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Food that Lower Blood Sugar and Cholesterol: Unveiling the Power of Nutrition

Food to lower blood sugar and cholesterol needn’t be frustrating to find. A balanced diet includes a range of foods from various food groups, which provide necessary nutrients that promote general health and well-being. It lowers your risk of getting chronic conditions like heart disease. A healthy diet can not only balance blood sugar but positively impact high cholesterol.

Welcome to our investigation into the foods that promote better cholesterol and blood sugar levels while also benefiting your overall health. There is often a link between high cholesterol levels and high blood sugar levels. However, the diets for each condition can at times contradict one another so it can be difficult to find one that suits both.

This blog will better inform you on what foods work for both conditions as well as provide some helpful tips to improve your overall health.

Saturated fat in processed foods causes high cholesterol levsl and high glucose levels.

What Is Blood Sugar

Blood sugar or blood glucose, refers to the level of glucose (a form of sugar) in the bloodstream and is where your body mainly gets all its energy to function. It is created once carbohydrates are broken down into glucose and then delivered via the bloodstream to the rest of the body. When blood glucose increases, your pancreas starts to produce insulin. This hormone aids the glucose to be absorbed into the cells to provide them with energy, thus regulating your blood sugar levels.

Low blood sugar occurs when your glucose levels are lower than they should be. There are many symptoms of low blood sugar levels, however, the most common are shakiness or trembling, sweating, fast heartbeat, extreme hunger, and mood changes.  High blood sugar is caused by an excess amount of glucose in the bloodstream and can be caused by numerous reasons. However, this could be an indication of diabetes. 

Just like low blood sugar levels, there are many symptoms of high blood sugar levels, however, common symptoms are blurred vision, increased thirst, increased urination, feeling weak and fatigued, or constant headaches.

What Is Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that is created by your liver. It is transported to where it is needed via lipoproteins in the blood. Lipoproteins also carry fats and fat-soluble vitamins to be absorbed throughout the body. 

There are two types of lipoproteins:

High-density lipoprotein (HDL)

Also called HDL cholesterol or “good cholesterol”, these lipoproteins transport the excess cholesterol out of the bloodstream to the liver. Here it is broken down and disposed of so it can’t cause any harm.

Low-density lipoprotein(LDL)

LDL cholesterol or “bad cholesterol”,  transports excess cholesterol from the liver throughout the body. Over time this excess cholesterol accumulates and creates plaque in the walls of the arteries, and over time it begins to block up the arteries, increasing the risk of heart disease or stroke.

High Cholesterol

High cholesterol, particularly high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, is a significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks and strokes. Symptoms of high cholesterol are often not easily detected, therefore it is advised to have your cholesterol tested to know your cholesterol status.

High cholesterol levels can only be checked via a blood test.

What Causes High Cholesterol and Blood Sugar?

Dietary Choices

Refined Carbs

Foods that have refined carbs and are high in sugar include sweetened desserts, bagels, and white bread. These increase your cholesterol levels and increase insulin resistance over time.

Unhealthy Fats

Consuming foods high in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, and refined sugars can lead to high cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

A diet of sweet treats will not cause weight loss.

Lifestyle Choices

Lack of physical activity, smoking, and consuming alcohol can all lead to cholesterol and blood sugar imbalances. Even secondhand smoke increases LDL and lowers HDL.

Stress may even impact cholesterol and blood sugar levels negatively. When stressed, your body produces hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline as part of the fight-or-flight response. 

Weight Gain

Excess weight puts additional stress on the body. Being overweight or obese can cause insulin resistance, which occurs when the body’s cells do not respond properly to insulin, resulting in elevated blood sugar levels. Obesity is also connected to elevated cholesterol levels.

Age or Hormones

As people age, their metabolism may slow, making it more difficult for the body to maintain cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

Hormonal changes, such as those seen during pregnancy or menopause, might influence cholesterol and blood sugar metabolism.

Best Foods to Eat

Fats, carbohydrates (carbs), and proteins all have different effects on LDL cholesterol and blood glucose. Trans fats impact cholesterol, whilst refined carbs like white pasta and white bread impact blood sugar. 

This may sound like finding the right foods for both is difficult but that is not the case. Not eating foods with added sugar and saturated fat will lower LDL and increase HDL. It will also help regulate your blood sugar. Brown rice is rich in fiber and nutrient-dense which makes it ideal for lowering both cholesterol and blood sugar.

Fiber prevents your body from absorbing excess cholesterol. Incorporate beans, apples, and prunes into your meals. You will also feel full so you will avoid snacking as much.

Healthy ways of promoting weight loss include changing your diet.

Proteins

Healthy proteins with a low fat content lower cholesterol and improve blood sugar response after meals. These proteins also slow down digestion allowing you to stay full for longer.

Foods like tempeh, beans, tofu, legumes, lentils, soy protein, and pulses are packed with resistant starch and soluble fiber. Lentils and beans are full of protein, magnesium, and fiber. 

A study consisting of 12 women showed that adding chickpeas or black beans to a meal lowered blood sugar levels indicating the importance of adding legumes to your diet.

Healthy Fats

Not all fats are unhealthy, therefore focus on removing the unhealthy trans and saturated fats from your diet. Focus on eating more foods that contain healthy fats or unsaturated fats. These help to regulate blood sugar, increase HDL, and lower LDL. Don’t remove saturated fats entirely, instead eat foods that contain monounsaturated fats in small amounts. Remember, everything is within moderation.

Foods that have healthy fats are olives, olive oil, avocados, seeds, and nuts.

Nuts

Some nuts like almonds contain sterols, and this stops the body from absorbing excess cholesterol. In a randomized controlled trial, it was found that consuming almonds and tree nuts helped to reduce blood sugar levels when added as part of a low-carb diet.

Olive Oil

Cooking in extra-virgin olive oil will lower LDL levels and the antioxidants protect you from free radical damage. In addition, olive oil has a low glycemic index, therefore it is low in glycemic carbohydrates and will not cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels.

Inlcude oilve oil as part of having a healthy range of food to eat.

Avocados

Avocados are full of minerals and vitamins that promote lower blood sugar levels. It also protects against metabolic syndrome – a combination of high blood sugar and high blood pressure. Metabolic syndrome leads to an increased risk of chronic diseases.

Despite their high-calorie content, research suggests that including avocados in a well-balanced diet may help with weight management and metabolic health. Maintaining a healthy weight is critical for regulating cholesterol.

Chia Seeds

In 2020 a review, of Chia seed (Salvia hispanica L.) effects and their molecular mechanisms on unbalanced diet experimental studies: A systematic review was conducted. The review was based on 17 studies that demonstrated that the consumption of chia seeds improves blood sugar regulation and decreases insulin sensitivity.

Chia seeds also help you feel fuller.

Flaxseed

Flax Seeds contain fiber that not only raises HDL levels but also reduces blood sugar. A few studies were conducted on the benefits of eating whole flaxseed, including its ability to improve blood sugar regulation.

Vegetables

Vegetables, whether cooked or raw, lower cholesterol levels and blood sugar in the body. It is advised to rather increase your intake of non-starchy vegetables to keep high glycemic carb intake as low as possible, thus keeping your blood sugar level regulated.

Non-starchy vegetables like cauliflower, carrots, spinach, leafy greens, eggplant, broccoli, zucchini, artichokes, tomatoes, and bell peppers can be snacks or added to full meals.

Starchy vegetables to eat in moderation include parsnips, potatoes, peas, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, corn and winter squash.

Kale and other vegetables have flavonoid antioxidants combined with high fiber to lower blood sugar levels.

Broccoli and Broccoli Sprouts

Both contain chemicals produced from enzymes when either chewed or chopped. These chemicals together with certain compounds reduce blood sugar.

Broccoli includes sulforaphane, a chemical with potential cardiovascular benefits. Sulforaphane may assist in improving lipid metabolism and inflammation, resulting in lower cholesterol levels and better overall heart health.

Pumpkin Seeds and Pumpkin

Pumpkins are full of antioxidants, fiber, and carbs called polysaccharides. These complex carbs regulate blood sugar in the body. Pumpkin seeds are full of protein and healthy fats which makes it a great snack for lowering blood sugar. In a 2018 study, it was found that 2 oz of pumpkin seeds was able to decrease blood sugar levels after consumption.

Fruit

Fruit is a good way to get in healthy carbs filled with micronutrients, minerals, antioxidants, vitamins, plant compounds, and fiber. However, canned fruit, dried fruit, and fruit juice all have high sugar content, therefore it is advised to always stick to fresh fruit produce. Eat fresh fruit like kiwis, blackberries, apples, raspberries, apricots, blueberries, peaches, strawberries, and plums.

Berries help to decrease cholesterol levels.

Citrus

Whole citrus fruits like grapefruits and oranges have strong anti-diabetic attributes. They are also high in vitamins and minerals and their natural sugars are low on the glycemic index.

Citrus fruits contain numerous antioxidants, such as Vitamin C, flavonoids, and limonoids. Antioxidants may also protect LDL cholesterol from oxidation, which can cause plaque development in the arteries.

Okra Fruit

Okra is a fruit that is commonly cooked and eaten as a vegetable like tomatoes. It is full of antioxidants and polysaccharides that reduce blood sugar.

When cooked, okra has a slimy feel due to a specific type of soluble fiber known as mucilage. Mucilage helps to lubricate the digestive tract and may aid in the removal of cholesterol and toxins from the body.

Spices

Many spices are high in antioxidants, anti-inflammatory chemicals, and other bioactive ingredients that help improve metabolic health. Cinnamon, for example, has been demonstrated in studies to enhance insulin sensitivity and lower fasting blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Turmeric includes curcumin, which has been investigated for its cholesterol-lowering and anti-inflammatory properties. Garlic may help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol while increasing HDL (good) cholesterol levels. Additionally, ginger has been demonstrated to enhance blood sugar regulation and lower inflammatory markers.

Fermented Foods

Sauerkraut and Kimchi

Sauerkraut and kimchi both contain probiotics, minerals, and compounds. All of which improve overall health.

Additionally, both sauerkraut and kimchi include antioxidants, such as Vitamins C and K, which assist in reducing oxidative stress and inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation is connected with insulin resistance and poor cholesterol metabolism, thus eating antioxidant-rich foods may benefit general metabolic health.

Low Cholesterol Diet

A low-cholesterol diet aims to reduce cholesterol and saturated fat consumption while prioritizing nutrient-dense meals that promote heart health. Several different low-cholesterol diets can be restrictive but benefit both these conditions. Remember a strict diet is not a quick fix, adopt a healthy eating plan, incorporating recipes, schedules, and healthy snacks.

Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet is frequently recommended to improve heart health and control cholesterol and blood sugar levels. This meal plan is full of healthy fats, fruits, and vegetables, the best foods for absorbing cholesterol, helping insulin resistance, and maintaining a healthy weight. This diet is based on the traditional foods of countries along the Mediterranean Sea.

Check with a registered dietitian when trying to decrease body weight.

Key Takeaways

To summarize, the effectiveness of nutrition in decreasing blood sugar and cholesterol levels cannot be emphasized enough. Individuals can significantly improve their metabolic health and lower their risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease by carefully selecting foods and developing dietary habits.

Having a meal plan that will benefit your body by controlling high blood sugar and cholesterol is possible. Food plays a vital role in our health so it isn’t surprising that certain foods can help you optimize your general health. 

Finally, maintaining a balanced and nutritious diet is critical to realizing the potential of food as medicine in regulating blood sugar and cholesterol levels. We may use nutrition to nourish our bodies and promote a lifetime of vitality if we have knowledge, intention, and a commitment to make healthy choices. We hope that we were able to help you find the right foods to help you on your journey to better health!

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