If your blood glucose level is high, eating more may help bring it down. While that may be the last thing you expected to hear, studies have shown that certain foods and nutrients can actually help your body to better control blood glucose, making it easier to manage diabetes. So before you sit down to your next meal or snack, think of ways to squeeze in these delicious sugar-busters!
If you love your food on the spicy side, you are in luck! Hot peppers have been found to contain many health benefits, from helping to reduce blood pressure to increasing the amount of calories you burn each day, which helps you shed excess body weight. But one of the most exciting benefits hot peppers may offer is its ability to help reduce insulin resistance. When your cells are resistant to insulin, they don’t allow it to carry glucose into your cells. This means the glucose stays in your blood stream, where it increases over time. Capsaicin, the chemical found in hot peppers that gives them most of their health benefits, may help reverse insulin resistance. An animal study published in the April 2010 edition of Obesity found that eating capsaicin over a ten-week period lowered insulin resistance in obese mice. These studies may mean that the human body, as well, can react similarly to capsaicin! We don’t know for sure yet, but eating this healthy veggie definitely can’t hurt. Mix hot peppers into stir-fries, add pepper flakes into your favorite dishes, or even sprinkle ground hot pepper onto eggs or soups for great flavor and a blood glucose-lowering boost!
This well-known superfood has been shown to have many health benefits. But broccoli may also play a major role in helping to control diabetes. Broccoli is an excellent source of alpha lipoic acid, an acid that has been shown to help improve blood glucose levels in those with diabetes by improving insulin sensitivity. In fact, a study at Germany’s Max Grundig Clinic found that alpha lipoic acid improved insulin sensitivity by an average of 27 percent in individuals with type 2 diabetes. This nutrient can really pack a punch when it comes to your health! Raw, steamed, or sautéed, no matter how you choose to enjoy it, broccoli can give you a leg up on the fight against diabetes.
It might sound too good to be true: potatoes can improve blood glucose?! For years, people with diabetes have been told to avoid potatoes because they may spike blood glucose, but that advice is outdated. Certain potatoes, specifically sweet potatoes, do not need to be avoided. In fact, they should be eaten on a regular basis to help improve blood glucose control. That’s because sweet potatoes are rich in the compound chlorogenic acid, which can help decrease insulin resistance. In addition, chlorogenic acid can also help you to shed more body fat by increasing thermogenesis, the natural process in which the body burns fat for energy. And if you really want a great bang for your buck, top your sweet potato with cinnamon. This sweet seasoning contains the active compound methylhydroxychalcone polymer (MHCP), which makes fat cells more receptive to insulin.
If you have diabetes, no doubt you have, at some point, considered avoiding carbohydrates or giving up grains to improve your blood glucose levels. However, doing this will not necessarily help. In fact, giving up whole grains may even make it harder to control blood glucose levels. Why? Consuming whole grains can actually help you to shed excess visceral fat (also known as belly fat), the fat that increases insulin resistance and makes blood glucose more difficult to control. In addition, the high fiber content of whole grains can help slow digestion. This slowed digestion prevents blood glucose from increasing too quickly, which in turn helps to keep insulin levels lower. So the next time you reach for a grain, make sure it is 100% whole grain so that you’re reaping all the benefits possible. Look at the ingredient list of the food. The first ingredient should list the word “whole,” as in “whole wheat” or “whole oats.”