The glycemic index helps diabetics make smarter food choices, but it’s also a useful tool for everyone who wants to improve their health by eating low glycemic foods. In a nutshell, the theory behind the glycemic index is that low GI foods provide you with energy for a longer period of time. Meanwhile, other foods may feel filling at first, but they quickly lead to a sudden energy drop.
How Does the Glycemic Index Work?
Every food that contains carbohydrates can be rated on the glycemic index scale. Items that are low calorie, high in fiber and not overly processed score better because they are low glycemic foods. Scores range from 0 to 100, and this determines where each food fits on the glycemic index scale: 
• Low Glycemic Foods – 0 to 55
• Medium Glycemic Foods – 56 to 69
• High Glycemic Foods – 70 or higher
Why is Low Glycemic Foods Preferred Over High Glycemic Foods?
Do you experience an energy crash an hour or two after each meal? Or perhaps you find yourself sluggish at work after dining out with coworkers? Both of these issues can be caused by making unhealthy food choices.
If a large percentage of your calories are coming from high glycemic foods, you’re going to end up feeling very poorly. You’ll also get hungry more quickly. This is a vicious cycle because it causes you to keep increasing your calorie consumption, which leads to weight gain.
The reality is that everyone needs to eat a balanced diet, and sticking primarily with low glycemic foods is a major component of improving your health. It’s okay to eat medium or high glycemic foods from time-to-time, but the trick is to balance them as much as possible with vegetables and fruits from the low glycemic category.
How Bad You Can Get With A High Glycemic Diet?
After eating a lot of high glycemic foods, you’re likely to feel sluggish and run down. You may even feel ill if you’re not used to consuming poor quality calories. Doing this for too long can have an impact on your overall physical and mental health. In fact, studies have found that people who stick with a low glycemic index diet have a reduced risk of developing numerous medical conditions, including: 
• Type 2 diabetes
• Cardiovascular disease
• Breast, colon, pancreas and prostate cancer
• Gall stones
• Metabolic syndrome
• Chronic kidney disease
• Uterine fibroids
Diabetes: Managing the Risk
The most common issue that occurs from ingesting too many high glycemic foods is high blood sugar. Although this doesn’t automatically mean you have type 2 diabetes, it’s definitely a step toward developing this disease.
People who have diabetes face a long list of potential health complications, and they also typically have a lower quality of life. Due to this, it’s critical to do everything you can to reduce your diabetes risk. If you’re already diabetic, you can turn to low glycemic foods to help you manage your condition.
Making the switch to low glycemic foods will help you keep your weight down. Additionally, incorporating these healthier food choices will reduce your insulin levels and resistance. 
Concentration and Memory Issues
Another big issue that can be caused by a lack of proper nutrients is impaired cognitive functionality. Many people feel fuzzy and have difficulty concentrating a couple of hours after eating a high glycemic meal.
To ensure a better level of brain function throughout the day, eat low glycemic foods along with some protein every 2-1/2 to 3 hours.  This will help balance your blood sugar and prevent the dips and peaks that accompany a diet that is filled with high glycemic foods.
Anxiety and Hypoglycemia Symptoms: Reducing Them with Food Choices
Approximately 18 percent  of U.S. adults have an anxiety disorder. Hypoglycemia, which is a blood sugar disorder, has been linked to anxiety in some studies. For example, researchers worked with a 15-year-old female who had been diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder and hypoglycemia in order to look for a shared cause.
What they discovered is that the girl was eating a high glycemic diet. By prescribing a low to medium glycemic diet, they were able to help the girl feel a reduction in her anxiety and hypoglycemia symptoms. A short return to her previous diet caused both issues to spike back up, which indicates a clear correlation between anxiety, hypoglycemia and high glycemic foods. 
10 Foods to Add to Your Diet
It’s clear that a low glycemic diet offers numerous health benefits, but what foods are actually on this list? Let’s focus on 10 healthy options to help you get started. Remember; you still need to get some protein in your diet, so be sure to eat these foods with a lean protein source.
Lentils are a solid choice because they’re a low glycemic food that is high in fiber, high in protein, low in sugar and packed with many necessary vitamins, minerals and fatty acids. In other words, a cup of lentils will provide you with the energy you need, and it doesn’t even need to be balanced with something else to keep your glycemic index rating in line.
One large peach provides 10 percent of your daily fiber needs, and it even has a minimal amount of protein. Although peaches are high in sugar, they’re a natural, unprocessed product, which enables them to offer a low glycemic impact.
When you’re looking for a healthy snack, grab an ounce of walnuts. Not only are they a low glycemic food with protein, fiber and omega-3 fatty acids but they’re also believed to be beneficial for heart health. 
If you have a craving for rice, turn to long-grain brown rice for the best health results. A cup of this cooked rice provides a huge burst of carbohydrate energy, and it also fulfills 10 percent of your daily protein needs. Additionally, you’ll stay full for longer thanks to the 3.5 grams of dietary fiber.
Apples make it easier to get all of your daily nutrients, so it’s a good idea to have one every day. A large apple contains 21 percent of your daily fiber needs, and it’s extremely low in fat. Because apples contain a lot of sugar, you may want to cut one into slices and eat half at a time. Either way, apples are a good option for a low glycemic diet.
A cup of wild blueberries puts you on the edge of the medium glycemic food category, but it’s still considered to be on the low side and offers many important benefits. You’ll get 25 percent of your fiber requirements from unsweetened frozen wild blueberries. As an added bonus, blueberries may reduce your risk of developing dementia. 
Believe it or not, you can have pasta without hurting your low glycemic diet. A serving of linguine has a glycemic index of 45. Spaghetti is even lower with a 41! The trick is to select smaller, thinner noodles and make a fresh sauce instead of choosing one that’s filled with sugar and preservatives.
With a glycemic index score of only 10, a serving of broccoli makes a good addition to any meal. You’ll also benefit from getting 10 percent of your daily fiber and 4 percent of your protein needs in every ½ cup.
Looking for a protein and fiber boost without sacrificing your desire to eat low glycemic foods? Most beans fill this role nicely, but make sure that you steer clear of canned beans that have added sugar. The exact glycemic index rating will vary, but the majority of beans stay under 55.
A 3-ounce serving of raw baby carrots has 35 calories, 2.4 grams of fiber and a whopping 231 percent of your daily vitamin A. This makes carrots a smart option for snacking or adding to any meal.
Low Glycemic Foods Recipe
One-pan summer eggs  are a simple, quick vegetarian option that offer 12 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber and stay on the low end of the glycemic index.
• 2 large zucchinis (also known as courgettes) chopped
• 7 ounces of halved cherry tomatoes
• 2 eggs
• 1 crush garlic clove
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• Basil leaves
1. Heat up the oil, then add the zucchini chunks. Make sure the chunks are small. Stir frequently and fry for five minutes.
2. Add the garlic and tomatoes. Cook for 2-3 more minutes.
3. Make a couple of gaps in the mix. Add eggs. Next, add in any desired seasonings.
4. Cover the pan. Cook until the eggs are as desired. Typically takes 2-3 minutes.
5. Put a small amount of basil on the final result and serve!
Enjoy the Health Benefits of Low Glycemic Foods
Now that you know how beneficial low glycemic foods can be, it’s time to put them to the test in your life. Everyone’s body reacts differently, but you’ll be able to tell if common low glycemic foods  are helping you by checking your energy level and mood two to three hours after eating.
Featured photo credit: Kaboompics // Karolina via pexels.com
|||^||Livestrong: List of Low-Glycemic Carbohydrate Foods|
|||^||The World’s Healthiest Foods: What is the Glycemic Index?|
|||^||University Health News Daily: Suffering from High Blood Sugar Symptoms? Use This Glycemic Index Food List|
|||^||Revital: Memory and Concentration|
|||^||Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Facts & Statistics|
|||^||U.S. National Library of Medicine: Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Hypoglycemia Symptoms Improved with Diet Modification|
|||^||Mayo Clinic: Nuts and your heart: Eating nuts for heart health|
|||^||WebMD: Eat Smart for a Healthier Brain|
|||^||BBC GoodFood: One-pan summer eggs|
|||^||Lifehack: Feel Drowsy After Meals? Eat These 5 Foods Next Time To Stabilize Your Blood Sugar|