People with diabetes are often advised to regulate or lower their blood sugar levels. One way they can do that is by making several lifestyle and dietary changes. Making certain dietary changes can help people with diabetes keep their blood sugar in a safe range. This does not mean that there is any food that can specifically protect you from developing diabetes. Instead, your diet in general helps in controlling your blood sugar levels if you have diabetes or insulin resistance. Here are some foods to opt for when your blood sugar levels are insanely high!
What Is The Normal Blood Sugar Level?
Before we delve into the foods to consume to lower blood sugar, it is essential to understand the normal range. According to WebMD, blood sugar levels are typically less than 100 mg/dL after not eating for at least 8 hours (3). Likewise, they should be less than 140 mg/dL 2 hours after eating (3).
When you have diabetes, your blood sugar levels may be consistently high. High blood sugar levels are dangerous, for they damage your blood vessels and erode the ability of the cells in your pancreas to make insulin. Consequently, you experience an increased risk of heart attacks, strokes, weakened immune systems, kidney disease, and vision loss (3). When the blood sugar levels are high, an individual ought to consume foods that lower blood sugar.
What Are The Foods That Lower Blood Sugar Instantly Without Insulin?
According to Medical News Today, most of the recommended foods for people with diabetes have a low glycemic index (GI). The body absorbs the carbohydrates in such foods slowly, reducing the possibility of causing spikes and dips in blood sugar (1). People who want to lower or control their blood sugar levels should pick foods with low or medium GI scores.
But it is worth noting that there is no food that can help lower blood sugar immediately. High blood sugar levels are influenced by several factors, including your health and medications (4). Your diet impacts your blood sugar levels, and making changes to your diet helps control your blood sugar levels over time, but won’t necessarily cause an instant drop.
It would be best to consult your doctor on the best and instant strategies to manage high blood sugar levels. In addition to dietary changes, regular exercise (if safe for you) can help lower blood sugar levels. In some cases, doctors recommend using insulin because it reduces blood sugar quickly. However, it is worth noting that there are different types of insulin, each with a varying onset and duration.
The type you use affects how long the insulin takes to work and how long its effects last. For example, rapid-acting insulin takes about 15 minutes to work. However, its most substantial effect lasts for about an hour and lasts for a few hours (4). Most people who use insulin are prescribed a combination of short- and long-acting varieties. There are also other medications that doctors sometimes prescribe to help manage blood sugar levels over time.
Read More: 7-Day Low Glycemic Diet Plan: Keep Your Blood Sugar Steady With These Meals
Foods That Help Control Blood Sugar/Glucose Levels
As we have determined above, there are no foods that lower blood sugar instantly. With that in mind, you are still warranted to limit high GI foods and focus on low or medium GI foods, because that strategy can help you lower your blood sugar levels over time. If you are wondering what these foods are that help lower blood sugars over time, here they are:
Pumpernickel Bread Or Stone-Ground Whole Wheat
One of the kinds of foods people with diabetes are advised to avoid is many kinds of bread and other refined grain products due to their high GI scores. Instead of those, they are urged to replace them with whole grain foods which are higher in fiber (1).
Two great whole grain foods to consider are pumpernickel bread and 100% stone-ground whole wheat bread. According to Medical News Today, these two foods have low GI scores at 55 or below, unlike regular white wheat bread (1).
Other excellent whole grain food options are rye and spelt. You can also opt for bread made with ancient grains like emmer and einkorn or other whole grains (1).
Recent evidence suggests that berries contain several nutrients and phytochemicals that may reduce the risks of several chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes (2). In addition, a 2020 review mentioned that commonly consumed berries, especially blueberries, cranberries, raspberries and strawberries, may help limit the after-meal rise in blood sugar in individuals with insulin resistance.
According to the review, non-acute long-term studies show that berries can improve glycemic and lipid profiles, blood pressure and the surrogate markers of atherosclerosis (2). However, though sparse, existing evidence also suggests that berries have an emerging role in dietary strategies for diabetes prevention and preventing diabetes complications in adults (2). Nevertheless, berries must be consumed as part of a healthy and balanced diet for diabetes prevention and management.
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Sweet potatoes have a glycemic index of 55 and lower. The low glycemic index and high fiber content result in a less immediate impact on blood glucose levels when consumed (7). It is worth noting that the index can change depending on your chosen cooking method.
For people with diabetes, boiling is the best way to cook sweet potatoes because it maintains their low GI. However, baking, roasting, and frying increase the GI (6).
Quinoa can help lower your blood sugar levels when added to a diabetes meal plan. This is because it has a low glycemic index of 53 (5). Additionally, it has high fiber content, which is crucial in helping adjust a person’s blood sugar.
According to Medical News Today, 100 g of quinoa contains 2.1 g of fiber, while the same serving of white rice has zero (5). This means quinoa is a better choice for people with diabetes than white rice.
Read More: 1800-Calorie Diabetic Diet: Keeping Your Blood Sugar In Check And Your Diet On Track
Nuts could do wonders for your blood sugar levels. They are classified among the low glycemic foods that people with high blood sugar levels can add to their diet plan. They have a low carbohydrate content, meaning they have little effect on your blood glucose levels.
Nuts also contain healthy fats, which are good for heart health and can help you feel full and satisfied.
Pumpkin seeds are rich in nutrients that may help stabilize blood sugar levels. These include magnesium, fiber, and healthy fatty acids. Additionally, some research suggests that macromolecules in these seeds may help lower blood sugar (8).
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The Bottom Line
Research does not show that any foods can lower blood sugar instantly. Instead, it suggests you can most quickly lower blood sugar by taking insulin, if prescribed by your doctor. It also suggests that you can reduce and stabilize blood sugar levels over time by consuming foods with a low GI. These include nuts, pumpkin seeds, sweet potatoes, quinoa, berries, and whole grain foods like pumpernickel bread, spelt, and rye.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Best foods that help lower and control blood sugar (2021, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Dietary berries, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes: an overview of human feeding trials (2020, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- High Blood Sugar, Diabetes, and Your Body (2020, webmd.com)
- How can you lower your blood sugar levels? (2022, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Is quinoa good for diabetes? (2021, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Relationship between Processing Method and the Glycemic Indices of Ten Sweet Potato (Ipomoea batatas) Cultivars Commonly Consumed in Jamaica (2011, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Sweet potato for type 2 diabetes mellitus (2013, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Ten diabetes superfoods (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)
- What are the best nuts for diabetes? (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)