A healthy body is highly adept at aiding in the maintenance of normal blood sugar levels. However, high blood sugar, a condition known as hyperglycemia, can be detrimental to the body, and if left untreated could lead to dehydration, coma, and even death.
Spikes in blood sugar levels can be caused simply by certain types of foods. Refined, white grains, sugary foods, and processed foods all drastically increase sugar levels and are simultaneously high in fat and low in nutrition and fiber, components of foods that can decrease risk for blood sugar abnormalities. Waffles and pancakes, donuts, chips, pretzels, and millet are high in simple carbohydrates and cause some of the greatest spikes in blood sugar. Trade these foods for healthier foods and blood sugar levels should remain low and stabilized.
Foods high in soluble fiber will help regulate blood sugar, keeping sugar levels low. According to the Mayo Clinic, soluble fiber decreases the speed at which sugar is absorbed by the body. In this way, fiber acts as a barrier to protect the body from a blood sugar spike. Mayo Clinic also states that soluble fiber has been recently linked to a decreased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Soluble fiber can be found in beans, particularly Lima, navy, black, and pinto beans. Oatmeal is another source of soluble fiber, as are peas, apples, citrus fruits, carrots, and barley.
Peanuts and nut butter are rich in healthy fats, fiber, and protein, all of which help prevent sugar spikes. Nuts, on their own, do not raise blood glucose levels and when eaten with carbohydrate-rich foods, help stave off blood sugar spikes due to their unique macronutrient makeup. Award winning health writer Alice Lesch Kelly also argues that nuts and nut butters lower risk for type 2 diabetes in women by almost 30 percent.
Fruits high in vitamin C and the antioxidant naringen also can lower blood sugar levels and aid in metabolizing sugar throughout the body to maintain healthy glucose levels. Grapefruit, tomatoes, oranges, and tangelos, for example, all contain naringen. Researchers in the Department of Cardiology at Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University in China found that naringen can decrease the affects of metabolic syndrome (also known as insulin resistance).
The glycemic index helps classify various foods by their carbohydrate makeup and their affect on blood sugar levels. Foods and drinks that rank low on the glycemic index chart, also known as low GI foods, demonstrate a lesser impact on blood sugar levels. To treat high blood sugar and maintain normal glucose levels, create a diet that revolves mostly around foods with a low glycemic index rating. Low GI foods also aid in weight loss and help prevent other serious and chronic illnesses such as heart disease and even some cancers. Examples of low GI foods include whole grains, peanuts, artichoke, asparagus, peppers, spinach, squash, tomatoes, cucumber, celery, and other vegetables.
There are also ways to leverage the spices you use to season your foods to improve insulin’s ability to respond to glucose levels in the blood. Anti-infammatory and antioxidant-rich foods such as cinnamon and cloves are two spices that help tremendously in filtering glucose into the body’s cells.
There are many ways to augment your body’s natural glucose regulating systems. Perhaps the easiest way is through diet change. By making a conscious effort to consume foods with low GI ratings, swapping some of your favorite processed foods where necessary, you can significantly reduce your blood sugar levels.