If you don’t have diabetes, then most likely you aren’t too concerned about your blood sugar levels. But now we know that being diabetic or not, a diet that is high in foods than spike glucose levels in your blood, can increase your risk of health disease, as it damages your blood vessels and elevates cholesterol levels. It might even cause memory loss and increases risks for some types of cancer. This discovery has generated a revolution in the way we understand the science behind dieting and our health. Thankfully, damage caused from too much glucose isn’t caused from one day to another and just slight dietary changes make big strides in improving your health, leaving you feeling more energetic almost immediately.
For the love of sugar
Do you tend to reach for a handful of candies, a sweet dessert or snack, whenever you feel the need of a quick pick-me-up? These types of “fast-acting” foods at within reaching distance (well, these foods are the easiest foods to acquire), shortly after being digested in your stomach, they are pushed into your blood stream. This results in pumping your body with glucose and preparing it for action. The problem with this surge of energy is that is doesn’t last very long and leaves you feeling worse than before and feeling hungrier than before.
Sadly, our diet is full of foods that send us on an uncontrollable sugar-rush. We often feel fatigued and moody. It is the main cause of the extra digits on our scale. Overeating and leading a sedentary life are both reasons to blame, but the ups and downs from glucose are the main causes of the need to buy a larger size pair of pants. Doesn’t that sound awful? The lack of energy and weight gain is only the tip of the iceberg.
Why should we be concerned about glucose?
The majority of people are able to bring their glucose levels under control within a few hours, even after enjoying a large meal that caused an extreme spike in their glucose levels. Only those with untreated diabetes will maintain high glucose levels for a longer period.
Doctors used to think that only diabetics should be concerned about how their glucose levels can be affected by the food they consume. But, now we know that high glucose levels that develop after eating damage even healthy people, even if they never develop diabetes.
How can we stop this roller coaster ride from glucose? Take heart, it’s not as hard as it seems.
The power of a little bitterness
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there were a secret ingredient that we could add to anything we desired to eat that wouldn’t allow our glucose levels to increase? Well, there is just such an ingredient. It is called acetic acid; this component gives vinegar, pickles and fermented bread dough their unique flavor.
The effect can be quite surprising. One study showed that individuals who eat bread with a higher glycemic index (IG) and a glass of orange juice (jump-starting glycemic levels) had a maximum glucose levels for over an hour. But if they added a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (along with a dash of artificial sweetener to help it go down easier), their levels were 50 percent lower. A similar observation was after a meal of rice and chicken and drinking a tablespoon of vinegar.
What is the secret? Scientists are still not quite sure, but they do know that vinegar interferes with the enzymes that make up the linked chemicals in starches, lactose sugars and plain table sugar.
Hence, causing the body to retard the conversion of food into glucose.
Another theory: Acetic acid allows the food to stay in the stomach longer and reducing the digestion speed. This acid also can aid in increasing the speed that the glucose is eliminated through the blood stream and being stored in the muscle cells for future use. Truth being the matter, it isn’t that important about how it works but that it works! An easy way to add this component to your diet is by adding vinegar to your salads and other foods or even enjoying a pickle sandwich and if you don’t like vinegar? Good news: Lemon juice can also help control your glucose levels too.
7 Secrets to maintain healthy blood glucose levels
1. Choose carbohydrates that have a low glycemic levels (IG) and reduce portion sizes.
Eating slow absorbing carbohydrates (low IG) instead of fast absorbing (high IG), which can help to stabilize and your glucose levels. Watch our for your portion sizes, no matter what type of carbohydrates you decide to eat.
2. Three of your carbohydrate choices should be whole grains.
The carbohydrates you can opt for are whole grains because they help to prevent cardiovascular diseases and diabetes by maintaining lower blood sugar levels.
3. Consume at least 2 portions of fruit and 5 portions of vegetables a day.
The majority of fruits and vegetables are very low in carbohydrates and are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber and other components that protect our health. Eating fruits or adding vegetables help to reduce your blood sugar when eating meals that are high in carbohydrates.
4. Include proteins in every meal.
Protein helps to reduce the IG generally in large meals and helps to prevent felling hungry, which benefits weight loss.
5. Favor good fats.
Saturated fats prevent you from controlling your blood glucose levels and good unsaturated fats do exactly the opposite, plus they help to lower the IG in meals.
6. Eat smaller portions.
We are not only referring to eating foods that are rich in carbohydrates but anything in your diet that does not have a low IG level, remember every calorie counts. By reducing the amount of foods consumed can also help you to resist the drop of an insulin spike. By controlling what foods you eat and how much along with a regular exercise program is the best way to lose weight.
7. Add a splash of acidic foods to your meal.
Another practical way to reduce a glucose spike from your meal is by adding something acidic to your meal. (See the text to your right)
Creative ways to add acidic foods to your meals
Simple suggestions will help you to go beyond basic vinegar and to add a new kick to your meals.
Instead of using mayonnaise, use mustard (as it is made with vinegar) in your sandwiches, marinades for chicken, meat and even on your beans.
Munch on a pickle, that sour taste is because of the vinegar.
Try sour dough bread made from a real sour, as the dough ferments it, yeast releases a lactic acid that has the same compounds as vinegar, hence similar benefits.
Don’t throw that leftover pickle water out; it makes a wonderful marinade if mixed with a bi of olive oil and some fresh herbs.
Try a squeeze of lemon juice on your fish, turkey, duck, melon and yams.
Squeeze some lemon juice onto your fish and shellfish. Lemon can freshen up your boring soup and improve the flavor of your vegetables, chicken and rice.
Eat Sauerkraut, as it is basically pickled cabbage but just be sure to choose one that is low in sodium.
Snack on citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruits. Your tongue doesn’t lie when it tells you that these fruits are acidic.
Drink wine (and other alcoholic beverages) with moderation – a glass each day for women and two for men each day – this can help maintain your insulin levels and has been associated with decreasing the risk of diabetes.
Cook with wine. This is slightly acidic and adds a splendid flavor to your sauces, stews and even your BBQ’s.
Try using pickling tomatoes, carrots, celery, broccoli, cauliflower and red and green peppers. When at a Japanese restaurant make sure to ask for some pickled gingers.