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Volume III
August 17, 2012

Weekly Home / Cook'n & Eat'n

The "Holy Grail" to Blood Sugar Health

By Alice Osborne

It's no new news that for people with diabetes, balanced blood sugar levels are the "Holy Grail." I talk about this a lot, but it never hurts to review how to prevent a blood sugar level spike and how to deal effectively when it happens.

Certain foods and spices are known for their blood sugar balancing properties, and can be used to prevent raised blood sugar and to lower blood sugar. The good news is that it is simple to find these foods and simple to use them.

The bottom line is that the person with diabetes needs to avoid foods that are high in glucose or sugars, or foods that quickly convert to glucose, which obviously will raise blood sugar. Blood sugar control is a primary way to live a longer, healthier life.

Most foods that lower blood sugar have fat content. According to WebMD, good fats lower insulin resistance - and that's a good thing. When cells are more sensitive to insulin, blood sugar levels drop. Then there's the issue of regulating cholesterol - keeping it at a healthy level.

All this said then, and by way of review, what are the best foods to accomplish these things?

Certain nuts. Nuts help keep blood sugar levels under control due to their high levels of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. While walnuts and almonds are best, all nuts are healthy, and you can alternate your favorites with those you try only occasionally. You should eat a handful of nuts each day.

Sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes contain chlorogenic acid, which lowers insulin resistance. The end effect for you is a healthier blood sugar. Try to eat a sweet potato at least twice a week.

Oatmeal. Oatmeal contains fiber, which helps to keep blood sugar levels in check. Be creative with additives, such as skim milk, nuts, berries or cinnamon. Oatmeal should be a staple of your diet that you include four times a week.

Cinnamon. According to a study mentioned on the New Scientist website, half a teaspoon of cinnamon a day significantly reduces blood sugar levels in diabetics. Natural compounds in cinnamon mimic insulin. This spice is also a good source of fiber and several minerals. You can sprinkle cinnamon powder on tea, toast, cereals, yogurt and whole-grain muffins, as well as spice up applesauce and baked apples.

Flaxseed. Flaxseed, rich in protein, omega-3 acids and fiber, is a very good source of magnesium, a mineral that aids blood sugar control. The Reader's Digest website states that a low intake of magnesium increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Grind 1 tablespoon of flaxseed and sprinkle over foods like salads, soups, hot or cold cereals, ice cream, yogurt and smoothies. Ground flaxseed can also be added to sandwiches, meatballs, casseroles, cooked fruit desserts and pancakes during preparation.

Garlic. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition states that sulfur compounds in garlic decrease blood glucose levels. Consumed raw, garlic improves insulin secretion and sensitivity. It can be added to vinaigrette dressings, meat and fish marinades, as well as sauteed with vegetables like spinach and mushrooms.

Avocado. Rich in good monounsaturated fats, avocado helps lower blood sugar levels and keep them in check. When consumed in moderation, avocados help reverse insulin resistance and promote healthy blood sugar metabolism, as the fat in avocados takes longer to digest. Add avocado to salad, puree it and add as a spread on toast and sandwiches, or simply prepare guacamole, the classic avocado dish.

Onions. Onions contain sulfur, which helps to control blood sugar. Onions come in several varieties and colors, and should be incorporated into your diet most days of the week.

Legumes, root vegetables, and whole grains. They are healthful for blood sugar levels as long as complex carbohydrates are regulated.

Proteins from vegetables are one of the best forms of protein.

Protein-rich foods such as fish and low-fat or no-fat dairy also help regulate blood sugar.

Now to apply this information, how about a healthy snack that serves our blood sugar regulating goal? Here's a recipe I created to help me deal healthfully with my snack cravings:

Avocado Dip Supreme

A healthy treat that stabilizes blood sugar as well as meets those snack-time cravings.

2 or 3 ripe avocados peeled, pitted, and mashed
1/4 cup finely chopped onion (red, yellow, white, doesn't matter)
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
1 tablespoon finely chopped walnuts
1 clove garlic minced
1 tablespoon salsa (mild, medium, doesn't matter)
1 tablespoon lime juice (not needed if planning to serve and eat immediately)
whole grain pita chips for dipping


Mix all ingredients in medium bowl until well combined. Enjoy with whole grain pita chips.

Recipe formatted with the Cook'n Recipe Software from DVO Enterprises.

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