Hypoglycemia (plummeting or below normal blood sugar levels) is typified by a sense of tiredness, weakness, fainting, rapid heartbeats, hunger or quivering that arises due to inadequate glucose or sugar in the system which is vital energy for the cells.
The finest hypoglycemia management approach is to ensure steady, constant and slow entry/absorption of foods or glucose into the blood which is ideally accomplished by modifying dietary habits.
Best Diet for Hypogycemia
Be Carb Conscious
Totally eliminating carbohydrates from your dietetic intake isn’t necessary though you must educate yourself and exercise caution on which one will work in your favour.
Gradual breakdown and absorption of complex carbohydrates into the blood doesn’t lead to abrupt variations in blood glucose levels as opposed to that noticed after the intake of simple carbohydrates. Hence, incorporate complex carbohydrate foods into daily diet that have a low GI (or glycemic index – gauge of rate at which a carbohydrate is converted into sugar and enters the system). These include:
Leafy green veggies – (Watercress, spinach, collard, mustard and turnip greens, kale, lettuce)
Cruciferous veggies – (Broccoli, cabbage, bok choy, brussels sprouts, cauliflower)
Other veggies – (Lady’s finger, radish, cucumber, brinjal, celery stalks, artichoke, yam, asparagus, sweet potato, onion, tomato)
Fructose-containing fruits – (Orange, pear, strawberry, grapefruit, apple, plum)
Dry fruits – (Apricot, prune, almond, macademia nut, walnut)
Rice – (Brown, black)
Pasta – (Thicker, whole wheat, brown varieties that are cooked ‘al dente’)
Whole grains – (Muesli, oatmeal, buckwheat, barley, couscous, millet, bulgur, quinoa)
Legumes – (Black-eyed, pinto, kidney, soybean, navy, lentils, split peas)
Dairy – (Fat-free/low fat variety of yoghurt, milk, soy milk)
Simple carbohydrates have a basic composition (single or duo sugars) thus facilitating their rapid digestion which causes swift spurt in blood glucose levels and hits the body faster.
Commonly identified culprits include honey, corn sweetener or syrup or HFCS (high fructose corn syrup), molasses, white breads and rice, refined sugar, potato, some types of fruits and veggies like peas, corn and carrot , candies, cookie, ice-creams, aerated beverages, pastries, jam and jelly. Coincidentally, these foods are also high glycemic index carbs that cause premature plummet in blood sugar levels.
Protein is Paramount
Dieticians strongly recommend that carbs ought to be paired along with proteins as they work in unison for stabilizing post-meal spikes in blood glucose levels. Some amount of time is needed for conversion of proteins into sugar (glucose) which ensures a slackened and steady pace of entry into the bloodstream.
Hence, hypoglycemia sufferers should ideally include some form of protein into their daily diet like animal-based types (poultry, fishes, egg) or from food-based types such as varieties of nut, seed, legume, cheeses, tofu, nut butter.
Insoluble fiber is that portion of the plant that appears coarse, chewy with a hard casing or seeds within and is your best buddy for preventing hypoglycemia as it delays assimilation of sugar. Wheat bran, popcorn, whole wheat or whole grain cereals and breads are examples of insoluble fiber that aid in easier passage of foods via the digestive system. However, avoid consuming insoluble fiber as a standalone meal or while empty-stomached and ensure pairing it with soluble fiber.
Soluble fiber with its ready solubility tends to form a viscous gel, delays the rate at which foods are being absorbed and aids in stabilizing blood glucose levels after meal time. Ideal sources are the pectin presence in fresh fruits (oranges, apples) and the fibrous casing of different varieties of grain, legume and oats, psyllium, brinjal, lady’s finger and flaxseed. Ensure drinking a minimum of eight ounces of water along with your soluble fiber source for effective results.
Chromium is Crucial
This vital trace element dons a key role by maintaining regular levels of blood glucose and insulin. The ideal sources include romaine lettuce, oyster, potato, brewer’s yeast, whole grains, banana, fishes, meat and poultry, green pepper which must be eaten on a regular basis to prevent any deficiency.
Other Cardinal Mistakes to Avoid
Those people who are susceptible to hypoglycemia must steer clear from caffeinated and alcoholic beverages as they tend to aggravate symptoms. One could switch to a decaffeinated version of tea or coffee or ones with lesser percentage of caffeine in it.
Hypoglycemia prevention starts with eating the right foods in appropriate amounts, consuming a minimum of 3 meals that must be spaced no longer than 4-5 hours apart and duo mid-meal snacks (100-200 calories worth) that should be laden with fiber, good fats, carbs and lean forms of proteins.
Always carry some sugar-containing foods like hard candies, juices, fruits or glucose pills to get a dose of around twenty grams of carbohydrates or sugar whenever hypoglycemia strikes.