Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Discovering Low Glycemic Index Foods by Andrew Mason

When it comes to looking after your heart, we know that fruits and vegetables are the good guys, as they have the properties necessary to help us control blood sugar levels. We need to focus on this type of carbohydrate as we avoid those peaks and troughs that are all too commonly associated with incorrect insulin levels and diabetes. You might be ready to run to the produce store to stock up on a diet based on the low glycemic index, focusing on vegetables and fruits to the expense of everything else. It's important not to make sweeping generalizations, though and we need to take a closer look at each individual food, as some will have a much higher GI rating than others, when you least expect it.

The glycemic index runs on a scale between zero and 100, with foods that are classified toward the bottom of the index being seen as much better for insulin and weight control. The foods are rated according to the amount of time that it takes our bodies to process them. You might be in for some surprises when you think about certain foods that we classify as otherwise healthy. Watermelon, for instance, which is a staple of the summer months and we see as natural and refreshing, is given a high glycemic index rating of 72.

As we strive to find the perfect diet in this respect, we need to be aware of how we prepare and ultimately cook the foods that we eat. Potatoes, definitely one of the staple parts of our diet, can be seen as a "moderate" option in one circumstance, yet toward the high end of the index in others. If you like baked potatoes, you will find yourself at the top of the index, but if you steam them, you can be more toward the middle-of-the-road.

We know how green, leafy vegetables are promoted as the perfect food for us and a majority of fruits are also classified at the bottom end of the index. We should be able to eat these on a daily basis, but we don't want to steer away completely from those foods found toward the higher end of the index. If we are to be successful with a particular dietary plan, we have to have some element of variety.

It's somewhat ironic that the Surgeon General tells us that we should focus a large part of our daily diet on the consumption of cereals and breads. We do need to narrow this down even more to be healthy, according to the glycemic index. Whole grains are much better and we should avoid refined wheat as much as possible. This is because those whole grains are very high in essential fiber, which helps with processing.

We should base our diet around vegetables and fruits, as well as an appropriate serving of lean protein. The good thing about protein is that it helps to regulate the effects of some of those high glycemic index foods. Fish, in particular is highly recommended, especially as it has a lot of Omega-3 fatty acids and important nutrients.

Always be aware of the fat content of the protein that you eat and maintain a good balance, as you compile an attractive, yet nutritional diet without too many of those potentially damaging, simple carbohydrates.