Eating healthy when you have diabetes can be a challenge. Unfortunately, you often tend to obsess over the foods to avoid. Then it becomes a struggle to find the right foods for diabetes because you are always wondering whether a certain food is diabetes friendly. Well, certain foods are nutrient rich that help stabilize blood glucose, protect your heart, reduce the risk of inflammation, and guard your sight against macular degeneration and cataract – the most common side effects of diabetes. By including these nutrition superstars in your sugar-friendly diet, you can efficiently manage your blood sugar levels and gain more health benefits.
The list of foods a diabetic must avoid include those processed, refined, and have high-fat content. It is imperative to pay attention to what you eat and critically important to limit the intake of such foods. A diabetes-friendly diet is one that is packed with four healthy nutrients, including calcium, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, and dietary fiber. You may enjoy these diabetes foods as stand-alone snacks or as meal accompaniments.
Power Foods for Diabetics #1: Beans
When it comes to picking ingredients for a diabetes diet, beans top the list. Besides being rich in dietary fiber, these plant compounds are a high source of calcium, which helps you feel full and ensure a steady release of blood glucose.
Research claims that calcium helps burn body fat. A half cup of white beans gives you at least 100 mg of calcium. Additionally, beans are an excellent source of protein, providing as much protein as one ounce of meat, that too, without saturated fat. Some types of beans include pinto, kidney, navy, and black beans, which are a good source of vitamins and minerals.
Power Foods for Diabetics #2: Barley
A rich source of beta-glucan, barley is a superfood for diabetics that can help prevent blood glucose spike and lower total and LDL cholesterol. The soluble fiber in beta-glucan prevents your body’s ability to absorb cholesterol. It is an equally good weight loss aid, thanks to its fiber abundance that creates a feeling of fullness. This means you are less likely to feel hungry soon. Additionally, barley boasts a good amount of calcium.
Power Foods for Diabetics #3: Oats
Another power food for diabetics, oats are rich in soluble fiber. By including oatmeal in your sugar-friendly diet, you can easily manage blood glucose and lower total and bad cholesterol. The soluble fiber in oats slows down the rate at which carbohydrates are broken down in the body, which helps improve insulin resistance and keep your blood glucose levels stable.
The best thing about oats is that you could eat the grain straight from the bowl or sneak the cereal in all of your recipes. Magnesium in oats helps in the proper absorption of glucose and secretion of insulin in the body.
Power Foods for Diabetics #4: Broccoli
Cruciferous vegetables are anti-diabetes superfoods. Kale, cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower hold the key to slowing diabetes symptoms. These vegetables contain a compound, sulforaphane, which helps boost the body’s natural detoxification process and trigger anti-inflammatory processes. This helps improve your body’s ability to control blood glucose. Additionally, you could benefit from reduced blood sugar production.
Power Foods for Diabetics #5: Green Leafy Vegetables
Kale, spinach, and collard are some of the top diabetes-friendly green leafy vegetables. These powerhouse foods are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, including iron, potassium, calcium, and vitamins A, C, E, and K. Dark leafy veggies are calories deficient. They are low in carbohydrates too and are thus integral to a balanced diabetes diet.
Power Foods for Diabetics #6: Sweet Potatoes
Packed with dietary fiber and vitamin A, this starchy vegetable makes a healthy sugar-friendly substitute to potato, as they contain no fat and aren’t calorie dense like the latter. Not only this, sweet potatoes provide a good amount of potassium and Vitamin C to your body. Additionally, their low glycemic index makes them a diabetes friendly addition to your meals, since they will not cause a blood glucose spike.
Sweet potato extract supports the production of adiponectin hormone in your fat cells. The protein helps regulate blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity, which is critical to diabetic care Research claims that phytonutrients in sweet potato have anti-inflammatory properties. Not only this, it functions as an antioxidant that can terminate the chain reactions of free radicals and prevent cellular damage.
Power Foods for Diabetics #7: Berries
Craving something sweet? Well, pop a berry in your mouth to satiate your sweet cravings. Whether you love strawberries or blueberries, they are diabetes friendly foods, which are a rich source of vitamins, antioxidants, and dietary fiber. Loaded with vitamin c and K, berries can be a perfect option to satiate your sweet cravings. They are a good source of fiber, manganese, and potassium.
Power Foods for Diabetics #8: Nuts
You already know that nuts are heart healthy, but you might be surprised to know that tree nuts are integral to a sugar-friendly diet. Rich in dietary fiber, omega 3s, antioxidants, proteins, and magnesium, an ounce of nuts gives you healthy fats and helps you manage hunger pangs. However, you should avoid the salty variety of nuts.
A study by Louisiana State University finds that those who regularly eat tree nuts, such as pistachios, almonds, walnuts, and macadamias, are less likely to have Type 2 diabetes. Such people have a lower level of C-reactive protein, which is a key marker of inflammation. Fiber and nutrients in oats aid in digestion, helping stabilize blood sugar levels.
Power Foods for Diabetics #9: Whole Grains
Loaded with vitamins and minerals, whole grains are an essential source of iron, B vitamins, magnesium, and chromium. They are an excellent source of dietary fiber. Quinoa, oats, whole wheat, and barley are some examples of whole grains.
Power Foods for Diabetics #10: Dark chocolate
For occasional indulgence, dark chocolate is one of the best diabetes-friendly snacks you could have, since it helps improve insulin sensitivity, reduce blood pressure, improve blood vessel function. But since it packs a lot of calories and fat, you would do well by not overdoing it.
All in all, a healthy meal plan for diabetics is the same as any healthy eating regimen. A diabetes diet should be low in saturated and trans fat, with a moderate amount of salt and sugar. Your sugar-friendly meal plans should be based on whole grains, non-starchy vegetables, lean protein, healthy fats, and fruits. Portion size holds the key to a healthy diabetic diet.