Blood glucose has become one of today’s most studied and discussed health topics. One important reason is that diabetes, a disease reaching epidemic proportions, is directly associated with blood glucose levels. Recent research has also linked blood glucose to heart disease, memory difficulties and even fertility problems.
Whether you already have diabetes, are overweight or want to prevent future problems, here are 20 health-boosting ways to make sure your blood glucose and insulin levels are as healthy as can be. Cutting down on sugar will also help stabilise your blood glucose counts. For ways to reduce your sugar intake, click here.
Drink at least two servings of low-fat dairy products a day (one serving is a 250-ml glass of skim or low-fat milk, or a 150-g pot of yogurt or fromage frais). A study of 3000 people found that those who were overweight, but also ate plenty of low-fat dairy foods, were an amazing 70 per cent less likely to develop insulin resistance (a precursor to diabetes) than those who didn’t. It turns out that the lactose, protein and fat in dairy products improves blood glucose by filling you up and slowing the conversion of food sugars to blood glucose.
Buy bread products with at least 3 g of fibre and 3 g of protein per serving. Complex carbohydrates of this type slow down absorption of glucose and decrease possible insulin rises. Plus, the hearty dose of fibre and protein will keep your stomach feeling satisfied for longer.
Serve up a spinach salad for dinner. Spinach is high in magnesium, which a large study suggests can help to prevent the development of type 2 diabetes. One study in women found higher intakes of magnesium (also found in nuts, other leafy greens and fish) reduced diabetes risk by about 10 per cent overall, and by about 20 per cent in women who were overweight. Another great source of magnesium? Avocados.
Sprinkle cinnamon over your coffee, yogurt, cereal and tea. Researchers from Pakistan (where cinnamon is widely used) asked volunteers with type 2 diabetes to take either 1 g, 3 g or 6 g of cinnamon or a placebo for 40 days. Those taking the fragrant spice saw their blood glucose levels drop by between 18 and 29 per cent depending on how much cinnamon they took.