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In this article, you will learn how to lower your blood sugar. Blood sugar is the amount of glucose in the blood. To regulate this, medication is not always in demand. A lot can be achieved with a change in lifestyle, especially when it comes to nutrition. Blood sugar is divided into fasting, postprandial (about two hours after a meal) and preprandial (before a meal). Values that are too high but also too low can harm health.
Tasks of blood sugar
The blood sugar, which is in the form of glucose in the blood, is vital and supplies all cells with energy. In the first place is the brain, which urgently needs glucose to perform. Insulin exists so that the sugar does not stay in the blood but can get into the cells. The proteohormone enables the transfer of glucose from the blood plasma into the interior of the cell. Once there, energy is generated from it using chemical processes.
In the absence of insulin, the glucose remains in the blood and the cells cannot be adequately supplied. This is the state of hyperglycaemia (high blood sugar). If there is too much insulin, there is no sugar in the blood, which means so-called hypoyglycemia (blood sugar that is too low). Insulin is produced in the island organ of the pancreas and there in the beta cells. It has the task of taking up glucose from the blood and then transporting it to the cells, which lowers the blood sugar level.
As with many messenger substances and hormones, there is an opponent called glucagon. This is produced in the alpha cells of the Langerhans Islands. Glucagon promotes the breakdown of glycogen (storage form of glucose) to glucose, which happens when there is insufficient blood sugar.
How is blood sugar affected?
Diet, physical activity, stress, diseases, fever and medication all have an impact on blood sugar levels. Foods that contain carbohydrates increase blood sugar. This happens very quickly with so-called "fast carbohydrates," which - as their name suggests - quickly pass into the blood. "Slow" carbohydrates (e.g. whole grain bread), on the other hand, take longer to be digested and cause the blood sugar to rise slowly.
People suffering from diabetes are advised to prefer this type of carbohydrates to the rapid form. Dextrose is known to increase blood glucose quickly. Infections, especially if they are accompanied by fever, also raise blood sugar. When stressed, the body releases adrenaline and cortisone, which in turn leads to an increase in glucose in the blood. Some drugs, such as antihypertensives, lipid-lowering drugs, immunosuppressants, and various hormones can also increase the levels.
The level can be lowered through exercise or other physical exertion. Certain medications, such as analgesics, anti-inflammatory drugs, and some types of antibiotics, as well as long-term fasting or alcohol, can cause your blood sugar to drop.
Lower blood sugar through diet
Insulin transports the glucose from the blood into the cells and thus lowers the blood sugar. However, if this mechanism does not work properly, diabetes can develop. In type I diabetes there is too little insulin from the start, for example because beta cells are being destroyed more and more. Type II diabetes is usually based on what is known as “insulin resistance” when it comes to cell responsiveness to insulin. Over time, these react less and less to insulin and eventually cannot absorb glucose, which causes the blood sugar level to rise.
In general, nutrition is the be-all and end-all for a healthy life. Thanks to a special dietary change, those affected can even get diabetes without medication under control. This is especially true if you have type II diabetes. "Fast" carbohydrates (e.g. white flour products) and certain types of sugar such as glucose or table sugar raise the blood sugar level very quickly.
With "slow" carbohydrates that have a so-called low or medium glycemic index, the blood sugar goes into the blood more slowly. Whole grain products are therefore preferable to white flour products. Legumes such as lentils, peas and beans are high in fiber, contain valuable protein and vitamins and also help to lower blood sugar.
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Health tip: rhubarb, nuts and blueberries
Rhubarb is recommended as it counteracts an increased glucose concentration in the blood. A particularly strong effect can be achieved if the stem vegetables are combined with cinnamon. Important: The rhubarb should of course not be sweetened with sugar. Cinnamon not only lowers blood sugar, it also has a positive effect on blood lipid levels in the body.
Blueberries are now known as "health fruits". They contain a high number of antioxidants, but can also lower blood sugar somewhat. The darker these are, the better they help.
Nuts - consumed in moderation and not in bulk - are not fattening agents, but contain healthy fats and gently lower blood sugar when consumed regularly in small quantities. It is important to ensure that the nuts are neither roasted nor salted and of perfect quality. A fresh grain muesli in the morning, enriched with some nuts, is a healthy start to the day.
- eight tablespoons of wheat shot
- 300 grams of yogurt (1.5 percent fat)
- two small apples or pears
- two tablespoons of chopped nuts
Place the meal in a bowl and pour a cup of water over it to swell. Close the bowl with a lid and put it in the fridge overnight. In the morning the fruit is peeled, roughly grated and mixed with the yoghurt. Then the swollen meal is added, everything is mixed and sprinkled with the nuts. If necessary, the muesli can be mixed with a little low-fat milk.
Natural help with ginger and buckwheat
Ginger is primarily known from traditional Chinese medicine. The sharp root helps, among other things, for a sore throat and nausea. But that's not all, because according to a study, ginger lowers the blood sugar level. The valuable medicinal plant can be used fresh as a spice or as a tea.Recipe for ginger tea:
- Cut a small piece of ginger into four to five thin slices
- Put them in a cup or tea strainer
- Pour 250 ml of boiling water over it
- Let the infusion brew for about 10 minutes
- Drink two to three cups a day in small sips
Another healthy food that can be used to lower blood sugar is buckwheat. This has nothing to do with wheat, because it does not belong to the grain, but to the knotweed family. Buckwheat flakes sprinkled over the muesli or consumed as an alternative to rice are considered a healthy home remedy to promote glucose breakdown.
Choose foods with a low glyx index
In order to keep the values in check, it is important to have a diet that primarily includes foods with a low glycemic index. The lower this is, the less the food will burden the blood sugar. Dextrose has a glycemic index (short: GI or Glyx index) of 100. This means that it gets into the blood immediately and causes the blood sugar to skyrocket.
Whole rye bread, on the other hand, has a glycemic index of 37, while white bread (toast), for example, has a value of 73. Germinated grain has an index of 15, cauliflower as well and Camembert has a value of 0.
To keep the blood sugar level within limits, the drinks should not be neglected either. These should not contain sugar. Water and unsweetened tea are recommended. The aromatic green tea is also said to have a positive effect on blood sugar.
Movement and reduction of excess weight
Exercise generally reduces blood sugar levels because energy is used to burn glucose. If, due to an existing diabetes disease, people already take antidiabetic drugs or even inject insulin, exercise must be monitored and blood sugar checked so that no hypoglycaemia occurs. Regular exercise is always part of therapy for diabetes.
Overweight for a long time, usually in connection with a lack of exercise, can be the cause of increased blood sugar. To reduce this, the excess weight should be slowly reduced. Losing weight can certainly lower blood sugar.
In order to achieve this, it is best not to take the evening meal after 6 p.m. and to be free of carbohydrates. When insulin no longer needs to be poured out to process this meal, it also makes it easier to burn fat and lose weight.
Important for high blood sugar: avoid stress
Stress needs sugar, which means that the body provides more glucose in the blood and therefore the blood sugar increases. In order to reduce this, negative loads should be avoided as far as possible. Regular relaxation exercises to reduce stress such as yoga and autogenic training help here. Stress avoidance is supported by adequate sleep.
Naturopathy with high blood sugar levels
In order to regulate the blood sugar or at least keep it in check, there are some good naturopathic therapeutic approaches. These can also be used in conjunction with conventional medical therapy. Important: Naturally, the remedies from nature are only helpful if those affected also change their lifestyle in terms of exercise and nutrition and avoid smoking and alcohol.
As a proven home remedy, cinnamon should be mentioned first. In natural medicine, this is administered as a nutritional supplement in the form of capsules. A shot glass of vinegar, drunk before meals, should also help to lower the value somewhat. The bitter melon (Momordica charantia), a plant from Asia, is also said to have a beneficial effect on blood sugar when administered as a dietary supplement.
The Hintonia plant is well suited for those affected. In the field of Ayurveda, the curcuma (turmeric) medicinal plant has long been used as a food supplement. Curcuma has a liver cleansing effect, is anti-inflammatory and has a positive influence on blood sugar.
Homeopathy is also concerned with the treatment of elevated blood sugar levels. Agents such as Acidum phosphoricum, Lycopodium and Syzygium jambolanum are used here.
Other forms of therapy that are used in naturopathy to lower the values are, for example, ear acupuncture, acupuncture, foot reflexology, diversion procedures and traditional Chinese medicine.
One method that is becoming increasingly popular and that can help regulate the level is mycotherapy. Here is treated with various so-called "medicinal mushrooms". The agaricus, coprinus and maitake mushrooms are used to lower blood sugar.
Positive effects due to lifestyle changes
In cases of slight fluctuations in blood sugar in which there is no diabetes, a lot can be achieved with natural means. On the other hand, if there is already a “diabetes”, naturopathy serves as a good accompanying therapy.
It is important to mention that life usually has to be changed in order to lower blood sugar. This includes weight loss, changing your diet, daily exercise and avoiding alcohol and nicotine. Cases are becoming known again and again in which patients have completely got their blood sugar under control after long-term complaints by changing their lifestyle - possibly in connection with naturopathic therapies. (sw, nr)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
Susanne Waschke, Barbara Schindewolf-Lensch
- Yiming Li, Van H. Tran, Colin C. Duke, et al .: Gingerols of Zingiber officinale Enhance Glucose Uptake by Increasing Cell Surface GLUT4 in Cultured L6 Myotubes, Thieme Planta Medica, 2012 (accessed: September 1, 2019), Planta Medica
- Fahimeh Shojaei Shad, Maryam Jahantigh Haghighi: Study of the effect of the essential oil (extract) of rhubarb stem (shoot) on glycosylated hemoglobin and fasting blood glucose levels in patients with type II diabetes, 2018 (access: 01.09.2019), Bio Medicine
- Urs Zumsteg: Diabetes and Sport, Rosenfluh Publications AG, Pediatrics, 2009 (accessed: September 1, 2019), Rosenfluh.ch