The good news for people with hypoglycemia, or a pre-diabetic condition, is that specific foods—plus a healthy diet—help stabilize blood sugar. Here’s the tasty way to prevent diabetes.
Let’s look at diet first because it’s foundational. To have a couple of “good” foods in an otherwise sloppy diet probably won’t help your condition. But an overall healthy diet helps put the joy back in your life…as well as stabilize your blood sugar.
It is important to eat regular and moderate-sized meals. Don’t skip meals. Make sure you’re eating ample protein and an abundance of vegetables. Eat several servings per day of whole, unrefined grains; but otherwise limit carbohydrates, including fruit. Favor temperate-region fruits, like apples, pears or berries in moderation. But avoid fruit juice and the sweeter tropical fruits like pineapple and mangos.
With carbohydrates, the key is whole and underutilized like wild rice, quinoa, millet and buckwheat. Intact grain takes longer to digest than does bread, pasta, rice cakes, breakfast cereal or baked goods. You can easily determine this for yourself. Compare how “full” you feel an hour after a meal with buckwheat compared to a meal with pasta.
Because they may contribute to blood-sugar imbalances, a healing diet minimizes: alcohol, caffeine, juice, sweeteners and all common and refined grains. Additionally, consider what contributes to emotional, mental and physical balance in your life and make necessary adjustments to support a healthy lifestyle. Enjoy adequate sleep and regular exercise.
The following foods specifically help regulate blood sugar and therefore are good for people with hypoglycemia and diabetes:
BITTER MELON As its name suggests, bitter melon tastes bitter, it is not, however, a melon. It’s a summer squash similar in size and shape to a cucumber but with skin and flesh the color of pale jade. Bitter melon has a lumpy, ridged skin. It is a traditional diabetic remedy throughout the Far East. In clinical tests, bitter melon inhibits glucose absorption, increases insulin flow and has insulin-like effects. It is available in Asian and growers’ markets and in a supplement form. Asian bitter melon recipes use salt to eliminate the vegetable’s bitter flavor.
FENUGREEK A popular spice throughout the Middle East and India, this legume is a common curry ingredient. Fenugreek is smaller than a grain of wheat, mustard yellow in color and oddly shaped. It helps regulate sugar levels of non-insulin-dependent diabetics. Enjoy fenugreek as a tea or a spice. Or sprout these little seeds and substitute them for alfalfa sprouts in salads and sandwiches.
STEVIA A South American herb 30 times sweeter than sugar, stevia helps regulate blood sugar and blood pressure. It also suppresses dental bacteria and reduces mental and physical fatigue. I find stevia easiest to use as a beverage sweetener. It’s available in natural food stores in numerous forms. It is most healthful as a cut herb rather than when its refined into a liquid extract or blended with other sweeteners.
SUNFLOWER FAMILY ROOT VEGETABLES The roots of sunflower relatives contain inulin, a natural fructose that helps diabetics lower their blood sugar. They include burdock, chicory, dandelion, Jerusalem artichoke, salsify and scorzonera. Burdock and Jerusalem artichokes are available in the produce section of most natural food stores. You’ll find burdock, chicory and dandelion as dried herbs or in tinctures. Salsify and scorzonera are occasionally available with imported produce or they’re easy to grow in your garden. And, in temperate regions you may forage chicory, dandelion, Jerusalem artichokes and salsify root.
ONION FAMILY All onion family members help regulate blood sugar so use them daily and with abandon. They include garlic, leeks, onions, ramps and scallions. You may also consider supplementing with garlic powder which is available in numerous forms.
May you be well nourished,