as compared to high GI foods. Low GI fruits include cherries, apples, pears, plums and grapefruits while high GI fruits include mangoes, watermelons and dates. Vegetables such as onions, broccoli, cabbage and spinach have a lower GI than potatoes, pumpkins and corns.
2. Eat Foods High on Fiber
High fiber foods encourage control of blood sugar as fiber is effective for elimination of wastes from the body as well as helpful in blood sugar control. These foods include whole grains, flaxseeds, fruits, vegetables, lentils and nuts.
3. Eat healthy fats
Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are considered as healthy fats as they can lower both blood sugar and blood cholesterol levels. Similarly, foods with omega 3 fatty acids such as fish, olive oil and canola oil, are also helpful for diabetics. Foods loaded in saturated fats like red meat, full fat dairy products and processed foods should not be eaten by diabetics.
4. Avoid Skipping Meals
Contrary to the popular belief, it is really detrimental to skip meals as it makes you eat more in the long run and causes weight gain, besides elevating the risk of increase in blood sugar level. Instead, you can have several small meals throughout the day to avoid sudden spikes in blood sugar levels.
5. Have Lots of Water
Blood sugar comes down when you drink lots of water as it results in heavy urination. It tends to remove excess sugar from the body. Water is a great drink, which has zero calories and keeps you hydrated through the day, without causing weight gain.
Curative Herbs and spices
Besides certain modifications in your diet, you can incorporate some curative herbs and spices to it, which have the ability to control blood sugar in a natural way. Some of these herbs and spices are cinnamon (cinnamomum zeylanicum), giloy (tinospora cordifolia), curcumin/turmeric (curcuma longa) and amla/Indian Gooseberry (emblica officinalis). Garlic also helps to regulate blood sugar. There are also some home remedies to bring down blood sugar levels naturally 100 grams fenugreek seeds are soaked in 250 ml water overnight and then filtered. Drinking this water can control blood sugar. Other measures include bitter gourd, holy basil (tulsi) or neem juice.
The principal cause of high blood sugar, besides diet is excessive weight and obesity. Therefore, the natural control of blood sugar can be effectively achieved by maintaining a healthy weight. This is possible if you adopt a healthy lifestyle, with balanced diet and regular exercise. Walking, running, aerobics and yoga, all are equally helpful for this purpose as exercising is a natural way of reversing insulin resistance, which helps lower blood sugar. You should also try to lead a stress free life and abstain from smoking and alcoholism.