Do You Know Nutrition: Right diet can help balance blood sugar

Jan. 24, 2011 at midnight
Updated Jan. 24, 2011 at 7:25 p.m.

Phylis Canion

Phylis Canion

By Phylis Canion

I have syndrome X and would appreciate any information and nutrition guidelines.

Syndrome X refers to a group of health issues including high blood pressure, obesity, high cholesterol, high triglycerides and usually includes a metabolic disorder, known as insulin resistance.

Insulin resistance is the resistance of one's cells to the blood sugar transporting hormone insulin, which results in poor glucose metabolism. Excessive production of insulin leads to obesity, increased blood pressure and high triglycerides (blood fats).

Other terms that may refer to Syndrome X are metabolic syndrome, glucose intolerance, insulin resistance and pre-diabetes. Root causes of Syndrome X are a poor diet, chronic stress, nutritional deficiencies (especially chromium, B vitamins and zinc), obesity and lack of exercise.

A diet that is high in fiber, which includes water-soluble fiber as found in oat bran, beans, nuts, seeds and apples, can help balance blood sugar.

Ground salba or flaxseeds are very beneficial, as well as protein drinks that have very low sugar levels.

Because a chromium deficiency contributes to blood sugar handling problems, eat plenty of wheat germ, onions and garlic. It is best to eliminate the simple sugars as found in sweets, cookies and sodas (especially the diet variety that contain artificial sweeteners). I would also recommend complete elimination of caffeine, alcohol and white breads and pastas.

Avoid all saturated fats and foods that contain trans fatty acids, which includes most packaged and processed foods. And, as I always recommend, drink plenty of good, clean H2O (water).

I have hypothyroidism, low thyroid, and was told that I should avoid eating certain vegetables raw. Is this true?

Certain vegetables, known as goitrogens, may suppress thyroid function. These vegetables are kale, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, soy and Brussels sprouts.

However, if these vegetables are cooked, and not eaten raw, the cooking process inactivates the goitrogens and renders them safe for consumption.

It is also very important to be aware of how much tap water you drink since tap water usually contains fluorine and chlorine, which are two chemicals that inhibit your ability to absorb iodine.

Because a deficiency of tyrosine, an amino acid, is very common in individuals with hypothyroidism, your diet should include pumpkin seeds, dry beans (pinto, red, black, etc.), almonds and fish.

Essential fatty acids are also very important for healthy thyroid function and can be found in chia seeds and flaxseeds or in those seed oils.

Phylis B. Canion is a doctor of naturopathic medicine and is a certified nutritional consultant. E-mail her at This column is for nutritional information only and is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure.



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