Blood sugar imbalances can signify a disorder in carbohydrate, fat, and protein metabolism, and can lead to hypoglycemia and/or diabetes. Chronic blood sugar problems greatly increase the risk of adrenal exhaustion, heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and loss of nerve function. Diet and lifestyle factors play a significant role in regulating blood sugar levels. Since nutrients can help regulate blood sugar, incorporating key nutritional supplements and making positive dietary and lifestyle modifications can make a dramatic health difference. It is essential that diabetic individuals consult with their physician and carefully monitor their blood sugar levels because insulin requirements or drug levels may need to be adjusted when changing or adding elements in your diet.
Here are five nutrients that can help balance blood sugar levels.
1. Anthocyanins: Purple, red and blue fruits and veggies are rich in anthocyancins, an antioxidant that has been studied for its role in decreasing inflammation and preventing type 2 diabetes. Anthocyanins can slow the rapid breakdown and release of certain carbohydrates into the blood as glucose. Incorporating foods like berries, eggplant, red cabbage and dark beans into your diet can help deter blood sugar swings.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar: Apple cider vinegar has been shown to have positive effects in increasing insulin sensitivity and encouraging cells to metabolize glucose. A compound in apple cider vinegar, called acetic acid, helps moderate the digestion of carbohydrates by slowing down the rates at which food leaves the stomach and increasing the uptake of glucose by tissues. Try using apple cider vinegar in your next homemade salad dressing.
3. Fiber: Fiber is one of the most helpful nutrients for balancing blood sugar. Soluble fiber causes slower macronutrient (carbs, fat and protein) absorption from the gut and lower blood sugar levels after meals. However, insoluble fiber is also important in regulating blood sugar levels. Optimize blood sugar balance by including foods like leafy greens, whole grains, legumes, chia, hemp and ground flaxseed in your diet.
4. Chromium: Supplementing with chromium has been shown to improve glucose tolerance (the rate at which the body is able to clear sugar from the blood). It can be found in foods but the amount found is minimal. The best sources of chromium are broccoli, eggs, barley, oats, green beans, onions and nuts.
5. Cinnamon: Although the research on cinnamon isn’t as strong as some nutrients, research is continuing to show that there is a relationship between cinnamon and blood sugar. One study found that the polyphenols in cinnamon were a positive influence on fasting glucose. Positive changes in glucose control and insulin sensitivity were also seen in people after 2 weeks of daily supplemental cinnamon.
Photo from here, with thanks.