5 Foods That Lower Blood Sugar
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Sep 1, 2020 • 3 min read
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 34.2 million Americans have diabetes, and 88 million—or one in three people—have prediabetes, a serious condition that can lead to type 2 diabetes. The good news: You can play a big role in managing the disease by controlling your blood sugar levels through the food you eat every day.
Here’s how it works: Glucose is a type of sugar you get from food that your body uses for energy. Insulin is a hormone that moves that glucose from your blood into your cells. Every time you eat, your body makes insulin to match up with the new glucose. But if you continue to take in more and more sugar, your body struggles to keep up with insulin production, causing a buildup of glucose in your bloodstream. Enter: Diabetes.
Some types of food can prevent blood sugar levels from increasing, says Julie Stefanski, RDN, a dietitian in York, PA, and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics. Here are five good ones, plus inspired ideas on how to work these foods into your diet.
According to a study in the British Journal of Medicine, a little more than a cup of raw leafy greens is associated with a 14 percent reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes. One possible reason: High levels of antioxidants may reduce inflammation and something called “oxidative stress” in your body, which has been linked with diseases like diabetes.
Top tip: Toss fresh leaves with sliced strawberries, radishes, and almonds for a summer salad; sprinkle steamed spinach with curry powder or cinnamon for a savory side; or add fresh leaves to a boiling pot of soup (no need to cook first).
Of all the foods you eat, carbohydrate-rich ones require the most insulin production in order to be metabolized, which means they raise blood sugar levels the most. Choose fiber-rich whole grains, which cause blood sugar levels to rise more slowly simple carbs, says Stefanski.
Top tip: Swap white rice for wild rice, and white bread for sprouted wheat. Add whole oats to raw hamburger patties before cooking and sprinkle quinoa over salads.
This dip is made from chickpeas, one of the many types of legumes that are beneficial to blood sugar because they are digested slowly thanks to their high fiber content. Science confirms it: People who ate the most legumes had the lowest risk of diabetes in a Clinical Nutrition study.
Top tip: Take a hint from the beans-for-breakfast Brits and spread hummus on whole-grain toast and top with mashed avocado or add black beans to a Southwest-inspired egg scramble.
Thanks to its lack of carbohydrates, this lean protein minimally impacts blood sugar levels. How you prepare it matters, though. “If you bread and fry fish, your body will need insulin to break down the carbohydrates in the breading,” says Stefanski. Try grilling, baking, or roasting instead.
Top tip: Use dill, rosemary, and other herbs to season fish. Lots of flavor without added sugar.
Thanks to the high-fiber content in fruit that slows down digestion, it can be a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth without spiking your blood sugar levels. Choose fresh fruit over dried or canned, and skip the juice, which often contains added sugar.
Top tip: Try adding sour cherries to your diet. They are low on the glycemic index (a list of foods ranked by how much they raise blood sugar), and research suggests they may protect against diabetes.
Many factors come into play with type 2 diabetes, and food alone may not be enough to turn your condition around. If your doctor prescribes medications like metformin, glipizide, or glimepiride, check Blink Health to see if you can fill your Rx for less. (We’ll even deliver it to your home for free!).
This article is not medical advice. It is intended for general informational purposes and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your physician or dial 911.
Blink Health is not insurance. The discount prescription drug provider is Blink Health Administration, LLC, 1407 Broadway, Suite 2100, New York, NY 10018, 1 (844) 265-6444, www.blinkhealth.com.
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