How to Lower Blood Sugar Naturally: 10 Science-Backed Ways

By Zina Semenovskaya, MD
Medically reviewed checkmarkMedically reviewed
October 7, 2022

Having high blood sugar puts you at risk for developing several chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease. Normally, your body uses insulin to manage your blood sugar levels, and when there are problems with this mechanism, your blood sugar can become dangerously high.. Sometimes, changing your diet and other lifestyle alterations can help you naturally lower your blood sugar.

This article explores ways you can lower your blood sugar naturally by changing your diet, managing your stress, getting regular exercise, and focusing on your sleep. Lastly, learn when you should seek medical care for your blood sugar and how K Health can help you manage diabetes from home. 

Eat More Fiber

Fiber should be a large part of your diet. However, here in the United States, adults usually only get about half the amount of fiber they need each day. There are two important types of fiber – soluble and insoluble fiber.

Soluble fiber forms a gel-like substance in your stomach and helps slow digestion and control your blood sugar and cholesterol. Soluble fiber is found in foods such as:

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Oat
  • Peas
  • Black beans
  • Lima beans
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Avocados

Insoluble fiber remains whole throughout digestion and supports bowel health and insulin sensitivity. Insoluble fiber is found in foods such as:

  • Whole wheat flour
  • Bran
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • The skin of many fruits and vegetables

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend adults eat 22-34 grams of fiber each day. Try to spread your fiber intake throughout the day. Start with a fiber-friendly breakfast, have a salad for lunch, snack on fruits, veggies, and nuts throughout the day, and add beans and legumes to salads, soups, and casseroles. 

Drink Plenty of Water 

Drinking water not only helps you manage your blood sugar, but it’s also essential for your overall health. Drinking water has many benefits, including preventing dehydration, helping you think more clearly, and keeping your mood steady. It also helps prevent constipation and kidney stones. 

The total amount of water you should drink daily depends on your body type and how much water you get through your food. A good rule of thumb is trying to keep your urine a pale yellow color. Some tips to make sure you drink enough water throughout the day include:

  • Carry a refillable water bottle with you
  • Choose water over sugar-filled drinks
  • Drink water before and with each meal
  • Add a lemon, lime, or other fruit to your water to add flavor

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Reduce Your Stress Levels 

Current research suggests that high levels of stress increase your blood sugar level. Several factors cause this, including stress hormones causing a rise in blood sugar and behaviors, such as unhealthy eating, when stressed.. 

Stress is a natural part of our everyday lives, and it’s often impossible to avoid.. However, learning some healthy ways to manage stress can help. Here are some tips for managing stress.

  • Talk to someone you trust about your stress
  • Work on addressing one thing at a time
  • Allow yourself time to rest and sleep at night
  • Set boundaries for yourself, and don’t take on more than you can handle
  • Try to get some time outside each day
  • Get regular exercise

Exercise Regularly 

Getting regular physical activity will help your blood sugar stay in a healthy range. Exercise has many other benefits, including maintaining a healthy weight, improving your memory, lowering your bad cholesterol, and supporting healthy blood pressure.

If you are not already getting regular exercise, adding this to your schedule may sound overwhelming. Start slow and make it your goal to get at least 120-150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise weekly. This breaks down to 25-30 minutes of exercise five days a week. Try getting up 15 minutes earlier and doing a morning yoga routine, taking a walk at lunchtime, doing some gardening in the evening, or shooting hoops with friends.

Avoid Large Meals 

Much research has been done on the topic of how many times a person should eat throughout the day. While some diets promote eating two meals a day and having times of fasting in between, most research supports eating three meals a day with two snacks between meals to promote better blood sugar levels and weight management. 

The portion size of your meals is also an important aspect of maintaining your blood sugar. Over time, portion sizes have grown and are now much larger than they used to be. Restaurant portions are especially large and can sometimes be three or four times larger than what a person should eat in one sitting.  

Limit Carbs 

Carbs turn into sugar in your body. Limiting the number of carbs you eat will help you manage your blood sugar. It also has other health benefits, including better quality of life, maintaining a healthy weight, and staying healthy longer. 

There are three types of carbs:

  • Sugary foods and beverages
  • Starch foods such as potatoes, corn, peas, lentils, and bread
  • Fiber – the healthy part of fruits and veggies that helps you stay healthy

Limit sugars and starches, but as discussed before, eat plenty of fiber. 

Cut Back on Added Sugar 

The American diet is full of added sugars you may not even know that you are consuming. Eating high amounts of refined sugar will cause your blood sugar to rise and is associated with other medical conditions such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. 

Foods high in added sugars include sweetened beverages, desserts, and sweet snacks. Added sugars go by many names, including:

  • Cane juice
  • Corn syrup
  • Dextrose
  • Fructose
  • Fruit nectars
  • Glucose
  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Honey
  • Lactose
  • Malt syrup
  • Maltose
  • Maple syrup
  • Molasses
  • Sucrose

Eat More Healthy Fats 

Some fats are healthy for you to eat, while some should be avoided. Saturated fats, also called solid fats, like butter, shortening, and animal fats should be avoided. Instead, switch to olive oil and trim the fat off your meat when cooking. Not only do healthy fats give you health benefits, but they will also help you feel full longer so that you don’t reach for that sugary mid-afternoon snack.

Foods with healthy fats include:

  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Tuna
  • Salmon
  • Sardines
  • Avocados

Focus on Quality Sleep 

You have probably heard it said that getting a good night’s sleep is important for your health. Did you know getting quality sleep also helps your body process sugar better? Science shows that regularly getting less than seven hours of sleep at night has negative effects on your body, such as:

  • Increases your body’s resistance to insulin
  • Makes you hungrier the next day
  • Makes it harder to lose weight
  • Raises your blood pressure and increases your risk of a heart attack
  • Decreases your immune system’s strength
  • Increases your risk for depression and anxiety

One of the best things you can do for yourself is to go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day, even on weekends.  

Increase Your Magnesium Intake 

Magnesium is a mineral your body needs for everyday functioning. It assists with processes such as nerve and muscle function, blood pressure, and making proteins and bones. Research also shows that people with higher levels of magnesium in their diet have a lower risk for high blood sugar. 

How much magnesium you need depends on your age and gender. 

  • Adult men need 400-420mg of magnesium daily
  • Adult women need 310-320mg of magnesium daily

Magnesium is found in foods such as milk products, legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and green leafy vegetables. It is also available in supplement form. However, the body does not absorb all magnesium supplements the same. Look for the following forms of magnesium as the body absorbs them the easiest:

  • Magnesium aspartate
  • Magnesium citrate
  • Magnesium lactate
  • Magnesium chloride

When Home Remedies Aren’t Enough

If blood sugar remains high, home remedies may not be enough. Having high blood sugar puts you at risk for developing chronic medical conditions, like diabetes. A blood test can determine if you may need treatment. If you have concerns about your blood sugar, chat with a doctor through K Health today.

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When to See a Medical Provider 

Talk with your medical provider if you are having trouble controlling your blood sugar, as this puts you at higher risk for several chronic conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. 

Some people do not experience symptoms of their blood sugar being too high until it has developed into diabetes. Regular check-ups with your doctor help keep track of this.

In cases where your blood sugar is very high, symptoms may include:

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the fastest way to lower blood sugar naturally?
Getting exercise helps bring down your blood sugar. Drink plenty of water and eat a snack of fiber and protein to help keep it within the normal range.
What foods can lower blood sugar quickly?
Lowering your blood sugar through diet takes time and consistency. If your blood sugar is high, focus on cutting out sources of sugar and eat foods high in protein and fiber. Also, drink water rather than sugary drinks.
What can I drink to lower my blood sugar?
Water is the best thing to drink if your blood sugar is high. Avoid drinking sweet teas and sodas, which will increase your blood sugar.
How can I lower my blood sugar quickly without insulin?
If your blood sugar is high and you don’t have insulin, take a walk, drink water, and eat a meal of protein and fiber. Also, ensure you monitor your blood sugar regularly and see your doctor for check-ups. Your doctor will give you more guidelines on what you can do to regulate your blood sugar.
K Health articles are all written and reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, or PharmDs and are for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute and should not be relied on for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.

K Health has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references.

Zina Semenovskaya, MD

Dr. Semenovskaya specializes in emergency medicine, and received her medical degree from Weill Cornell Medical College. She is currently the medical director at Remote Emergency Medicine Consulting, LLC and splits her time working clinically as an emergency medicine attending in California and Alaska. She is the first of our doctors to be fluent in Russian.