The diabetic lifestyle involves a number of dietary changes. Foods are measured on a scale known as the glycaemic index. Glycaemic index ranks food between 1 and100. This is based on the spike they produce in blood sugar. Foods with glycaemic index 50 or lower are generally recommended for diabetics.
Here are some foods that are recommended for diabetics:
‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away.’ This saying is absolutely true as apples contain antioxidants that help in lowering LDL cholesterol levels. Regular consumption of apples lowers the risk of diabetes by 23% The high fiber in apples reduces the risk of many other diseases too! Granny Smith apples are considered the best for diabetics owing to their low sugar content.
Carrots are really low in carbohydrate content. In fact, because of the low glycemic index, five baby carrots are considered as ‘free food’ since the number of calories required to consume them is more than the number of calories in carrot itself.
The high beta carotene content in carrots can help in lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes – even in individuals with genetic predispositions.
The vitamin C content in broccoli is even more than that present in oranges. Vitamin C is very important for diabetics since it helps in strengthening the potentially damaged blood vessels. Vitamin C also helps in wound healing, which is a must! It also helps in eliminating sorbitol from the blood. Excess sorbitol can damage blood vessels. Adequate amounts of vitamin C intake can diminish the chances of getting impacted by diabetes. The only downside is that this can impact the accuracy of blood glucose tests.
Acknowledged for its heart healthy unsaturated fat content, this food helps in improving your cholesterol levels and lowering the risk of heart diseases. Research suggests that consumption of unsaturated fats lowers the risk of diabetes by 25%. The Oleic acid found in avocados has been linked to causing a reduction in triglyceride levels. Avocados also help you process glucose more efficiently.
Diabetics shy away from fruits due to the amount of sugar content in them. Blueberries, however, are rich in antioxidants which aid in preventing cancer as well as other lifestyle disorders including diabetes. Consumption of two or more servings of blueberries per day can lower the risk of developing diabetes even without considering risk factors such as age, weight, etc. The high fiber content in blueberries goes a long way in managing blood sugar spikes.
Asparagus contains an antioxidant termed as glutathione which reduces the impact of diabetes on the body. Research suggests that consumption of antioxidants is strongly linked to easing the impact of diabetes on the body. Antioxidants even promote the production of insulin.
Consumption of at least one cup of legumes every day increases the body’s ability to control blood sugar and lower blood pressure. The high fiber content in beans diminishes the impact of many diseases including diabetes. People consuming beans and legumes demonstrate lower fasting blood glucose sugar level.
In the previous chapter, you have read about the impact of omega 3 fatty acids on your body. Seafood contains adequate amounts of omega 3 fatty acids which not only lowers the risk of diabetes, but also diminishes the risk of heart problems, Alzheimer’s, etc. Increased consumption of fish also increases insulin sensitivity.
Flaxseed has been known to lower blood glucose, triglyceride and cholesterol levels. It is best digested when ground and works as a great additive for smoothies and salads.
Kale is known as one of the major leafy vegetables that can significantly lower your risk of type 2 diabetes. Consumption of green leafy vegetables can diminish the risk of diabetes by 15%. The alpha-lipoic acid in kale is said to decrease neuropathy, lower blood glucose levels, increase insulin sensitivity and prevent oxidative stress damage.
Research suggests that garlic possesses the ability to lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Diabetics generally notice positive results with consumption of garlic. It is known to elevate the level of insulin in the body.
Nuts are the ideal snack choice for diabetics and can help in controlling blood sugar levels. Research suggests that people who consume at least 2 oz. of nuts per day have lower blood sugar and blood cholesterol levels. Nuts contain omega 3 fatty acids, L-Arginine, fiber and vitamin E.
The high fiber content of quinoa makes it a hit with diabetics. Although high in carbohydrates, quinoa retains its position in ‘top foods for diabetics’ primarily because of its high vitamin and fiber content.
Oatmeal contains slow releasing carbohydrates along with a very high fiber content. The high content of soluble fiber in oats helps in heart diseases, cholesterol, and diabetes.
Onions are high in antioxidants, folate, potassium, and flavonoids. They also have a high fiber content. Red onions have the highest amount of nutrients comparable to other varieties. Quercetin is an antioxidant found in red onions and known to significantly reduce the risk of diabetes.
Soy has been known to reduce the risk of diabetes significantly. It is high in protein, low in saturated fat, free of cholesterol, and a great source of zinc, iron, folate, potassium, alpha linoleic acid and of course, fiber!
Spinach is no doubt one of the best sources of iron. However, it is also loaded with other amazing minerals and vitamins. It is a low-calorie food and research proves that individuals consuming spinach every day lowered their diabetic risk by around 15%.
Red peppers are amongst the top four vegetables for antioxidants and are loaded with vitamin C, beta carotene, and vitamin A. A daily serving of red peppers can significantly reduce your chances of developing diabetes, heart diseases, and cancer.
Tomatoes are a rich source of lycopene, vitamin A, C and several antioxidants. Lycopene not only provides protection against a variety of cancers but also reduces the risk of heart diseases. Tomatoes are easily absorbed when cooked and can significantly aid in the management of diabetes.
Red tea is awesome for cholesterol reduction, black tea helps in curing sunburns while green tea supports weight management. Tea contains a high amount of flavonoid antioxidants that are known to diminish the risk of heart diseases. Tea lowers cholesterol levels, has known anti-cancer properties, and is effective in lowering cholesterol. Diabetics must avoid adding sugar to their tea.
Yogurt serves as a healthy sweet treat for diabetics. The probiotics found in yogurt can significantly help in lowering your cholesterol levels. They work on the gut bacteria and therefore prevent your diabetes from worsening. Low fat options such as Greek Yogurt are the best since they are high in protein content and contain less added sugar.