When your body’s blood sugar levels get too high, important cellular functions can be disrupted and – over the long-term – this can place your health and well-being in serious jeopardy. That’s why, ideally, your blood sugar levels – or blood glucose levels – should fall within a healthy, normal range.
(Note that you can check your blood sugar levels from the comfort of home with the Everlywell at-home HbA1c Test.)
Blood sugar levels that are consistently high can lead to the development of diabetes. People with diabetes can face a number of different symptoms when their body does not produce enough insulin (or if they have a loss of insulin sensitivity). When this occurs, the body begins to accumulate glucose, and—in severe cases—this can even lead to heart disease.
To keep your blood sugar levels well within a healthy range, experts recommend that you get regular exercise – as well as making a few dietary changes (if necessary).
There are several foods that lower blood sugar for some people—so eating the right healthy foods can be a particularly effective way to keep your blood sugar levels in check.
But—if you’re wondering how to lower blood sugar naturally—what foods are the “right” foods? Find out by reading this list of foods that lower blood sugar levels in the body (though note that none of these foods are guaranteed ways to lower blood sugar).
Eating garlic may be one way to help control blood sugar. It has an unmistakably pungent aroma, but that’s not its only claim to fame: garlic is a vegetable that’s loaded with more than a few health-boosting compounds. And some of these compounds can lower fasting blood glucose levels, as one meta-analysis discovered. The exact compounds in garlic that exert this remarkable effect aren’t completely known, and is the subject of scientific scrutiny, but there’s compelling evidence that garlic can indeed send those blood sugar numbers down.
You may already know that oats are great for your health. And no wonder: oats are packed with potent nutrients – including soluble fiber, which helps lower blood sugar levels.
Like oats and certain other grains, barley is also a good source of soluble fiber – so to give your blood sugar levels a nudge in the downward direction, consider adding more healthy grains that contain soluble fiber to your diet.
Sure, chopped onions can make your mascara run like Usain Bolt, but onions can also be invaluable in the quest to keep your blood sugar levels within a normal range. Onions, it turns out, are filled with natural pigment compounds known as flavonoids – which can have a blood-sugar-lowering effect on the body.
Other vegetables you can eat that may help lower glucose levels in the body include leafy greens like spinach and kale.
If garlic can lower your blood sugar levels, then it seems only fair that a sweet-smelling spice like cinnamon can do the same. This could be because cinnamon – which comes from the bark of particular type of tree – is a rich source of polyphenols, naturally-occurring compounds that offer numerous health benefits.
When it comes to sending your blood sugar levels careening earthward – speaking hyperbolically here, of course – several types of nuts (like almonds, peanuts, and pistachios) have particularly fascinating effects. Because these nuts slow down digestion, they can significantly lower post-meal blood sugar levels. And nuts can be especially effective in lowering blood sugar levels if you make them your preferred snack choice instead of munching on sugary, carb-filled alternatives.
Back before the rise of modern medicines designed to treat diabetes, vinegar was used as a folk remedy for this often-destructive health condition. Intrigued by this, scientists then began investigating the properties of vinegar as it relates to lowering blood sugar levels in people with diabetes – and found that vinegar can reduce the rate at which carbohydrates are absorbed throughout the body (glucose is a kind of carbohydrate). This, in turn, can reduce blood sugar levels. But there’s a bit of a catch here: to get this effect from vinegar, it’s best if you consume the vinegar alongside a meal.
A big part of achieving a healthy blood sugar level is eating a balanced diet. A diet rich in healthy fats, vegetables, protein, grains, and healthy carbohydrates with minimal amounts of processed foods that contain added sugar is key for regulating blood glucose levels. Sugary foods and processed products are known to cause spikes and dips in blood glucose levels, which is why they should be avoided when trying to control blood sugar.
Also, if you are experiencing warning signs of prediabetes or are already diabetic, knowing the glycemic index of foods you eat can help you take steps to regulate your blood sugar level.
When it comes to learning how to lower your blood sugar, lifestyle factors are key. Besides consuming healthy foods, there are a number of other ways you can control high blood sugar levels within the body. For starters, exercising regularly can effectively help control blood sugar levels. Plus, exercising may reduce stress, regulate weight, and lower high blood pressure.
Now that you know what foods lower blood sugar, trying making them a regular part of your diet (but be sure to talk about it with your healthcare provider first). If you have low insulin sensitivity (insulin resistance), these foods may help regulate your blood sugar levels. And keep in mind: healthy eating and regular physical activity are among the best ways to regulate your blood glucose level. Staying away from processed foods and sugar while increasing your consumption of whole grain foods, dietary fiber, and vegetables may help your body properly regulate insulin levels (and, in some cases, contribute to weight loss). By following a healthy diet and engaging in daily physical activity, you'll may have better control over your body's glucose level.
One other key step you can take to help ensure you have an optimal blood sugar level is monitoring your levels with the Everlywell at-home HbA1c Test.
This at-home testing option allows you to check an important glucose level indicator (HbA1c) from the convenience of home. If the test reveals you do have high blood sugar levels, you will be able to easily share your results (which you can view securely online) with your healthcare provider to learn their recommended next steps.
(Have a sneaking suspicion that you might be sensitive to one of the foods above? Double-check by trying EverlyWell’s Food Sensitivity Test.)