Your blood sugar level can greatly affect your everyday life and your long-term health as well. Eating certain foods can help keep your blood sugar balanced, so you stay energized and sharp throughout the day without the nasty side effects of high blood sugar like fatigue, hunger, headaches, or irritability. Check out this list of foods that lower blood sugar instantly to keep your energy up, your mind clear, and your body in great shape!
Research has found that polyphenols in olive oil help to increase sensitivity to insulin. Additionally, polyphenols help manage blood sugar levels by slowing down digestion and preventing a rapid rise in blood glucose levels. Olive oil can also be used as a dressing for salads or used instead of butter on bread. The best type of olive oil to use is extra virgin which tastes better than other types and is much healthier for you too. Extra virgin means it comes from freshly picked olives not olives that have been stored too long or processed using chemicals.
Eating oatmeal for breakfast is a great way to lower your blood sugar. Oatmeal contains soluble fiber, which can help slow down your absorption of carbs. So even if you eat foods like bread with oatmeal in it, you'll still have time to digest before your body processes all those other carbs. There are also types of oatmeal that come in individual packets, so you can grab one and go! As always, make sure to read nutrition labels carefully; some varieties are higher in fat and calories than others. While instant oatmeal has become popular lately, most brands aren't particularly healthy (e.g., they're very high in sugar). If possible, stick with old-fashioned oats instead.
Research has shown that almonds are a good source of magnesium and other nutrients that are great for keeping blood sugar in check. The protein and healthy fats found in almonds will also help you feel fuller longer, which is important when trying to maintain a healthy weight. Additionally, they're a pretty convenient snack--just watch portion control so you don't go overboard on calories. They're also relatively inexpensive compared to some snacks, making them affordable if you find yourself prone to reaching for sweets or sugary snacks between meals (they can add up quickly!).
In addition to being one of the most protein-packed foods on earth, salmon contains a compound called omega-3 fatty acids. According to recent research, these fatty acids can decrease blood sugar levels by up to 10 percent in just five hours. To keep your blood sugar in check and start dropping pounds, consume 3 ounces of cooked salmon daily—along with two servings of complex carbs like brown rice and sweet potatoes. The antioxidants will also help prevent inflammation and oxidative stress.
A study from Diabetes Care found that people who consumed half an avocado with lunch reported a 40 percent decrease in their appetites for up to five hours. Another study found that women who ate half an avocado at breakfast felt fuller for longer than those who didn’t. What gives? Avocados are full of fiber, which research shows helps you feel satiated (which can help reduce overeating). They’re also rich in potassium, a mineral shown to trigger weight loss by actually suppressing appetite (one reason why bananas are so satisfying). And then there are antioxidants: like most fruits, avocados contain generous amounts of these nature-derived substances, which may help counteract free radicals and lower cancer risk (another metabolism boost).
The leafy green is high in vitamin A, low in calories and packed with magnesium. This trace mineral reduces blood sugar levels and improves insulin sensitivity. Spinach and ashwagandha are also full of folate and potassium, which are important for heart health. You can add spinach to your omelet or make a delicious smoothie!
High in fiber and rich in potassium, dried fruit is a great way to lower blood sugar levels. Apples, pears, and raisins are all good options. When you have dried fruit on hand, it’s easy to throw together a quick snack that’ll satisfy your sweet tooth—and keep your blood sugar levels steady. Try a couple of slices of whole grain toast with some raisins or diced apple on top. The crunchy texture pairs nicely with gooey, sweet fruit. The body processes whole foods differently than simple carbohydrates like refined grains; eating healthy carbs throughout the day keeps blood sugar levels stable.
If you're looking for a quick way to lower your blood sugar, a handful of berries is often enough. Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and are a couple of our favorites. They’re healthy and easy to fit into your diet—and, thanks to their natural sweetness, don’t require much more than a simple sprinkling of sugar or drizzle of honey if you like things sweet. Of course, it’s best to stick with real fruit when you can; instead of using syrups or honey on your cereal in the morning, try mixing in some fresh berries. You might find that it changes your whole perspective on breakfast!
In addition to being a great source of fiber, apples are also packed with natural sugars. Fiber slows down digestion and can help stabilize blood sugar in between meals. Apples are a great choice for someone trying to lose weight because they’re high in nutrients and low in calories. They have just over 100 calories per medium apple, and are loaded with vitamin C, calcium, fiber and more. Instead of grabbing a cookie or candy bar when you feel your blood sugar getting low, munch on an apple—it’ll do the trick!
One study of 60 people with diabetes showed that eating three eggs for breakfast lowered blood sugar levels by 50 percent at lunch. One medium banana and a handful of strawberries will work too, as both provide similar nutrients. The key is to start your day with a protein-rich food that has some fat in it. Eggs are also great for healthy skin and hair (because of their cholesterol content). A study showed women who ate more cholesterol had less heart disease than those who didn’t. That’s why I always recommend 3 whole eggs daily for my patients with high cholesterol or high triglycerides.
Beans and Lentils
One of my favorite foods to eat to lower blood sugar is beans. Beans and lentils are good sources of fiber and protein, both of which help stabilize blood sugar levels and make you feel fuller for longer. I prefer eating beans cooked over canned because they taste better; but sometimes when you need a quick snack, nothing beats opening up a can. So I have included them on my list of foods that lower blood sugar instantly as well! If you don’t like eating beans on their own, try adding some cooked kidney or garbanzo beans to your salad in place of croutons!
Importance of Diet in Diabetes
One way that people with diabetes can manage their blood sugar levels is to focus on eating foods that help regulate glucose (blood sugar) levels. Many fruits and vegetables contain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber which can help lower blood sugar by slowing down digestion of carbohydrates. Some good options include: blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and apples. Eat them in moderation as they also have a lot of natural sugars!
The Bottom Line
The best way to control your blood sugar is to avoid foods that spike it in general, but if you’re going to indulge (and we all are, at times), try adding a handful of blueberries or other high-fiber fruit into your dessert. According to research out of University of California Davis, a single serving can help lower blood sugar and insulin levels—and help keep them low for several hours. As an added bonus: Blueberries also contain antioxidants that can help fight disease. It doesn’t hurt to eat them regularly even if you don’t have diabetes: One study found that eating three or more servings per week was associated with a 33 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes over time.