One evening when I was a kid, my family was waiting for a table at a Japanese restaurant. My mom was being pretty quiet, and the next thing we knew, she was on the floor. Her blood sugar had crashed, and she fainted. My mom isn’t diabetic or prediabetic, but low blood sugar does run in our family, and she waited too long to eat. On the upside, they seated us right away when she bounced back.
I was lucky enough to inherit this trait from my mom. If I put off eating or eat too many sweets, I get a case of the dizzies, just like she does. Eating foods that help control blood sugar, like the ones below, and practicing habits that support good blood sugar levels have done wonders for me.
Of course, you can’t just do a vinegar shot once a day and check healthy blood sugar levels off of your list. But you can use these foods that control blood sugar to help balance you out, if you’re splurging on the occasional sweet treat.
Foods that Control Blood Sugar
If you think you have a chronic condition, please talk to a doctor. The list below are foods that help control blood sugar. They aren’t a cure for diabetes, prediabetes or hypoglycemia, and they don’t cancel out an overall terrible diet. What they can do is help offset that rotten sugar-crash feeling you get from the occasional over-indulgence in sugar or refined carbs.
A tablespoon of vinegar seems to help reduce the impact on blood sugar and the spike in insulin that usually comes with eating something like a bagel or a sugary treat. It looks like taking a daily shot of vinegar can also help improve your cholesterol and triglyceride numbers.
Strawberries are low in sugar, high in fiber and packed with deliciousness. And they may just help control blood sugar levels. A study found that pairing strawberries with starchy foods helps prevent a spike in blood sugar. Strawberries contain antioxidants that support healthy blood sugar levels, and their low-sugar, high-fiber content is a real one-two punch when it comes to healthy blood sugar, as well.
3. Healthy Fats
Plant-based, high-fat foods like avocado, nuts and seeds are my go-to when it comes to controlling my blood sugar levels. There’s research supporting the idea that adding healthy fats to your diet can make a difference, so pass the cashews, please!
A diet rich in vegetables in general is good for your blood sugar levels, and cruciferous vegetables specifically contain a compound that supports healthy blood sugar levels. A preliminary study looked at very concentrated amounts of this compound to treat diabetes—the equivalent of eating 11 pounds of broccoli per day. More research is needed to see how lower doses impact blood sugar levels in prediabetic patients.
That’s a lot of broccoli, but the good news is, cruciferous veggies also deliver plenty of fiber, which slows sugar absorption, so eating your cruciferous veggies helps control blood sugar any way you slice it.
There’s evidence that one to two teaspoons of ceylon cinnamon can help control the blood sugar spike that you get when you’re taking a blood sugar test (the one where you drink that awful sweet syrup-water, then the doctor tests your blood sugar levels). What’s important, though, is to note that there are different types of cinnamon.
Ceylon cinnamon seems to be helpful in safely controlling blood sugar, but its cousin—cassia cinnamon—can harm your liver at high doses. Unfortunately, if your jar of cinnamon doesn’t specify that it’s ceylon, chances are it’s cassia cinnamon. Some stores do stock ceylon cinnamon, though, and you can find it online.
This one surprised me! Dates are delicious, but they’re also very high in sugar. A study found that dates are actually a low-glycemic food that benefitted participants with diabetes. Pairing dates with yogurt seemed to be even more beneficial. You can find out how to make your own vegan yogurt here.
There is only a little bit of research right now into this mineral—there isn’t even a Recommended Daily Allowance for it yet—but it looks like it may help regulate blood sugar levels. Foods rich in vanadium include: parsley, soy, corn, olive and olive oil, black pepper, dill, radishes and legumes.
8. Plant-Based Protein
Plant-based protein—like beans and nuts—help regulate blood sugar in two ways. Protein helps slow sugar absorption, which can prevent a crash. And unlike animal foods, plant proteins come with a side of fiber, which also supports healthy blood sugar levels. So have another helping of the musical fruit!
There is some evidence that ginger and ginger extracts can help control blood sugar levels. More research is definitely needed in this area, but ginger just plain tastes good and comes with so many other potential health benefits, that it can’t hurt to add it to your day.
Add controlling glucose levels to turmeric’s many health benefits. Both turmeric and turmeric extract seem to be beneficial. If you want to combine the benefits of ginger and turmeric, fix yourself a turmeric latte! If coffee isn’t your thing, you can omit it, and you’re left with delicious golden milk.
Related at Care2:
- Can vinegar help control blood sugar?
- 6 Habits that Help Balance Blood Sugar
- How Blood Sugar Impacts Your Love Life
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