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Greek yogurt bowl with blueberries, strawberries an granola, sitting beside a spoon and charcoal napkin

5 foods to try that are low on the glycemic index

Nutrition Concern

The glycemic index is a system of assigning a number to carbohydrate-containing foods according to how much each food increases blood sugar. Foods with a high GI increase blood sugar higher and faster than foods with a low GI. Incorporating more low GI foods into your diet can assist with managing blood sugar levels, decreasing risk of heart disease and weight management. If you’re looking to get better control over your blood sugar levels, these five foods can be a great place to start.

1. Barley

Why it’s great:  Barley contains a mixture of fibres that can help slow down metabolism, which in turn can help with appetite regulation. Since it’s considered a complex carbohydrate, meaning it takes comparatively longer to digest resulting in a steady release of glucose into the bloodstream, barley can also help with blood sugar control. Versatile and neutral in flavour, barley works well in a variety of different dishes.

How to use it: in soups, salads, risotto

2. Lentils

Why they’re great: Lentils are high in soluble fiber and resistant starch, which help slow digestion and may improve blood sugar response after meals. They can also help control your blood glucose levels, reduce cholesterol levels, manage your appetite and reduce your risk of getting type 2 diabetes. Protein found in lentils can also help slow the rise in your blood sugar, while assisting with appetite control. Easy to prepare with no pre-soaking required, lentils are a convenient and delicious option.

How to use them: in soup, pasta sauces, salads, mixed with rice

3. Berries

Why they’re great: Loaded with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and disease-fighting antioxidants, berries make an excellent choice for individuals looking to control blood sugar. Refreshing and delicious, they’re a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth while reaping the benefits of a wide variety of nutrients. Plus, you can purchase and consume them fresh or frozen making them a convenient option.

How to use them: in cereal or oatmeal, mixed in with yogurt, in smoothies, muffins

4. Plain Greek Yogurt

Why it’s great: Most dairy products are lower on the glycemic index. Unlike regular yogurt, Greek yogurt is strained to remove liquid whey and lactose. This makes it thicker and creamier, while also increasing the protein and reducing the carbohydrate content. Yogurt consumption might be associated with lower levels of glucose and insulin resistance, as well as lower systolic blood pressure. Fermented foods, such as yogurt, contain good bacteria called probiotics, which can be beneficial for maintaining overall health and could play a factor in many conditions including obesity and diabetes. Check the labels and go for an unsweetened variety, or one that contains less than 10 grams of sugar. Plus, check for live active cultures to reap the benefits of probiotics.

How to use them: as a replacement for sour cream, in smoothies, overnight oats, dips, topping for soup

5. Steel Cut Oats

Why they’re great: Steel cut oats are a good source of soluble fibre food, which helps slow the absorption of glucose and can help with controlling blood sugar levels. Studies have found that oat intake significantly reduced A1C levels, fasting glucose levels, and cholesterol among individuals with diabetes. They’re easy to include in your breakfast routine and can be spruced up by adding fruit, nuts or seeds, nut butter… the possibilities are endless!

How to use them: porridge, overnight, crockpot oatmeal, meatloaf, add texture to stuffing

Sources

https://guidelines.diabetes.ca/docs/patient-resources/glycemic-index-food-guide.pdf

https://www.drwf.org.uk/news-and-events/news/barley-could-help-people-type-2-diabetes-manage-blood-sugar-levels-and-lose

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4690088/

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10408398.2014.883356

The information provided is for personal use, reference and education only and is not intended to be a substitute for a Physician’s advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult your healthcare professional for specific information on personal health matters.

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