Once you’ve gotten the hang of eating in a way that takes into account carbs, sugar and glycemic insights, you may be feeling bullish enough to take the extra step of incorporating foods into your diet that are believed to help lower blood sugar. While we all should remain skeptical of any nutritional quick ‘fixes’, some of these ‘cherries on top’—specifically berries, cinnamon and apple cider vinegar —seem especially worth considering.
Research on blueberries has demonstrated that eating them improves insulin resistance and glucose tolerance but more studies are needed to verify its anti-diabetic effect. In fact, all dark berries, which contain phenolic compounds (that fight cancer, etc.) show mixed results on lowering glucose but, altogether, when consumed regularly, seem to positively effect metabolic factors related to diabetes.
A fairly recent meta-analysis showed that cinnamon consumption resulted in lower fasting blood sugar levels and A1C. Cinnamon has two types, Ceylon or Cassia (common in the US, and more thoroughly studied), and while both appear to lower blood sugar, the latter contains coumarin (which has some risks to the liver in high quantities), so I’m gonna get me some Ceylon ASAP because I use a fair amount of cinnamon.
In general, I aim to always keep both berries (at least in frozen form) and cinnamon around the house since they are ingredients in most of the ‘sweets’ I consider essential to have available for sugar cravings. You can have the berries straight up, in a smoothie or with oatmeal. Cinnamon also helps make crustless, low-carb pumpkin pie and Greek yogurt sing.
Apple cider vinegar has been shown to improve glucose for normal, pre-diabetic, and type 2 blood types: lowering sugar levels in pre-diabetics by nearly half, and in those with type 2 by 25%—the acetic acid it contains likely slows the conversion of carbs into sugar. It’s supposed to be more effective when consumed before meals and just before going to sleep. A friend recommended it to me awhile back for other reasons, and I try to drink it regularly (but could be much more consistent). You may want to partake via salad dressing, but I don’t mind having it with lemon and stevia, sort of like a sour kombucha. (A pricier but delicious option if you are in the US is SUVA’s Drinking Vinegar).
There are other remedies that are popular right now that may help lower blood sugar, such as the spice turmeric and chia seeds, but research on these is apparently less established. Even so, I now have cause to investigate further. I’ve been drinking turmeric tea out of curiosity, but to reap the benefits of turmeric’s chemical ingredient, curcumin, I’ll have to try greater quantities through a supplement. Also, given that a diet high in chia may have other health benefits, I’ll be reintroducing it into my low-sugar, low-carb desserts. My A1C has crept up a notch in the last 9 months so I’ll be experimenting with Ceylon, chia and vinegar. If there are any off-the-charts results, I’ll of course be reporting them here!