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If you have chronically high blood sugar, one of the best ways to get it under control is through medication prescribed by your doctor. But if you need a little extra help, there are steps you can take to naturally lower your blood sugar. On this following page, you'll find tips and tricks to help you reduce your blood sugar. The best part? Some of these tips also help lower blood pressure and cholesterol.

1.   Get a Good Night's Sleep

Studies of both the duration and quality of sleep have shown that the body's ability to regulate insulin production can be thrown off by shorter-than-ideal or interrupted sleep.

Why it works: To control blood sugar levels, the pancreas produces insulin at different periods during a 24-hour cycle. If the all-important circadian rhythm is disturbed by insomnia, frequent awakenings due to pain, or waking three or more hours before normal, the pancreas doesn't produce insulin at its normal daytime and nighttime amounts. In addition, the restorative level of sleep known as non-rapid eye movement sleep or slow-wave sleep (SWS) is critical in overall health, including the maintenance of normal blood glucose. Conditions such as aging and obesity reduce the frequency of SWS, but so does a night of tossing and turning.

What you can do: To foster a good night's sleep, you should exercise early in the day, be consistent with lights-out and waking times, and avoid caffeine late in the evening.

2.   Cut Out Caffeine

Although there are cited health benefits that come from drinking coffee, it appears that caffeine in coffee, tea, and other beverages raises blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. Participants in a study at the Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, were given tablets containing caffeine equivalent to four cups of coffee.

Why it works: Once ingested, caffeine causes the body to release the hormone adrenaline, which is known to raise blood sugar levels. Scientists also surmise that caffeine may interfere with the process for transporting glucose from the blood to other cells to be used as fuel.

What you can do: Limit the amount of caffeinated beverages you drink to less than four cups. But to be safe, switch to decaf coffee and soda

3.   Limit Sweets

 

It seems obvious, right? If your blood sugar is high, don't have a cupcake at your daughter's class party. In truth, however, the trick is limiting the amount of sweet foods you eat, not cutting them out entirely.

Why it works: Limiting sweets -- or, even better, balancing them with whole grains and low-sugar foods -- gives you a well-rounded diet rich in nutrition. Sugary foods, such as cupcakes, don't provide much in the way of nutrients, will pack on the pounds, and are sure to raise your blood sugar.

What you can do: Eat a bite or two of a cupcake at the party, and then switch to a small handful of nuts, such as almonds or walnuts.

4.   Be Active

Exercise leads to lower weight and overall better health, but researchers have discovered that it's also linked to the way the liver dispenses glucose for the body to use.

Why it works: The liver makes glucose to fuel your activity. A workout in the morning, when the liver's glucose stores are already low after overnight inactivity, allows the liver to make sufficient glucose and sends a message to the brain to lower its demand for glucose because supplies are low. This results in higher blood sugar levels right after a workout, but then levels run about 18 percent lower through the rest of the day and night. The benefit of one workout lasts 24 hours.

What you can do: The best workouts seem to be right before a meal, according to researchers at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Participants were asked to walk for a total of four hours during the day, but even a 30-minute walk each day can get you on the path to lower blood sugar levels.

5.   Learn How to Count Carbs

Of the foods you enjoy, those with high levels of carbohydrate -- pasta, corn, any fruit, as well as milk and yogurt -- have the greatest tendency to raise blood sugar.

Why it works: To have enough energy for daily life, you need fuel in the form of food. That energy is measured in calories, and it results from your body processing the nutrients -- including carbs -- in food. Your body burns carbs fairly rapidly, turning them into blood glucose. If you consume more carbs than your body can use for energy, your blood glucose level will rise. Researchers at the Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, have determined that a diet controlling carbs has a better record of lowering blood sugar than a diet that just limits calories.

What you can do: Know how many carbohydrate servings you should have at each meal. In general, it's recommended that men have 60-75 grams of carbohydrate per meal, while women should have 45-60 grams of carbohydrate per meal. By counting the carb grams in your food, you can spread them throughout the day. You should also eat a variety of nutrients in your meals, incorporating a healthy fat, a source of lean protein, and some fibre.

6.   Decrease Your Stress Level

Exercising, eating right, and -- it turns out -- relaxing will do wonders to lower your blood sugar. Now you have yet another excellent reason to unwind.

Why it works: In any stressful situation, whether you're sitting through a traffic jam or having a rough day at work, the body believes it is under attack, launching hormones such as adrenaline to prep itself for a fight-or-flight response. The cumulative effect of these hormones is a flood of stored energy, such as fat and glucose, into the bloodstream, which raises blood sugar levels.

What you can do: Recognize the stress triggers in your life and work to limit them or lessen your response to them. If your stresses are mental and emotional, such as caring for an elderly parent, you might benefit from sessions with a therapist. If you are experiencing physical stress, such as recovering from surgery, you could benefit from long-term relaxation techniques, such as controlled breathing, meditation, and exercise. The important thing is to find a healthy stress-buster that works for you.

7.   Increase Fibre Intake

 

Long known to aid in digestion and ease constipation, fibre -- particularly the soluble kind -- lowers cholesterol and appears to improve blood sugar levels.

Why it works: Of the components of the food you eat, fibre is the only one that doesn't break down and get absorbed into your system. There are two types of fibre: insoluble, which whisks material through your digestive system, and soluble, which slows the absorption of glucose. Experts recommend a high-fibre diet to people who have and are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

What you can do: Limit refined carbs or processed foods, because the refining process removes the outer coat (bran) from the grain, lowering the fibre content. Increase your intake of high-fibre foods, such as beans, whole wheat pastas and breads, broccoli, and popcorn.

8.   Be Wise About Alcohol

 

Several factors make alcohol consumption detrimental to lowering your blood sugar levels. For one, alcohol contains carbohydrate. For another, it lowers your resolve to make wise food choices.

Why it works: Alcohol can do a number on your blood glucose control. For people with diabetes who use insulin or medications that boost insulin production, drinking alcohol without food can actually decrease blood sugar levels. For others, it's difficult to drink in moderation, which can lead to poor decision-making, including overindulging on food.

What you can do: Women should consume no more than one drink per day, men no more than two. An alcoholic drink is equal to one 12-ounce beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of spirits. When you drink, balance the alcohol with food, sip slowly, and keep water handy to quench your thirst.

9.   Eat Like You Live in the Mediterranean

A Mediterranean diet rich in fish, extra virgin olive oil, and vegetables has been proven to prevent cardiovascular disease. Recently, scientists in Spain produced a study proving it is also remarkable in lowering the risk of diabetes.

Why it works: The Mediterranean diet is based on whole grains, beans, fish, nuts, and olive oil. Tracked for four years, more than 13,000 study participants from this region of the world recorded their use of extra virgin olive oil for frying, cooking, and lubricating pans; their consumption of fresh vegetables and fruits; and their low intake of animal meats and fats. At the conclusion of the study, those who closely followed this style of eating, including moderate alcohol intake, were 83 percent less likely to develop diabetes. Olive oil, it turns out, is the key. It's rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, which are shown to improve insulin control.

What you can do: Use olive oil in your cooking, eat two or more servings of vegetables a day, eat at least three servings of beans and three servings of fish a week, and enjoy fresh fruits for desserts and snacks.

 

With thanks to that great site: http://www.diabeticlivingonline.com/