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Chill Out

Chill Out

Healthy" and "potato salad" can go hand in hand.

Unfortunately, everyone's favorite summer side dish can send blood-sugar levels soaring, thanks to all the high-carb starch in spuds. Here's how to fix that: Boil the potatoes ahead of time and refrigerate overnight. The next day, make the dressing with vinegar and olive oil -- not mayo -- and mix with the potatoes. Both chilling and using vinegar neutralize starch's blood-sugar effects.

Potatoes -- along with doughnuts, ice cream, white bread, and many other starchy carbohydrates and highly processed foods -- have what's called a high glycemic index (GI). What's that, you ask? It's a measure of a specific food's effect on blood-sugar levels, which you want to remain stable, not dip and spike. High-glycemic carbs send blood sugar (glucose) surging. Your body reacts by pumping out lots of insulin, which lowers sugar levels.

Regularly eating a lot of high GI foods can lead to chronically high insulin levels and that, in turn, can lead to things you definitely don't want: heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

So nip the process in the bud. Focus on low GI foods, which are all supergood for you: fruits and veggies (fresh, dried, or frozen); whole-grain breads, pasta, and cereals; lentils and beans; nuts; and low-fat dairy foods. And don't forget: If you're whipping up potato salad, make it the day before -- and hold the mayo.

Medically reviewed in July 2018.

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