Are you living with the effects of the blood sugar disorder diabetes? Being diagnosed as diabetic or prediabetic can change your entire worldview. When your body has trouble managing its insulin levels, it's a shock to your quality of life.
However, it's possible to mitigate the effects of diabetes and even reverse prediabetes with your diet choices. Cutting out all refined carbohydrates and sugar from your diet helps your pancreas manage your insulin production better, and your body experiences less inflammation overall.
Toss out the junk food and replace it with nutritious meals you prepare at home. With the right recipe guide and the finest organic ingredients, you won't miss those trips to the drive-thru.
Here are the 8 best fruits and vegetables to include in diabetes-friendly meals.
Our favorite tropical fruit just happens to be a great choice for the diabetic diet. A mid-sized banana has 112-calories and 29-grams of carbs. The carbs are a mix of sugars and fiber, but the high fiber content slows the absorption of the carbohydrates, allowing for better management of blood glucose levels by the pancreas.
Research on bananas for diabetes shows that this low-GI snack only develops sugars as it ripens. As a result, bananas that just start ripening have fewer sugars in the fruit than over-ripe bananas. Therefore, newly ripe bananas are a great choice for the diabetic diet, as they have low sugar content and plenty of fiber.
The low sugar combined with high amounts of fiber makes bananas a great choice for the diabetic diet. Blend them in shakes or just enjoy them as a quick snack.
Patients with diabetes may experience damage to the small and large blood vessels in the body caused by their condition. As a result, they may notice the onset of complications to organs like the heart and eyes.
However, there is evidence suggesting that eating beets for diabetes may reduce the patient's insulin resistance. Insulin resistance occurs in diabetic individuals with high blood sugar levels. When blood sugar becomes elevated, the pancreas releases insulin to help balance the delivery of nutrients through gluconeogenesis.
However, the research shows that patients drinking beet juice alone did not receive the same outcome as those eating whole beets. Therefore, the fiber content in beets assists with the slower absorption of carbohydrates by the body.
You can roast beets with your veggies, add them to salads, or stuff them with other ingredients. Diabetic individuals with kidney problems should avoid eating beets. The high levels of oxalates found in the veggie may interfere with normal kidney function.
Avocados are one of the healthiest fruits out there. The avocado is a rich source of healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that benefit the heart and many other processes in the body.
Avocadoes have less than a gram of carbs per serving and plenty of healthy fats, making them one of the most nutritious foods available.
Therefore, adding avocado to other meals or in combination with other foods may help to slow their digestion rate. For example, some smashed avocado on toast slows the digestion of the bread, making blood glucose management easier for people with diabetes.
#4 Leafy Green Vegetables
Leafy greens like kale, spinach, and chard are very nutritious, and they contain almost zero carbs per serving. Leafy greens have high levels of plant-based polyphenol compounds, otherwise known as "antioxidants."
These antioxidants have a potent effect on reducing systemic inflammation in the body. Leafy greens are high in fiber, K and C vitamins, and minerals, giving your body everything it needs to optimize metabolism while slowing the digestion of other high-GI carbohydrates.
Beans are readily available, affordable, and easy to prepare. They also make a good addition to the diabetic diet. Legumes are rich in B-vitamins and minerals like magnesium, potassium, and calcium. They also offer you a rich source of plant-based fiber.
A study of more than 3,000 subjects shows that those that include legumes in their diet have a 35% lower chance of developing type 2 diabetes. Beans have a low GI and plenty of fiber to slow absorption of faster-digesting carbs in your diet.
Nuts are another source of healthy fats, and they also only have trace amounts of carbs. Fats a great as a snack because they fill you up faster than carbs or protein. Nuts are great to add to a homemade trail mix, or just eat nut butter straight out of the jar.
Keeping a jar of almond butter in the pantry is a healthy snack, just don't overdo the calories! Nuts digest slowly, and they contain plenty of soluble fiber. Adding them to salads and other recipes enhances the flavor and nutrition of the meal.
This cruciferous vegetable comes packed with nutrients and a minimal amount of carbs. Each serving of broccoli contains 27 calories and 3 grams of carbs. Broccoli is also high in magnesium and vitamin C, and its low-GI rating means it digests slowly.
Research shows that people consuming broccoli have a 10% reduction in blood glucose levels, making it the ideal vegetable to add to the diabetic diet. Additionally, broccoli is a source of zeaxanthin and lutein, potent antioxidants for the body.
The nutrients and polyphenols found in broccoli reduce system inflammation, starting in the digestive system. It also helps to relieve the symptoms of IBS and other digestive disorders in sensitive individuals.
Strawberry smoothies taste fantastic, and they're also good for your health. You might expect strawberries to be high in fast-absorbing carbohydrates, but that's not the case. Strawberries contain anthocyanins, compounds that reduce insulin production after a meal.
The bright red berries also improve your blood sugar profile and reduce the risk of heart disease in patients with type 2 diabetes. Strawberries come packed with polyphenol antioxidants, and a cup of strawberries contains around 46-calories, with 8-grams of carbohydrates and three grams of fiber.
Toss the strawberries into a bowl with some organic full-cream Greek yogurt, sprinkle with nuts, and you have a healthy snack.
By knowing the right foods to eat, you can help keep your blood sugar and insulin manageable, while also reducing the risk for complications. Although these foods may help manage your blood sugar more effectively, it is still important that you follow an overall nutritious balanced diet.