The modern world is awash with sugars. In the average store, it is far cheaper to purchase a carbohydrate-laden snack sometimes literally dripping with processed sugars than it is to purchase anything even remotely resembling “healthy nutrition”. Given that this is a reality of the environment for just about anyone reading these words, it is essential we all take some steps to inform ourselves of the dangers of high blood sugar, or hyperglycemia.
Hyperglycemia is the result of a diet rich in sugars. It is most common in diabetics and prediabetics whose insulin production system has been compromised.
When the body lacks enough insulin to function properly, it can no longer use glucose – one of the bodies most essential fuel sources. As a result, the body is forced to breakdown its fat stores for energy, producing waste known as ketones. In high enough concentrations, ketones will make their way into the blood and result in a life-threatening diabetic coma, scientifically known as ketoacidosis.
Everyday Measures To Avoid High Blood Sugar
The most immediate and perhaps the most obvious at home remedy for high blood sugar is to minimize sugar intake. However, with sugars being such a massive part of the modern diet, many people find this extremely difficult.
Sugar-based items such as candy and soda must be avoided. These types of items contain refined sugars, which are a form of carbohydrate known as a simple carbohydrate. Simple carbohydrates are found in things like table sugar or high fructose corn syrup. In contrast to simple carbohydrates are the complex carbohydrates. These are found in green and starchy vegetables and whole-grain breads and pastas, among other places.
While prevailing wisdom suggests avoiding simple carbs in favor of complex ones yields healthier results, it turns out the equation isn’t quite that simple.
The Glycemic Index was developed to measure how much a particular food item raises blood sugar after eating. What this allows us to do is get a clearer portrait of how food affects blood sugar levels, and as a result we find that foods rich in complex carbohydrates can sometimes increase blood sugar just as readily as simple carbohydrates can. An excellent example of this is white bread and potatoes, which are rich in complex carbohydrates but raise blood sugar extremely quickly.
Another important factor is Glycemic Load, which measures both the total amount of carbohydrates in a food and its impact on blood sugar levels. A Harvard article outlined recommendations for avoiding foods with high Glycemic Load, such as candy, potato products, and refined breakfast cereals among others. Examples of low Glycemic Load items include kidney and black beans, peanuts, carrots, and apples.
A Few Remedies To Keep On Hand
Although the best way to prevent sugar spikes is careful attention to diet, there are a few at home remedies for high blood sugar which might come in handy by adding a bit of extra kick in the fight against hyperglycemia.
Cinnamon is a simple, everyday spice you can find in almost any kitchen cupboard. Besides being delicious, it has also been shown in studies to reduce blood glucose levels. Similarly, vinegar has been shown to have an antiglycemic effect and can be useful for lowering blood sugar.
The presence of dietary fiber appears to aid in the digestion of sugar and modulates, to some degree, its release into the body. Studies have reported better glycemic control in diabetic patients with higher fiber intake.
If you’re retooling your diet to combat high blood sugar, consider adding the three remedies above. Take some time to do quality research into dietary methods, as there are other foods similar to cinnamon and vinegar which could help you along the way, as well as plenty of food items which are best to avoid altogether.