Everyone should be concerned with how they can maintain healthy blood sugar levels. High blood sugar levels can result in serious health complications including eye disease (retinopathy), nerve disease (neuropathy), kidney disease (nephropathy) and cardiovascular disease.There are several ways to lower your blood sugar levels, including exercise and medicine. But what if you could lower your blood sugar without breaking a sweat, or taking a pill or injection? What if you could use food to lower blood sugar? This is something that may prove the be one of many methods of early diabetes prevention.
What Is the Glycemic Index?
The glycemic index was originally created to help people suffering from diabetes to know which carbohydrate-containing foods were more likely to cause severe spikes in blood sugar levels. The index rates foods on a scale from 1 to 100, with pure glucose rated 100. Foods with a glycemic-index (GI) rating of 55 or lower, like whole or multi grains, take longer to absorb into the body and help to main stable blood sugar levels. Foods rated 70 and higher are more likely to cause blood sugar spikes, and consumption should be avoided or limited.
A general rule of thumb is that white foods, like sugar or white flour, are bad for your blood sugar. Choose whole-grain bread over white bread and whole-wheat pasta rather than traditional white pasta. Moderate amounts of healthy fat and/or protein can lower the rate at which carbohydrates are emptied out of your stomach, also minimizing spikes in blood sugar. High fiber foods are also good in lowering your blood sugar.
Eat whole grains; they are low glycemic. Use them as an alternative to higher glycemic foods like white flour, white bread, pasta, rice and potatoes. This simple replacement of the types of grains you eat can lower your blood sugar levels. Good choices for whole grain include barley, 100% whole wheat breads, whole wheat pasta, and some types of oatmeal. These foods contain reasonable amounts of fiber as well.
Add a variety of legumes to your diet. Most legumes lower the impact on your blood sugar because they have a low glycemic index. An Indian legume known as Chana Dal, is one of the lowest ranked foods in the glyemic index. Legumes are also a good source of fiber and protein.
Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables that have a low glycemic rating. Good fruits to choose include grapefruit and cherries. As far as vegetables are concerned, there is a connection between a higher consumption of green leafy vegetables and a lowered risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Fruits and vegetables are also excellent sources of fiber.
Sometimes eating the right foods to lower blood sugar may involve cooking them the right way. Al dente pasta is much lower in terms of glycemic index than regular pasta. Pressure cooked foods end up with higher glycemic indexes than the same foods cooked without pressure cooking. Overcooking any food will break down the starches in the food and it will have a greater potential to rise your blood sugar.
With all this talking, what has been said?
Using foods to lower blood sugar is very effective. However, dietary interventions should only be considered part of an effort to lower your blood sugar. Exercise can prove to be just as important in lowering your blood sugar. If both diet and exercise do not help, you should consult your physician to see if medicine will work to help keep your blood sugar in check. Finally, keep in mind that anyone who is serious about lowering their blood sugar should consider having a blood sugar meter handy to gauge their progress.