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5 Foods to Support Healthy Blood Sugar

Foods for healthy blood sugar

Although sugar gets a bad rap, it might surprise you to hear that sugar is actually one of the body’s main sources of energy. Sugar, or glucose, enters your bloodstream when your body breaks down carbohydrates into essential nutrients like fiber, starches, and sugar. These essential nutrients, along with fats and proteins, break down even further through digestion into easier-to-absorb macronutrients, like vitamins and minerals, which are then transported throughout your body, giving your cells the energy they need to function properly.

Your body was made to perform at its best when everything is in sync and balanced. If your blood sugar is too high or too low, this creates an imbalance that leads to serious health consequences. Because glucose comes from the foods you consume, it’s important to understand how different types of foods will affect healthy blood sugar levels.

Why Healthy Blood Sugar Is Important

Your blood sugar is a measure of how much glucose is found in your blood. The number of carbohydrates that you eat affects your blood sugar levels. If you eat a lot of carbohydrates, this will likely raise your blood sugar levels. Why is this so important? Unbalanced blood sugar levels can lead to serious health consequences. High blood sugar can lead to health issues and low blood sugar can lead to low energy and discomfort. Because neither extreme is healthy or pleasant, it’s important to stay within a healthy blood sugar range.

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The sugar content in your blood is an indicator of how well your body is processing the food that you eat. Complex carbohydrates, like those found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, are less likely to spike your blood sugar. The Glycemic Index (GI) is a handy resource when you’re trying to understand what foods to eat to maintain a stabilized blood sugar level. The glycemic index is a rating system for carbohydrate-containing foods. This index assigns each food a score based on how that particular food affects your blood sugar level when eaten in isolation when compared to straight glucose. Straight glucose has a GI ranking of 100. Per the Mayo Clinic, foods that have a low GI index score of 55 or lower are less likely to spike your blood sugar, while foods that score 70 and up are considered foods that will likely raise your blood sugar, and sometimes very quickly.

While it’s true that all carbohydrate-rich foods are converted into sugar in our bodies, most foods also have a fiber, protein, and fat content that will also impact how that food affects blood sugar levels. The absolute best foods for healthy blood sugar levels are whole grains, legumes, and non-starchy vegetables. These foods have a low GI score and will go a long way to helping you stabilize your blood sugar. Avoid foods that contain high amounts of sugar, soda, and fruit juice, and any food that does not contain protein, fat, or fiber. Because most foods aren’t eaten in isolation, even if you eat a high GI food, combining that food with healthy fats, fiber-rich foods, and lean protein can divert potential blood sugar swings.

5 Types Of Food That Support Healthy Blood Sugar

Healthy blood sugar levels are easier to achieve when you eat foods that contain a low GI score. Eating more of these 5 different types of foods will support healthy blood sugar levels.

Fiber-Rich Foods

Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that slows down digestion. Because fiber can slow the absorption of sugar and fat from entering your bloodstream, eating foods that are fiber-rich will help prevent spikes in your blood sugar after eating. As an added benefit, It can help you feel fuller longer so you are less likely to overeat. Look for foods that contain plenty of fiber, like whole grains, whole-wheat pasta, and brown rice. Stay away from refined foods, like white bread, pasta, and rice. Through the refinement process, these foods are robbed of their fiber content and will likely spike blood sugar levels when consumed.

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Plant-Based Proteins

Typically, most of the protein that you consume comes from meat and dairy products. But did you know that protein is also found in plants? Foods like spinach, asparagus, brussel sprouts, and lima beans contain plant-based proteins that are great at keeping your blood sugar levels in the optimal range. Plants are also a good source of fiber, which is excellent at slowing down the rate at which carbohydrates are digested, thus slowing the absorption of glucose into your bloodstream through your intestinal lining.

Healthy Fats

Healthy fats work in much the same way as plant-based proteins do. Healthy fats slow down digestion which is key to preventing blood sugar spikes. Introducing more healthy fats for blood sugar, like nuts and seeds, into your diet will prevent blood sugar spikes. Other healthy fats, like olive oil, coconut, and avocado can help stabilize blood sugar as well.

Spices

As simple as it sounds, adding more spices to your diet can help regulate your blood sugar. Spices that regulate healthy blood sugar, like turmeric, ginger, coriander, cinnamon, and cumin accomplish this feat by improving insulin sensitivity and by slowing down the absorption of glucose into your bloodstream.

Fermented Foods

Foods like yogurt, pickled vegetables, and cheese replenish and maintain the good bacteria (probiotics) found naturally in your gut. These microscopic powerhouses work diligently to break down carbohydrates into easily absorbed macronutrients that power all your cellular activity on a daily basis. Because fermented foods are easier to digest, they reduce the overall load on the pancreas which allows your insulin levels to stay balanced, preventing spikes in blood sugar and the occurrence of insulin resistance. And don’t forget that prebiotic foods are what feed the good bacteria in your gut. Eating plenty of prebiotic foods like garlic, onions, leeks, and bananas will ensure your microscopic powerhouses have plenty of energy to do their work.

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*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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