When you’re battling blood-sugar issues—whether it’s metabolic syndrome (pre-diabetes) or full-blown type 2 diabetes—there are times it feels like you just can’t win. Because sometimes, despite your very best efforts, the numbers on your meter keep rising, or just won’t budge.
Don’t lose hope, you can get those numbers moving in the right direction again. Because, besides having a heart-to-heart with your doc about what else you can do to keep your blood sugar in line there are some simple, small changes you can make that could have a BIG impact on your numbers.
Following are four easy food swaps to try for better blood sugar all day long…
1. Swap light colored greens for darker ones:
Why it works…
Veggies are great for helping to keep your blood sugar in check, but typically the darker the green the more nutritious it is. Darker greens, such as spinach, kale and arugula, pack in more vitamins and minerals including blood-sugar friendly magnesium, potassium and fiber.
Studies show that magnesium-rich foods are linked to a lower risk for diabetes, and that magnesium can help improve blood sugar.1,2 Low levels of potassium are associated with type 2 diabetes,3.4.5 and studies show that low levels of this important mineral can play a big part in how effective your body is at metabolizing sugar.6,7,8 And, of course, fiber is great for helping to prevent blood sugar spikes.9,10
2. Swap white rice for brown:
Why it works…
You should already be limiting your carbohydrates, of course. But there are still times when a meal simply demands a little bit of rice. When that happens, swapping out nutrition-stripped white rice for healthier brown rice instead is the way to go.
Brown rice will deliver twice the blood-sugar-friendly fiber, along with a fistful of other good-for-you nutrients including blood-sugar buddy’s potassium and magnesium. And with a lower spot on the glycemic index, and significantly more fiber, brown rice is less likely to spike your blood sugar. Pro tip: If you spot “black rice” in your favorite natural food store, give it a try. Black rice, which turns a slightly purple color when cooked, contains blood-sugar friendly anthocyanins.
3. Swap your fruit juice for whole fruits:
Why it works…
If you’re still indulging in fruit juice—such as your OJ with breakfast—it’s a good idea to switch to whole fruits instead. Without the skin, pulp and fiber to slow things down, the fructose in fruit juice can hit your system like a freight train, sending your blood sugar skyrocketing.
4. Swap white potatoes for beans:
Why it works…
If you’re craving a starchy side dish, when you’re trying to watch your blood sugar beans are a much better choice than white potatoes. They’re high in fiber and protein, they pack in around DOUBLE the blood-sugar balancing potassium, and they’re significantly lower on the glycemic index (depending on the type of bean 50 percent lower or more). What that means for you and me is that our blood sugar takes less of a hit. Pro tip: Swap out your white potatoes for garbanzo beans and you’ll be plummeting from around a 100 on the glycemic index down to around 10!
Not sure how to fix your garbanzos? Try this delicious, and fun, recipe…
|Kicky Roasted Chickpeas|
|This dish isn’t just delicious, it’s versatile too. You can serve Kicky Roasted Chickpeas in place of rice or potatoes with a meal, toss some on top of a salad for extra protein and crunch, or put them into a bowl and snack on them while watching a movie on Netflix. |
• 1 15-ounce can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
*Note: Shake or gently stir the chickpeas periodically as they bake to keep them from getting scorched.
1. “Magnesium Intake and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes in Men and Women,” Diabetes Care, January 2004; vol 27: pp 134-140
2. “Oral magnesium supplementation improves glycaemic status in subjects with prediabetes and hypomagnesaemia: A double-blind placebo-controlled randomized trial,” Diabetes & Metabolism, June 2015, Volume 41, Issue 3, Pages 202–207
3. “Potassium and risk of Type 2 diabetes,” Expert Rev Endocrinol Metab. 2011 Sep; 6(5): 665–672
4. “Serum and Dietary Potassium and Risk of Incident Type 2 Diabetes: The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study,” Arch Intern Med. 2010 Oct 25; 170(19): 1745–1751
5. “Low serum potassium levels and risk of type 2 diabetes: the Toranomon Hospital Health Management Center Study 1 (TOPICS 1),” Diabetologia. 2011 Apr;54(4):762-6. doi: 10.1007/s00125-010-2029-9
6. “Prevention of the glucose intolerance of thiazide diuretics by maintenance of body potassium,” Diabetes. 1983 Feb;32(2):106-11.
7. “Glucose intolerance with hypokalemia. Failure of short-term potassium depletion in normal subjects to reproduce the glucose and insulin abnormalities of clinical hypokalemia,” Diabetes. 1973 Jul;22(7):544-51
8. “Effect of experimental potassium deficiency on glucose and insulin metabolism,” Metabolism. 1980 Jun;29(6):498-502
9. “Carbohydrate Quality, Measured Using Multiple Carbohydrate Quality Metrics, is Negatively Associated with Risk of Type 2 Diabetes in US Women,” Circulation, March 10, 2015, Volume 131, Issue Suppl 1
10. “Dietary Fiber for the Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus A Meta-analysis,” J Am Board Fam Med. 2012;25(1):16-23
She is an advocate of self-education and is passionate about the power of group knowledge sharing, like the kind found right here on HealthierTalk.com. Alice loves to share her views on holistic and natural healing as well as her, sometimes contentious, thoughts on the profit-driven inner workings of traditional medicine.
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