Superfoods for diabetes
Not all healthy foods are created equal. Greens may be good for you, but the nutrients in iceberg lettuce may not be as plentiful as those in kale, spinach, and Swiss chard.
Besides nutrient content, the glycemic index (GI) of a food may also help you make healthy choices.
The GI measures how quickly a food will raise blood sugar. Low GI foods have a score of 55 or less, while high GI foods have a score of 70 or more.
In general, lower GI foods are a better choice for people with diabetes. Foods that are both nutritious and have a low GI are helpful in managing health and blood glucose levels.
Here are 5 superfoods that are especially good for those with diabetes.
The combination of fiber, protein, and healthy fats in walnuts makes them a great alternative to simple carbohydrate snacks like chips or crackers.
The fatty acids in walnuts can increase good cholesterol while decreasing harmful cholesterol. This may reduce the risk of heart disease or heart attack. People with diabetes are at a higher risk for these conditions.
In a study published in 2012, people who consumed nuts at least twice a week appeared to have a lower risk of gaining weight than those who never or rarely ate nuts.
Obesity and excess body fat are risk factors for diabetes. When a person with diabetes loses weight, their blood sugar levels may improve, too.
Walnuts also contain fiber. There is evidence that both insoluble and soluble fiber can help improve blood sugar levels, reduce cholesterol, and lower the risk of some of the complications of diabetes.
Tips for use
Add crushed walnuts to yogurt, oats, breakfast cereal, or salad.
Make a trail mix treat with walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and dark chocolate chips.
2. Non-starchy vegetables
Non-starchy vegetables have fewer carbs per serving. They include everything from artichokes and asparagus to broccoli and beets.
This category of veggies goes a long way in satisfying your hunger and boosting your intake of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals.
These vegetables are also low in calories and carbohydrates, making them some of the few foods that people with diabetes can enjoy almost with abandon.
In fact, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) identifies most non-starchy vegetables as low GI foods with a ranking of 55 or less.
In a small study from 2011Trusted Source, researchers even suggested that people given a low-calorie diet consisting of non-starchy vegetables might successfully reverse type 2 diabetes.
The avocado is a good source of healthy fat, as well as about 20 different vitamins and minerals. It is high in potassium, vitamins C, E, and K, lutein, and beta-carotene.
Eating foods that contain healthy fats may help increase fullness. Eating fat slows the digestion of carbohydrates, which helps to keep blood sugar levels more stable.
Avocado is high in fiber too, with half a fruit containing 6–7 grams. Scientists have linked a high fiber intake with a significantly lower risk of diabetes and its complications.
In 2004, researchers found evidence that vitamin E supplementation could improve oxidative stress and glucose management in people with diabetes who were also overweight.
A 2012 study looked at 64 people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes who took vitamin E with their regular treatment. The team compared their fasting blood sugar, cholesterol levels, and blood pressure with those of a control group that took only insulin or medication.
Two years later, the researchers noted a slower progression of diabetes and its complications in those who took vitamin E with their insulin or medication.
People can buy a range of avocados and avocado products online.
Spread avocado on toast in the morning instead of butter.
Use avocado instead of mayonnaise in chicken or egg salad or mix with tuna.
4. Unsweetened Greek yogurt
Studies have shown a 14 percentTrusted Source lower risk of type 2 diabetes with daily yogurt consumption.
With a low GI score, unsweetened Greek yogurt is full of healthy probiotics, calcium, and protein. It’s also a better option that regular yogurt due to its higher protein and lower carbohydrate content.
Always check nutrition labels, as some brands have a higher carbohydrate content than others, due to additions such as syrup flavorings, sweeteners, toppers, or fruit preserves.
Top unsweetened Greek yogurt with nuts and low GI fruits such as blackberries, blueberries, or raspberries.
5. Ezekiel bread
Ezekiel bread is a sprouted-grain bread. To make Ezekiel bread, a person must first soak and sprout the grains. This allows for higher protein and nutrient content.
Whole grains are rich in B vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Sprouting grains may increase these amounts while reducing starch content, compared with whole-grain breads.
An article published in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism notes that whole-grain breads, and especially sprouted-grain breads, have improved blood sugar response in research involving men with obesity.Sprouted grain breads have a dense consistency and are good for toasting.
Toast Ezekiel bread and top with avocado, a sliced hard-boiled egg, and black pepper.
Look out for sprouted grain bagels, English muffins, pizza crust, and tortillas.
Which breads are best for people with diabetes? Click here to find out.
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