BY TIME March 7, 2022
Eat less sugar, and you’ll be healthier.
This fact has been demonstrated over and over again in studies that compare different whole-food-based diets (like the ketogenic diet, vegan diet, and low glycemic index diet) to the conventional American diet.
If you eat more whole foods, you will consume less sugar. Less sugar consumption leads to healthier blood sugar levels. And healthier blood sugar levels lead to less diabetes, heart disease, and inflammation. It’s that simple.
The Only Issue With Reversing Diseases Like Diabetes
Improving your blood sugar is not easy. It may take a couple months with a whole-food plant-based diet before blood sugar levels normalize. During those months, it will be difficult for you and your body to adjust.
This rapid shift from processed foods to whole plant foods can be a shock to the system. Your body adapts to a change in diet in dramatically different ways.
In response to processed foods, your cells become more resistant to insulin — the hormone that shuttles sugar into the cells to be used as energy. As you keep eating processed foods, you keep feeding a vicious cycle of insulin resistance that leads to higher blood sugar levels and more insulin resistance. This leads to chronic inflammation, fat accumulation, vision loss, kidney disease, and nerve damage.
But Isn’t Sugar Natural?
Chronic inflammation, fat gain, kidney issues, vision loss, and nerve damage? Sounds like a silly way for the body to handle something that is natural.
How natural something is doesn’t matter as much as what it does in the body. Sugar, for example, is toxic to the body.
When sugar is consumed regularly without the fibers, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants found in whole plant foods, it overwhelms the cells. Cellular toxins will then begin to accumulate until the cell dies. If your cells never became resistant to insulin then your cells would continue to be overwhelmed by sugar, and you would have a much shorter life. However, if you’re eating whole plant foods your cells won’t have to become insulin resistant to save your life.
For example, let’s compare an apple to apple juice. Eat a whole organic apple, and it will lead to a gentle increase in blood sugar levels that nourishes the cells. This is because the fiber slows sugar absorption, and the antioxidants, enzymes, vitamins, and minerals from the apple help the cells utilize the sugar effectively (before it can become toxic).
But what happens if you drink apple juice instead? Blood sugar will increase much more because most of the fiber, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and antioxidants were taken out during processing.
This means that the best strategy to improve health is to eat more whole plant foods rather than processed foods like fruit juice and cookies. However, if your goal is to improve blood sugar levels right away, it is best to consume these ten foods.
The Top Ten Foods That Lower Blood Sugar
Patience is a virtue, but sometimes it is better to be impatient when it comes to your health. Eat these ten foods if you don’t want to be a patient with diabetes.
1. Red Cabbage
Red Cabbage is packed with anthocyanins — the pigment that gives this vegetable its dark red color. Many studies have found that anthocyanins can prevent or reverse obesity and type 2 diabetes by reducing inflammation, lowering blood sugar, and improving insulin resistance (the driving factor that leads to type 2 diabetes).
If you are not a fan of red cabbage, you can still get the benefits of blood sugar lowering anthocyanins by eating other dark red, purple, or blue plant foods like blueberries.
Blueberries contain a type of anthocyanin that is an active blood sugar lowering agent. Studies have found that the flavonoids in blueberries (and other berries) may provide us with cardiovascular benefits, cancer prevention, and cognitive improvement.
Turmeric contains a bright yellow chemical called curcumin. Curcumin has been studied extensively as a potential treatment for diabetes — and the results are promising.
Not only does curcumin lower blood sugar like red cabbage and blueberries, it also promotes the function of the beta cells in the islets of Langerhans of the pancreas (the cells that produce insulin). This means that curcumin can lower your blood sugar in the short-term and improve your ability to use carbohydrates in the long-term.
One concern about curcumin is that it is poorly absorbed. If you want to ensure that you will get the benefits of curcumin, it is best to have it in a supplement called Meriva or a supplement that combines Bioperine with curcumin. Both curcumin preparations increase the absorption of curcumin much more than just having curcumin alone.
Whether it is Ceylon or Cassia cinnamon, it will reduce fasting blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity (the opposite of insulin resistance). But there is one caveat — Cassia cinnamon contains a toxic compound called coumarin that can cause kidney, liver, and lung damage. Just 1-2 teaspoons a day of Cassia cinnamon has enough coumarin to cause toxic effects, so it is best to stick with Ceylon cinnamon to lower blood sugar levels.
There are thousands of different flavonoids that can be found in plant foods, and lemons have two that can improve fat and glucose metabolism. These flavonoids are called hesperidin and naringin, and they help lower blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels.
Put lemon juice in your water or meals to provide you with health-boosting, blood-sugar-lowering flavonoids whenever you want. If you are looking to detox and lower your blood sugar levels at the same time, try our inexpensive, easy detox – The One Gallon Challenge.
6. Fenugreek Seeds
This flavorful seed provides us with a quick and easy way to improve blood sugar levels while fasting and after a meal. The effects of fenugreek seeds are so powerful that they can help lower blood sugar levels in people with type 1 diabetes. This means that fenugreek seeds are effective with and without the help of insulin.
You can consume fenugreek seeds in the form of a tea or add fenugreek seed powder to dressings, sauces, or curries. It is commonly used in Indian foods to give them a slightly sweet, nutty flavor that is often described as a cross between celery and maple.
7. Dark Chocolate
This guilty pleasure may be as pleasureful for you as it is for your body. The cacao in dark chocolate contains many flavanols (a type of flavonoid) that decrease blood pressure and insulin resistance. This decrease in insulin resistance helps the cells use up excess blood sugar, which lowers blood sugar naturally.
However, make sure you are consuming dark chocolate that contains no refined sugar at all. You can avoid this by making your own dark chocolate at home.
Simply melt a half cup of coconut oil in a pan, add in a half cup of raw organic cacao powder (because it has the highest flavanol content) with a tablespoon of a healthy, alternative sweetener. Stir until it is completely mixed, transfer it to a container, and put it in the refrigerator. After a couple hours, you will have your own blood-sugar-lowering dark chocolate without any dubious ingredients.
8. Broccoli Sprouts
Dozens of studies on broccoli sprouts have surfaced over the past decade. They have been found to have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties, but do these sprouts also help lower blood sugar?
In one randomized double-blind clinical trial, researchers found that 10 grams of broccoli sprouts per day significantly decreased insulin levels. This suggests that broccoli sprouts may improve insulin sensitivity, leading to lower blood sugar levels.
These medicinal sprouts can easily be grown indoors in less than a week (for cheap). Once they are finished growing, you can have them as a snack or with meals.
Onion bulb extract was found to strongly lower blood glucose in diabetic rats. Although onion’s effect on the blood sugar levels of humans is uncertain, this vegetable still has many potential health benefits.
These health benefits are partly caused by quercetin, a flavonoid antioxidant that is found in many vegetables including onions. Quercetin has been found to lower blood sugar before and after meals in many different animals with diabetes. This is a promising finding for those who want to lower their blood sugar.
However, onions aren’t the best vegetable if you want to maximize your quercetin consumption.
Capers have the highest quercetin content of all the foods that have been studied. These edible flower buds are picked just before they ripen and pickled before they hit your taste buds with their tangy, briny, and slightly lemony flavor.
Studies on capers have found that they have so much antioxidant activity that just a small amount prevents fat from oxidizing and causing cell damage. This makes capers the perfect addition to any meal that has meat and fat in it.
The Ultimate Blood-Sugar-Lowering Meal
Eating these ten foods on a daily basis will help you lower your blood sugar levels fast. But how do you fit these foods into your day?
By putting them all into one meal.
Imagine this — A bowl filled with salad greens of your choice and:
- shredded red cabbage
- chopped onions
- broccoli sprouts
- a handful of blueberries