8 Everyday Foods That Help Regulate Blood Sugar
Can you improve blood sugar with certain foods?
We focus a lot on balancing blood sugar because it is so important as we get older. Keeping blood sugar steady leads to steady moods, weight loss and just feeling better overall.
In the video and post below we discuss specific foods that can help support healthy blood sugar. While there are many foods that negatively affect blood sugar, and many that have a neutral effect, these 8 foods have been researched to have a modest positive effect. Keep in mind no one food is going to be a magic bullet. Healthy blood sugars are ultimately a combination of your overall diet and are even influenced by things such as stress, exercise and sleep. But, including more of these foods into your weekly meals can give you an extra edge.
1. Fermented foods. Gut microbes (good bacteria) found in fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kim chi, yogurt, kefir, and miso can help improve overall gut health. Better gut health can in turn have a beneficial impact on blood sugar. There has been some research showing fermented foods also influence insulin levels and may impact the signaling of leptin, our hunger hormone. This directly influences cravings and food intake.
2. Avocado. Plant based monounsaturated fatty acids with lots of fiber, which will also help to feed your good gut microbes. The combo of fat and fiber can help prevent blood sugar spikes. Fat is mostly in the form of healthy unsaturated fat and even just half an avocado has a generous 7g fiber. As an added benefit, monounsaturated fat can help lower LDL and blood pressure.
3. Nuts. Research has shown that eating nuts may be an effective way to help regulate blood sugar levels. This may be due to a combination of their magnesium, fiber, protein and healthy fat.
One small study in 25 people with type 2 diabetes showed that consuming nuts as part of a low carb diet reduced both fasting and post-meal blood sugar levels.
An analysis of 12 studies found that tree nuts improve glycemic control in individuals with type 2 diabetes, supporting their inclusion in a healthy diet.
But be careful! It is easy to get caught up in eating too many nuts–we suggest keeping to about ¼ – ½ cup max per day.
- Like nuts, pumpkin seeds are particularly high in magnesium and eating a diet high in magnesium has been linked to a reduced risk of diabetes. A recent study found that eating 2 oz pumpkin seeds with a meal reduced post meal blood sugars by 35%.
- Flax seeds–a review of 25 controlled studies found that eating flax seeds led to significant improvements in blood sugar control: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29228348/
- Chia seeds–Studies have linked chia seed consumption to reductions in blood sugar levels and improvements in insulin sensitivity. I t also seems as if chia has the ability to convert glucose into a slow-release carbohydrate and affect satiety to a greater extent than flax: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28000689/
5. BERRIES. Contain carbs but are the high amounts of fiber in them lowers net carbs and slows digestion. This helps with blood sugar management. Berries can improve insulin sensitivity and they contain more antioxidants than almost any other fruit. They lower inflammation too, which also helps with blood sugar.
6. Cruciferous vegetables. These would be broccoli, brussels sprouts or cabbage. These vegetables have high sulforaphane content. Sulforaphane is a natural plant compound found in many cruciferous vegetables. It is highest in broccoli sprouts. It is activated only when vegetables are chopped or chewed. Sulforaphane has recently been found to reduce blood sugar levels by up to 10% in patients with type 2 diabetes, so its good for blood sugar and insulin sensitivity. Raw or lightly steamed is best for the sulforaphane activity.
7. Mushrooms. These are low on the glycemic index, and also contain beta-glucans, a form of soluble dietary fiber. Beta-glucans have been found to reduce blood sugar levels in clinical trials.
8. Vinegar. Just 4 tsp (a little over 1 TBS) of ACV diluted in water can blunt post meal blood sugar and lower insulin spikes. Some research also shows thay 1 TBS daily can help with lowering cholesterol and triglycerides too.
Other studies have shown that having ACV at bedtime can help reduce fasting morning blood sugars, mainly from the acetic acid’s effect on slowing down the rate at which your body breaks glucose down.
Just be careful if you have acid reflux or an ulcer that this doesn’t make your symptoms worse.
So what do you think? Do you incorporate these foods regularly?
In our Simply Nourished Transformational program, we help women over 50 learn how to incorporate high nutrition so they can balance their blood sugar, lose weight and feel great. It is not another diet that will leave you feeling deprived and wondering what to do next, but a holistic habit and lifestyle changing program. We open up a few spots each month into this transformational program. Reach out to us to see if we currently have space and if it is a good fit for you.
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Jane and Stephanie, creators of The Simply Nourished Solution™, are nutritionists who help women over 50 go from overweight, frustrated, and inflamed to lighter and healthier so they can be more active, feel good in their bodies, and live the second half of life with energy and confidence. Their 3-pronged approach, which can fit into any lifestyle, encompasses not only wholesome energizing foods but powerful habit and mindset shifts.
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