Is it crazy to think that the holiday season is quickly approaching us? Ahh, yes the season of justified overindulgence. This is the time of year that most people start to worry about weight gain, but ultimately what you should worry about is the negative impact that all of this excess eating and drinking has on your blood sugar.
Chronically elevated blood sugar increases the inflammation in your body and there are so many supplement companies out there promoting healing and life rejuvenation.
“Basically, if you buy XYZ it will give you super powers to do whatever you need”.
Most likely leaving your bank account empty and your body full of artificial chemicals.
Truth is, there is a cure! It’s called natural nutrients. I’m talking about whole food nutrients that help to balance out your blood sugar and give you the energy that you need without a bunch of artificial ingredients and preservatives.
It’s all about the vitamins and minerals found in FOOD. Vegetables, fruit, whole grains, beans/legumes. This is the REAL food that I’m going to be talking about.
The foundation to health is nutrition. From this foundation there are a number of specific vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that support healthy blood sugar balance. Some exceptional choices include:
Chromium is under-rated in my book. It it essential for insulin to work effectively. In fact the primary signs of chromium deficiency are insulin resistance and increase blood sugar levels.
Small amounts of chromium are found in a wide variety of foods, but some reliably good sources include brewer’s yeast, calf’s liver, grass-fed beef, oysters, mussels, romaine lettuce, broccoli, and mushrooms.
You know how I feel about magnesium – and if you don’t go ahead and read here. Not only is magnesium a “golden ticket” for healing leg cramps and easing constipation, but it balances out your blood sugar and mood also.
High levels of insulin can cause the body to dump magnesium into the urine which is needed in order to produce serotonin. Without high enough levels of serotonin we can feel depressed and are subject to food cravings (refined carbohydrates make tryptophan more available for the body to utilize which is a precursor of serotonin). Low intakes of magnesium are associated with increased risk of type-2 diabetes.
Foods high in magnesium are leafy green vegetables, nuts and seeds, avocados, kelp, plain yogurt, oysters, and shrimp.
EPA + DHA
These are healthy fats found in wild salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel, anchovies, and even pastured eggs and beef. These omega-3 fats combat inflammation and improve glucose tolerance, which may help to prevent pre-diabetes or diabetes.
Fiber (especially soluble fiber)
Foods naturally high in fiber help to slow down the absorption of carbohydrates in your body. Thus, slowing down your blood sugar rise.
Soluble fiber, the type of fiber that attracts water and forms a gel-like substance during digestion, is particularly beneficial because it can be fermented by intestinal bacteria. As the bacteria use these fibers for fuel they produce short chain fatty acids that feed the colon cells and also help to improve insulin sensitivity and protect against metabolic damage that can lead to pre-diabetes and diabetes.
Nearly all fresh vegetables and fruits are good sources of fiber, but chia seeds, flaxseeds, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, collard greens, broccoli, eggplant, summer and winter squash, turnips, rutabagas, parsnips, and beets are all good sources of soluble fiber.Food is the real deal! Don’t rely 100% on supplements.
Flavo-whaaaaat? Chances are you’ve never heard this word before. Flavonoids are little gems found in deeply colored vegetables and fruits like red cabbage, purple eggplant, purple sweet potatoes, red radish. Also blueberries and blackberries are potent antioxidants that help to preserve insulin function by protecting the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas from damage. They also help promote healthy post-meal blood sugar levels. Regular consumption of flavonoid-rich foods is associated with a lowered risk of developing type-2 diabetes.
ECGC (found in green tea)
Read my post here on the benefits of drinking green tea on a regular basis.
Cinnamon is an aromatic spice derived from the bark of several species of Cinnamomum trees. Cinnamon is loaded with antioxidants that decrease oxidative damage related to chronic stress and inflammation. This may potentially protect against diabetes.
It has been known that cinnamon can also help lower blood sugar by increasing insulin sensitivity, making insulin more efficient at moving glucose into cells. Try adding cinnamon to your morning oatmeal or coffee. Sprinkle on fruits and in yogurt. Add to chili or roasted meats for a touch of sweetness.
Dysbiosis is a term for microbial imbalance within the body. There is also a “gut-brain” axis meaning that whatever goes on in your gut directly relates to your brain/mood – and vise versa. The gut plays a huge role in our health and well being.
When you are not digesting food properly all kinds of problems arise and your digestion is compromised. Certain nutrients may not be absorbed leading to low energy levels; your immune system is degraded leading to increased viral and bacterial infections; poor digestion can lead to toxins entering your intestines hindering your hormone response and blood sugar control.
Probiotics are healthy gut bacteria and have soooo many benefits! I think everyone across the board needs probiotics in their diet. You don’t necessarily need to take a supplement, but you should definitely include probiotic-rich foods in your diet on a regular basis.
Including probiotic-rich foods in your diet is a must. Here are some healthy food options:
- Active-cultured yogurt
- Kombucha. Check out my post HERE to learn how to make your own Kombucha!
- Tempeh (fermented soy)
- Pickled vegetables
- Miso soup
- Microalgea (spirulina and cholrella)
- Sourdough bread (remember 1 slice = 15 grams carbs)
And please don’t forget about PREBIOTICS! This is the fiber that feeds our good bacteria to give them energy and help them multiply. They also keep our digestion in balance. Food options include:
- Raw asparagus
- Dandelion Greens
- Wheat bran
Although I do suggest talking with a supplement professional, I will tell you that I like this WHOLE FOOD based probiotic supplement.
My hope is that this will guide you in making healthier choices in life. Eat more foods that have minimal ingredients: vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans/legumes and lean proteins.