Many, many people have blood sugar problems these days.
Prediabetes, type 2 diabetes…each of these means high blood sugar, and high insulin levels.
It’s truly an epidemic in our society, based on a combination of ultra-processed food, high stress levels, and other unhealthy habits.
When I work in the emergency room, I constantly see people who have blood sugar problems. And high blood sugar contributes to their medical emergencies.
In this post, I’ll share 7 habits to help you rapidly improve your blood sugar. Each of these are things you can do every day, and will have a big impact on fixing your blood sugar.
Let’s dive in.
I also explained these 7 daily habits in a YouTube video:
But if you’d rather read, carry on. 🙂
1. Go on a Walk after a Starchy or Sugary Meal
Chances are, you eat something sugary or starchy at least once per day.
Most people do it several times per day.
But here’s a simple trick you can use to smooth out your blood sugar after one of those sugary or starchy meals:
As soon as you’re done eating, go on a brisk walk for at least 5 or 10 minutes. Or longer. Or do any other type of physical activity that will get you moving your muscles in a similar way.
That will help suck up the glucose into your muscles, so it doesn’t stick around in your bloodstream.
In other words, your blood sugar won’t stay as high for as long. And that’s what you want.
So next time you eat pasta, bread, potatoes, or drink juice, soda, or a sports drink…
Go ahead and give this one a try, and you’ll probably notice some improvement right away (if you’re checking your blood sugar).
2. Try Time-Restricted-Eating (TRE)
You’ve probably heard about intermittent fasting.
Typically, what it means is that you eat your food in a shorter window of time each day.
There are other intermittent fasting patterns of course, but that’s the most common approach.
It’s more accurately termed time-restricted-eating (TRE), just meaning you have that limited eating window each day.
As it relates to blood sugar, the benefit of TRE is that you give yourself more time for your blood sugar to come down to a normal level.
For example, if you don’t eat breakfast right away in the morning, your elevated morning blood sugar (which is a typical pattern for most people) can gradually come down to normal.
Versus doing the opposite–if you were to drink some orange juice, eat pancakes, eat cereal…all those foods will raise your blood sugar significantly.
Basically, if you eat less often, your blood sugar has a better chance of being normal more often.
You don’t have to go crazy with TRE from day one. But see if you can shorten your eating window, even just a tiny bit. You’ll probably see some improvement in your blood sugar if you do.
3. Eat Low-Carb (At Least Some of the Time)
You’ve probably heard about the ketogenic diet.
People tend to overcomplicate it, but basically it means eating high fat / low carb until your body produces ketones.
If you’re trying to improve your blood sugar…
A simple thing you can do is have at least some of your meals be high fat / low carb.
For example, you could try eating meat and vegetables for dinner, and an omelet for breakfast (without any toast, or juice, or anything sugary like that). Or some other meal that’s centered around protein and fat, rather than carbs.
The benefit here is obvious:
That meal won’t spike your blood sugar the way that pasta, bread, french fries, pizza, cake, and other starchy or sugary foods will do. So you give your body a chance to rest from the high blood sugar.
Even if you just have one low-carb meal per day, that’s pretty darn good. At least as a starting point. And will help you improve your blood sugar overall.
4. Try Using Vinegar
One evidence-based hack you can use to improve blood sugar is to take vinegar each day.
Vinegar has been studied in a few different ways. For example if you take vinegar at bedtime, it tends to cause improved blood sugar in the morning.
Typically what you would do is take about 1 tablespoon at a time–diluted in water.
Speaking of which: Be cautious, because vinegar is very acidic, so it could damage your teeth or throat if you don’t dilute it.
5. Replace Sugary Drinks
This is more of something you don’t do, rather than something you do.
But it is a daily habit that you can work on, and it will help immensely with your blood sugar.
Here’s what I’m talking about:
Most people drink something sugary every day. That could be juice, soda, sports drinks, coffee with sugar, tea with sugar, or various other things.
So one simple habit you could use to drastically improve your blood sugar, is to replace at least one of those sugary drinks with something that’s not sugary.
My top choice would be water. But you could also try unsweetened tea, or even something like diet soda. It’s not the healthiest thing in the world, but it certainly seems to be better than soda, juice, or energy drinks, when it comes to blood sugar control.
Feel free to start small at the beginning.
For example, if you drink three glasses of juice every day, try to replace at least one of them with water. And then you can gradually work on it from there.
Even a little bit of decrease in sugary drinks will have a major impact on improving your blood sugar. Basically, the worst thing you can do is drink sugar, so as soon as you stop this you’ll be moving in the right direction.
6. Get a Good Night’s Sleep
This one probably seems kind of counterintuitive. But how you sleep actually affects your blood sugar quite a bit.
Sleep has a variety of healthy effects…much more than most people think.
In other words, if you give your body enough time to rest and get good quality sleep, it helps improve your blood sugar, blood pressure, memory, and quite a few other things.
Matthew Walker talked a lot about this in his book, Why We Sleep. It’s a fascinating read, highly recommended.
As it relates to blood sugar control, here’s the bottom line:
If you get a good night’s rest, you’ll tend to have better blood sugar control the next day. One reason for this is that your stress hormones (especially cortisol) won’t be as high. And stress hormones raise blood sugar.
On a related note, anything you can do to reduce your stress hormones in general will help improve your blood sugar as well.
7. Do some Strength Training
Here’s a little known fact (which is super useful for improving blood sugar):
Whenever you use your muscles, they suck up glucose and clear it out of your bloodstream.
And the more muscles you have, the more glucose you can clear.
Basically your muscles are a big reservoir where you can store sugar.
But what if you don’t have any muscles?
Of course that’s kind of tongue-in-cheek….but if you don’t have much muscle mass, you can’t store much sugar.
So the more muscle you have, the better off you are in terms of being able to clear sugar out of your bloodstream.
What’s the actionable takeaway here?
Do some resistance training to build strength on a consistent basis, so you can maintain or build on the amount of muscle that you currently have.
Even a little goes a long way–start with just 5 minutes a day if that’s all you can squeeze in. But don’t make excuses and be lazy like most people. 😉
Final thoughts: Daily Habits to Improve Blood Sugar
Many, many, many people have excessively high blood sugar. It’s a rampant epidemic in our society.
It also leads to tons of terrible health consequences, like amputations, blindness, and many more.
I see the downstream effects of these types of problems every time I work in the emergency room. It’s really catastrophic. But ultimately preventable.
Once you kind of figure out how blood sugar works, it’s fairly easy to improve it.
If you apply at least a few of the daily habits that I explained, you’ll probably see a rapid improvement in your blood sugar.
And if you’re on medication for type 2 diabetes, or prediabetes…there’s a pretty good chance you can get off of some of those, as well. So work with your doctor, and see how it goes.
If you want to learn more about how to use fasting to improve your blood sugar, check out my podcast, which walks you through how to get started with intermittent fasting as a total beginner.