High blood sugar occurs when your body doesn’t make enough or effectively use insulin, a hormone that regulates blood glucose and helps it enter your cells for energy.
High blood sugar (hyperglycemia) is associated with diabetes.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 13% of U.S. adults live with diabetes, and 34.5% have prediabetes (
This means close to 50% of all U.S. adults have diabetes or prediabetes.
Here are 15 easy ways to lower blood sugar levels naturally:
Regular exercise can help you get to and maintain a moderate weight and increase insulin sensitivity.
Increased insulin sensitivity means your cells are better able to use the available sugar in your bloodstream.
Exercise also helps your muscles use blood sugar for energy and muscle contraction.
If you have problems with blood sugar management, you should routinely check your levels. This will help you learn how you respond to different activities and keep your blood sugar levels from getting either too high or too low (2).
Useful forms of exercise include weightlifting, brisk walking, running, biking, dancing, hiking, swimming, and more.
Exercise increases insulin sensitivity and helps your muscles use glucose effectively. This can lead to reduced blood sugar levels.
Your body breaks carbs down into sugars (mostly glucose), and then insulin helps your body use and store sugar for energy.
When you eat too many carbs or have insulin-function problems, this process fails, and blood glucose levels can rise.
However, there are several things you can do about this.
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends managing carb intake by counting carbs and being aware of how many you need (3).
You can read more in this article on healthy low carb eating with diabetes.
Carbs are broken down into glucose, which raises blood sugar levels. Reducing carbohydrate intake can help with blood sugar control.
Fiber slows carb digestion and sugar absorption. For these reasons, it promotes a more gradual rise in blood sugar levels.
Furthermore, the type of fiber you eat may play a role.
There are two kinds of fiber:
Foods that are high in fiber include:
- whole grains
The recommended daily intake of fiber is about 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men. That’s about 14 grams for every 1,000 calories (15).
Eating plenty of fiber can help with blood sugar management. Soluble dietary fiber is the most effective.
Drinking enough water may help you keep your blood sugar levels within healthy limits.
In addition to preventing dehydration, it helps your kidneys flush out the excess sugar through urine.
One observational study showed that those who drank more water had a lower risk for developing high blood sugar levels (
Staying hydrated can reduce blood sugar levels and diabetes risk. Water is the best choice.
Monitoring your serving sizes also helps reduce calorie intake and subsequent blood sugar spikes (
Here are some helpful tips for managing portion sizes:
- Measure and weigh portions.
- Use smaller plates.
- Avoid all-you-can-eat restaurants.
- Read food labels and check the serving sizes.
- Keep a food journal.
- Eat slowly.
Focusing on your portion sizes can help you better manage your blood sugar levels.
Eating low-glycemic-index foods has been shown to reduce blood sugar levels in those with diabetes (
Although the glycemic index of foods is important, the amount of carbs consumed also matters (
Foods with a low to moderate glycemic index include:
- wheat pasta
- non-starchy vegetables
It’s essential to choose foods with a low glycemic index and monitor your overall carb intake.
Stress can affect your blood sugar levels (36).
One study showed that exercise, relaxation, and meditation significantly reduced stress and lowered blood sugar levels for students (
Managing stress levels through exercise or relaxation methods, such as yoga, may help you better regulate blood sugar levels.
“What gets measured gets managed.”
Measuring and monitoring blood glucose levels can also help you better manage your levels.
For example, keeping track helps you determine whether you need to make adjustments in meals or medications (
Try measuring your levels every day and keeping track of the numbers in a log.
Checking your blood glucose and maintaining a log every day will help you adjust foods and medications when necessary to help decrease your blood sugar levels.
Furthermore, adequate sleep is about both quantity and quality. It’s best to get a sufficient amount of high quality sleep every night (
Good sleep helps maintain your blood sugar levels and promote a healthy weight. Poor sleep can disrupt critical metabolic hormones.
Examples include deficiencies in the minerals chromium and magnesium.
However, the mechanisms behind this are not entirely known. Studies also report mixed findings.
Chromium-rich foods include:
- whole grain products
Studies have linked individuals with the highest magnesium intake with up to a 47% lower risk for developing type 2 diabetes (57).
Magnesium-rich foods include:
- dark leafy greens
- squash and pumpkin seeds
- whole grains
- dark chocolate
Eating foods rich in chromium and magnesium regularly can help prevent deficiencies and reduce the risk of blood sugar problems.
Apple cider vinegar has many health benefits.
However, it’s essential to talk with your doctor before taking apple cider vinegar if you’re already taking medications that lower blood sugar.
Adding apple cider vinegar to your diet can help your body in many ways, including reducing blood sugar levels.
Cinnamon is known to have many health benefits.
However, there are risks involved if you take too much cinnamon.
Cinnamon has been shown to help reduce fasting blood sugar levels and may help improve insulin sensitivity.
Berberine is the active component of an herb used in traditional Chinese medicine, including treating diabetes (
Additionally, it may have some side effects, such as:
- abdominal pain
Speak with your healthcare provider first if you’re considering using berberine.
Berberine can help lower blood sugar levels and manage diabetes. However, it may have some digestive side effects.
Fenugreek seeds are a great source of soluble fiber, which can help manage blood sugar levels.
Although not that popular, fenugreek can be added to baked goods to help treat diabetes (
The recommended dose of fenugreek seeds is 2–5 grams per day, although this varies from study to study.
Fenugreek seeds are easy to add to your diet and can help regulate blood glucose levels.
It’s a no-brainer that maintaining a moderate weight will help improve your health and may help prevent future health problems.
Weight management also promotes healthy blood sugar levels and has been shown to help reduce your risk for developing diabetes.
Even a 7% reduction in body weight can decrease your risk for developing diabetes by up to 58%, and it seems to work even better than a common diabetes medication (
It’s important to monitor your waistline, as it’s perhaps the most crucial weight-related factor for estimating your diabetes risk.
A measurement of more than 35 inches (88.9 cm) for women and more than 40 inches (101.6 cm) for men is associated with an increased risk of developing insulin resistance, high blood sugar levels, and type 2 diabetes (91).
Having a healthy waist measurement may even be more important than your overall weight (91).
Keeping a moderate weight and waistline will help you maintain normal blood sugar levels and decrease your risk for developing diabetes.
Be sure to talk with your healthcare provider before making lifestyle changes or trying new supplements.
This is particularly important if you have problems with blood sugar management or if you’re taking medications to lower blood glucose levels.
If you have diabetes or have blood sugar management problems, it’s important to work with your healthcare provider to create and start a treatment plan as soon as possible.