Diabetes is a problem that many people around the world struggle with. When a person suffers from diabetes, either their body fails to produce enough insulin or does not use the produced insulin correctly. Both these parameters lead to glucose accumulating in the blood, which leads to a plethora of problems ranging from exhaustion to heart disease. One of the best ways to control our blood sugar levels is to follow a healthy diet. So, what are the foods that help in lowering blood sugar? Here’s a look at an effective diet that will help reduce your blood sugar levels.
What Is the Glycemic Index?
The Glycemic Index, known popularly as GI, effectively measures the effect that various types of foods have on our blood sugar levels. Therefore, to control your blood sugar levels by eating a healthy diet, people should watch the GI of different foodstuffs. In general, consuming food that has small or medium GI will help prevent spikes in blood sugar levels. Also, having foods and beverages that our body absorbs slowly works out well, as this prevents sudden spikes and drips in sugar levels. Furthermore, to balance meals, people should combine food items that have a high and low GI.
Best Foods Lower Blood Sugar
1. Whole wheat and pumpernickel bread
Bread, which is rich in carbs, tends to be high GI foods. However, pumpernickel has a low GI score as it has fewer carbs than other types of bread. Since processing removes fiber content, it fastens the process of digestion, which leads to sugar spikes.
Most fruits other than pineapples and melons have low GI scores of around 55. Since most fruits have a lot of water and fiber, that balances out the higher fructose content in them. However, fruit juices have very high GI scores as the skinning and processing gets rid of the fibrous skin and all the seeds within, while also adding sugar.
3. Sweet potatoes/ yams
While regular potatoes have a high GI score, sweet potatoes and yams are more nutritious and have a lower GI score. The flesh of such potatoes contains more fiber making them more healthy than their regular counterparts.
4. Oatmeal and bran
Oats contain a lot of B-glucans, which help in regulating glycemic control. Therefore, eating oats can prevent spikes and falls in blood sugar levels. B-glucan also helps with improving insulin sensitivity, maintaining glycemic control, reducing lipids, and reducing insulin response right after meals.
Most nuts contain high amounts of dietary fiber, leading to GI scores of 55 or less. They also provide a lot of phytonutrients, unsaturated fatty acids, and antioxidants, making them super healthy.
Legumes, such as chickpeas, beans, peas, and lentils, have very low GI scores, while also being a good source of nutrition. Since they contain a lot of fiber and complex carbohydrates, they do not cause spikes in blood sugar.
Garlic is a part of many traditional diabetes medicines as it improves insulin sensitivity and secretion. This makes it easy for garlic to improve blood sugar problems and prevent diabetes.
8. Cold-water fish
Since fish and other types of meat contain very few carbs, they do not usually have GI scores. Also, cod helps reduce the risk of having type 2 diabetes. Cold-water fish include the likes of saithe, cod, haddock, and pollock.
Eating plain yogurt every day can significantly reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Plain yogurt is a diabetes-safe food as it has a low GI score. However, make sure you avoid sweetened and flavored yogurts, as they have quite high GI scores.
Ways to Lower Blood Sugar Levels
- Eat a healthy and well-balanced diet
- Reduce intake of foods rich in sugar and carbs
- Stay hydrated and drink a lot of water
- Try to avoid caffeinated drinks and sodas
- Exercise regularly
- Eat smaller portions, more frequently
- Never skip meals if you can help it
- Meditate, and try out other means to reduce stress
- Lose weight if necessary, and try to stay away from obesity
- Maintain a healthy body weight
However, in case you are facing a lot of severe symptoms, it is best to consult a doctor. In case you have a high occurrence of diabetes, you will have to take medications for it. Visit a good doctor, and explain your family history to them, to get a prescription of the best medicines. Furthermore, such people will have to check their blood sugar levels regularly to prevent sudden surges or drops.
Can You Reverse Prediabetes By Following a Healthy Diet?
Prediabetes is the state between a healthy body and the onset of diabetes. It occurs when your blood sugar levels are higher than usual, but not high enough to be considered Type 2 diabetes. There have been several cases where people were able to come back from the brink, thanks to a healthy diet. While it is not possible to reverse diabetes once it develops, you can avoid such a situation by focusing on eating a proper diet and working out regularly. By incorporating low GI foods in your diet, you can prevent developing diabetes. However, for this to work, you also need to work out regularly and avoid overeating.
Other Diabetes-Friendly Foods
- Improve insulin sensitivity
- Contain monounsaturated fatty acids
- Healthy impact on blood pressure
- Lowers risk of metabolic syndrome
- Have a low GI
- Contain omega-3 fatty acids
- Doesn’t raise blood sugar levels
- Protein increases satiety
- Low in unhealthy fats
- Lower GI score
- Contains Anthocyanins, which protect against diabetes
Apple cider vinegar
- Contains acetic acid which prevents the accumulation of certain enzymes in the stomach
- Improves insulin sensitivity
- High in fiber
- Contains magnesium and vitamin A
- Lowers blood sugar
- Deficient GI score, ranging between 2 and 4.
- High in fiber
- Contains healthy fats and omega-3s
- Full of nutrients like calcium, and antioxidants
- Help lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides
- GI score of 1
High blood sugar can lead to a lot of health complications that are difficult to deal with. Due to bad eating habits and a sedentary lifestyle, diabetes is becoming more common by the day. Studies show that somewhere between 12 and 14% of American adults had type 2 diabetes, with over 37% being prediabetic. Choose to live a more active life to prevent developing diabetes. You can opt for more diabetes-friendly foods as the ones mentioned above to combat prediabetes. However, make sure you couple this with regular workouts to walk towards a healthier life.