It’s no exaggeration: Balancing your blood sugar could be a matter of life and death. Chronic high blood sugar levels can wreak havoc with our internal organs and blood vessels.
Diabetes and prediabetes pave the way to a heart attack, stroke, dialysis, nerve damage, erectile dysfunction, and even blindness.
The good news is that out-of-control blood sugars can be reigned in and regulated by eating the right foods. In fact, doing so may be as effective as medication for many people.
“You know that ‘hangry’ feeling when you want to bite somebody’s head off? That feeling of fatigue and brain fog? Do you ever feel shaky, sweaty and lightheaded? These are often signs that your blood sugar levels are out of whack,” says Tara Gidus Collingwood, team dietitian for the Orlando Magic NBA team and author of “The Flat Belly Cookbook for Dummies.”
What you eat also plays an important role in how your blood sugars spike during the day, says Collingwood. And while sweets, pasta, bread, and potatoes are the most well-known culprits in high blood sugar, they’re not the only ones.
Certain foods, too, tend to stabilize blood sugar. The next time you crave a snack choose these foods:
Blueberries. A groundbreaking study published in the Journal of Nutrition found a daily dose of the active ingredients in blueberries increases sensitivity to insulin and may reduce the risk of developing diabetes in at-risk individuals. Collingwood explains that these tasty berries are high in phytochemicals and antioxidants as well as fiber and vitamin C.
Avocados. These staples of Mexican foods are full of healthy, monounsaturated fats, the kind that help slow the release of sugars into the bloodstream and reduce inflammation. They also provide protection for the hart.
Cinnamon. A study in the Journal Diabetes Cure showed that this aromatic spice causes muscle and liver cells to respond more readily to insulin. Eating a mere ½ teaspoon daily for 20 days is enough to improve your insulin response and lower blood sugar levels up to 20 percent.
This Mediterranean Diet staple is rich in the same monounsaturated fats found in avocados. It prevents not only belly fat accumulation but insulin resistance. “Cooking with olive oil can set your meal up to increase insulin sensitivity through the day,” says Collingwood.
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