Almost daily, I'm asked about supplements to help stabilize blood sugar levels and reduce insulin resistance. While supplements like chromium, gymnema sylvestre, bitter melon, cinnamon and fiber can provide great benefit, they cannot solve the problem alone. Ultimately, the food we put in our body will determine whether or not blood sugar spikes.

7 Diet and Lifestyle Tips to reduce high blood sugar spikes

Rather than severe restriction, a diet to manage blood sugar issues is a healthy-eating plan that's naturally rich in nutrients with an emphasis on whole foods like vegetables, nuts and seeds and healthy fats. In fact, this type of lifestyle is excellent for most of us as it tends to be less inflammatory than a standard American diet.  

1.  Limit refined and processed sugars.  Depending on the type of food eaten, the level of sugar in the blood will vary. Foods rich in sugar and refined carbohydrates (like bread, pasta, cookies, soda, juice etc) convert to glucose very quickly, causing blood sugar levels to soar. The body does not require any processed carbohydrates or sugars to function, so you want to eliminate as much of these foods as you can. 

2.  Include healthier complex carbohydrates, such as vegetables, whole grains and legumes (beans, peas and lentils). Though these foods still can impact blood sugar levels, they convert more slowly, reducing the large spikes. Some choose to go completely grain free and focus more on carbs from nuts, seeds and vegetables to reduce sugar spikes even more.  

3.  Include protein and fiber-rich foods with each meal. This will slow down the absorption of carbohydrates and keep you feeling full. Greek yogurt with flax seeds, an apple and walnuts, celery and almond butter, cucumber and hummus, eggs and avocados or a meal replacement (I like Raw Fit by Garden of Life) are all great examples of healthy protein/fiber combinations.

5.  Eat smaller portions, more often to combat the blood sugar roller coaster.  The timing of foods can be just as important as what you are actually eating. When blood sugar spikes it usually crashes back down. This up and down pattern puts strain on the pancreas (which supplies insulin to lower the sugar in the blood). Eventually this strain can cause the pancreas to no longer efficiently produce insulin, or your cells won't respond to the insulin that is produced. This can lead to a condition called insulin resistance. Lowing portions and spreading them out evenly will help keep those sugar levels steady.

6.  Get moving - Moderate exercise, like fast walking or bike riding, is also a great tool to keep blood sugar in check. Moderate exercise increase heart rate which in turn causes your muscles to use up more glucose from your blood stream. Over time this can lower blood sugar levels and make the insulin in your body work better.

7.  Manage Stress. Stress releases hormones like cortisol, can increase both blood pressure and blood sugar. Utilizing stress management techniques like deep breathing, gratitude journals and yoga as well as utilizing herbs like holy basil and ashwagandha can all help to balance the stress response and modulate cortisol levels.

It's okay to start slow! 

While for some, these seven tips may seem like a radical change, it doesn't have to be. It's okay to start slow. Maybe focus on just one tip and ease it in to your lifestyle. Enacting just one of the tips below can have a dramatic effect on your health!

-Nicole

This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.