Low blood sugar can lead to symptoms of weakness, fatigue, sweating and hunger, according to Medline Plus. You may need to know which healthy foods can raise your blood sugar levels if you have low blood sugar from diabetes or from after exercise. Eating vegetables to raise your blood sugar has the additional benefit of increasing your nutrient intake, and many starchy vegetables are among the best choices.
Glycemic Index and Blood Sugar
The glycemic index of a food with carbohydrates indicates how fast and sharply your blood sugar levels rise after eating a serving of that food. In general, starchy vegetables can raise your blood sugar faster and to a greater degree because they have a higher glycemic index. Most non-starchy vegetables are low in carbohydrates and have a low glycemic index because they do not raise blood sugar levels quickly or dramatically. Cooking vegetables raises their glycemic index.
Red, White and Russet potatoes
Baked, mashed and boiled potatoes are high-glycemic, and they can quickly raise your blood sugar levels. Pack a baked potato to eat with a low-fat cheese stick after an intense lunchtime workout, or serve mashed potatoes as part of a training table lunch for athletes after practice. The addition of fat tends to lower the glycemic index of a food, and fried potatoes, such as french fries, are lower glycemic than potatoes cooked without fat.
Cooked beetroot is medium-glycemic, and a nutritious choice for raising your blood sugar levels. Beets are high in dietary fiber, which helps lower cholesterol levels, and potassium, which helps lower blood pressure. Add raw or cooked beetroot to salads so they raise your blood sugar levels faster, or make a beet salad with couscous to have as a snack or side dish. Beet greens are nutritious, but low glycemic and unlikely to affect your blood sugar much.
Michigan State University explains that longer cooking times can break down the starches in foods more quickly. This allows the starch to enter your bloodstream more quickly and raises the glycemic index of the food. Cooked starch-containing vegetables, such as carrots, have higher glycemic indices than their raw counterparts. Foods that are more highly processed tend to have a higher glycemic index and a greater ability to raise your blood sugar. Carrot juice, for example, is higher-glycemic than raw carrots.
- MedlinePlus: Diabetes – Low Blood Sugar – Self Care
- Linus Pauling Institute: Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load
- The University of Sydney: Glycemic Index
- Iowa State University: Glycemic Indexes of Common Foods
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: National Nutrient Database: Beets, Raw
- Michigan State University: Glycemic Index and Blood Glucose