Keeping your blood sugar steady doesn’t just keep diabetes at bay — it reduces your cancer risk by 22 percent, plus it lowers heart attack and stroke risk 50 percent. When blood sugar is normal, arteries are less likely to clog, and your immune system is much stronger.
Try some of these tricks to control it.
Stock up on green & red vegetables.
Broccoli, red peppers, tomatoes, green beans…eating one cup of green or red produce daily cuts your risk of high blood sugar 33 percent, UCLA researchers say. These vegetables are rich in phytonutrients that slow the absorption of carbs and rev your ability to burn them for energy — the key to avoiding blood-sugar surges. Not fond of veggies?
Consider this: When Temple University researchers paired raw veggies with tasty dips — such as ranch dressing and seasoned hummus — folks ate 80 percent more; dips cover up some of the stronger flavor in vegetables.
Serve up some spuds.
Slimming to within 10 pounds of your ideal weight takes such a burden off your pancreas, it can cut your risk of high blood sugar, insulin resistance, and full-blown diabetes five-fold, plus protect against heart disease, Harvard research suggests. And eating a potato every day (as long as you eat the skin — and don’t deep fry it) can help you burn of those extra pounds effortlessly. The minerals and fiber in spuds slow carb absorption, prevent post-meal blood-sugar spikes, and increase your production of appetite-controlling serotonin, helping you shed up to 12 pounds every year if you eat one potato daily, say University of Maine researchers.
Eat your favorite full-fat cheese.
Forget the low-fat stuff you probably don’t enjoy, anyway! A 20-year study suggests that a compound in full-fat dairy (trans-palmitoleic acid) boosts insulin sensitivity and blood-sugar control, often within five days. That means enjoying a little full-fat dairy each day could cut your risk of blood-sugar problems by 60 percent, the study authors say.
The dose: 2 oz. of full-fat cheese, or one cup of full-fat milk or yogurt daily.
Sip a little rose hip tea.
Rose hip tea is a mild, tangy, fruity brew that’s delicious hot or iced. And drinking 24 oz. daily can help prevent big blood-sugar surges — the sort of thing that can wear out your pancreas and lead to full-blown diabetes, say Swedish researchers. The credit goes to rose hip compounds (galactolipids) that nourish the liver, helping this organ absorb and quickly burn excess sugar.
Choose phthalate-free food containers.
That includes anything that’s made of glass or ceramic, and plastic containers that have the recycling codes 1, 2, or 5 stamped on them. These picks are all free of insulin-sabotaging chemicals called phthalates, and according to researchers, avoiding phthalates — often used to make plastics soft and bendy — can cut your risk of blood-sugar fluxes 25 percent or more.
Bonus: Women who steer clear of phthalates tend to be 10 percent slimmer — the ticket to cutting your diabetes risk almost 50 percent, say researchers at New York’s Mount Sinai Medical Center. Phthalates tinker with your body’s ability to burn fat and carbs for fuel, making you much more likely to store food as belly fat, the study authors say.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Reverse Aging.