Are you trying to manage your diabetes but can't seem to give up the delicious treats? Fear not! You don't have to sacrifice flavor for a healthier lifestyle. Switching to a diabetic diet doesn't mean boring meals and flavorless snacks - there are plenty of tasty options that will keep your blood sugar levels in check. Read on to learn more about the healthiest (and most mouthwatering) food choices available for diabetics!
Fruit Or Vegetable? Either Way It Helps!
Whether raw or cooked, tomatoes can alleviate diabetic symptoms. During a 2011 study, diabetic participants who ate 200 grams (less than one cup) of tomatoes per day experienced better blood sugar levels. Diabetic patients also recorded improved blood pressure after eating tomatoes daily.
Tomatoes are non-starchy, low GI fruits (yes, they're fruits) with few carbohydrates. According to the research published in the International Journal of Food Sciences Nutrition, tomatoes' high vitamin C, beta-carotene, potassium, and lycopene make them anti-diabetic and potentially anti-heart disease. It's no wonder why the American Diabetes Association recommends tomatoes.
Dark Leafy Greens Have Almost No Carbs
Dark leafy vegetables, such as spinach and kale, are healthy for diabetes. Their greatest strength is their high level of vitamin C. In 2015, researchers found that vitamin C reduces inflammatory markers and blood sugar. Published in Drug Design, Development, and Therapy, the study suggested that leafy greens may reduce symptoms in people with type 2 diabetes.
Leafy greens are packed with minerals while being low in calories and carbohydrates. Another study by the University of Lanchester concluded that eating more leafy greens reduces one's risk of type 2 diabetes. Spinach, cabbage, and kale will work wonders in a diabetic diet.
Lots Of Fibre In This Snack
If you have diabetes, the American Diabetes Association says that it can be good to eat beans a couple of times each week. During a 2012 study published in JAMA, people who ate more beans gained better glycemic control. Beans have a low glycemic index, and they digest slowly, which keeps your blood sugar stable for longer.
Beans also provide a lot of fiber. According to MayoClinic, fiber slows the absorption of sugar to improve blood glucose levels. A high-fiber diet can also help prevent type 2 diabetes for those with high risk. For an easy source of fiber, eat more beans.
Chia Seeds Are Easy To Add To Foods You Already Eat
With high fiber and low carbs, chia seeds are the perfect diabetic food. They also supply omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for diabetes. During a 2017 controlled trial at the University of Toronto, diabetic patients who ate chia seeds experienced weight loss and more glycemic control. Over six months, chia seeds showed better results than an oat bran alternative.
Keep in mind that soaking chia seeds in water can help your body absorb their nutrients. You don't have to soak them overnight; simply drop them in water for two to three minutes before adding the seeds to smoothies, oatmeal, or cereal.
Get Those Healthy Fats
Fatty fish have high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon. Specifically, their fatty acids are DHA and EPA, which help reduce inflammation in your arteries. In Food & Nutrition Research, a 2016 study says that DHA and EPA help your arteries function after eating. This regulates your metabolism.
The American Diabetes Association recommends that people with diabetes eat fatty fish twice a week. In 2019, researchers from Chalmers University of Technology discovered that pollutant-free fatty fish prevents type 2 diabetes. If you're at high risk, consider eating fatty fish as well.
Like many vegetables, squash contains a healthy amount of antioxidants. That may be why squash has improved insulin levels in animal studies. Pumpkin proteins have been found to increase serum insulin, lower blood sugar, and heighten rats' tolerance to glucose.
More research needs to be done on squash's effects on humans. One study, published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, recorded that winter squash improved blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. If you monitor your carbs, squash may help a diabetic diet.
The Promise Of Ginger
Although research on ginger and diabetes is limited, the current studies seem promising. In 2018, scientists examined several clinical studies in the Archives of General Internal Medicine. They concluded that ginger lowers LDL cholesterol and raises heart-healthy HDL cholesterol. The root can also regulate blood sugar in patients with diabetes.
Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties that help soothe the arteries and blood vessels. Ginger powder supplements also help type 2 diabetes, according to a study published in the National Library of Medicine. Talk to your doctor before taking any herbal supplements.
It Can Be Beneficial To Drink Milk In The Morning
For a long time, experts have debated over milk's effect on diabetes. But more and more studies are finding a positive link between the two. A 2018 study reported in the ScienceDaily Journal found that eating breakfast with milk may help diabetic people throughout the day. The protein makes you feel fuller later, which regulates both blood sugar and appetite.
The researchers paired milk with a high-carbohydrate cereal and found promising results. In 2016, scientists at Tel Aviv University reported that dairy products control blood sugar more effectively than eggs and soy. The point is: feel free to eat a whole-wheat cereal.
A Handful Of Nuts Can Go A Long Way
A handful of nuts every day may benefit people with diabetes. In 2019, a study in Circulation showed that nuts decrease the likelihood of heart disease in diabetic patients. After eating one-ounce servings of nuts five times a week, those with type 2 diabetes were 17% less likely to develop cardiovascular disease.
The researchers reported that the most effective nuts were walnuts, pistachios, and almonds. However, these aren't the only nuts that work. Cashews and peanuts also improve blood pressure and cholesterol in people with type 2 diabetes, according to the Journal of Nutrition.
Peanut Butter Can Prevent Blood Sugar Spikes Later On
Natural peanut butter is a low glycemic food, and it's quite filling. Registered dietitian Erin Spitzberg recommends peanut butter in her book Eat Like A Normal Person because it "will slow digestion and keep you full a little longer." The gradual digestion will also prevent blood sugar spikes later in the morning.
Spitzberg recommends spreading peanut butter over your favorite whole-grain toast or oatmeal to get a serving of grains into your diet.
Berries Benefit Insulin Resistance
Whether you prefer strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries, all help to combat diabetes. In the journal Obesity, researchers from the Illinois Institute of Technology stated that berries benefit insulin resistance. In particular, those who ate two cups of raspberries a day had lower glucose concentrations.
Even a small amount of berries can help reduce the risk of diabetes. In a journal published in the National Library of Medicine, those who ate 17 grams of berries had a 5% drop in their risk of type 2 diabetes. That's equal to 13 blueberries, nine raspberries, two blackberries, and one large strawberry.
For Healthy Fats, Cook With Olive Oil
Although olive oil has a lot of calories, it reduces cholesterol more effectively than other types of fats. Olive oil contains healthy fats that regulate the symptoms of type 2 diabetes. During a 2015 study, researchers from Sapienza University in Rome discovered that olive oil reduces the harmful cholesterol, LDL.
Credit goes to olive oil's antioxidants, called polyphenols. According to the journal Cardiovascular Diabetology, these antioxidants lower inflammation and protect your blood cells. This way, olive oil may help regulate blood pressure.
Sweet Potatoes Are Delicious And Nutricious
Unlike other starchy foods, sweet potatoes can help reduce diabetic symptoms. Registered dietitian Leah Kaufman says that sweet potatoes have a lower GI than white potatoes, so eating a medium-sized potato can regulate your blood sugar. They also provide anti-diabetic minerals such as vitamin C, iron, and fiber.
However, sweet potatoes' GI changes depending on how you cook them. In a 2011 study in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, researchers report that boiled sweet potatoes have the lowest GI. Roasting increased sweet potato GI more than any other method, although frying was a close second.
What About Whole Grains?
Although some diabetic diets discourage bread, you don't have to cut out grains. The American Diabetes Association recommends eating whole grains if you have diabetes. Scientists from Chalmers University say that "there hasn't been a single study which has shown negative health effects" of whole grains on diabetes, as reported by the New York Post.
In 2018, these same researchers found that whole wheat reduces the risk of diabetes. Those who ate 50 grams a day (one bowl of cereal or one slice of bread) had a 22% - 34% lower chance of developing diabetes. So don't be afraid of whole-grain bread.
Garlic Can Help With Cholesterol
If you love garlic, you're in luck. Several studies have reported that garlic regulates blood sugar, cholesterol, and inflammation. During 2011 research in Pakistan, people with type 2 diabetes consumed 900 mg of garlic daily over 24 weeks. In the end, participants experienced better cholesterol, glycemic control, and triglycerides.
According to the Journal of Ayub Medical College, garlic also decreases LDL cholesterol and raises beneficial HDL cholesterol. Although a small amount of garlic won't transform your health, it's still another reason to enjoy garlic.
The Benefits Of Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar converts apples into fermented acetic acid, which lowers the carbs to one gram per tablespoon. During a 2015 study, scientists found that apple cider vinegar improves insulin sensitivity. Over time, this may lower blood glucose levels.
According to one study by the American Diabetes Association, taking two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before bed reduces fasting blood sugar by 6% in people with diabetes. Another study recorded that consuming apple cider vinegar with carbs decreases blood sugar response by 20%. Of course, apple cider vinegar doesn't cure diabetes, but it may help blood glucose levels.
Don't Forget Citrus Fruits
The American Diabetes Association lists citrus fruits as diabetic superfoods. Although lemons and oranges are acidic, they still help with diabetes. According to Harvard Health Publishing, eating citrus juice with a high GI food lowers the overall glycemic index. The acidity converts starch into sugar, which has a gentler effect on blood sugar.
Citrus fruits also prevent insulin resistance. According to a 2006 study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, grapefruit relieves insulin resistance. Participants who ate more grapefruit also lost weight. Eating oranges, mandarins, limes, or lemons will similarly improve your health.
Quinoa Has More Protein And Fiber Than Rice
Quinoa is a seed that's eaten as a grain, similar to rice. It offers more protein and fiber than most rice, and it won't cause a blood sugar spike with its low glycemic index. Plus, one cup of cooked quinoa supplies only 40 carbohydrates. It's an easy alternative to rice.
The research backs up quinoa's health effects, too. According to a study in the Journal of Medicinal Food, Peruvian Andean grains like quinoa have powerful antioxidants. The researchers believe that quinoa can help manage type 2 diabetes.
Why Nutritionists Recommend Greek Yogurt
Unlike other types of yogurt, Greek yogurt has low carbohydrates with high protein. Diabetes educator Tami Ross, RD, recommends Greek yogurt to all of her patients. Because it's a low GI food, Ross explains, you can eat it in the morning to manage your blood sugar throughout the day.
In 2014, a study published in BMC Medicine noted that yogurt helps reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. The researchers examined three large studies, and according to them, people who eat a cup of yogurt a day are 18% less likely to develop diabetes. So yogurt is clearly doing something right.
Eggs Have Great Benefits
For years, eggs have been demonized for raising cholesterol. In reality, eggs reduce LDL cholesterol (the "bad" kind) and raise HDL cholesterol (the heart-healthy kind). According to MayoClinic, this cholesterol change can stabilize blood pressure and blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes.
Since eggs have a lot of protein, they keep you fuller and regulate your blood glucose. If you eat eggs, include the yolk, since most of the egg's nutrition comes from there.