By Michèle Wolff B.H.Sc Naturopathy, Dip. Colonics and Author of ‘Digestive Solutions’
Sugar, although natural, is highly processed and has been shown to wreak havoc in the body. It sucks minerals out of the body, disrupts insulin, and has been linked to obesity. Below are 10 ways that can help you reduce your sugar in your day-today life:
- Eat more protein, fibre and good fat
Eating more protein, fibre and good fat will reduce your sugar intake daily. Foods such as coconut, avocado and almonds have health benefits that can reduce the levels of sugar in your body:
- The high soluble fibre in avocados helps regulate blood sugar spikes, so may help with the prevention of type 2 diabetes.
- The healthy fat in coconut may slow down rises in blood sugar levels and improve insulin secretion and utilisation of blood glucose.
- Almonds also lower blood sugar and insulin levels after eating, and increase antioxidant levels.
If you crave sugar, you may in fact need more leafy greens or whole grains. It is recommended to have less salt and dairy products if you do crave sugar. As discussed later on, if you crave sugar before that time of the month it is good to eat foods rich in magnesium as well.
- Reduce simple carbohydrates
Taking out white sugar, white rice and white flour from your diet will reduce the levels of simple carbohydrates in your diet.
- White sugar may increase insulin levels as the pancreas will move into overdrive, producing large amounts of insulin to overcome high blood sugar levels:
- White rice is often known for largely increasing blood sugar levels in the body. It is important for diabetics to reduce white rice intake. Replacing white rice with brown rice may reduce blood sugar levels.
- Vital minerals and vitamins that are found in flour are mostly eliminated in the manufacturing process of white flour. White flour is like white sugar as it may increase insulin and blood sugar levels within the body.
If you want to include rice, flour and grains in your diet, ensure you use wholegrain versions as the complex carbohydrates are less refined and offer a variety of health benefits.
- Eat foods high in chromium
Chromium is a mineral that we all require and is found in traces of many foods. Chromium helps monitor blood sugar levels and reduces food cravings. Eating chromium may also help prevent hypertension or high blood pressure levels that can lead to other diseases including diabetes. Foods that contain chromium include eggs, peas, thyme, and whole grains.
- Increase foods high in vitamin C
Increasing foods that are high in vitamin C levels have many health benefits as this vitamin has been found to decrease blood sugar levels, especially in people with diabetes.
Berries such as strawberries are extremely high in vitamin C, and are responsible for protecting the heart from LDL Cholesterol. Having just one serving of strawberries amounts to half your recommended daily dose of vitamin C.
Citrus fruits such as limes and lemons that are high in vitamin C reduce blood sugar levels as they release limonin into the body. Vegetables such as parsley and red capsicum also have high levels of vitamin C, and are such an immune booster.
- More magnesium rich foods
Magnesium rich foods will reduce sugar cravings before periods. Buckwheat has been found to have high levels of magnesium, which has been found to contribute to blood sugar control within the body. Due to the high levels of magnesium in buckwheat, blood glucose and insulin responses are lowered considerably and may also satisfy hunger faster than other magnesium rich foods.
Brown rice is high in magnesium, one cup will give you more than half of your necessary daily intake. Brown rice reduces the effect of free radicals and encourages a healthy production of cholesterol.
- De-stress without using food
Instead of eating ice cream from the tub after an emotional situation, remove yourself from the pantry and avoid food at stressful times. When stressed, cravings for high-fat and high-sugar foods increases, and may cause people to over-eat. Instead of indulging in this unhealthy habit, call a friend, have an aromatherapy bath, go for a walk, indulge in a hobby or a good book.
- Cook with low sugar foods
Try cooking with low-sugar foods such as bitter melon. Ginseng tea is well known around Europe and Asia, and has recently become popular in the U.S and Australia. People drink this tea due to its health benefits such as stimulating brain function and overall wellness. This tea may also provide diabetic benefits by lowering blood sugar levels. Mulberry leaf tea is another Asian secret, also used to lower blood sugar levels.
Bitter melon is an unusual fruit-vegetable that has been used as an herbal remedy to reduce the effects of diabetes. The ingredient charantin, found in bitter melon, has been found to lower blood glucose levels.
- Curb sugar cravings
The spice saffron has been shown to reduce sugar cravings by regulating brain pathways, and reducing snacking in between meals. Snacking has been linked to sugar cravings, which means that by reducing the amount of snacking in between meals, you will reduce the levels of blood glucose in your body.
Incorporating exercise in your daily routine will reduce cravings for sugar. Strangely enough, exercise and sugar cravings are connected. Sugar cravings mainly occur when you eat too many animal products and refined foods. When you feel a sugar craving coming on, go for a 20 minute walk, do stretching exercises or a combination of cardiovascular and resistance training. This can easily be done at home or work throughout the day.
- Remove sugar from the house
The best way to avoid sneaking into the cabinet for a quick sugar fix is to remove everything with high levels of sugar. If you stop yourself from buying products with high sugar levels, there will be nothing in the pantry to eat when a craving hits. This is probably the easiest way to prevent yourself from overeating at stressful times.
Michèle Wolff is a leading health practitioner and a qualified naturopath, nutritionist, herbalist and nurse. Her new book ‘Digestive Solutions – 101 Proven Methods to Solve Your Tummy Problems Naturally’ is available from bookstores and good online booksellers.
Visit www.digestivesolutions.com.au RRP $39.95