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By Alex Allan on 01/02/24 | Top tips

Nutrition hack: Eat a Salad Before Your Main Meal

Here is a fab, straightforward and effective blood sugar balancing hack that incorporates the benefits of fibre, greens, and a secret ingredient – apple cider vinegar. 

Let's explore the science behind this hack and discover how it can contribute to hormonal balance, particularly for those of us with PCOS.

The Science of High-Fibre Foods

Scientists have long acknowledged the impact of high-fibre foods on gastric emptying, the process by which food leaves the stomach. High-fibre foods, like salads, slow down this process, influencing the rate at which glucose and other nutrients are delivered to the small intestine for absorption into the bloodstream. By incorporating a light, green salad at the start of your meal, you can effectively slow down the absorption of glucose, preventing sudden spikes in blood sugar levels.

Avoiding Blood Sugar Spikes and Insulin Surges

The key benefit of commencing your meal with a fibre-rich salad lies in avoiding blood sugar spikes. When glucose enters the bloodstream gradually, it diminishes the need for a rapid insulin response. This, in turn, aids in balancing hormones and may be particularly beneficial for individuals dealing with conditions like Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).

Apple Cider Vinegar: A Secret Weapon

To enhance the blood sugar balancing effect, consider dressing your salad with a homemade vinaigrette that includes apple cider vinegar, preferably one that contains the "mother." A 2015 crossover, randomized study suggested that apple cider vinegar may play a role in improving the body's absorption of blood sugar and increasing insulin sensitivity in skeletal muscle. This double whammy approach – combining fibre-rich greens with an apple cider vinegar dressing – can be a powerful addition to your blood sugar balancing arsenal.

Crafting a Blood Sugar-Friendly Salad

Now that we've explored the science behind this blood sugar balancing hack, let's create a delicious and nutritious salad that incorporates these principles:


Fresh mixed greens (spinach, kale, rocket)

Colourful vegetables (tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers)

Homemade vinaigrette dressing (olive oil, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, herbs)

Optional: nuts or seeds for added crunch and nutrient boost


- Start your meal with a generous serving of fresh mixed greens.

- Add an assortment of colourful vegetables to boost the nutritional content.

- Prepare a homemade vinaigrette dressing using olive oil, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, and your favourite herbs.

- Toss the salad gently, ensuring an even coating of the dressing.

- Optionally, sprinkle nuts or seeds on top for added texture and nutrient richness.

Incorporating a light green salad with an apple cider vinegar dressing into your meals can be a simple yet impactful strategy for maintaining balanced blood sugar levels. 

By understanding the science behind this hack, you empower yourself to make informed dietary choices that support overall health and well-being. Give it a try, and let us know about your experience with this blood sugar balancing approach!

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