Diabetes is a complex chronic condition in which the body struggles with producing appropriate levels of insulin for glucose metabolism.
If you are suffering from diabetes, or have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes, you need to work the diabetes superfoods into your individualized meal plan in appropriate portions.
All of the foods in our list have a low glycemic index or GI and provide key nutrients that are lacking in the typical western diet.
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 10 diabetes superfoods diabetics can eat, that is especially good for those with diabetes.
Beans are among nature’s most nutritious foods.
Whether you prefer kidney, pinto, navy, or black beans, you can’t find better nutrition than that provided by beans. They’re high in protein and fiber, making them a great option for vegetarians.
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According to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, beans may be a good way to control glycemic levels in people with type 2 diabetes. They can also reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.
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 carbohydrates and calories, 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. A small study of 11 people found that a low-calorie diet consisting of non-starchy vegetables may successfully reverse type 2 diabetes.
3. Citrus Fruit
Grapefruits, oranges, lemons, and limes. Oranges and grapefruit, in particular, provide a great source of fiber. To maximize this, make sure to eat the whole fruit rather than drink the juice.
Research Studies have shown that eating citrus fruits can lower the risk of diabetes, but drinking the fruit juice can increase the risk.
The citrus with the lowest GI score is grapefruit. With a score of 25, grapefruit has one of the lowest GI scores of all fruits.
4. Dark Green Leafy Vegetables
Spinach, collards, kale – these powerhouse foods are so low in calories and carbohydrate. Kale, in particular, provides more than 100% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A and vitamin K. Collard greens are packed with a ton of nutrients into a small package.
Kale contains chemicals called glucosinolates that help neutralize cancer-causing substances. It’s also full of potassium and has been shown to help manage blood pressure. This is another reason it’s considered a superfood for those with diabetes.
Which do you prefer; blueberries, strawberries, raspberries or blackberries?
From vision-protecting vitamin C to filling fiber, blueberries are antioxidant powerhouses.
These berries have some of the highest antioxidant levels of any fruit or vegetable and may reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer. They also have anti-inflammatory properties.
Strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also excellent choices for a diabetic patient as they are all packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber.
The good news is that no matter how you like your tomatoes, pureed, raw, cooked or in a sauce, tomatoes are full of lycopene, vitamin C, and iron
This is a powerful substance that may reduce the risk of cancer (especially prostate cancer), heart disease, and macular degeneration.
Like other non-starchy fruits, tomatoes have a low GI ranking. One study found that 200 grams of raw tomato (or about 1.5 medium tomatoes) each day reduced blood pressure. Researchers concluded tomato consumption might help reduce the cardiovascular risk that’s associated with type 2 diabetes.
Walnuts and flaxseeds contain magnesium, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Walnuts also contain alpha-linolenic acid, an essential fatty acid that boosts heart health and lowers cholesterol. They are rich in vitamin E, folic acid, zinc, and protein. An ounce of nuts can go a long way in providing key healthy fats along with hunger management.
Substituting nuts and other healthy fats for carbs can help lower blood sugar.
Nuts generally have very low GI scores. Cashews, for example, have a score of 27, and peanuts have a score of only 7. Multiple studies have shown those who eat nuts regularly have less risk of developing diabetes.
8. Fish High in Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Salmon is a favorite in this category as it is loaded with omega-3-fatty acids, which can lower the risk of heart disease.
It’s also full of vitamin D and selenium for healthy hair, skin, nails, and bones. Other nutrient-dense fish include herring, sardines, and mackerel.
Other nutrient-dense fish include herring, sardines, and mackerel
9. Whole Grains
Whole grains are full of antioxidants and soluble and insoluble fiber.
These help to metabolize fats and keep the digestive tract healthy. People who eat hulled barley regularly have lower blood cholesterol.
The grain also keeps blood sugar levels stable. Lentils are another good option since they provide B vitamins, iron, complex carbohydrates, and protein.
While 100% stone-ground whole wheat bread is considered a low GI food, other types of whole wheat bread may have medium GI rankings, with scores between 56 and 69. Eating whole grains can help decrease the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
10. Fat-free Milk and Yogurt
In addition to calcium, many fortified dairy products are a good source of vitamin D.
Fat-free dairy foods, including milk and yogurt, are fortified with vitamin D. These dairy products are smart choices for diabetics because they have low GI scores: Skim milk has a GI score of 32 while reduced fat yogurt has a GI score of 33.
Dairy intake, especially low-fat dairy, is also associated with a 9% lower risk for type 2 diabetes.
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