7 Superfoods for Diabetes
If you are pre-diabetic or have been diagnosed with diabetes, controlling your diet is essential to ensure your long-term health and well-being. One of the many ways that you can improve your diet is by focusing on foods that are great for your blood sugar and health. There are many superfoods for diabetes that are packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants that will improve your health and control your blood sugar. Here are some of the best superfoods that you should incorporate into your diet.
There are many delicious types of beans that can easily be put into your diet, whether you like black beans, navy beans, kidney beans, pinto beans or chickpeas. All beans have lots of vitamins and minerals like potassium and magnesium, as well as plenty of fiber to keep your gut healthy. While beans contain carbohydrates, they have just as much protein as an ounce of meat in only half a cup and don’t have the saturated fat that can be present in meat. If you want to make things easy, use canned beans and take care to rinse them thoroughly to avoid added salt.
Seafood is an excellent food for people who have diabetes. Salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring and sardines are all packed with omega-3 fatty acids. These are superfoods for diabetes, as they help to lower your blood fats and improve your heart health. You should pay attention to how much mercury is in your fish to avoid any negative symptoms from consuming it. The American Heart Association recommends eating fish two times a week, and regular consumption can actually protect those with diabetes from developing kidney problems.
3. Tree Nuts
Nuts are a wonderful snack or meal component, as they have protein and fiber to fill you up. They also contain unsaturated fats, which are the compounds that lead to better HDL or good cholesterol. The polyunsaturated fats found in tree nuts like cashews, hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds and pecans are particularly helpful. One study found that tree nuts, when eaten twice a day, can lower and stabilize blood sugar in people who have type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol. When you take in these fats, it’s a great alternative to animal-based fats and much healthier for you. Tree nuts are well-known superfoods for diabetes, but make sure that you don’t overdo it. One serving is 24 almonds, 14 walnut halves or 18 cashews.
If you want something sweet, blueberries are one of the best superfoods for diabetes. They are packed with antioxidants and vitamins. Researchers who studied adults found that eating three servings of blueberries a week helped to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by over 25% compared with people who ate less than one serving every month. Blueberries also contain satisfying fiber and no added sugar. Try replacing a sweet treat in your diet with blueberries instead a few times a week, and you will benefit from lower blood sugar, reduced sugar cravings and a delicious treat.
Broccoli is known as a cruciferous vegetable, just like cauliflower and some others. When you maintain a diet rich with broccoli, it will reduce your cancer risk and help to manage your diabetes. As one of the best superfoods for diabetes, broccoli is also filled with vitamin A and vitamin C. If you can work only one cup of broccoli into your diet without any added fat, you will get 10% of your daily vitamin A, 82% of your daily vitamin C and 22% of your daily fiber goal. It is also much more filling than some other vegetables, so it’s a good choice for people who want to manage their diabetes and lose some weight at the same time.
6. Sweet Potatoes
Put down the white potatoes and swap them for sweet potatoes instead! All potatoes are not created equally, and it’s best to choose sweet potatoes over traditional white ones to help manage your blood sugar. Whether you want to cut them into fries and air fry them instead of Russet potatoes or bake them to replace baked potatoes, it will help keep your blood sugar managed. One medium sweet potato without fat added contains 15% of your daily fiber goal and plenty of other vitamins.
When you are planning your mealtime and looking to incorporate superfoods for diabetes, you should fill half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables and one quarter of the plate with starchy vegetables that have plenty of fiber like sweet potatoes with the skin still on them. Peas and corn are other healthy options that have high starch and should be eaten in moderation, but that can still be part of your diet.
7. Spinach and Kale
Deep leafy greens are an essential part of any healthy diet, and the same is true if you are diabetic. Kale and spinach are two of the easiest to find, and eating just 1.5 cups a day can lower your risk of developing diabetes by a whopping 14%. If you don’t like eating it with your dinner, you can always incorporate it into a smoothie or pasta sauce. There are plenty of ways to eat kale and spinach and work these superfoods for diabetes into your diet.
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Kurt Dixon is an educated, certified and experienced health consultant who is passionate about helping his client-patients achieve their goals by adjusting their lifestyle to promote a seamless, healthy living. His experience covers healthcare, pharmaceutical, money management, telecommunications & customer service industries. He is also the founder of Body Refined and the Lifestyle Management program, an integrated consortium of measures addressing life balance, eating healthier, physical wellness and career management.