Groggy mornings, fatigue and brain fog are just the beginning when it comes to unstable blood sugars. The final destination? Diabetes, obesity, liver disease and, well, an early death. The little choices we make are integral in keeping us on track for a healthy life – here are 3 foods that help stabilise your blood sugars.
A blood sugar spike happens when there’s a build-up of glucose in the bloodstream, causing our blood sugar levels to hit the roof – it often happens after eating a highly-processed, sugary meal. Signs include headaches, dizziness, numbness in the hands and feet, an increased urge to urinate, fatigue and increased thirst. Sounds pleasant, right? If those signs are sounding familiar to you, (ever wondered why you have to keep hitting the bathroom after your lunch break?) then it could be time for a dietary overhaul.
Take a look at these 3 nutritious foods with known blood-sugar stabilising properties – number 1 might surprise you.
Cacao is an unexpected hero in the fight to stabilise blood sugars – this is because of a flavonoid known as epicatechin, which has been found to help regulate our blood glucose levels. One study found it may even slow the development of type 2 diabetes and drastically reduce insulin resistance. This doesn’t mean it’s open season on chocolate! Some bars are packed with added sugars – so if you want to reap the benefits of cacao, go for its powdered form or go for a dark chocolate bar with a minimum of 80% cacao content – but 90 and up is best for antioxidant, iron and magnesium content. Plus, the healthy fats of a chocolate bar also provide satiety, reduce sugar cravings and help us stay full between meals – meaning less snacking, and fewer sugar crashes.
So, next time you’re at the supermarket, pick up some chocolate – just because you’re going easy on sugar, doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy this nostalgic treat. Just make sure it’s the dark stuff!
The healthy fats in avocado are essential for keeping our blood sugar levels stable – here’s how they do it. The monounsaturated fats in avocado are one of the key players when it comes to reducing the glucose in our bloodstream, which studies have directly proven to achieve this – along with reducing insulin resistance too, meaning we'll have a lower chance of developing diabetes. Win, win! Plus, the medium chain triglycerides have been found to decrease appetite and curb sugar cravings, meaning we won’t have the urge to splurge on those blood sugar-crashing sugary foods many of us have come to rely on. So, add some avo to your morning toast – this is a tasty, nutritious food to keep those blood sugars where they should be.
Quinoa is a complex carbohydrate – meaning it provides slow-release energy to make sure we’re digesting our food slower and absorbing those sugars slower too. These carbs less likely to spike blood sugar levels than their fast-release counterparts like white rice, white bread and white flour. They also provide more consistent energy through the day, therefore preventing blood-sugar spikes and keeping us fuller for longer. Quinoa also boasts an exceptional amount of prebiotic content, which plays a role in gut health, and this is essential for keeping a healthy weight, preventing diabetes and managing cravings. The fibre in quinoa is also important for slowing down sugar absorption and, as a result, lowering blood sugar levels. 19 to 38 grams per day is the current daily intake recommendation, and just one cup of quinoa packs 5 grams of fibre – so next time you’re choosing a side for your veggies and protein, swap the rice out of quinoa.
Of course, there are a range of other nutritious foods to load up on to keep those blood sugar levels in check – take a look at the list:
- Veggies and fruits: The fibre in these foods – in their whole form – are essential for keeping our blood sugars stable. This is because it slows our absorption of sugar, giving us a more balanced supply of energy.
- Nuts and seeds: These are the tasty snacks to prioritise when you get those cravings between meals. Ditch the sugary muesli bars and fast food and grab a handful of nuts instead. These are packed with protein, iron, magnesium and B vitamins – all essential for healthy blood sugars and satiety.
- High-protein foods: Legumes, nuts and seeds, eggs and tofu are excellent sources of protein, which has been found to balance our satiety hormones and balance blood-sugar levels.
- Healthy fats: Monounsaturated fats are a healthy fat found in olive oil and avocados, which studies have found to help balance blood sugars, while medium chain triglycerides – which you’ll find in yoghurt and ghee – keep the sugar cravings to a minimum.
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