Diabetes is a disease that can gradually affect your entire system and almost every organ in your body including your kidneys, eyes, heart and more.
Paying close attention to your diet can make a big difference in whether you develop the disease or experience complications from it. In fact, one of the leading factors behind the development of Type 2 diabetes, along with many other chronic and degenerative diseases, is a poor diet.
Making some smart dietary choices can prevent or help control Type 2 diabetes. Some superfoods can control diabetes by stabilizing or even lowering your blood sugar level when eaten on regular basis in appropriate portions.
Even if you already take medicine for diabetes, it is essential to understand that what you eat and drink can greatly affect how well you manage the disease.
Here are the top 10 superfoods to curb diabetes.
Several components in cinnamon promote glucose metabolism and reduce cholesterol. Studies have shown that in people with diabetes; just one-half teaspoon of cinnamon powder per day can significantly decrease fasting blood glucose levels and increase insulin sensitivity.
There are many ways to add cinnamon to your diet. You can sprinkle some in your coffee, stir it into your morning oatmeal, or add it to chicken or fish dishes. You can also soak a medium-sized cinnamon stick in hot water to make a refreshing cup of cinnamon tea.
2. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are a starchy vegetable that contains the antioxidant beta-carotene along with vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium and fiber. All of these help control blood sugar.
Diabetics can use sweet potatoes in place of regular potatoes for a lower glycemic index alternative. Whether you like grilled or baked sweet potatoes, try to cook them with the skin on since most of the nutrients are next to the skin.
Sweet potatoes are also tasty when steamed, broiled or stewed as a side dish or added to salads, soups, casseroles or other dishes.
Beans are a good source of dietary fiber and are also rich in protein, magnesium and potassium. All these minerals are very important for those who have diabetes. Beans can slow the digestion process and help maintain your blood sugar level after eating a meal.
You can choose from kidney, pinto, navy, white, lima, garbanzo, soy or black beans depending upon which you like to eat. Beans can be incorporated into your diet in many ways including as an ingredient in main dishes, adding to soup or salad, or as a side dish.
4. Dark Green Leafy Vegetables
Dark green leafy vegetables are very low in calories and carbohydrates and contain a good amount of vitamin C, insoluble fiber, magnesium and lots of calcium.
All these nutrients are helpful for diabetics as they have virtually no impact on your blood sugar level. Studies show that leafy veggies lower the risk of Type 2 diabetes.
To prevent or help manage diabetes, be sure to eat two servings of dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, chard, collard greens, mustard greens and other leafy greens daily.
Berries of all kinds are packed with antioxidants, vitamins and fiber that can help control your blood sugar levels while also protecting against cancer and heart disease.
You can choose different types of berries like strawberries, cranberries, black berries and so on. Berries are a smart substitute when you feel the urge to eat something sweet. You can add fresh berries to cereals or salads, eat the dried versions as a healthy snack, and use them to make low-sugar desserts.
Fish that is high in omega-3 fatty acids must be eaten on a regular basis if you are diabetic. Fish is a good source of protein, and a great substitute for higher-fat meats.
Aim to eat fish at least twice a week. Cold-water fatty fishes like salmon, sardines, halibut, herring, mackerel, and tuna are best for diabetics.
You’ll want to eat baked or grilled fish and try to avoid breaded and deep-fried varieties. If you do not eat fish, consult a doctor about taking fish oil supplements.
7. Whole Grains
Whole grain foods contain a wide variety of nutrients including magnesium, chromium, omega-3 fatty acids and folate. Whole grains can help maintain your blood sugar level and reduce blood pressure and LDL (the bad cholesterol).
Whole grains also contain powerful plant chemicals, lignans and flavonoids, which may play a role in preventing heart disease.
One way to add more whole grains to your diet is to simply switch from white rice to brown rice and from refined flour to whole wheat flour.
Nuts contain healthy fats, vitamins, fiber and lots of minerals such as magnesium and vitamin E that can stabilize your blood sugar level. Nuts help reduce insulin resistance and fight heart disease.
Those who are diabetic, or those who want to avoid Type 2 diabetes, must eat nuts on regular basis. Nuts of all sorts – walnuts, pecans, almonds, peanuts and so on – are great for controlling blood sugar.
It’s best to soak the nuts in water overnight, which helps neutralize their enzyme inhibitors. In the morning, remove the nuts from the water and have it.
9. Olive Oil
Olive oil is loaded with antioxidants and monounsaturated fats that reduce the risk of heart disease and help keep blood sugar steady by reducing insulin resistance.
Olive oil also helps with weight loss, which is essential for diabetics who are overweight.
Choose the extra virgin olive oil because it is minimally processed and contains more than 30 antioxidant and anti-inflammatory plant compounds. You can dress your salads with olive oil and use it to sauté meat and veggies.
Yogurt is rich in protein, vitamin D and calcium. Several studies have shown that people who eat plenty of calcium-rich foods lose weight easier and are also less likely to become insulin resistant.
Yogurt also helps build strong bones and teeth. Use nonfat plain yogurt and eat as it is or add it to a bowl of fresh fruit. You can also include low-fat milk in your diet plan to control your blood sugar level.
If you have diabetes, plan your diet well and include these superfoods. It’s also important to exercise regularly and try to maintain a healthy body weight to control your blood sugar level.