As per doctors’ advice, changing one’s lifestyle does wonders in lowering blood sugar levels. The change involves sleeping habits, exercise routines, and, more importantly, eating habits.
One raises his/her blood sugar levels by eating too much of foods that are rich in carbohydrates and protein. Bread, rice, and some fruits are high in carbohydrates and are quickly converted into energy.
Eggs, meat, fish, milk, and other dairy products that are rich in protein also shoot up sugar levels. Intake of these foods isn’t prohibited but should be taken within control.
How does blood sugar increase?
When we eat food, the sugar or glucose in them is absorbed by the blood and carried to the liver. The other half is then transported to other parts of the body, which gives us energy.
This sugar allows us to be active and perform our everyday tasks, no matter how menial or tedious they may be. As a response to the increase of sugar in our blood, the pancreas releases insulin.
Insulin is a hormone made and released by the pancreas that allows our body to use the sugar we get from the food we eat.
It helps us maintain our sugar on the desired level, not too high, which causes hyperglycemia, nor too low, which causes hypoglycemia.
Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks – every time we eat, our blood sugar level increases. For a healthy person, the sugar level goes down after about two hours of eating. When blood sugar levels do not go down after a few hours of eating, this may lead to diabetes and obesity. That is why starting and maintaining a healthy balanced diet is important.
What are the glycemic index and glycemic load?
Knowing the glycemic index of a food is quite important as it allows you to take in food that you like and are still essential.
Carbohydrates and protein do increase blood sugar levels, but it doesn’t mean you will totally avoid them. There are three GI ratings; there’s low that has 55 or less, the medium that is about 56-69, and high that’s 70 or more.
The suggested and preferred food to take are those with low-GI value. These types of foods are digested and absorbed slowly. These types of foods cause a slower and minimal rise in sugar levels.
Do remember that the GI ratings only apple to foods that have carbohydrates. Other types of food, like meat, fish, chicken, dairy products, herbs, and other spices, are not part of this. That is why taking all kinds of food should be in moderation, and always balanced.
The amount of sugar you present in carb-enriched foods you take does not only depend on the type but the amount as well. This is the glycemic load (GL).
Similar to GI, GL also has three classifications: low (10 or less), medium (11-19), and high (20 or more). The GL is a measure of how blood sugar is affected by carbohydrates.
Try to Eat these Foods
For breakfast or snack, try incorporating yogurt into your diet. Probiotics may help improve the digestion of people with diabetes.
The best types of yogurt to consume are sugar-free or pure ones. For added flavor or sweetness, mix it with fruits. Whole fruits like blueberries, grapes, or apples can be mixed with your yogurt, which can be a perfect breakfast or midday snack.
If you are a tea-person, try incorporating lemon in your drink. If you aren’t much of a tea-drinker, add color and flavor to your water or drinks by adding lemon or cucumbers. These aren’t just tasty drinks, but they are low-carb as well.
Craving for some smoothie? Try making a green smoothie. Greens like kale, spinach, and chard are healthy, delicious, and low-carb. They are multipurpose as well.
If you aren’t into smoothies, use them in your salad instead. These greens can also be turned into snacks. Instead of grabbing a bag of chips for snacking, try roasting kale leaves.
Spread the leaves on a pan and drizzle with some olive oil before putting it in the oven. The output will be crunchy kale chips that you can munch on in between meals.
Vegetables like mushrooms, tomatoes, Brussel sprouts, zucchini, eggplant, and onions are low in carbohydrates. They add both color and flavor to your dishes and help you maintain a healthy diet.
If you don’t want to incorporate them in your dishes, boiling them or eating them raw is good too. You can even snack on them together with some dipping sauce like guacamole or hummus.
Other low-GI vegetables also include carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, and celery. Starchy vegetables like corn, yam, and some potatoes are good to consume too.
Lowering one’s blood sugar levels does not equate to negating fats. A little fat is still okay. Try including avocados, olive oil, and fatty fishes like salmon in your diet. Eat an avocado as it is or eat it with whole-grain toast. Use olive oil in your salad or cooking.
For protein, remember to get lean meats. Craving for chicken? Go for chicken breast or skinless chicken. The skin on the chicken has about 80 percent of its fat content. Pork Chops are good too. Just make sure that you trim the fat off as it has two-thirds of its fat content.
Having a healthy diet doesn’t mean skipping on rice. Long-grain or brown rice is better than the typical white short-grain ones. For pasta or noodles, choose soba, rice, and vermicelli noodles. For bread, whole grain or multigrain ones are preferable.
Maintaining good blood sugar levels does not mean your meals will be boring. Be experimental and upgrade your dishes and drinks.
You shouldn’t deprive yourself of foods you like to eat; instead, learn to have a more balanced diet and stick to it. Do remember to consult your doctors first before trying any drastic changes in your eating habits, as well as overall lifestyle.
https://www.otsuka.co.jp/en/health-and-illness/glycemic-index/glucose-level/ https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/low-glycemic-diet#section1 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17992183 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3977406/ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3978819/ https://www.diabetes.co.uk/food/lean-meat.html