Knowledge of the glycemic index (GI) rating of carbohydrate foods is helpful. And including at least one low GI choice at each meal will assist you. Here are some additional pointers that relate to how you prepare and serve your food.
Five tricks you can use now
Always dress your salads. There’s nothing virtuous about eating them dry. Not only will a good oil boost the absorption of their antioxidants, research shows that adding vinegar (or lemon juice) can drop the GI of your entire meal.
Add nuts and/or seeds in some form when eating carbohydrate foods. Their addition has been shown to dampen the blood sugar and insulin-raising effect of the carbs. It doesn’t matter how you do it. For example, spread peanut butter on your bread, make a tahini-based cream sauce for your pasta, or grind up walnuts and toss them through cooked grains.
Use adequate amounts of a good oil in your cooking, such as extra virgin olive oil, because fat drops the GI of a meal. As a guide, use one tablespoon per cup of veggies. To emulate a healthy Mediterranean diet, aim for a total of four tablespoons per day for yourself.
Feature legumes as your “meat from the soil.” Beans of all sorts have the lowest GI of any food group. Unlike meat, which can increase insulin levels, legumes lower both glucose and insulin levels, providing far-reaching benefits even to the next meal.
Use mostly intact, cracked, and rolled forms of grains, and don’t highly process any carb foods, such as potatoes. Finely milled flour, even when it’s whole grain, has a high GI index due to the increased surface area of the food form. That’s why it’s important to add seeds and cracked grains to bread to drop its GI. Avoid puffed and extruded grain products, even if they’re low fat and they look brown, because they’re high GI foods.
A low GI diet is a by-product of choosing minimally processed plant foods, which is the food God intended us to eat (Genesis 1:29)
Nutritionist Sue Radd is the award-winning author of the Breakfast Book and coauthor of Eat to Live, internationally acclaimed for showing how savvy eating can combat cancer and heart disease and improve wellbeing. See www.sueradd.com for more nutrition information.