The glycemic index (GI) is a guide to show how slowly or quickly carbohydrate foods break down and affect blood glucose levels. Research shows that foods with lower glycemic index (GI) break down slowly into glucose and make you feel fuller for longer. Blood sugar, or glucose is the main sugar in our blood, and we get it from the food we eat and it is our main source of energy. Glucose is then transported by the blood to the cells of our body and converted into energy.
Diabetes is a disease in which blood sugar levels are high, which happens for two reasons:
- The body does not produce enough insulin – hormone that regulates the movement of blood sugar into cells
- Cells react poorly to insulin and do not absorb sugar properly. This is known as insulin resistance
This causes too much sugar to circulate in our bloodstream, the sugar accumulates over time and its level becomes high. Once our levels rise above a certain threshold (this can be revealed by a blood test), we are classified as having Type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is often associated with being overweight or sedentary. For diabetics, losing weight can be an additional challenge, because they feel hungry and tired so they want more food and don’t want to exercise.
Many of these people receive prescription medications that help them keep their blood sugar levels under control. In this way they treat symptoms of the disease, but do not eliminate the root of the problem.
Things that can help reverse type 2 diabetes include:
- Change diet – Eating more fruits and vegetables instead of breads, pastas, fried food and cakes can help reduce blood sugar levels in the body;
- Stay well hydrated – Drinking filtered water throughout the day will help cleanse the cells of toxins and keep the body hydrated;
- Avoid junk food – Junk food is one of the reasons for the type 2 diabetes to develop, so avoiding it can improve the blood sugar levels;
- Avoid soft drinks – Soft drinks contain lots of added sugar, so avoiding them is a benefit for blood sugar levels and overall health;
- Get enough sleep – A good sleep benefits overall health;
- Regular exercise – Exercising regularly we burn calories which helps weight loss and reduce blood sugar levels;
- Take supplements – There are a number of supplements that help with type2 diabetes, such as: zinc, chromium, alpha lipoic acid, cinnamon, etc.
So, what is it we can do to prevent or help with diabetes?
One of the simple things we can do is to introduce low GI foods into our diet. Choosing the right amount and type of carbohydrate foods can help us control blood glucose levels. Lower-GI foods are broken down into glucose over a longer period of time compared to higher GI foods. This means that the level of glucose in the blood rises less and more slowly after eating. Studies show that people with diabetes improved their blood glucose levels after including low GI carbohydrates into their diet plan. In addition to maintaining healthy blood glucose levels, low GI foods also help with the weight loss.
What are the ways to eat lower glycemic index Foods?
- Include foods with a lower GI in every meal
- Replace carbohydrate foods with higher GI for lower GI foods
- Choose snacks with a lower GI
Not all lower GI foods are healthier option, as they can still be high in energy, salt and saturated fats. Choosing foods with a lower GI does not mean that we can eat as much as we want, because a large amount of food can also affect blood sugar levels.
What are the ways to make healthy food choices?
There are various types of diet plans for people with diabetes, including Mediterranean diets, low fat plant-based diets, or low carbohydrate diets. To make healthy food choices we can:
- Eat regular meals to help control blood sugar levels
- Limit foods that are rich in saturated fats
- Include lean protein foods in your diet plan
- Choose foods rich in fiber, low GI carbohydrate
- Limit salt intake
- Avoid junk foods
- Replace soft drinks with quality water or freshly prepared fruit or vegetable juices
- Limit sugar intake
- Avoid artificial sweeteners
- Avoid foods rich in trans fats
- Limit the use of processed meat
- Choose olive, sunflower or other unsaturated oil for cooking
- Eat plenty of vegetables
Other healthy choices include regular walks and exercise, deep breathing, staying well hydrated, sharing a good laugh with a friend or family, positive thinking and if you feel hungry between meals, just grab a carrot, a celery stick or a handful of healthy nuts and smile!
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➥ DISCLAIMER: This post is not intended to replace medical treatment. The information provided is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice.