What if you could be confident that the foods you eat would lower your blood sugar instead of raising it? You can be… as long as you choose the right foods. Next to the fresh vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats, try putting some of these diabetes-fighting foods on your next plate!
Apple Cider Vinegar
There has been quite a bit of hype recently about apple cider vinegar. The good news is, apple cider vinegar does have positive effects on blood sugar. Research studies have found that just 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before bed can reduce morning blood sugar by 4%. It also reduced blood sugar by over 30% when participants took it after consuming white bread. Overall, apple cider vinegar has quite the impact on lowering blood sugar levels and improving insulin sensitivity, especially for individuals with type II diabetes. If a shot of apple cider vinegar isn’t your thing, use it to toss your salad greens in for a light, bright tasting dressing.
Low in calories, rich in fiber and essential nutrients, artichokes are a great addition to your diet. Just one medium artichoke accounts for nearly half of the recommend daily fiber intake for women, and a third for men. Fiber is crucial for managing blood sugar!
Research has also shown that eating avocados can have a positive impact on insulin levels. Monounsaturated fats help boost insulin function, and aid in keeping blood sugar lower and more stable. An avocado is a great source of fiber, which helps to regulate blood sugar, as well. Because of their glorious fat content, avocados are high in calories, so enjoy your avocado in 1-ounce servings, which is about 2 to 3 slices or about 1/4 of a small avocado.
Beans and Lentils
One cup of cooked red kidney beans contains 13 grams of fiber, a cup of black beans has 15 grams of fiber, and white beans contain over 18 grams per cup. In addition to their high fiber content, beans, as well as lentils (which are composed of 40% fiber), contain a starch that is more slowly absorbed into the bloodstream, helping to keep blood sugar stable.
Loaded with fiber and antioxidants, raspberries and blackberries top the list with more than 7 grams of fiber per cup. Blueberries are also a great source of vitamins and soluble fiber. Studies have found that glucose levels reduce over time when blueberries are included in one’s diet. In fact, in one study by the USDA, consuming 2 ½ cups of fresh blueberry juice per day lowered blood glucose levels, improved depression symptoms, and sharpened memory.
Boosted immunity, better blood sugar control, sharper vision, anti-inflammatory properties, reduced anxiety and lower blood pressure. These are just a few of the benefits attributed to the combination of omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals in chia seeds.
The health benefits of cocoa include relief from high blood pressure, cholesterol, constipation, chronic fatigue syndrome and various other illnesses. Cocoa has also been shown to improve insulin resistance and help the body metabolize glucose. The antioxidant component of cocoa has been found to battle free radicals, reducing cell and tissue damage. Cocoa also possesses mood-enhancing properties and is rich in minerals such as iron, magnesium, calcium, zinc, and potassium.
Garlic has been revered as a contributor to better health for centuries. Research is starting to suggest that it may even show promise for lowering blood sugar. A 2005 study which administered garlic orally to diabetic rats recorded significant decreases in blood glucose. Researchers also found that garlic can lower total cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and increase insulin production.
Research has shown that eating almonds may contribute to better blood sugar control. This is thought to be due to the high concentration of magnesium found in almonds, as higher magnesium levels have been connected to better insulin resistance. Studies has also shown that pistachios help stabilize blood sugar after participants consumed a meal high in carbohydrates. Improved blood vessel function was also observed after eating pistachios.
The world has been enjoying the health benefits of olives and olive oil for thousands of years. Those benefits are due to healthy fats, phytonutrients, as well as, a variety of vitamins and antioxidants. A team of Virginia Tech researchers discovered that the compound oleuropein found in olives encourages the body to secrete more insulin, helping to reduce blood sugar and better control diabetes! Olive oil is at its freshest, utmost delicious, and most nutritious when it is freshly squeezed, so try buying your olive oil online instead of from the grocery store.
Greek yogurt is thicker and creamier than traditional yogurt. Greek yogurt differs from traditional yogurt in that it goes through a process to remove the whey. As a result of this process, Greek yogurt contains 40 percent less sugar and more than double the amount of protein found in traditional yogurt. The best yogurt option is plain, full-fat Greek yogurt. Be sure to always choose the full-fat version, if not, you are guaranteed to consume added sugar! For flavor and sweetness, top with fresh berries or a swirl of raw honey.
All of these foods are delicious, nutritious, and can help contribute to lower blood sugar levels. What a wonderful thing, using food as medicine. No excuses – go get to eating, and start enjoying lower blood sugar today!