I think that people suffering from diabetes, can right away give an answer to this question without even thinking about it. Nevertheless, see this information as a reminder.

First of all, why would you care about the glycemic index (GI)? You might be surprized, but many nutritious foods (like potatoes, white rice, pumpkin, beets, watermelon, banana, oatmeal etc) have a higher GI than foods with little nutritional value. These nutritious foods (with high GI) cause high spikes in your blood sugar levels. Here nothing is wrong with it, if your body is able to lower those levels effectively. However, in the long run it might become a problem, leading to insulin resistance and later to diabetes type II.

So, what do we need to do to lower the GI of the food and at the same time enjoy our nutritious food without worrying about potential health problems?

1. Eat your fruits and veggies as young and fresh as possible. The more ripe they are, the higher their GI is. Think about banana’s. The carbs in green unripe ones consist mostly of starch and resistant starch, but in yellow banana’s the starch turns into sugar.

2. Cook your food al dente. Al dente pasta, for example, has a lower GI than soft-cooked pasta.

3. Process your food as little as possible: the more cooked or processed a food is, the higher its GI. To give you an example, the raw carrots have GI of 16, while boiling peeled carrots increases their GI to 33 and by mashing carrots to a smooth paste you’ll achieve the maximum GI of carrots, which is equal to 60.

4. Pay attention to the shape of your food. Long-grain white rice has a lower GI than brown rice but short-grain white rice has a higher GI than brown rice.

5. Combine food with high GI with healthy fats or food with low GI as both of them tend to balance the effect on blood sugar levels. As simple as just adding 1-2 tablespoons of extra virgin oil to your dish will help decrease the GI.

So far these are the most common rules of managing the GI of a food. Even if it is hard for you to remember and apply all of the mentioned above rules in your kitchen, one common rule should always stay in mind: eat a large variety of healthy foods and lessen on the foods with less nutrients.

If you know any other tips and tricks to lower the GI of your food, please share it with us!

Curious? Take a look at the website of American Diabetes Association

Tatsiana Haponava, PhD

a certified nutrition coach, educator and researcher with a PhD degree

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