A micro mineral could make all the difference
During a Diabetes Information and Support group a woman asked me about chromium. A popular television doctor spent more than the usual 15 minutes on this essential micro mineral during his show.
I agreed with the superstar physician that the mineral chromium is important to the digestion and use of carbohydrate foods and fats. It indirectly helps to maintain the blood glucose level and is used for managing the symptoms of uncontrolled diabetes and insulin resistance.
Chromium also helps the production of healthy, helpful cholesterol and can also prevent high blood pressure. This mini powerhouse of the human body is very valuable to keeping it in the best shape possible.
I spent a few hours doing online research to learn the difference between various forms and structures of chromium. One particular type is found in various food products, whereas another form is generated through industrial pollution. One is necessary for humans and the other is toxic.
My career has been spent convincing people that a balanced meal plan of more than five daily servings of fruits and vegetables is important to good health. I try to include at least three servings of fruit into my breakfast meal. Lunch and supper usually contains more than one vegetable. Healthy snacks of fruits, vegetables and whole grain products surround my other meals.
When the woman at the meeting wanted to know if she should take chromium capsules and asked which kind she should swallow I began to wonder. I asked her how many fruits and vegetables she consumes in one day. Does she eat whole grain products? Or does her meal plan include an abundance of processed foods?
Chromium is found naturally in a variety of foods. The best source of chromium is brewer’s yeast. Two tablespoons of brewer’s yeast will provide plenty of daily chromium. Sweet potatoes are an excellent source as well.
One half cup of cooked corn is an incredible source of chromium. Whole grains cereals and breads are power packed full of chromium. Other fruits and vegetables containing this micro mineral that helps to control blood glucose are tomatoes, spinach, broccoli, onion, garlic, dry basil leaves, dark leafy lettuces, green pepper, beets, mushrooms, orange juice, grape juice and bananas.
Most meats and shellfish contain a high amount of chromium. Processing food decreases the chromium in the product. The closer the food is to the raw form, the more chromium in the product. For example, mashed potatoes made from real potatoes contain more chromium than instant potatoes.
Eating a lot of sugar can deplete the body in chromium. So eating a healthy salad topped off with a candy bar or a sweet beverage like cola or sweetened ice tea or coffee could defeat the purpose of eating salad to increase a chromium level. Good intentions could go wrong by satisfying a sweet tooth.
Sweet desserts and beverages are treats reserved for special occasions when trying to control blood glucoses. Regularly eating or drinking sugar can backfire with blood glucose numbers out of control.
If uncontrolled blood sugars are your problem experiment by consuming high chromium foods and limit the sweets. The blood sugar that you control may be your own.
Bobbie Randall is a certified diabetes educator and a registered, licensed dietitian. She supervises a diabetes self-management training program at Aultman-Orrville Hospital, Orrville. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 330–684-4776.