For most of us, balancing our blood sugar level is something we take for granted, or at least don’t think about too much on a daily basis, but then again, most of us don’t know what our blood sugar level is either. However, for many people, dealing with blood sugar levels is part of a daily routine and for some even a matter of life or death.
In fact, it’s something we should all pay attention to as chronic high blood sugar levels are toxic to your body, destroying organs and blood vessels and paving the way to a heart attack, type 2 diabetes, stroke, dialysis, nerve damage, erectile dysfunction, or even blindness. Fortunately, there is a natural way of keeping your blood sugar levels in check, or if needed, to lower blood sugar, by eating the right foods and incorporating them into your regular diet.
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A study published in the Journal of Nutrition in 2010 found that due to their bioactive ingredients, a daily dose of blueberries increases sensitivity to insulin and may help reduce the risk of developing diabetes in at-risk individuals. (1)
The reason this is so important is that too many carbs can produce excess insulin, which can in turn, lead to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
Yes, Avocados are high in fat, but it’s good fat! They are full of monounsaturated fat which helps slow the release of sugars into the bloodstream, which means less insulin release. Avocados also contain beta-sitosterol, a compound that can reduce inflammation after an intense workout. You can limit yourself to a quarter of an avocado at a time to avoid calorie overload, or, try avocado oil drizzled on a fresh salad or veggies.
Chi seeds are an ancient gluten-free grain which can stabilize blood sugar, help manage the effects of diabetes, improve insulin sensitivity and aid symptoms related to metabolic syndrome, including imbalances in cholesterol, higher blood pressure, and extreme rises in blood sugar levels after meals. Chia seeds are also potent anti-inflammatory agents and contain fiber, magnesium, potassium, folic acid, iron, and calcium.
A 2003 study in the Journal of Diabetes Care found that cinnamon may cause muscle and liver cells to respond more readily to insulin and consequently help improve weight loss. Better response to insulin means better blood sugar balance and, therefore, less insulin released into your body.(2)
In particular; Ceylon cinnamon also appeared to help reduce risk factors linked to cardiovascular disease, including high blood sugar and levels of triglycerides, LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, and total cholesterol. Half a teaspoon a day, taken for 20 days should improve your insulin response and lower blood sugar by up to 20%.
Don’t be deceived, although mangos taste very sugary and sweet, this delicious fruit may actually lower blood sugar according to research published in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolic Insights. “Our results indicate that daily consumption of 10 grams of freeze-dried mango, which is equivalent to about one-half of a fresh mango [about 100 grams], may help lower blood sugar in obese individuals,” explains Edralin Lucas, PhD, an associate professor of nutritional sciences at Oklahoma State University’s College of Human Sciences and lead study author.(3)
Mangos are actually great fruit as they contain more than 20 different vitamins and minerals including vitamins C and A, folate, and fiber. Plus, they are on the EWG Clean 15 list, with 88% of mangos having no pesticide residue. (4)
According to an animal study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, a food-seasoning mixture which contained various spices improved metabolism of both glucose and cholesterol and reduced blood sugar and insulin levels. Fenugreek seed and turmeric are particularly antidiabetic, but in some studies cumin seed, ginger, mustard, curry leaf, and coriander also showed diabetes-fighting properties. (5)
Olive oil is rich in the same monounsaturated fat found in avocados which helps prevent belly fat accumulation, but also helps with insulin resistance. Just as an added bonus, Olive oil encourages the release of the appetite-suppressing hormone; leptin.
A study published in 2008 in the International Journal of Obesity found that overweight and obese people who ate two eggs a day for breakfast, lost 65% more weight than those eating a similar breakfast without eggs. (6) The researchers surmised that eating eggs controls hunger by reducing post meal insulin response and controls appetite by preventing large fluctuations in both glucose and insulin levels. Subsequent studies have also shown that people who eat eggs for breakfast tend to eat fewer calories over the next 36 hours.
Vinegar has been found to blunt blood sugar and insulin increases, as well as heighten the sensation of fullness after a high-carbohydrate meal. An Arizona State University study (7) found that people who started a meal with a vinegar drink enjoyed better blood sugar and insulin profiles following the meal. The blood sugar–balancing effect of vinegar seems to work even better in people with pre-diabetes, compared with people with normal insulin sensitivity. Look for white or apple cider vinegar, but avoid balsamic as it contains more sugar.
Cherries, although sweet and delicious, contain naturally occurring chemicals known as anthocyanins, which can help lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. A study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that anthocyanins help to reduce insulin production by 50%. As a bonus, Anthocyanin, found in cherries, is believed to also help protect against heart disease and cancer. (8)