By Claire Georgiou, Reboot Naturopath, B.HSc ND
Blood sugar is such a hot topic, and for good reason. It is having a major implication on our society. Prediabetes is growing in the United States; it is estimated that at least 86 million U.S. adults ages 20 or older have prediabetes, which is more than 1 in 3 with 90% of these people not knowing they have it. Risk factors include lack of exercise, high waist circumference, certain ethnicities, gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, PCOS or a family member that has been diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes. Prediabetes is elevated blood sugar levels but they are not high enough to be diagnosed with diabetes.
Processed and highly refined foods that are so often consumed are rapidly digested into sugar and will cause a surge in blood sugar that can lead to an increased risk of developing a range of diseases. Chronic irregular blood sugar levels are related to many inflammatory health conditions including an increased risk in type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, fatty liver, cancer, macular degeneration, fertility problems in both men and women and obesity.
It is important for your health and weight management to always work towards supporting healthy blood sugar levels by making excellent healthy food choices, including regular exercise and incorporating other healthy lifestyle factors.
So why not add these ingredients to your juices (and smoothies and other plant-based meals!)?
The British Diabetic Association (Diabetes UK) recently published a piece stating that researchers from the University of Sydney, Australia, found that extracts from ginger rich in gingerols can increase uptake of glucose into muscle cells without using insulin, and may therefore assist in the management of high blood sugar levels. Ginger not only adds healing properties but it also adds great flavor.
In a study conducted on prediabetic people, the effect of curcumin was shown to delay the development of diabetes and have a protective effect. Turmeric showed in this study to significantly suppress the increase in blood glucose levels in type 2 diabetic mice. Turmeric has many wonderful health properties and can be easily added to juices, smoothies, drinks and meals.
This is a traditionally used herb/vegetable for the management of diabetes and poor blood sugar levels in Asian cultures, this vegetable can be juiced, added to salads and used as a green vegetable in stir-fries. In this animal study the animals with diabetes had normal blood sugar levels while consuming bitter melon, it also commonly used in weight loss herbal supplements.
Grapefruit contains specialized antioxidants such as naringenin, that has shown to improve insulin sensitivity and help maintain a healthy weight. Studies have demonstrated that consuming half of a fresh grapefruit before each meal showed a significant reduction in the 2 hour post-glucose insulin levels compared with the placebo.
Research has shown that serum insulin, glucose and leptin were significantly improved by lemon polyphenols, thereby improving insulin resistance and weight control. This is why so many people love to enjoy their warm lemon drink in the morning.
These types of fruit are high in soluble and insoluble fiber (soluble fiber is still present in juice). Fiber, particularly soluble fiber, is very important in the regulation of blood sugar levels. Consuming other high fiber foods is helpful for blood sugar control.
These belong on any healthy list which includes spinach, kale, chard and other leafy greens. They are high in minerals, vitamins and fiber so get used to always adding a handful of these to your juices.
Studies have shown that as little as a teaspoon of cinnamon a day may significantly decrease fasting blood glucose levels and increase insulin sensitivity. This can be easily sprinkled on top of juices. A Reboot favorite with cinnamon is the Peach Pie Juice.
Chia seeds and other foods high in omega-3’s such as cold water oily fish, walnuts, flaxseeds and hemp seeds provide healthy fats that help to support healthy blood sugar levels along with the added bonus of the fibre (except fish) and nutrients that also work towards healthy blood sugar modulation. Just sprinkle these into your juice too — they will plump up and add a chewiness to your juice. It’s better than it sounds!
A 2009 study at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Australia demonstrated that a diet rich in coconut oil protects against ‘insulin resistance’ in muscle and fat and it can penetrate the cell wall into the mitochondria to provide the cell with energy in the absence of insulin. A study conducted in 2010 found that lauric acid found in coconut oil may protect protect against diabetes-induced dyslipidemia.
A little of this stuff can go a long way! Coconut oil can be beneficial for the management of blood sugar levels and will help to reduced appetite. Coconut oil can be melted down and stirred into your juice. See here for more reasons to love coconut oil.
Apple Cider Vinegar increases your insulin sensitivity and improves and balances blood sugar levels. It has also be been shown to help and support weight loss, healthy cholesterol levels, improve satiety and digestion. This can be added to juices to brighten the flavor with a healthy sour-like taste.
It is important when juicing for healthy blood sugar levels that you keep your juices to at least 80% vegetable or higher. Our 60-Day Guided Reboot Program is designed to help you keep keep your blood sugar levels in check so if it’s a concern, learn more about our program that will help you every step of your juicy weight loss journey.