By Beth Rush
Blood sugar can lead to diabetes if left uncontrolled, putting you at risk of cardiovascular problems, stroke, or kidney failure. Fortunately, there are ways to regulate blood sugar and maintain your health. Here is everything you should know about glucose levels and how to balance yours naturally.
Who Is the Glucose Goddess?
French biochemist and author Jessie Inchauspé knows all about overcoming challenges. After shattering her thoracic vertebra at 19 during a vacation in Hawaii, she underwent an eight-hour surgery to fuse her vertebrae and repair her spine with a metal rod.
Although she healed from her injuries, the incident left its mark on her mental health and body — but no one could figure out what exactly was wrong.
Years later, while still not feeling her best, Inchauspé interned at 23andme — a genomics and biotechnology research company known for its ancestry and health compositions. Her sole mission was to learn about her DNA to understand why she didn’t feel right.
During this time, the Health Research and Development team began using continuous glucose monitors (GCMs) to track blood sugar levels — a replacement for finger-prick tests. The readings registered on smartphones, which many considered a breakthrough for people with diabetes. When the researchers decided to use CGMs to study glucose reactions to food in nondiabetics, Inchauspé was first in line.
Inchauspé’s GCM shed light on many things about her body, such as her glucose levels before and after meals and exercise. It also showed blood sugar spikes in response to energy levels, stress, meditation or caffeine consumption. However, the biggest takeaway was how her glucose levels responded to her mental state and brain fog.
It was clear Inchauspé’s body was sending a message. She studied the data and realized she had to maintain steady glucose to feel good. Through trial and error, she managed to regulate her blood sugar, which helped curb cravings and boost cognition. Most importantly, she began to feel like her old self. This was the start of the Glucose Goddess movement.
From #1 internationally bestselling author of Glucose Revolution, a 4-week, 4-step program with 100+ recipes, an interactive workbook, and the path to feeling amazing. No restrictions. No calorie counting. Eating everything you love. The fast track to a new life.
Are Your Glucose Levels Out of Control?
Blood glucose is the primary sugar in your blood, providing energy from food. An ideal range for blood glucose levels is 80-130 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) before eating and under 180 mg/dL two hours after a meal. The higher your blood glucose, the greater your risk of diabetes.
Other symptoms of high blood sugar include sugar cravings, thirst, frequent urination, headaches, fatigue, and blurry vision.
High-sugar diets may also cause varicose veins — abnormally enlarged veins near the skin’s surface — by causing inflammation and hindering circulation. Women are four times more likely than men to have varicose veins.
8 Hacks to Balance Your Blood Sugar
Lifestyle changes are the first steps toward diabetes prevention and optimal health. These eight tricks will help you regulate blood sugar levels without or in addition to medication.
1. Test your blood sugar
You only need a glucometer to test your blood sugar at home. A prescription is required for insurance purposes.
Test your glucose before eating, sleeping and exercising. Log your results in a notebook and indicate food triggers to make dietary changes accordingly.
2. Eat a plant-based diet
Replacing red meat and dairy with plant-based options is much lower in saturated fat. These foods also usually contain more fibre to balance blood glucose naturally.
Soluble fibre — like blueberries, nuts, oatmeal, and lentils — dissolves and forms a gel as it interacts with water, slowing glucose absorption and aiding digestion.
3. Exercise regularly
To counter sedentary work habits, go for a short walk every hour. A few steps, light resistance exercises, biking, and swimming all improve blood sugar.
Exercise daily one to three hours after a meal when blood sugar spikes. Also, test your levels before and after if you use insulin. Eating fruit is best when glucose levels dip below 70 mg/dL, suggesting hypoglycemia.
4. Drink water, says the Glucose Goddess
Staying hydrated is a Glucose Goddess hack to balance blood sugar through urination.
A 2021 analysis found those who increased their water intake had a 6% lower risk of type 2 diabetes and high blood sugar. Other zero-calorie and zero-sugar drinks will help your glucose levels and prevent weight gain.
5. Consume low-glycemic foods
The glycemic index (GI) is a food system measuring how quickly carbohydrates break down. Foods are assigned a number between one and 100 — the higher the rating, the faster food causes blood sugar to spike.
Regulate blood glucose naturally by eating foods with a GI under 55 — for instance, barley, legumes, and sweet potatoes. Even eating a low-GI breakfast without changing your carbohydrate intake for the rest of the day could prevent a spike.
6. Use portion control
Portion control is one of the best hacks to balance your blood sugar. Reducing calorie intake helps you lose and manage weight while lowering your risk of diabetes.
Eating slowly, avoiding buffets, reading nutrition labels, and measuring your food are excellent ways to practice portion control. Using smaller dinnerware and utensils to limit portion sizes also decreases dietary energy intake by 29%.
7. Improve your sleep quality
New research from the Endocrine Society suggests less than six hours and over 10 hours of sleep increases the risk of diabetes.
You can improve sleep by avoiding caffeine in the evening, turning off devices, lowering indoor temperature, and meditating. The Sleep Foundation recommends seven or more hours of sleep for adults over 18 years.
8. Boost your gut health
Probiotic-rich foods like yogurt and kefir may lower glucose by producing healthy gut microbiota.
People with type 2 diabetes may benefit from Bifidobacterium longum supplementation, in particular. Researchers found B. longum stayed in 30% of the study’s participants’ guts for up to six months, preventing spikes in fasting glucose.
Manage Blood Glucose Levels Naturally
These Glucose Goddess hacks will lower your blood sugar naturally and improve your overall health. A few simple changes to your diet, physical activity, and sleep habits are all it takes.