Feeling overwhelmed by your never-ending to-do list and efforts to balance work, play and family? It can be especially tough to get through your day and actually enjoy it if you struggle with blood sugar imbalance symptoms such as fatigue, anxiety and an inability to concentrate. Adding certain spices to your diet will help to get you off the blood sugar roller coaster so that you can experience a steady stream of energy throughout the day.
Ground cinnamon is sugar free and packed with fiber, chromium, zinc and a wide range of antioxidants. Several studies, such as the one published in “PPAR Research” journal in 2008, have revealed that consuming cinnamon reduces fasting blood sugar levels. Cinnamon has also been found to increase sensitivity to the blood sugar-regulating hormone insulin, helping to prevent blood sugar levels from rising too high. Cinnamon spices up oatmeal, baked, raw or pureed apples, cottage cheese, pureed pumpkin and rice pudding.
Fenugreek is an annual herb that tastes slightly nutty and sweet, and its flavor is often likened to a cross between maple and celery. Although it is not as commonly used as cinnamon, it too provides a plethora of health benefits, and you can consume it in the form of whole or ground seeds. Fenugreek seeds contain 50 percent fiber, which slows the absorption of sugar in the body. According to “Alternative Medicine Review,” fenugreek enhances the digestion of carbohydrates, increases sensitivity to insulin and increases the secretion of insulin -- all of which help reduce blood sugar levels. A dash or two of fenugreek will transform curry dishes, savory meats and cooked vegetables from bland to mouthwatering.
Curry patta, not to be confused with curry powder, is a spice that is derived from curry leaves, and Indians have long revered it for its antidiabetic properties. The results of a study conducted on rats and cited in the “Journal of Ethnopharmacology” in 2002 suggest that curry patta reduces blood sugar levels and prevents hyperglycemic episodes, which is a condition characterized by dangerously high sugar levels in the blood. Curry patta is slightly bitter and has a citrusy undertone to it. Fry curry leaves in oil before cooking them. Fresh and dried curry patta pair great with fish, lentils, mixed vegetables and any coconut-based dish.
Additional Beneficial Spices
If you are trying to control your blood sugar, follow the motto: the more spices the merrier. According to a study cited in a 2005 issue of “Nutrition and Food Science Journal,” allspice, basil, bay leaf, curry powder, garlic, ginger, nutmeg and oregano contain phytonutrients, which increase sensitivity to insulin and help to balance blood sugar levels. The best part about these spices is that you only need to consume them in average amounts to obtain their blood sugar-regulating benefits.
- Prescription for Nutritional Healing; Phyllis Balch, CNC
- PPAR Research: Improved Insulin Resistance and Lipid Metabolism by Cinnamon Extract through Activation of Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptors
- Alternative Medicine Review: Therapeutic Applications of Fenugreek
- Journal of Ethnopharmacology: Hypoglycemic and Antihyperglycemic Activity of Murray Koenigii Leaves in Diabetic Rats
J.J. Ashton is a registered holistic nutritionist. She has been writing since 2007, with work featured in various publications, and holds a B.A. in English. Ashton also runs her own holistic health company.