5 ways to Reduce your Blood Sugar Naturally

person walking at sunset down a paved walkway

November is Diabetes Awareness Month and we are excited to share some tips to help reduce and regulate your blood sugar levels.  

Regulating blood sugar is important because having a high amount of sugar in the bloodstream can result in damage to the blood vessels, nerves and kidneys, as well as other organs. Naturopathic medicine offers many different tools to help prevent developing type II diabetes and reverse prediabetes. Here are a couple ways you can get started: 

  1. Strive for Dietary Abundance and Variety: Many times, we are told what to remove from our diet in order to manage blood sugar, but it is very important to replace our high-sugar staple foods with alternatives that we find just as satisfying. Here at Bastyr’s clinics, we love talking about a Mediterranean-style diet. The Mediterranean diet is all about eating a variety of plant-based foods, legumes, nuts and moderate whole grains. It favors replacing unhealthy fats with olive oil and avocado and favors replacing high red meat intake with fish and poultry.  
  2. Eat More Dietary Fiber: Incorporating more fiber regulates blood sugar levels. In particular, soluble fiber has been shown to slow the absorption of sugar from the gut into the blood stream during and after meals. Soluble fiber also reduces the absorption of cholesterol into the blood stream! Some examples of soluble fiber include black and lima beans, tofu, avocado, sweet potato, nuts, lentils, peppers, squash, apples and dark leafy greens. For most adults, we typically recommend starting at 30 grams of fiber per day.  
  3. Go for a Post-Meal Walk: Post-meal walking is an amazing habit to help reduce blood sugar levels and can be done after each meal.  Dr. Pellegrini at describes muscles as “sugar sponges.” When muscles are activated after a meal, they start to utilize the sugar available as energy. This helps to reduce blood sugar level after a meal without requiring a spike in insulin. One study showed that walking for 15 minutes after each meal is more effective at regulating blood sugar levels compared to taking one 45-minute walk each day.2 
  4. A Spin on Stress: You have probably heard about the connection between high stress levels, cortisol and increasing blood sugars, but have you heard that if a situational shift is not currently possible that a mindset shift can change your physiology? A landmark study showed that people who had high levels of stress, but did not believe stress was harmful to their health, actually lived longer than people who had high levels of stress and believed stress was harmful to their health.3 What this means is that it is not the stress that kills us, but rather our negative perception of the stress. Need help shifting this mindset? Consider trying our Stress Management and Resiliency Shift at the clinics to help manage stress. 
  5. High quality natural supplements: When it comes to blood sugar management and insulin sensitivity, there are so many nutrients that are important for this process. Some examples include vitamin D, chromium, alpha-lipoic acid, omega-3 fatty acids, etc. Additionally, some plant extracts and botanical medicine combinations can be helpful in certain situations and if you are on blood sugar-lowering medications, you may require additional nutrient supplementation in your diet. The quality of nutritional supplements on the market is highly variable and some lower quality supplements may even have harmful contaminants. If you are considering starting a nutritional or natural supplement to help regulate your blood sugar, come visit us  to help you choose the best fit for you and help you find the best quality supplement available. 

 If you need help initiating new habits or finding the treatment regimen that works best for you, come see us at Bastyr Center for Natural Health in Seattle or Bastyr University Clinic in San Diego!  

Written by: Brandilyn Binstock, ND, first year resident at Bastyr Center for Natural Health