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Foods to help manage blood sugar levels

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Broccoli and broccoli sprouts contain sulforaphane, which is a type of isothiocyanate that has blood-sugar-reducing properties. [Photo by Mgmoscatello (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons]

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Keeping track and managing your blood sugar levels can help prevent or delay long-term health problems - especially for people with prediabetes, diabetes or other conditions. Staying within your target range (80 to 130 mg/dL before a meal; Less than 180 mg/dL 2 hours after the start of a meal) can help prevent heart disease, vision loss and kidney disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

One way to help lower or regulate your blood sugar is eating the right foods. According to Healthline, factors like body weight, activity, stress and genetics play a role in blood sugar maintenance, following a healthy diet is important for blood sugar control.

Here are some foods, according to Healthline, that can optimize blood sugar control and promote overall health:

1. Broccoli and broccoli sprouts: Sulforaphane is a type of isothiocyanate that has blood-sugar-reducing properties.

2. Seafood: Seafood, including fish and shellfish, offers a valuable source of protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that may help regulate blood sugar levels.

3. Pumpkin and pumpkin seeds: Packed with fiber and antioxidants, pumpkin is high in carbs called polysaccharides, which have been studied for their blood-sugar-regulating potential.

4. Nuts and nut butter: A Studies have demonstrated that consuming both peanuts and almonds throughout the day as part of a low carb diet reduced both fasting and post-meal blood sugar levels.

5. Okra: Okra is a rich source of blood-sugar-lowering compounds like polysaccharides and flavonoid antioxidants.

6. Flax seeds: Flax seeds are rich in fiber and healthy fats, which can help reduce blood sugar levels.

7. Beans and lentils: Beans and lentils are rich in nutrients, such as magnesium, fiber, and protein, that can help lower blood sugar.

8. Kimchi and sauerkraut: Fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut are packed with probiotics, minerals, and antioxidants, and eating them has been associated with improved blood sugar and insulin sensitivity.

9. Chia seeds: Studies have linked chia seed consumption to reductions in blood sugar levels and improvements in insulin sensitivity.

10. Kale: Kale has fiber and flavonoid antioxidants that are compounds that might help decrease blood sugar levels.

EASY RECIPE

Summer Squash Casserole

Serves: 4-6

Ingredients

2 pounds yellow squash, ends trimmed, and cut into 1- to 2-inch pieces

3/4 cup chopped sweet onion

Pinch salt

2 to 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 to 3 unsalted soda crackers, crumbled, if desired

1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Steps

Lightly butter a large, broiler-safe casserole dish.

In a large saucepan, combine the squash and 1/4 cup of the onion. Add enough water to cover the squash halfway, along with a pinch of salt. Place the saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until just tender, 10 to 12 minutes.

Drain the water from the pan. Add the butter and remaining 1/2 cup onion, and return the saucepan to medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the butter is melted and the onion softens, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with with salt and pepper. If there is liquid remaining in the pan, crumble the soda crackers and stir into the squash to thicken. If there is no liquid, then you can omit the crackers.

Heat the broiler to high. Transfer the squash mixture to the prepared casserole dish and cover with the cheese. Place the dish under the broiler, and cook until the cheese melts and the squash has heated through, about 1 minute. Serve immediately.

- SouthernKitchen.com

FUN FACT

Cotton candy

Cotton candy was invented in 1897 by a dentist and was originally known as "fairy floss."

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