Ways to support blood sugar balance

Maintaining healthy blood sugar levels over the course of the day can mean steady energy and reduced cravings for ‘quick fixes’ like refined sugary foods or excess caffeine. Here are some of our favourite ways to support blood sugar balance. 

Hint: Halloween is just around the corner, so if you enjoy a bit more candy than usual, these tips will help bring your body back to balance afterwards.

Cinnamon

One of the most discussed effects of cinnamon has been its impact on managing an individual's insulin resistance and pre-meal blood sugar levels. The natural agents found in cinnamon are found to be similar to insulin and serve to increase the uptake of glucose and keep blood glucose levels stable. 

How we love to include cinnamon:

  • Sprinkle it onto yoghurt
  • A dash into a pancake mix
  • A cinnamon smoothie 
  • In a chai tea

Pairing protein with carbohydrates

The glycaemic impact of foods (how much the food will raise an individual's blood glucose level after eating it) can be impacted by certain components of the meal. It has been shown that adding protein to a carbohydrate reduces the glycaemic response by stimulating the production of insulin. 

Our favourite protein and carbohydrate snacks:

  • Greek yoghurt with berries
  • Peanut butter drizzled onto banana
  • Sliced cheese on crackers
  • Boiled egg on toast

Chromium

Chromium is a trace mineral that plays an important role in sugar balance by supporting the binding of insulin to insulin receptors. It also has a beneficial role in its effects on carbohydrate, protein and lipid metabolism. 

Chromium-rich foods to include:

  • Oranges
  • Beef
  • Brewers yeast
  • Turkey
  • Green beans
  • Broccoli 

Magnesium

Magnesium is a mineral which plays an important role in regulating the action of insulin, the transport of glucose and therefore blood glucose metabolism. 

Magnesium-rich foods we love to include:

  • Black beans
  • Avocado
  • Almonds
  • Bananas
  • Oats
  • Broccoli
  • Brown rice
  • Pumpkin seeds

Zinc

Zinc is a mineral that plays a role in the production and sensitivity of insulin. It assists in the process of glucose, sugar, protein and carbohydrate metabolism as well as supports healthy blood sugars and body metabolism. 

Zinc-rich foods to include:

  • Oysters
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Poultry 
  • Wholegrains
  • Red meat
  • Seafood

References:

Wendy R. Russell, Athanasia Baka, Inger Björck, Nathalie Delzenne, Dan Gao, Helen R. Griffiths, Ellie Hadjilucas, Kristiina Juvonen, Sampo Lahtinen, Mirian Lansink, Luc Van Loon, Hannu Mykkänen, Elin östman, Gabriele Riccardi, Sophie Vinoy & Martin O. Weickert (2016) Impact of Diet Composition on Blood Glucose Regulation, Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 56:4, 541-590

Kizilaslan N, Erdem NZ. The Effect of Different Amounts of Cinnamon Consumption on Blood Glucose in Healthy Adult Individuals. Int J Food Sci. 2019;2019:4138534. Published 2019 Mar 4. 

Elham Moghaddam, Janet A. Vogt, Thomas M. S. Wolever, The Effects of Fat and Protein on Glycemic Responses in Nondiabetic Humans Vary with Waist Circumference, Fasting Plasma Insulin, and Dietary Fiber Intake, The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 136, Issue 10, October 2006, Pages 2506–2511

​​A scientific review: the role of chromium in insulin resistance. Diabetes Educ. 2004;Suppl:2-14. PMID: 15208835.

Barbagallo M, Dominguez LJ. Magnesium and type 2 diabetes. World J Diabetes. 2015;6(10):1152-1157.