How To Reduce Blood Sugar After Meal – Mary Ellen Phipps, MPH, RDN, LD, founder of Milk & Honey Nutrition, is a diabetic nutritionist (registered dietitian nutritionist) known for blending her diabetes knowledge and culinary expertise into easy-to-follow recipes and articles.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at how to lower blood sugar quickly and what foods can help lower blood sugar over time.
There is no single food that will protect your body from diabetes. But research shows that there are certain foods that can help maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Keep reading to learn how to lower your blood sugar immediately, foods that can help lower your blood sugar, and what foods to eat when your blood sugar is higher than you’d like.
*This article is not intended to provide advice, diagnosis, opinion, treatment or medical services. This article and the links therein provide general information for educational purposes only. The information in this article is not a substitute for medical care. It should not be used as a substitute for the advice of a physician or registered dietitian.*
Before we begin, let’s look at some definitions of what “normal blood sugar” means for people without diabetes:
If you have diabetes (any type), your doctor will discuss specific blood sugar goals with you. These goals may vary depending on a variety of factors.
How quickly you lower your blood sugar right now can depend on a number of factors, but the following strategies are always helpful.*
* Very high blood sugar (>250 mg/dL) can be life-threatening if ketones are also present. Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) can develop when blood sugar reaches this level. Discuss your action plan with your doctor if/when this happens. This includes staying at home and knowing when to treat your blood sugar and when to go to the emergency room.
**Exercise may not be appropriate if blood sugar is >250 mg/dL. Discuss this with your doctor before exercising when your blood sugar is so high.
What we should do when our blood sugar is high is different from discussing what foods can help lower blood sugar over time. This discussion mostly applies to people who take insulin (type 1 diabetes and insulin-dependent type 2 diabetes), but it can apply to all types of diabetes.
Generally, you can eat all the regular foods that are high in fat, fiber, and protein that you would normally eat when your blood sugar is high. There’s no need to restrict or cut out carbs at this time, but it pays to be more aware of the foods you’re eating and make sure you’re actually filling your plate with complex carbohydrates and nutrient-dense protein sources.
Long-term strategies for lowering blood sugar in people with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes include a variety of things. Some are related to nutrition and some involve other lifestyle factors.
Many people believe that lowering blood sugar is all about the food you eat. But there are many other factors that affect blood sugar levels. These include: activity levels, stress levels, hormones, and more. The following strategies have been proven to help lower blood sugar levels over time:
There are no foods that lower blood sugar immediately, but when eaten regularly over time, certain foods have been shown to help improve blood sugar stability and lower average blood glucose levels.
I use oats in many recipes because they are a high fiber and high protein choice compared to traditional flour. Oats are rich in soluble fiber, which is known to help raise blood sugar levels.
Like oats, beans are high in fiber and protein, two nutrients we know help improve blood sugar balance. Specifically, they provide soluble fiber (like oats) and resistant starch. Both of these types of carbohydrates take longer for our body to digest and thus help stabilize blood sugar.
Oily fish (such as salmon) and eggs are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, and they also provide a quality source of protein and fat. Protein and fat help regulate your body’s blood sugar levels after meals and promote stable blood sugar levels.
Nuts, seeds, and their corresponding oils provide quality sources of protein, plant-based fats, and fiber…all three of the blood sugar-balancing nutrients we’re looking for! These foods not only help to raise blood sugar levels, but also keep you satisfied and fuller for longer.
Fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut and others contain probiotics. A diet rich in probiotics can not only lower blood glucose levels, but also lower blood insulin levels, according to some studies.
Leafy greens are a rich source of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) as well as fiber and can be easily added to everything from smoothies, omelets and salads. As we discussed earlier, foods rich in fiber help to raise blood sugar levels.
One of the biggest myths about blood sugar management is that people who want to balance their blood sugar should not eat fruit. But in fact, we have a lot of data showing that a fruit-rich diet not only prevents the development of pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes, but also helps manage existing diabetes. In particular, studies have shown that high consumption of grapes, blueberries, and/or apples is associated with a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Eating whole citrus fruits, such as oranges and grapefruit, can help improve healthy blood sugar and other related markers, such as insulin and hemoglobin A1c levels.
Avocados are not only delicious, but also rich in vegetable oils and fiber. Both of these nutrients slow down the absorption process and promote a steady supply of energy to the bloodstream… aka, blood sugar balance!
Also, in addition to the foods I’ve listed above, there are many other foods that can help lower blood sugar over time.
The next time your blood sugar is high and you’re wondering what foods can help lower your blood sugar or what to eat for your next meal, try one of these foods:
For more resources on managing diabetes and balancing blood sugar, check out Diabetes 101 on my website. We cover a variety of topics related to balancing blood sugar!
I don’t know about you, but Halloween is usually pretty hot around here, so I whipped up some delicious Halloween themed grapes to celebrate!
My fresh gluten-free sugar-free apple recipe is super easy to make and has delicious seasonal apple flavor!
This super easy and delicious recipe for Roasted Grapes with Goat Cheese Crostini is perfect for your next get together.
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The goal is to stay within the target range recommended by your healthcare provider and avoid high or low blood sugar. Maintaining normal blood sugar levels throughout the day helps regulate your energy and keeps your organs functioning properly. One way to achieve this is to slow down the digestive process that converts carbohydrates into energy.
Yes, blood sugar naturally rises in response to the carbohydrates you consume. But it’s important to remember that not all carbohydrates are created equal. Some have a higher glycemic index (GI) than others. Refined carbohydrates are classified as high GI. Less processed carbohydrates that contain fiber are in the low GI category. Eating more low GI carbs instead of high GI carbs can help diabetics manage their blood sugar levels more easily. Combining carbohydrates with foods rich in protein and fiber also helps.
We’ve compiled a list of low-glycemic, nutrient-dense foods that won’t spike your blood sugar and help you feel full.
Green leafy vegetables Legumes | Olive Oil Walnut | Oatmeal | Egg | Chia seeds | Plain yogurt Seafood | Garlic Other tips for controlling blood sugar
This superfood group includes kale, spinach, broccoli, bok choy, chard and salad greens. They are very low in carbohydrates, so they do not raise blood sugar. Rich in antioxidants, studies have shown that eating these powerhouse foods can reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. The USDA recommends eating at least 2-3 servings of green leafy vegetables per week for health benefits.
Beans, peas, lentils,
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