Eating foods that nature intended

Apple cider vinegar slows the absorption of carbohydrates into the bloodstream and slows the breakdown  of starches into sugars. Photo: Getty Images
Apple cider vinegar slows the absorption of carbohydrates into the bloodstream and slows the breakdown of starches into sugars. Photo: Getty Images
Eating a diet with a focus on regulating blood sugar levels will result in optimal functioning of certain hormones in our body and allow the feedback system to work properly, achieving higher energy levels and optimal health, writes Deanna Copland.

Deanna Copland
Deanna Copland
Higher fat, moderate protein and lower carbohydrate eating is beneficial for insulin.

Choose foods with the least amount of human interference as these tend to be more in line with the way nature intended us to eat. Avocado, kumara and walnuts for example, have very little interference whereas crackers and pasta have been manufactured in a factory and then often transported long distances.

Green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, spinach, kale and bok choy are high in dietary fibre and rich in magnesium, which both help to regulate blood sugar levels, slowing down energy release and glucose absorption. The stalks are also beneficial so use these rather than discarding.

Starchy vegetables like kumara (including the skin) and pumpkin contain more fibre than white potatoes, and help with balancing insulin.

Cinnamon has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and our cells' ability to respond more readily to insulin so that less is released into our body. It can also reduce cardiovascular disease risk by improving triglycerides, LDL (''bad'') cholesterol and total cholesterol levels. This is a wonderful addition to smoothies - be generous and add about one teaspoon for the full benefits.

Homemade wedges made by roasting the sweet orange kumara with coconut oil and cinnamon is also an interesting addition to a meal.

Apple cider vinegar has been found to blunt blood sugar and insulin increases. It slows the absorption of carbohydrates into the blood stream and slows the breakdown of starches into sugars.

Simply drizzle apple cider vinegar over steamed/stir fried vegetables and sprinkle with brewer's nutritional yeast flakes for a healthy side dish.

To curb sweet cravings, it can be a good idea to assign jobs that require a change of scenery to that time, such as a walk to the post box or a visit to the park with the children for distraction.

Exercise helps to improve the insulin response so while movement provides distraction, it's also beneficial to the body.

You could also try herbal teas such as chai or licorice as often dehydration can be mistaken for hunger.

Brushing your teeth straight after dinner in the evening can also be a good habit to get into.

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images
Spiced cabbage side dish

Ingredients
2 Tbsp coconut oil
500g purple cabbage, shredded
500g green cabbage, shredded
2 green apples, cored and thinly sliced
2 large red onions, thinly sliced
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
½ cup maple syrup
½ cup apple cider vinegar

Method
Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the cabbage, onions and apples, and cook with the lid on, until the vegetables and fruit have softened.

Add the spices, syrup and vinegar, stir well and cook for another five minutes until the sauce has caramelised.

Serve with a fillet of salmon or poached eggs for a delicious meal.

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