Adding one special ingredient to a morning bowl of cereal just might help you achieve a normal blood sugar range. We're talking about blueberries.
Research suggests that a regular dose of phenolic compounds found in the dark blue fruit may help enhance insulin sensitivity -- the body's ability to draw sugar from the blood and put it to use as energy.
Blueberries Health Benefits (Dried Blueberry Extract, To Be Exact)
In a study of obese people who had exhibited insulin resistance but not full-blown diabetes, researchers tested the blueberry theory. They had participants drink a daily smoothie that contained dried blueberry extract. After 6 weeks, the study group demonstrated significantly improved insulin sensitivity compared with a placebo group -- even though neither group lost any weight in the study. And neither group changed their exercise levels or diets, either, helping researchers conclude that it was something in the berries that produced the benefit. (Here are some other foods that may help take the bite out of high blood sugar.)
Blueberries' health benefits are especially good news if you are overweight or obese or have other health-related factors that can boost your risk of insulin resistance, high blood sugar, and type 2 diabetes. Blueberries alone won't prevent or lower high blood sugar, or place you in a normal blood sugar range. You have to adopt other healthful lifestyle habits to do that. But the abundant antioxidant compounds in blueberries may work synergistically to enhance insulin activity and help reduce the risk of diabetes, too. More research using whole blueberries is needed to see if the blueberries health benefits elicit the same enhanced-insulin response as dried extract, but early animal research with whole berries looks promising. (Check out all diabetes risk factors.)
Get more blue beauties in your on-the-go morning meal by using blueberries in this recipe: Blueberry Smoothie
Thirty percent of people who have diabetes don't know it. Are you one of them? Take this free Type 2 Diabetes Health Assessment to find out.