Today we will take some time to look at some of the foods which cause high and lows in our blood sugar. Diabetics have to live a life of caution. Education about what we eat and the amount we eat is of extreme importance if we are serious about keeping our blood glucose level within the normal range. The task of explaining the rise and fall in blood sugar will be done in this post and the information will be presented in such a way that you will understand, regardless of your learning style. Saddle up and let’s continue.
Watch out for the following, if you want to control your blood glucose:
- Caffeine. This one made me sad to see in my research. I will tell you straight up that I am a coffee drinker and I do not see myself giving up my cup of coffee anytime soon. I, however, will ease off a bit and see if my readings are any lower. I will also do another posting about claims that there are some compounds in coffee which aids in the prevention of type 2 diabetes. Please note that caffeine is also found in green and black tea. I refuse to talk about the caffeine in energy drinks because I am assuming by now that my regular readers are drinking mainly homemade smoothies and shakes, eating a lot of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes and beans and so there is no need for energy drinks.
- High Carb and High Fat Foods. I love going to the Chinese restaurant, but I had to scale that down considerably. They have a tendency to not have a wide variety of vegetables and so most of the meals are served with white rice. A lot of restaurants serve white rice and this is one of the foods I found guilty of giving me a high and sudden spike in my blood glucose. Pizza, French fries, and pastries do not work in my favor. They are loaded with carbs and fats and so my blood sugar spikes, but also stays high for too long. I receive nicer readings when I eat avocado, nuts, and seeds. Note that these are also high in carbs and fats, but they are whole foods.
- Sugar-Free Foods. According to Star Health Desk, a lot of sugar-free foods “will raise your blood sugar levels. Why? They can still have plenty of carbs from starches” I stay away from anything sugar-free, for the simple reason they are highly processed foods. I prefer to drink less whole milk rather than the low-fat version. Folks, this is my preference. I leave you to continue the research and to make informed decisions, tailored to your own likes and dislikes.
- Sports Drinks. The sad thing about these drinks, like others that are assumingly healthy and safe for us to consume, is that they are many times loaded with sugar. They sometimes have as much sugar as a soda. Readers, again I am encouraging you to get accustomed to drinking water. Yes, just plain water. I freeze water and take in bottles wherever I am going. I mentioned before that if you like to drink, then use fruit and vegetables, along with nuts and seeds to make your sports and energy drinks. I do this and use more of the sweet fruits to satisfy my sweet tooth.
- Stress. Our bodies release a hormone when we are stressed. This hormone can result in a rise in our blood sugar. I will say amen to this point. I have had high-stress levels before, even recently. At the time, my blood sugar was in the normal range with half the medication. I saw my figures climbing and I got a bit frustrated because I was eating the same things and I was also exercising. Then, I figured out and did some research to confirm that stress was the culprit. I am now learning ways to be in situations that would normally freak me out and remain calm and without stress. I promised before and I will keep the promise to write an article about stress and diabetes. I am learning strategies to keep my cool and I will share with you when I have some more proven strategies.
- A bad cold. When our body struggles to fight off a bad cold, it is placed under severe stress and this sometimes results in a rise in our blood glucose. I, however, noticed that when I pay attention to my lifestyle and eat the correct foods, I get less ill and this includes the common cold and flu. My immune system is better able to offer me the protection I need. My new lifestyle is like my insurance policy, it offers me the protection I need, especially when things are less than good.
Please see below for an infographic to reinforce the above information.
I left the best for last. We will now look at some of the things you can do to ensure you get a fall in your blood glucose:
- Diet. Have you ever wondered why it is that several family members are suffering from diabetes? The answer is really a very simple one in most cases. It is the lifestyle. The same food is provided for the entire family to consume. The same snacks are eaten and a lot of time the quantity is similar. We can, therefore, help our children by making the much-needed switch to whole foods. We can help our children by serving them fruits, seeds, and nuts for snacks. We can help our children and the society at large if we spend quality time with our children making vegetable and fruit smoothies to replace breakfast or lunch on the weekends when they are home. We can change tomorrow if we change today. The research also stated that plant-based foods are better for people with diabetes. If you decided that you will continue to eat meat, then welcome to the club. But, please make sure that you serve more vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, seeds, and legumes. This has placed me in better health and I still eat about 3 oz. of meat for about 3-4 days per week. Beans should be in our diet as often as we can include some on a weekly basis. I try to have beans at least 3 days per week. Here are some articles on eating beans. Some of them also include recipes.
- Readers, I changed my diet and I saw a 100+ percent reduction in my blood sugar
- I rarely take blood pressure tablets
- My Achilles’ tendon is much improved
- I have more energy than I have had in a long time
- Cinnamon. I am seeing some signs that including cinnamon in my diet could prove to be a wise choice as part of the strategy to control my blood sugar and an integral part of the journey to be diabetic-free. I sometimes make a tea with the ground cinnamon, I include the leaf and a piece of the bark in my porridge and I use the powder in other recipes, such as my stew pork. Here is an earlier article I did about cinnamon and the possible effects on diabetes.
- Soursop. This fruit is known in parts of the world as being excellent to fight diabetes and also cancer. I use the leaves and the bark as well to make a tea. I find that my readings are better when I am having these teas. Here is a blog I did about the soursop.
- Yogurt. Yogurt is considered to be probiotic because it contains healthy bacteria. When we consume foods such as yogurt, they help digestion and ultimately assist us in getting lower blood sugar readings. I go for the plain yogurt and I add some fruits, seeds and nuts for variety and also to satisfy my sweet tooth. I avoid the ones which are loaded with sugar and other sweeteners. Here is an article you should read about digestive enzymes and diabetes.
- Sleep. It is important for us to get enough sleep so that our bodies will heal. Lack of sleep will leave the body in stress mode and then our blood sugar will rise. My blood pressure also increases when I am not getting enough sleep. We should, however, note that at some point in the night when we are sleeping, our blood sugar also gets low. This explains why some diabetics never awake from a sleep. One way of preventing this is to check your reading before you go to bed and maybe have a snack. My night time snack is sometimes less healthy than what I would eat during the day, dependent on my reading in the night. I keep crackers handy for this purpose. I sometimes have a few (4-6) with a little peanut butter before bed. The crackers result in a spike, but the peanut butter reduces that and so, God be praised my readings are in the safe zone. Here is something I wrote about peanut and the effect on diabetes.
- Stay cool. Heat makes me more miserable and uncomfortable, especially since I have diabetes. I cannot say that my blood glucose falls when I am using the a/c or a fan, but I am sure that I am calmer and less stressed and this is the desired position for diabetics. Please re-read the section above about stress. It is also not a good idea to leave your medication and glucometer kit in the car. It is too hot.
It is clear that diabetes does not have to be a death sentence. If we understand what will cause it to rise and fall, then it will be easier and certainly possible for us to control diabetes and possibly eliminate this lifestyle illness from our lives. Caffeine, high-carb,/high-fat foods, sugar-free foods, sports drinks, stress and a bad cold can result in a rise in our blood glucose.
It is, however, happy news to know that we can achieve a fall in our blood sugar if we pay attention to our lifestyle, which includes diet and exercise. Cinnamon, soursop, yogurt and a diet rich in plant-based foods were mentioned as foods which will help us to experience a fall in our blood sugar. Diabetics were also cautioned to have enough sleep, but also to check their blood sugar before going to bed to ensure that they do not experience a fall which could lead to death whilst sleeping. Heat and stress were also cited as possible reasons for a rise in blood sugar and so the word of caution was to stay cool, physically, mentally and emotionally.
The truth be told, however, is that diabetes can be controlled or possibly eliminated through the necessary lifestyle changes. Until next time, continue to be kind to each other and make the changes to experience the desired fall in your blood glucose.