Blood Sugar Control

Superfoods to Maintain Healthy Blood Sugar Levels

Blood sugar is an essential measure of your health. Excess sugar in the blood is the main indicator for all types of diabetes, including pre-diabetes. A form of carbohydrate, sugar occurs naturally in many of the foods we consume and functions as a necessary source of energy. Although the consumption of excessive amounts of added sugars can have detrimental effects on one’s health, sugar is not always bad. Despite being commonly depicted badly, many foods break down into blood sugar (or glucose), which is used for energy to fuel your brain, heart, and muscles.

Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, helps your body turn blood sugar (glucose) into energy. Without insulin, your body can’t use or store glucose properly for the necessary bodily functions. Instead, the glucose remains in your blood. When there is excess glucose in the blood, a condition called insulin resistance develops, reducing the ability of the cells to absorb and use blood sugar for energy. In people with insulin resistance, the cells are unable to use the hormone insulin effectively, leading to high blood sugar levels.

If you’re struggling to manage your blood sugar levels, you’re not alone. According to data, 1 in 7 Singaporean adults aged 18 to 69 has pre-diabetes. This is critical, especially since pre-diabetes could very well develop into Type 2 diabetes over time. The good news is that studies have shown that adopting a healthier diet, regular exercise, and maintaining a healthy weight can reverse pre-diabetes, as well as reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes.

Control Blood Sugar Levels

Here are our dietary recommendations to control blood sugar levels:

1. Eat three meals a day at regular times

This helps you better use the insulin that your body produces. It is important to choose portion sizes that suit your needs, according to your body mass and activity level. Avoid extra ‘empty’ calories your body does not need, like a sweetened canned drink at the end of the meal. For portion sizes of the foods to eat, refer to the general guidelines laid out in the Healthy Plate.

2. Make your calories count

Instead of consuming empty calories, ensure that your diet is filled with whole, nutrient-dense foods that have a low glycaemic index (GI). Choose:

    • Complex carbohydrates (low GI) such as whole grains (brown rice, organic quinoa seeds, millet, etc.), low-sugar fruits and vegetables. Be sure to add in other superfood grains and seeds such as organic chia seeds and flax seeds, as well as legumes like beans and peas.
    • Fibre-rich foods such as low-sugar fruits and vegetables, seeds, and nuts must all be present in abundance too. Low sugar fruits like berries, kiwi, cherries, papaya, dragon fruit, etc. are great options to consider. However, it is recommended to eat more vegetables than fruits to reach your fibre RDI.
    • Good fats such as avocados, nuts, seeds, virgin coconut oil, olive oil, omega-rich fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and tuna. Be mindful of the portion sizes too. Even though fats can help you feel fuller longer since they are the last to leave the digestive tract, fats are higher in calories than protein or carbohydrates.

You do not need to go on a high-protein diet either, as research has shown that increasing protein intake does not have a significant impact on how sugar is digested or absorbed in the body.

3. Add superfood spices to your diet

From Ceylon cinnamon and turmeric powder to ginger powder and Fenugreek, sneak these superfood spices into your daily foods. These powerful spices are traditionally known for centuries to have blood sugar-lowering benefits.

4.  Avoid nutritionally poor foods

It is best to avoid or reduce the intake of certain foods that are usually nutritionally poor. Some of these include:

Simple carbohydrates/ high-GI foods like white bread, white rice, cakes, pastries, sweetened beverages, soda, desserts high in refined sugar, etc. These foods drive up blood sugar levels very quickly.

Highly processed foods, especially meats like hot dogs, sausage, and bacon are best avoided. These processed meats, which are usually high in sodium and nitrate preservatives, are linked to higher risks of heart disease and diabetes.

Trans fats consumed over long periods could promote insulin resistance. So, avoid trans fats found in processed snacks, baked goods, shortening and margarine. Instead, opt for organic snacks like organic sun-dried apricots and organic sun-dried figs that have 0g of trans fats.

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