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10 Healthy Nigerian Foods With Low Glycemic Index

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Nigerian Foods With Low Glycemic Index

Low glycemic index foods

Eating healthy foods has and will always be a priority for every Nigerian, and the world at large. With increasing cases of diabetes and obesity in Nigeria, many Nigerians have sought for foods with low glycemic index. What is glycemic index? Why are low glycemic index foods essential? And What are the healthy Nigerian foods with low glycemic index? Let us carefully examine and answer these questions. You will greatly benefit from reading this article, let’s get started.

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Glycemic Index


Low glycemic index foods

Glycemic Index (GI) is a
relative ranking of carbohydrate in foods according to its effect on blood glucose levels. It is rise in blood sugar level, 2 hours after consuming a meal. GI of foods are ranked from 1-100. Foods with low Glycemic Index are usually 55 or less. Low GI foods are digested, absorbed and metabolised at a slow rate and cause a lower and slower rise in blood glucose levels.


On the other hand, foods with a high GI (usually 70 and above) are digested, absorbed and metabolized at a much faster rate. Glycemic index takes into account the amount of carbohydrates in the food that is consumed. Hence, the glycemic load takes into account the carbohydrate content in the whole food. It is gotten by multiplying the GI and the amount of carbohydrate in the food in grams, then dividing by 100. It is between 1-20.


Certain factors affect the glycemic index of a food in the body, and they are;

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– Processing: processed foods have higher GI than unprocessed foods. A good example is flour, which has high GI, compared to when it was an unprocessed whole grain.

– Ripeness : Ripe foods have higher GI

– Insulin response and resistance: People and foods vary in insulin response and resistance.

– Variety: Different varieties of a certain foods have different glycemic index.

– Cooking methods: The more a good is cooked or overcooked will raise the GI. Because its cellular structure will be broken, hence it will digest rapidly and raise GI.

– Diabetic patients: People with diabetes will have increased GI levels hours longer after eating certain foods.

Also important is the insulin index, which is a number that shows the increase in insulin in the blood within two hours after food has been consumed. Generally speaking, the more you increase your insulin levels, the more you are storing calories in your cells.

Why Are Foods With Low Glycemic Index Good For You?


Now that we’ve learned about what glycemic index is, let’s find out why these are important and the health benefits of foods with low glycemic index.

• Diabetes

Eating foods with low GI has been recommended by the American Diabetes Association for patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, as a way to manage their condition nutritionally. It is also said to be helpful to people with gestational diabetes.

• Cholesterol
A recent study provided concrete evidence that consuming high-fibre, low GI diets can significantly reduce total and LDL cholesterol levels.

ALSO READ: 10 High Cholesterol Foods You Should Avoid

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• Heart Diseases
Research shows that consuming low GI foods will reduce your risk of developing coronary heart disease and other heart diseases.

• Weight loss and management
Low GI is also associated with losing and maintaining weight.
A  review stipulated that eating a diet of low glycemic index diets by obese people will promote weight loss and proper weight management.


Healthy Nigerian foods with low GI


1. Corn
Sweet corn is very good for you can has a lot of health benefits. A 60g serving of corn has a glycemic index of 48.

2. Beans
Beans is a very nutritious legume. It is rich in proteins and a great food for weight loss. Baked beans has a GI of 40 in 150g of meal. While black beans has a GI of 30 in 150g serving.

3. Okro
Okro is used in preparing okro soup, which a very healthy Nigerian soup for weight loss. It contains few calories too. Okra is a nonstarchy vegetables, with low glycemic index of 18.

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4. Akara and Moin
Akara and moin moin are some of the healthiest Nigerian snacks for weight loss. A research by Olabisi Akinlua et al, of Olabisi Akinlua Food Technology Department Moshood Abiola
Polytechnic Ojere, Abeokuta, found out that Akara had a GI of 44, and moin-moin was 41.

5. Leafy vegetables
There are a lot of healthy leafy vegetables in Nigeria. These leafy vegetables are non starchy vegetables with few carbohydrates. Examples are Broccoli, Tomato, spinach cabbages etc.

6. Banana
A 120g serving of banana has a glycemic index of 48.

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7. Unripe plantain

Plantain is another food with low glycemic index. Plantain has a glycemic index of 53. Unripe plantain has a lower GI than ripe plantain. Raw green plantain has a GI of 40.

8. Milk
Some dairy products have low glycemic indices. Milk, full-fat, has a GI of 31 in 250 mL. While skim milk has a glycemuc indec of 31 in 250 mL.

9. Fruits
Of course, there are so many healthy Nigerian fruits with low glycemic indices. Apple has a GI of 36, raw pear has a GI of 38, orange has a GI of 45 and grapefruit has a GI of 25.

10. Brown rice
Brown rice or Ofada rice is also very good. Ofada rice  has a glycemic index of 50 in 150g serving.

Foods with High Glycemic Index to Avoid

• melons and pineapple
• Ice cream
• Corn flakes,
• Russet potatoes
• White wheat flour bread etc.

Some common Glycemic Index of common Nigerian foods include:

Garri: Garri is a widely consumed food in Nigeria. What is the glycemic index of garri? Garri has a glycemic index of 82 and a glycemic load of 42.

Amala: The glycemic index of amala (yam flour) is moderate of about 54, but it has a high glycemic load of 84.

Thanks for taking time to read. Please make sure you drop a comment, as well as share this useful information.

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About the author

Collins Nwokolo

Collins Nwokolo is a passionate blogger and an amazing writer. He is a health and fitness enthusiast who loves sharing helpful information to people.


  • This is confusing. Does it mean Amala 84 is higher in glycemic index than garri 82, and wheat 48 as posted in some other messages. You need to clear this.

  • Thanks for ur good efforts, God bless u.
    Pls what of oat meal, plantain Amala, sweet potato, other locally produced rice in Nigeria apart from Ofada rice. Pap, custard, sugarcane, apple.
    Thanks for ur anticipated response

  • The post made mention of glycemic load but failed to mention how glycemic load affects the body. And then went further to compare the glycemic index and load of a some foods.

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