Hyperglycemia or high blood sugar is one of the most common lifestyle-associated disorders. It is characterized by a high level of blood sugar level called hyperglycemia. In a healthy person, the normal range of blood sugar is 70-130 mg/dL between meals which can spike to 180 mg/dL 1–2 hours post meals. A chronic hyperglycemia can be detrimental to the blood vessels, nerve tissues, and several other body organs. According to a new study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in the country alone, more than 100 million adults are suffering from high blood sugar. There are several ways in which the question of how to control blood sugar can be answered. However, before looking into that, let us know about the complications that high blood sugar can lead to.
Complications caused due to high blood sugar
Uncontrolled high sugar levels can lead to nerve and kidney damage, cardiovascular disorders, damage to eye lens, damage to retina which may cause complete blindness, higher chances of skin infections, infections in teeth and gums, and slow healing of an injury.
Smart ways to control blood sugar
The following tips can help one on how to control their blood sugar. However, an expert advice or consultation must be sought before starting any medication or natural treatment.
- Avoid huge meals: A diabetic patient is advised to keep his/her meal size small. This helps in effective regulation of blood sugar. However, one should not skip a meal.
- Add resistant starch to diet: The addition of resistant starch in the diet is one of the best ways to control blood sugar. Resistant starch bypasses the small intestine and subsequently gets digested by the “good bacteria” present in the large intestine. This helps in lowering the blood sugar effectively. This phenomenon is often referred to as the “second-meal” effect. Resistant starch is commonly found in beans, lentils, corn, and unripe bananas.
- Beans: It has been reported that daily consumption of a cup of beans for around 3 months helps in lowering blood sugar effectively. Moreover, beans are rich in folate, which is known to reduce the chances of cardiovascular disease.
- Regular exercise: Excess body weight causes insulin resistance. This leads to higher blood sugar levels. It is widely believed that losing mere 5-pounds may improve the blood glucose levels.
- Sleep: Chronic sleep deprivation contributes to high blood sugar levels. According to a study, sleep-deprived volunteers had higher levels of fatty acids. Fatty acids are known to cause insulin resistance, thus hindering with normal insulin action and causing higher blood sugar levels. Around 7 hours of sound sleep is generally recommended for one’s overall well being.
- Increase fiber intake: Fibers are slow to digest as they allow for a gradual rise in blood sugar levels, thus preventing a sudden spike in blood sugar levels. Soluble fibers are more effective in blood sugar management when compared with insoluble fiber.
- Don’t skip breakfast: A diabetic person should never skip their breakfast because, after 8–12 hours of fasting, the body needs glucose to maintain normal blood sugar levels.
- Eat low glycemic index (GI) food: Another answer for how to control blood sugar levels is to consume foods with a lower glycemic index. They are slow to digest and cause a gradual rise in blood sugar levels. Regular consumption of low GI food has been reported to reduce long-term blood sugar levels in diabetics. A few foods with low GI are corn, yams, non-starchy vegetables, lentils, and beans.
- Stress: Stress increases the levels of glucagon and cortisol in the blood. These hormones cause a rise in blood glucose levels. Exercise, meditation, and relaxation techniques are usually recommended to reduce the blood sugar levels by lowering the stress levels.
Some more natural remedies
Several natural remedies are available for lowering the blood sugar levels. A few of them are listed below:
- Drink copper water: Water stored overnight in a copper vessel can help in controlling blood sugar. It is one of the easiest and common home remedies for diabetes control.
- Bitter gourd: Charanthin, a natural compound present in bitter gourd, is a great way to lower blood sugar levels. It does its job by stimulating insulin secretion from the pancreas.
- Cinnamon: Cinnamon is rich in various bioactive compounds such as cinnamate and cinnamic acid. It lowers blood sugar level by triggering insulin activity.
- Fenugreek: It is one of the most effective strategies for controlling blood sugar. It is rich in dietary fiber and helps in proper absorption of blood sugar.
The incidence of high blood sugar has emerged as a global epidemic. A common cause for this is a sedentary lifestyle, lack of exercise, and dietary changes. Chronic hyperglycemia adversely affects almost all organs of the body. A significant change in diet and lifestyle is essentially required for the effective management of blood sugar and even for lowering blood sugar levels.