Elevated blood sugar, also known as hyperglycemia, is a condition affecting millions of people in the U.S. and around the world. In fact, high blood sugar is a root cause of most diseases including heart disease, cancer, diabetes and dementia.
What is blood glucose?
Blood glucose, also known as blood sugar, is defined as the concentration of sugar in your blood. It comes from the food you eat and is a key fuel source for your body. When you consume food, your blood transforms it into glucose and transports it to other cells in your body for energy. The process of blood sugar balance in the body is regulated by key hormones like insulin and glucagon to keep levels in a healthy range.
Prediabetes and diabetes are two conditions in which blood sugar is too high. Individuals must keep blood sugar in a safe range in order to reduce one’s risk of diabetes and heart disease.
What can I do for high blood sugar levels?
For any individual with prediabetes, diabetes or other chronic diseases, controlling blood sugar through diet (and fasting) is key to lowering or maintaining healthy blood sugar levels.
While exercise, stress management, and supplements can help manage blood sugar levels, diet is really one of the best ways to control blood sugar levels overtime. Some foods such as refined carbs and processed foods high in added sugar can cause blood glucose spikes and insulin resistance, while other foods can help to optimize blood glucose levels.
Top five foods that lower blood sugar:
The five foods listed below are part of a Paleo diet, the diet we recommend to patients and clients alike. There is a lot of science in support of the Paleo diet for individuals with high blood sugar and diabetes. It is one of the best to follow as it eliminates refined carbs, added sugars, processed foods and grains (the main drivers of high blood sugar).
- Wild-caught salmon
- Salmon is a fatty fish that helps to lower blood sugar. A high intake of salmon and other fatty fish such as sardines or herring can help to improve blood sugar regulation. Fatty fish are rich in protein, fat and other micronutrients, all of which are essential to controlling blood sugar. A 2017 study showed that a high intake of fatty fish improved blood sugar regulation after meals in overweight and obese adults. The study revealed that the incidence of type 2 diabetes is much lower in populations with an increased intake of fatty fish.
- Try this Paleo recipe with salmon: Pan seared salmon with avocado gremolata
- Avocados are one of the best foods to stabilize and lower blood sugar. This is because they are rich in both fat and fiber. Half an avocado has about 11 g of fat and 6 g of fiber, which aids in boosting satiety and keeping blood sugar levels low especially after meals. Avocados also contain magnesium, a key mineral for blood sugar regulation. Science has shown that avocados are one of the best foods to lower blood sugar and protect against metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions including high blood glucose that are linked to chronic disease.
- Try this Paleo recipe with avocados: Five minute guacamole for one
- Pasture-raised eggs
- Eggs are nature’s multivitamin. They are rich in quality protein, good fat, and essential micronutrients including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and lecithin. Eating more eggs is associated with better blood sugar control. A 2018 study showed that regular egg consumption was linked to improvements in fasting blood glucose and lower levels of insulin resistance.
- Try this Paleo recipe with eggs: Mexican avocado egg salad collard green wraps
- Broccoli sprouts
- Broccoli sprouts are essentially tiny broccoli plants that have high concentrations of nutrients. Broccoli sprouts can help to manage blood sugar levels. These tiny plants are rich in a particular blood sugar-lowering nutrient: sulforaphane. A 2012 study found that consumption of broccoli sprouts could decrease insulin resistance, and thus aid in blood sugar control, in type 2 diabetics. Another study found that broccoli sprouts could significantly reduce fasting blood glucose and HbA1c in obese patinets with dysregulated blood sugar.
- Try this Paleo recipe with broccoli sprouts: Broccoli sprout salsa
- Olive oil
- Olive oil is rich in healthy fats, which work to stabilize and lower blood sugar levels. 2017 research revealed that olive oil is effective in reducing blood sugar levels and HbA1c levels in patients with diagnosed diabetes. Due to the unique nutrient makeup of olive oil (it is rich in fats and phytoactive nutrients) it has promising potential to reduce the risk and benefit the management of type 2 diabetes. Another benefit is that the antioxidants in the olive oil could also help to protect against type 2 diabetes by regulating blood glucose levels in healthy individuals.
- Try this Paleo recipe with olive oil: Lemon and olive oil dressing
What else can I do to support healthy blood sugar levels?
- Minerals are crucial to regulating blood sugar. Magnesium is one mineral that is important as it helps insulin (the hormone that lowers blood sugar) to do its job. Magnesium can therefore help to keep blood sugar levels balanced. Research has shown that patients with type 2 diabetes and poorly controlled blood sugar levels tend to have deficient levels of magnesium. Be sure to check your intracellular levels of magnesium (and other minerals and vitamins) to see if this is an issue for you. And if you do need extra magnesium support, take 2-3 caps of our Magne 5 daily.
- Berberine is a supplement we utilize for controlling blood sugar levels. Take 2 caps twice per day of our Berbe (about 30 minutes before each meal) to keep blood sugar levels in check. If you suffer from high blood sugar levels, this supplement is key. Please note: if you are on blood sugar meds and taking berberine, be sure to monitor blood glucose levels closely as they will be lowered pretty quickly with both and your doctor will likely need to adjust your medication.
- Daily Defense is another favorite supplement which contains key blood sugar-regulating nutrients, such as sulforaphane (from broccoli seed extract), minerals (like magnesium and chromium) and whey protein, all of which help to stabilize the blood glucose response and keep blood glucose levels in check daily. We recommend 2 scoops daily, mixed with water or an organic nut milk.
Last but not least: if you have high blood sugar or are concerned your blood sugar may be elevated, schedule a free 20 minute consultation with one of the Drs. Wolfson health coaches here to learn about the best options and support for you.