How to lower blood sugar?
Diabetes mellitus is a group of metabolic diseases characterised by hyperglycaemia resulting from a defect in insulin secretion and / or action. Chronic hyperglycaemia is associated with damage, dysfunction, and failure of various organs, especially the eyes, kidneys, nerves, heart, and blood vessels (PTD 2020).
This time, we have prepared a small guide – how to lower blood sugar, what products and factors lower blood sugar and which tests should be performed to keep your health under control.
There are several types of diabetes. The two most common types are type I (autoimmune) diabetes and type II diabetes. Type I diabetes most often affects children when the body fights with its own beta cells – the pancreas, destroying them, thus leading to a complete lack of insulin secretion and the need to supply it from the outside. Type II diabetes mellitus, on the other hand, develops due to decreased insulin production by the pancreas or as a result of insulin resistance in the body’s tissues. While we do not have much influence on type 1 diabetes, the development of type II diabetes is mainly influenced by environmental factors, i.e. those that we have influence on, e.g. inadequate diet leading to overweight and obesity.
Diabetes mellitus – characteristic symptoms
- severe diuresis (polyuria, frequent urination)
- constant feeling of thirst
- inflammation of the genital organs
- purulent changes on the skin
- weight loss unexplained by deliberate weight loss
If you experience the above symptoms, you should perform a random blood glucose test (determined in a blood sample taken at any time of the day, regardless of the time of the last meal). If the result is greater than 200 mg / dL, diabetes is diagnosed. When the results do not exceed the above value, but we have characteristic symptoms of diabetes, it is recommended to perform double fasting blood glucose. If the result is equal to or higher than 126 mg / dl, we diagnose diabetes mellitus. Fasting blood glucose is measured on a blood sample taken 8-14 hours after the last meal.
The concentration of glucose in the plasma of venous blood
- 70–99 mg / dl (3.9–5.5 mmol / l) ® normal fasting glucose
- 100-125 mg / dl (5.6-6.9 mmol / l) ® abnormal fasting glucose (IFG)
- ≥ 126 mg / dL (7.0 mmol / L) ® diabetes mellitus (2 measurements are required).
How to lower blood sugar?
- It is recommended to eat 4-5 meals a day at regular intervals (breaks between meals should not be longer than 3-4 hours) – this way we will avoid sudden “jumps” in blood glucose levels.
- The proportion of carbohydrates in the diet should be about 45% of the total daily energy requirement. The source of carbohydrates should be primarily whole grains, with a high fiber content (they are digested longer and do not increase glycemia rapidly). It is worth knowing two concepts: the glycemic index and the glycemic load. The first term tells us how much blood sugar will increase compared to pure glucose, while the glycemic load determines how much we would really have to eat a given product for this effect to occur. It is recommended that the diet of a diabetic should be dominated by products with a low glycemic index (GI <55%): most of raw vegetables, legumes and nuts belong to this group.
The value of the glycemic index is also influenced by factors such as:
– composition of the product. Dietary fiber contained in food products reduces the value of the glycemic index. The minimum daily intake of fiber should be 25 g or 15 g / 1000 kcal of the diet. Foods rich in fiber are mainly whole grains, vegetables, fruits, dry seeds of legumes.
– the degree of maturity of the product – e.g. unripe bananas have a lower value of the glycemic index, so we try to choose less mature products;
– physical form of the product – products eaten raw or cooked shortly (al dente) are absorbed more slowly in the digestive tract and relatively mildly increase blood sugar levels.
- The proportion of fat in the diet should be at the level of 25% – 40% of the energy value of the diet. The quality of the consumed fat is important, it is important that the diet is dominated by mono – and polyunsaturated fatty acids. We can find them in olive oil, rapeseed oil, linseed oil or even walnuts.
- From spices, pepper, herbs, spices, mustard are recommended
Physical activity is effective in people with diabetes, regardless of age. It helps to maintain a healthy body weight, improves lipid parameters, blood pressure, insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control.
It is recommended to exercise 2-3 times a week at moderate intensity for a minimum of 30-60 minutes.
It should be remembered that the type of physical activity should be adapted to the abilities and age of the person.
As can be seen from the above, there is no single answer to the question: how to lower blood sugar. There are many factors, but it is diet and exercise that are of key importance in this case.
Herbs to lower sugar
- Cinnamon – already used in traditional Asian medicine as a medicine for the so-called “disease of thirst” – diabetes. Numerous studies have shown that it has a beneficial effect on glycemic parameters.
- White mulberry – like cinnamon, it is used to relieve the symptoms of diabetes. It is also used in ailments such as cough after bronchitis, epilepsy and fever. Mulberry leaf extract lowers the postprandial blood glucose levels.
- Green tea – in numerous studies, regardless of the dose used, an improvement in glycemic parameters was observed. The substance contained in green tea – epigallocatechin gallate is considered to be such an effect. Long-term and regular drinking of green tea also reduces blood pressure and cholesterol.
- Fenugreek – its hypoglycaemic properties result mainly from the mechanism of delaying gastric emptying, slowing down the rate of carbohydrate absorption and increasing the sensitivity of tissues to insulin.
- Ginseng – Ginseng extract is obtained from the roots, fruits and leaves of American or Asian ginseng. It contains many bioactive compounds that regulate blood sugar levels as well as blood pressure.
- Magnesium – a low supply of magnesium is associated with impaired glucose and insulin metabolism. Magnesium-rich foods include leafy vegetables, legumes, nuts and whole grains.
- Zinc – improves the action of insulin.
- Vitamins of group B.
- Coenzyme Q10 (ubiquinone) – research shows that supplementation with coenzyme Q10 may reduce hyperglycemia (excessively high blood sugar levels).
- Vinegar – Many studies have shown its beneficial effect on blood glucose levels. How to lower blood sugar? Some researchers claim that even 2 tablespoons added to a salad, for example, can bring beneficial effects.
Diabetes is one of the metabolic diseases, the main characteristic of which is hyperglycaemia, which may contribute to kidney failure, serious cardiovascular complications and eye damage, leading to blindness. Treatments for diabetes become more effective over time. Herbs for lowering blood sugar, such as white mulberry, fenugreek, as well as coenzyme q10, B vitamins, can have a beneficial effect on health. However, it should be remembered that the treatment of hyperglycaemia requires a lot of discipline and self-control from the patient. With an appropriate and correct lifestyle and compliance with doctors’ recommendations, patients have a much greater chance of leading a normal life.