People with diabetes ‘can lower high blood sugar levels in 15 minutes’ – with a glass of juice
OUR blood sugar levels can change throughout the day, but keeping them under control is key – especially for people who have diabetes.
If you're a diabetic and have high blood sugar (hyperglycaemia) then you might experience extreme thirst or hunger, as well as symptoms such as blurred vision and vomiting.
It can feel uncomfortable and you might also have a dry mouth and feel more tired than usual.
Before you act on lowering your blood sugar levels, you need to first check them.
Levels are different for everyone and people with diabetes will have a meter and test strips to monitor this.
A normal level for someone without diabetes before a meal is 4.0 to 5.9 mmol/L.
For people with type 1, type 2 and children with diabetes, this level is 4 to 7 mmol/L.
Esther Walden, Senior Clinical Advisor at Diabetes UK said that for people living with type 2 diabetes, keeping blood sugar levels in the target range is important to help reduce your risk of diabetes complications such as heart attack, stroke, kidney and eye problems.
If your blood sugar levels are high there are things you can do to lower it and researchers have now found that a small glass of juice could be just what the doctor ordered.
While we need to be mindful of how much fruit juice we drink due to high levels of sugar, one study previously found that drinking pomegranate juice could lower blood sugar levels in just 15 minutes.
Experts gave participants sugared water as well as pomegranate juice and found that a lower glucose response was observed in patients who drank the pomegranate juice.
Their findings suggest that drinking the juice could help to regulate blood sugar levels in diabetics.
This was in people who were of a normal weight and were given a 230ml serving of the juice.
In all participants water did not change the blood sugar levels, but subjects had 'significantly lower' blood sugar levels 30 and 15 minutes after drinking the juice.
Go for a walk
Kerry Beeson, nutritional therapist at Optibac Probiotics said a simple, free and mindful way to lower your blood sugar levels is to go for a walk.
She added: "Gentle exercise such as walking increases your heart rate and breathing a little, which sends more blood around the body to support your muscles.
"Moving your muscles stimulates the uptake of glucose (sugar) from your bloodstream, which in turn lowers blood glucose levels.
"A short 15–30-minute walk a day can help but if you really want to go the extra mile try and do this after each meal to prevent blood sugar spikes often experienced after eating."
Esther added: "“Being physically active can help to use up the carbohydrate and sugar that you consume, reducing blood sugar levels. Even moving a little bit more than normal can make a big difference – this could be anything from a brisk walk, an online exercise class or gardening.
"It’s important to set realistic short term goals and build up slowly to help keep motivated.
"Keeping active can also help reduce blood pressure, which is important for heart health, and can be a great mood-booster. If you’re living with type 2 diabetes, it’s important to speak to your healthcare professional before making changes to your diet and exercise regime.”
Kerry said that if walking isn't your thing, you could always try other exercises that will also help to de-stress you.
She explained that yoga has been proven to reduce blood sugar levels.
She added: "There’s a complicated relationship between stress and blood sugar, and some of the symptoms of low blood sugar feel the same as an anxiety attack.
"Practising meditation and mindful eating has also been shown to help keep your blood sugar balanced in some studies.
"Remember to breathe gently before eating, focus on your meal, and don’t eat while rushing to your next meeting!
"Chewing your food thoroughly is also a technique of mindful eating and can help reduce stress and thus blood sugar levels."
Drink more water
To stay hydrated we should all drink around two litres of water a day.
But when your blood sugar levels are high it's likely that your body will try and flush out excess sugar, which is why you might need to go to the loo more often.
Because of this your body will need to re-hydrate – drinking water can help get rid of excess glucose and bring your blood sugar levels down.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a condition caused by high levels of glucose – or sugar – in the blood.
Glucose levels are so high because the body is unable to properly use it.
In people diagnosed with diabetes, their pancreas doesn't produce any insulin, or not enough insulin.
Insulin is a hormone typically produced by the pancreas and allows glucose to enter the cells in the body, where it's used for energy.
Common signs you may have diabetes include:
- going to the toilet a lot, especially at night
- being really thirsty
- feeling more tired than usual
- losing weight without trying to
- genital itching or thrush
- cuts and wounds that take longer to heal
- blurred vision
The symptoms are caused by high levels of glucose remaining in the blood, where it cannot be used as energy.
These signs are common in children and adults alike.
But adults suffering with type 1 diabetes can find it harder to recognise their symptoms.
Reflect on the amount of sugar in your diet
This might sound like an obvious one, but scoffing high sugar foods will have an impact on your blood sugar levels.
Lots of foods can be high in sugar without us knowing and many processed or refined foods are often high in sugar.
Speaking to The Sun, dietitian Dr Carrie Ruxton said managing blood sugars is all about limiting fast carbs such as sugary drinks, white rice, confectionery and white bread – and going for higher protein or fibre-rich options which slow the rate of carbohydrate absorption in your gut.
She explained: "Try snacking on yogurt or fromage frais, such as Petits filous, instead of toast or biscuits as dairy foods are high in protein.
"Also choose a cup of tea instead of a sugary cordial or fizzy drink."
New research just published in the Nutrition and Food Technology Journal shows that regular tea drinking whatever age improves cardiovascular health, hydration, cognitive function, weight management and metabolic health.
Dr Ruxton added: "There is also growing data showing an important role for tea in supporting mental wellbeing, gut health and bone density.
"In addition, another study in the British Journal of Nutrition found that hesperidin, a polyphenol found in oranges and a small glass of 100 per cent orange juice, delays the absorption of fruit sugars leading to a smaller rise in blood sugars”.
If you take insulin, one way to reduce blood sugar is to inject insulin, Diabetes UK says.
The experts explain: "Be careful as insulin can take 4 hours or longer to be fully absorbed, so you need to make sure you take into account how much insulin you may already have in your body that is yet to be absorbed by the blood. Insulin that is yet to be absorbed by the blood is called ‘active insulin’."
Visit Diabetes UK’s website for tips on diet and exercise, advice on managing diabetes and taking care of your wellbeing.
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