28 May Top 10 Diabetes Superfoods, Part 1
Not all healthy foods are created equal.
Greens may be good for you, but the nutrients in iceberg lettuce may not be as plentiful as those in kale, spinach, and Swiss chard.
Besides nutrient content, the glycemic index (GI) of a food may also help you make healthy choices. The GI measures how quickly a food will raise blood sugar. Low GI foods have a score of 55 or less, while high GI foods have a score of 70 or more.
In general, lower GI foods are a better choice for people with diabetes. Foods that are both nutritious and have a low GI are helpful in managing health and blood glucose levels.
Here is Part 1 of 2 in a short series about superfoods that are especially good for those with diabetes.
1 Non-Starchy Vegetables
Non-starchy vegetables have fewer carbs per serving. They include everything from artichokes and asparagus to broccoli and beets. This category of veggies goes a long way in satisfying your hunger and boosting your intake of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals.
These vegetables are also low in calories and carbohydrates, making them some of the few foods that people with diabetes can enjoy almost with abandon. In fact, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) identifies most non-starchy vegetables as low GI foods with a ranking of 55 or less.
In a small study from 2011, researchers even suggested that people given a low-calorie diet consisting of non-starchy vegetables might successfully reverse type 2 diabetes.
2 Unsweetened Greek Yogurt
Studies have shown a 14 percent lower risk of type 2 diabetes with daily yogurt consumption.
With a low GI score, unsweetened Greek yogurt is full of healthy probiotics, calcium, and protein. It’s also a better option that regular yogurt due to its higher protein and lower carbohydrate content.
Always check nutrition labels, as some brands have a higher carbohydrate content than others, due to additions such as syrup flavorings, sweeteners, toppers, or fruit preserves.
Protip: Add toppings to enhance the flavor! Top unsweetened Greek yogurt with nuts and low GI fruits such as blackberries, blueberries, or raspberries.
Whether eaten raw or cooked, tomatoes are full of lycopene. This a powerful substance that may reduce the risk of cancer (especially prostate cancer), heart disease, and macular degeneration.
Like other non-starchy fruits, tomatoes have a low GI ranking.
One study in 2011 found that 200 grams of raw tomato (or about 1.5 medium tomatoes) each day reduced blood pressure in people with type 2 diabetes. Researchers concluded tomato consumption might help reduce cardiovascular risk that’s associated with type 2 diabetes.
4 Blueberries (and other berries!)
From vision-protecting vitamin C to filling fiber, blueberries are antioxidant powerhouses. Blueberries have some of the highest antioxidant levels of any fruit or vegetable and may reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer. They also have anti-inflammatory properties.
Strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also excellent choices for people with diabetes.
5 Oranges and other Citrus Fruits
The pulpiness of oranges and grapefruit provide a great source of fiber. To maximize this, make sure to eat the whole fruit rather than drink just the juice.
A 2008 study found that eating citrus fruits could lower the risk of diabetes in women, but drinking the fruit juice could increase that risk.