Diabetes refers to the condition when the body has problems converting blood sugar into energy. This can be due to a lack of insulin, called Type 1 Diabetes, or insulin resistance brought about by obesity and poor diet, called Type 2 Diabetes. Unfortunately, managing or even suppressing diabetes is not easy for most people who have it because they tend to live an unhealthy lifestyle with excessive junk food intake and insufficient exercise.
Luckily, some superfoods can help both types of diabetes without involving medication which has unwanted side effects.
With such superfoods, managing diabetes is not as hard as it seems. Diabetes can be managed with the right food intake and exercise; plus, it is doable without synthetic insulin injections or medication that may come with negative side effects.
Superfoods are found to be beneficial in helping manage diabetes because of the required nutrients that the body needs to keep diabetes at bay. Thus, diabetes management does not have to involve taking synthetic drugs; instead, suffices it with superfoods for diabetes.
Here are the ten superfoods that will manage diabetes well:
Cinnamon is a type of bark known for its sweet smell and strong flavor. Cinnamon can help lower blood sugar levels because it slows the rate at which food passes through the stomach, helping you feel full longer. Diabetes patients should only use cinnamon sparingly; too much cinnamon may result in an upset stomach or high blood pressure.
“Cinnamon helps control blood glucose levels by slowing down the rate at which the stomach empties after meals,” said Rebecca Solomon, New York City registered dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Diabetes patients, especially type 2’s, should add this superfood to their diets. Cinnamon can be found in a variety of forms from pill supplements to drinks and is often added to cereals and oatmeal.
2) Dark chocolate
Dark chocolate is high in antioxidants, dietary fiber, iron, magnesium, and selenium. Diabetes patients are often advised to avoid dark chocolate because of its high-fat content.
However, there are forms of dark chocolate that can be consumed by diabetes patients if eaten in moderation. Dark chocolate with a 70 percent or higher concentration of cacao is safe for Diabetes patients due to its antioxidant levels. This type of dark chocolate also contains theobromine which stimulates insulin secretion while lowering blood pressure. Diabetes patients should only eat 1-2 squares per day because it still contains carbohydrates and sugar which can affect their glucose levels.
“Incorporating dark chocolate into a diabetes diet can help control blood sugar levels,” said Solomon. Who doesn’t want that? Make sure the chocolate you’re buying has at least 70% cocoa content for optimal health benefits.
3) Low-fat dairy products
Low-fat dairy products such as skim milk, low-fat cheese, and low-fat yogurt can help Diabetes patients improve their heart health. Diabetes sufferers should make every day International Women’s Day because women are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than men.
“Dairy foods are excellent sources of calcium which research shows may lower the risk of developing diabetes,” said Solomon. “Calcium can also strengthen bones, reducing the risk for broken bones.” Make sure to read nutrition labels before purchasing these superfoods; some brands contain high amounts of sugar that diabetes patients should avoid.
“Aim for two cups daily,” recommends Dr. Richard Bernstein, Diabetic & Clinical Professor of Medicine at the Diabetes & Endocrinology Center of North Shore Long Island.
Almonds are small, crunchy nuts that are high in protein and fiber. Almonds contain vitamin E and magnesium which diabetes patients need to maintain good heart health. Diabetes patients can eat almonds because they are low on the glycemic index which means they don’t cause a steep rise in blood sugar levels.
Almonds also contain antioxidants, phytonutrients, magnesium, biotin, calcium, vitamin E, manganese, and riboflavin. Almonds can help lower cholesterol levels which is excellent news for diabetes patients who tend to have higher than normal levels of LDL (low-density lipoprotein), the “bad” cholesterol within their body’s circulatory system.
“Research suggests eating tree nuts such as almonds may help lower blood pressure, reduce LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol, and decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease,” said Solomon. Remember to go easy on these superfoods because they do still contain carbohydrates and sugars that Diabetes patients should be cautious of.
Quinoa is an ancient grain that’s superfood status has only recently been recognized. Diabetes sufferers should eat more of this healthy whole grain because it will help regulate their blood glucose levels due to its complex carbohydrate nature.
Quinoa is often found in multigrain or mixed-grain dishes and can also be used as a substitute for rice or couscous. Diabetes patients should opt for the multigrain version since it contains more fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients than white or brown rice.
“Grains are naturally low in fat and calories,” says Dr. Bernstein. “They also provide excellent sources of dietary fiber which helps decrease cholesterol absorption.” Diabetes patients should eat quinoa daily to ensure they are eating foods that are high in antioxidants and have low glycemic indices.
Keep your eye on the prize with this superfood; beans are packed with protein, iron, magnesium, and potassium which means Diabetes management is a cinch.
Beans are small, round, or oval-shaped legumes that diabetes sufferers should eat often. Beans are high in dietary fiber which reduces the risk of diabetes patients developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
“Numerous studies have shown that eating plenty of fiber can help lower blood sugar levels, decrease insulin resistance, and reduce your risk for Diabetes,” said Solomon. “Good sources of fiber include pinto beans, navy beans, kidney beans, white beans, black-eyed peas, split peas.” Diabetes patients should eat these superfoods at least three times a week if not more to improve their health status drastically.
The diabetes-fighting superfood you should be eating every day is tomatoes. Diabetes patients can eat as many of these red, summery delights as they would like because they are low on the glycemic index and contain numerous antioxidants that help diabetes management.
Diabetes patients can eat tomatoes because they are full of vitamins A, B6, C, and E which means diabetes disease progression is slowed. Tomatoes are also high in potassium which helps diabetes patients balance their blood sugar levels.
Diabetes patients should eat raw or cooked tomatoes to get the most out of these superfoods; this way you’ll be increasing your intake of nutrients and decreasing your diabetes risk at the same time!
One diabetes-fighting superfood that diabetes patients love is grapefruit. The tangy fruit has been shown in numerous studies to help diabetes patients manage their diabetes. Diabetes sufferers should eat grapefruit because it’s low on the glycemic index and rich in vitamin C.
A study conducted by researchers from the University of California, Davis discovered that eating half a grapefruit or drinking 200mls of grapefruit juice before meals could help diabetes patients manage their disease. This is due to grapefruit’s high content of polyphenol antioxidants which help fight diabetes-related illnesses like cardiovascular disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, etc.
“Grapefruit contains a powerful antioxidant called naringenin that has been shown to reduce insulin resistance,” said Dr. Bernstein. Diabetes patients can eat grapefruit daily for breakfast or as an afternoon snack either on its own, in a fruit salad, with yogurt, or in a juice blend with other diabetes-fighting superfoods such as oranges and pomegranates.
The diabetes-fighting superfood of the summer is a fruit you may not have tried yet; pomegranates! Diabetes patients can eat pomegranate to gain all the health benefits of this delicious fruit.
Aside from being low on the glycemic index, pomegranates are high in vitamin C/A and potassium too which means diabetes management is a breeze. Plus, they’re full of fiber which lowers your risk for diabetes-related illnesses including cardiovascular disease and strokes.
“Pomegranates contain antioxidants that help fight inflammation, better blood vessel function, and lower blood pressure,” said Dr. Bernstein. That’s why diabetes patients should eat these delicious fruits because they boost their immune system and diabetes management.
Diabetes patients should eat pomegranates every day for breakfast or as an afternoon snack; either on their own, in a fruit salad, with yogurt, or in a juice blend with other diabetes-fighting superfoods like oranges and grapefruits.
Spinach is one of the most nutrient-dense superfoods; Diabetes patients can eat spinach to gain all the health benefits of this leafy, green vegetable. If you’re looking for a way to manage diabetes better then look no further than this Magic Super Food!
“A diet high in fiber and low in fat, particularly trans fats, will help keep blood glucose levels from going too low,” said Solomon. Diabetes sufferers should eat spinach because it’s a rich source of fiber which means a lower risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes diseases. Diabetes patients should eat at least 3 servings a week if not more.
Another ingredient that makes spinach such an amazing diabetes-fighting superfood is folate/vitamin B which helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Diabetes patients can eat spinach any time of the day, either on its own or in a salad with other low-GI foods that fight diabetes.
Diabetes is a disease in which the body’s blood glucose or blood sugar remains elevated due to low or decreased insulin production. Diabetes patients should eat superfoods such as quinoa, beans, tomatoes, grapefruit, and others listed throughout this article because they are low on glycemic indices and high in antioxidants that reduce diabetes progression significantly. Diabetes patients should eat these superfoods daily to ensure they meet their nutritional needs and improve diabetes treatment overall!