Other than the obvious avoiding of sugary foods, there are some other ways that being mindful of what you are eating can help to manage your blood sugars. Here are a few important nutrients that play a big role:
We’re often told that lean animal proteins will help address diabetes. In fact, the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise that whole grains, beans, legumes, leafy greens, and lots of vegetables be consumed in replacement for animal proteins, especially when it comes to addressing Type 2 diabetes. Nuts and seeds such as raw almonds, walnuts, hemp, flax, chia, and pumpkin seeds are also filled with heart-healthy benefits, along with natural protein.
Plant-based proteins are less inflammatory, filled with more fibre to regulate blood sugar, and do not contribute to inflammation like animal proteins do.
Magnesium is an important mineral that’s responsible for many tasks within the body. It has a strong influence on blood sugar management; along with a host of enzymatic processes that you need to stay healthy and feel your best.
Diets that are heavy in processed foods, caffeine, animal products, and sugar are all usually deficient in magnesium. Why? Because these diets lack whole, plant-based foods, which are the largest source of magnesium of all foods out there.
Magnesium not only helps regulate blood sugar, but can also impact sugar cravings, mood, energy, and even headaches, sleep, and regularity. Some of the most magnesium-rich foods include leafy greens, nuts, seeds, cacao, root vegetables, seaweed, soy and other beans, and some varieties of legumes and grains.
This mineral is also responsible for healthy insulin production in the body. Chromium helps regulate blood sugar, prevent sugar cravings, and influences how insulin is used in the body overall.
Like magnesium, chromium is often missing in diets rich in processed foods, animal protein, and a high sugar content. This vital mineral is found abundantly in leafy greens, vegetables such as broccoli and green beans, nuts, seeds, seaweed, nuts, beans, legumes, whole grains (especially oats and barley), brewer’s and nutritional yeast, and once again, cacao. It’s even found in some fruits such as tomatoes and spices like black pepper and cinnamon. Though chromium is technically found in a few animal proteins, plant-based sources such as those listed here largely outweigh the amounts found in animal sources.
Chlorophyll might not be the first thing diabetics consider, but it’s a powerful nutrient for a variety of health factors. Chlorophyll is a molecule found abundantly in all green plants, and even some seeds such as pumpkin and hemp seeds. So how does chlorophyll actually influence blood sugar?
Chlorophyll not only cleanses the blood and reduces inflammation, but also contains magnesium and blood sugar regulating properties. The deeper the green hue in a food, the more chlorophyll it contains. While you need a variety of plant-based foods in your diet for healthy blood sugar, never forget the power that green foods have on your health. Kale, spinach, spirulina, chard, arugula, broccoli, hemp, avocado, pumpkin seeds, and herbs like parsley and cilantro are all great options. Seaweed such as dulse and algae like chlorella are also great options as well. Not only are these foods healthy, cleansing and regulating, but they’re also preventative, even when it comes to fighting cancer.
Fibre is a win-win when it comes to your health, no matter what you’re trying to improve. But fibre and blood sugar? It’s not just a recommendation, but a necessity! Fibre slows down your blood sugar, enhances regularity, and also reduces the risk of heart disease. It helps keep you feeling full, makes it easier to manage your weight, and can also keep your body free from cholesterol and toxic build-up.
One reason sugar is so harsh on the body isn’t because it is a carb, but because it’s an empty carb. Sugar has no nutritional value, but whole fruits, vegetables, whole, unprocessed grains, root vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans and legumes all have a large percentage of their carbohydrates that come from fibre. This means they slow down during digestion and absorption, so that you don’t get that sugar rush (an insulin surge) that you do from candy, sweets, and even sugary syrups. Always aim to fill your plate with fibre-rich foods not only to regulate your appetite but also protect your body from disease.