Foods to lower blood sugar
By Dr Sophie Duggan
Eat your way to lower blood sugar
Obesity has reached epidemic proportions. Continuous snacking can lead to diabetes, which in turn can cause an array of problems, including impotence, loss of eyesight and kidney failure. Raised blood sugar and obesity go hand in hand: lowering blood sugar is something that everyone needs to act on.
The many ways in which eating the right foods can lower your blood sugar could fill a whole book. Here, we highlight four key foods that will kickstart your body back to health: chillis, slow-release carbs (especially oats and barley), magnesium-rich foods and white button mushrooms.
Feel the heat, tame the sugar – the power of chillies
Chillies don’t just make your mouth feel hot. The receptors that create a fiery taste, known as TRPV1, are found across your whole digestive system, and when activated, work on a range of processes that lower blood sugar.
Studies have shown that capsaicin, the substance that gives chilli its hot taste, increases insulin sensitivity, restores damaged insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, lowers body fat (especially abdominal fat), and increases metabolic rate by promoting conversion of white fat to energy-burning brown fat.
And if hot food isn’t your thing, the good news is that you can still obtain similar benefits from eating sweet red bell peppers, which are rich in capsiate, a close relative of capsaicin.
Beta-glucans, oats and barley
If countering raised blood sugar were a war, the stomach would be a key strategic bridge. This is where food is broken down, and, if the process is too fast, glucose can emerge too quickly. To lower blood sugar, choosing unprocessed, slow-release carbs is essential.
It turns out, though, that in addition to slower breakdown, oats and barley are capable of slowing the rate at which the stomach itself empties, helping to lower blood sugar even further. This is through the action of a substance known as “beta-glucan”, present in the cell walls of certain cereals. Seaweed and shiitake mushrooms are also good sources of beta-glucan.
Your cells need magnesium
After glucose crosses the walls of the digestive system, it makes its way in the blood to the cells. But there remains one last obstacle – the cell walls themselves. Without a well-tuned insulin response, the cellular glucose ports won’t open. And, of course, there can be no lifestyle more damaging to your insulin sensitivity than the stressful, sedentary, sugar-rich Western way of life.
Restoring optimal insulin response and lower blood sugar depends on a number of lifestyle changes. Eating foods high in magnesium is one of them. Magnesium actually works within the cell itself, priming the chemical pathways that permit smooth, efficient glucose transport. To get more magnesium into your diet, eat more pumpkin seeds, almonds, spinach, cashews and black beans.
Happy guts are healthy guts
A rapidly-growing body of research has shown the link between a good gut “micro-biome” and good health, including lower blood sugar. At Penn State University in 2010, for example, researchers took two groups of mice – one with a normal gut and one specially-bred to possess a sterile gut, acting as a control – and fed them a daily serving of white button mushrooms. They found that the mice with a non-sterile gut experienced an increase in levels of Prevotella, a gut bacteria that can help to lower blood sugar.
Let food be your medicine, and medicine be your food
The fight to lower blood sugar, then, begins on the plate. By eating the right foods, you can undo the effects of years of sugar-spikes, restoring your body’s ability to keep its blood sugar levels where they need to be. And as your blood sugar levels out, so will your appetite. Add on effective exercise and stress-management techniques, and you can witness a dramatic improvement in your weight in a matter of weeks.
At the Fast800 we are proud of our extensive experience in helping people to achieve what they had thought impossible: permanent weight loss, reduced risk factors for cardiovascular disease, and a completely new sense of wellbeing. Our team is dedicated to turning scientific advances into practical advice and support, delivering real results. To find out more about how we can help you, click here.