When it comes to lowering your blood sugar, there are many tactics that can help handle the most common dietary dilemmas. If you’re having trouble figuring out how you could change your diet to manage gestational diabetes, don’t worry – there are plenty of small things you can do to keep your blood sugar under control.
- Don’t completely avoid carbs
You do need carbs for energy, and completely avoiding them will cause you to have low energy levels, headaches, mood swings, and most likely a desire to binge on food. Diabetes isn’t about having too much sugar, it’s a problem processing sugar, and the sugars in some carbohydrates, like those in whole grains, are easier to process, and don’t raise blood sugar as much.
- Reduce processed foods, takeout, restaurant meals, and prepared foods
These foods often contain very high amounts of added salt and sugar, which can raise your blood pressure, and raise your blood sugar levels, neither of which you want to do if you have (or are at risk of) gestational diabetes.
- Use alternative flavorings
Cinnamon, rosemary, thyme, oregano, cumin, ginger – there are lots of ways to enhance food taste without using added salt, sugar, butter, or even oils. And vinegar has been shown to help keep blood sugar down, so it may be worth adding it to salads or cooked vegetables. Adding onions and garlic to your meals is another way to add flavor without adding extra sugar, and onions and garlic are sometimes thought to have other health benefits.
- Get lower on the glycemic index
The glycemic index is a scale from 1-100 that measures a carbohydrate-based food’s impact on blood sugar levels. Some experts recommend that those with gestational diabetes stick to foods lower on the glycemic index. This doesn’t mean that those foods shouldn’t be eaten in moderation, and research on the glycemic index is still emerging and new. But eating starches that are low on the glycemic index could be beneficial to your health.
- Taste the rainbow
This isn’t a candy commercial! Just try to eat more fruits that have blue, purple, and red skin. The coloring from these fruits has actually been shown to help with insulin resistance. Just make sure to avoid those that are high on the glycemic index, or anything that your provider recommends you avoid.
If you have any questions about the way you eat, or if you’re thinking about making a significant adjustment in your diet, make sure to speak to your healthcare provider, who can tell you more about how these changes impact your health specifically.
- “Tips to control your blood sugar.” DiabeticLivingOnline. Meredith Corporation, 2016. Web.
- “Christine Case-lo. “Foods that lower blood sugar.” Healthline. Healthline Media, Apr 22 2016. Web.
- A Stull, K Cash, W Johnson, C Champagne, and W Cefalu. “Bioactives in Blueberries Improve Insulin Sensitivity in Obese, Insulin-Resistant Men and Women.” The Journal of Nutrition. 140(10): 1764–1768. Web. Aug 19 2010.