13 Natural and Easy Ways to Lower Your Blood Sugar

Diabetes doing glucose level test. Vegetables in background
Diabetes doing glucose level test. Vegetables in background

Being diagnosed with Type II diabetes can be a bummer, and it can be a struggle to keep blood sugars under control.

Sometimes, you may find yourself with blood sugar levels that are higher than normal (let’s say around 150, for example), but not excessive enough to necessitate taking more medication. You don’t feel very good with the higher blood sugar, but taking medication can make your blood sugar TOO low.

So what can you do to lower your blood sugar up to 40 points without taking more medication? Try the following these 13 tips and see if you can lower your blood sugar naturally. (See also: How to Reduce Your Risk of Diabetes)

Health Disclaimer: As always, you need to be careful to monitor your sugar levels so as not to become hypoglycemic (that’s when your blood sugar is too low, which is dangerous). Talk to your physician before making any changes to your diet. And remember, these 13 tips for lowering blood sugar may work for many people, but they won’t work for everyone.

Carb Intake

Carbs are basically sugar, and everybody should make an effort to control their intake, especially diabetics.


1. Cut Back the Carbs

Effects seen: Immediate

Your diet is something you want to talk to your physician about, but the simple fact is that a lower carb diet makes it easier to maintain stable blood sugar levels. It’s part of why you’re hearing so much about the Paleo Diet these days.

Carbohydrates are found in starchy foods — root vegetables, grains, rice, and legumes — and all of their derivatives, like bread, pasta, sushi, French fries, mashed yams, and even lentil soup. As someone who has been diabetic for nearly 20 years, I can attest that eating a diet low in carbohydrates, but rich in leafy greens, nuts, dark fruits like berries, and lean meats has had an amazing effect on my blood sugar control. I get all of the nutrients that I need without consuming grains. It takes a lot more effort to choose low-carb snacks over something as delicious as pie, but it makes a huge difference in the way that I feel. (See also: 12 Cheap and Healthy Snacks)

2. Spread Out the Carbs

Effects seen: Immediate

For the carbohydrates that you do eat, try to spread them out evenly throughout the day. For instance, if you really love apples, but eating an entire apple raises your blood sugar, simply eat your apple wedge by wedge over the course of a few hours, rather than all at once. The apple will likely raise your blood sugar, but not in a huge spike. If you can keep your blood sugar levels more steady (without big jumps and drops), you’ll feel less hungry and grumpy.

Move Around

Exercise helps in the short term by immediately lowering blood sugar, and in the long term helps your body burn glucose more efficiently.


3. Get Some Light Exercise

Effects seen: Within 1 hour

Light exercise can lower your blood sugar level, often within minutes. I’m talking about a brisk walk or bicycle ride — not a long run or weight lifting. I’ve personally lowered my blood sugar by 40 points with a 20-minute walk. Light exercise is my go-to technique for lowering my blood sugar. (See also: Ways to Exercise in Under 5 Minutes)

4. Weight Training

Effects seen: Long term

Strength training may temporarily raise your blood sugar, but over time, it will help you build the kind of muscle that can burn glucose more efficiently.

Drink These

Several beverages can bring your blood sugar down quickly, too.

Winter time: cup of hot tea with lemon and scarf
Winter time: cup of hot tea with lemon and scarf

5. Unsweetened Tea

Effects seen: Within 30 minutes

Unsweetened black, white, and green tea can help lower your blood sugarwithin as little as a half hour. Green tea supplements also have a positive effect on blood sugar levels. (See also: Types and Benefits of Tea)

6. A Glass of Red Wine

Effects seen: Within 1 hour

Many kinds of alcohol have the effect of lowering overall blood sugar levels (beer may have the opposite effect because of the total carbohydrate content). Red wine lowers your blood sugar by preventing the absorption of glucose by the intestines. Keep in mind that alcohol is not an effective long term blood glucose control, because it can contribute to the build-up of liver fat. (See also: Best Wine Openers)

Take a Supplement

Lots of people take supplements for long term health benefits, but these will bring down blood sugar relatively quickly.

Goji, spirulina and  chia seeds (superfood) on wooden tabe
Goji, spirulina and chia seeds (superfood) on wooden tabe

7. Cinnamon Pills

Effects seen: Within 1 hour

Cinnamon has been shown to reduce blood sugars, although not effectively in post-menopausal women. In order to take enough cinnamon to lower your blood sugar, take it in capsule form. I take approximately 3,000 mg at each meal.

8. Chromium Picolinate

Effects seen: Within 1 hour

Chromium picolinate has been shown to lower blood sugar levels in Type II diabetics in many studies. Go easy on this particular supplement, though — it can do damage to your liver if you take too much.

9. Green Tea Extract

Effects seen: Within 1 hour

If you’re not a fan of drinking tea, you can also take green tea extract in pill form.

10. Fenugreek Powder

Effects seen: Within 1 hour

Fenugreek is a seed that is used in the production of artificial maple syrup flavors. It’s often prescribed to new mothers to help with the production of breast milk. It also slows the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream. Although studies showing the fenugreek lowers blood sugar test the actual seed soaked in hot water, I’ve personally used fenugreek powder capsules to lower my blood sugar. Fenugreek is a laxative, so don’t take too much. (See also: Guide to Buying Herbal Supplements)

11. Apple Cider Vinegar

Effects seen: Within several hours

Apple cider vinegar has been shown to help control blood sugar levels in both pre-diabetic and Type II diabetics. If you don’t want to drink a couple tablespoons of it, it also comes in an extract, which can be easier to tolerate. Note that apple cider vinegar takes longer to lower blood sugar levels than other supplements, and may be more effective as a preventative measure than as a reactive one.

Chill Out

And if you can’t get your hands on any of the foods, beverages, supplements, and exercise equipment noted above, take a chill pill.


12. Scale Back on Stress

Effects seen: Long term

Stressful situations can release hormones that will raise your blood sugar. If you are feeling anxious, try relaxation techniques like meditation and deep breathing to lower your blood sugar. Or go sit in your car and scream until you feel better. (See also: Easy Ways to Get Calm Now)

13. Get More Sleep

Effects seen: Long term

Getting adequate sleep is a good way to help lessen your body’s insulin resistance. You might even notice that you have higher blood sugar when you don’t get enough sleep. Actually, bad sleep and high blood sugar is a bit of a vicious cycle — once your blood sugars get too high, you don’t sleep well, and when you don’t sleep well, your blood sugars keep climbing.

If you can manage it, scale back on whatever it is that keeps you up late, like watching TV or drinking too much caffeine.

A Quick Note on Internet Diabetes Advice

There are some shockingly irresponsible articles on the Internet (I won’t link to them because they don’t deserve the clicks) that suggest eating foods like oranges and grapes to lower your blood sugar.This is patently false information. Not only will eating an orange not lower your blood sugar, eating an orange will raise your blood sugar (possibly requiring medication to lower it).

Remember, there are no miracle foods that will cure diabetes.


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