For people who are prediabetic, diabetic or have other conditions that affect blood sugar, practices such as maintaining a healthy body weight, exercising regularly, staying hydrated and reducing stress levels are key- but perhaps the most important factor is diet. Those who have to closely monitor their blood sugar levels may often have a difficult time knowing which foods they can enjoy on a daily basis and which foods they should limit. In this article, we will be discussing 7 foods that have been shown to help reduce blood sugar levels.
Non-starchy vegetables such as cabbage, artichokes, broccoli, green beans and asparagus are encouraged for those who are hoping to lower or regulate their blood sugar because they contain vitamins and minerals as well as trace sugar and fiber. These are balanced foods that will not cause spikes in blood sugar. We recommend buying fresh, frozen or canned vegetables that are low in sodium.
Oats contain a special compound called B-glucans, which has been shown to help reduce insulin responses after meals maintain glycemic control. Because oatmeal has a low glycemic index, it’s a healthier alternative to breakfast cereals that typically contain lots of sugar. You can add a scoop of nut butter or fresh fruit to your oatmeal to provide texture and a touch of sweetness and added flavor. Make sure you are consuming steel-cut or old-fashioned oats instead of sweetened instant oatmeal.
Cinnamon & Tumeric
These two spices are notorious for lowering inflammation (which increases your risk for blood sugar spikes) but also improving insulin sensitivity and lowering hemoglobin levels. Tumeric can be taken in a supplemental form or easily added to any savory dish, and cinnamon is delicious sprinkled on your morning oatmeal or in a protein shake.
Unlike other simple carbohydrates, citrus fruits contain ample amounts of fiber in the skin and pulp. Fiber slows down digestion, which means blood sugar stays stable. They also contain ample amounts of water to balance the naturally occurring sugars. Of course, all fruits should be consumed in moderation.
High-quality olive oil is not only part of a heart-healthy diet, but has been shown to lower levels of blood sugar in patients with diabetes. In fact, recent studies suggest that it reduces blood sugar and cholesterol more than any other fat. Other cooking oils such as canola, vegetable or peanut oil contain high-amounts of inflammatory compounds, which increases risk for blood sugar spikes.
Chia & Flaxseeds
The American Heart Association claims that incorporating these seeds into your diet can help reduce cholesterol, blood pressure and elevated blood sugar levels. In fact, several studies have shown that consuming a 1 oz mixture of chia seeds and water reduced blood sugar levels by as much as 39%. Add flax or chia into your smoothie, bowl of yogurt or oatmeal- you won’t even detect it!
Hydration is key to all functions in the body, but especially regulating blood sugar. Having high glucose levels can increase your risk for dehydration, so replenishing the body with plenty of water and mineral-rich beverages is important. Herbal teas (hot or iced) such as green tea, hibiscus, lemon balm and chamomile are another great option and have all been shown to offer antidiabetic benefits.