Consistently high blood sugar levels can lead to a variety of health problems, including nerve damage and kidney disease. Chronically high blood glucose levels may occur if your body is resistant to the action of insulin, or if you have diabetes. Taking natural spices to lower blood sugar levels is gaining more attention as research emerges. Consult your doctor before using herbs and spices to treat high blood sugar.
Ginger is commonly used to spice up food and has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. Although it’s better known for its ability to relieve stomach upset and fight cold symptoms, ginger can also lower blood sugar levels, according to MedlinePlus. Talk to your doctor before taking ginger if you are on medications to lower blood sugar, as the combination could lead to dangerously low glucose levels.
Several studies have investigated the effects of the cinnamon on lowering blood sugar levels. In a study published in the “Journal of Medicinal Food” in 2011, researchers found that taking cinnamon whole or in extract form significantly lowered fasting blood glucose levels in people with either type 2 diabetes or prediabetes. prediabetes. One explanation for cinnamon’s effect on blood sugar levels is that it mimics the action of insulin. More research is needed to recommend cinnamon for blood sugar control.
Turmeric is a key ingredient in curry powder -- to which it imparts a golden hue -- and contains several active compounds, including curcumin. In a study published in “Plant Foods for Human Nutrition” in 2002, researchers found that giving turmeric or curcumin to diabetic rats significantly lowered levels of glucose and glycosylated hemoglobin, a marker in your blood that helps your doctor determine your average blood sugar over a few months. More human studies are needed to recommend turmeric for diabetes management.
Word to the Wise
Taking natural spices to lower blood sugar levels might be effective as part of an overall nutritious diet and a lifestyle that includes regular exercise. If you have been diagnosed with prediabetes or diabetes, close monitoring of your blood glucose levels is necessary. Work with your doctor and dietitian to manage your medications and diet.
- MedlinePlus: Ginger
- “Journal of Medicinal Food”; "Cinnamon Intake Lowers Fasting Blood Glucose: Meta-Analysis"; P.A. Davis et al; April 2011
- “Plant Foods for Human Nutrition”; "Efficacy of Turmeric On Blood Sugar And Polyol Pathway In Diabetic Albino Rats"; N. Arun et al; Winter 2002
- National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse: Insulin Resistance and Pre-diabetes
- National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Turmeric