By Wasatch Clinical Research
Everyone wants to know how to eat more healthily, but for diabetics, meal planning isn't always simple. Carbs become a much bigger deal and with each ingredient, you'll be keeping a running tally of glucose index scores in your head.
But being diabetic doesn't have to mean your diet is bland, boring or downright unpleasant. Take a look at some of these tasty super foods every diabetic could include in his or her diet and start incorporating them into your own dishes.
Not all vegetables were made equally, though they all have healthy properties. Diabetics looking to pack their diet with super foods, however, should focus on non-starchy veggies like broccoli, artichokes, asparagus and beets.
When it comes to satisfying your appetite for a small number of calories, you can't go wrong with these options, so keep a variety on hand for when a snack craving hits you.
In 2011, a small study conducted by scientists at Newcastle University took this advice a step further: The participants in their trial ate nothing but non-starchy vegetables and liquid diet drinks for eight weeks.
By the end of the study, their type 2 diabetes was in remission and they'd lost an average of 30 pounds. A second study is underway to try and reproduce the initial trial's results.
On a list of healthy foods for diabetics, you might be surprised to see beans make the cut. While not especially sugary, their other nutritional properties aren't generally known.
However, diabetes.org says they are "very high in fiber, giving you about a third of your daily requirement in just a half cup." While they do fall under the category of starchy vegetables, they provide a healthy replacement for meat, with lots of protein but no saturated fat.
Being diabetic doesn't mean you have to give up all sweet things. In fact, though you'll still want to eat it sparingly, your doctor might even encourage you to add a serving of dark chocolate to your diet. Dark chocolate has been proven to improve insulin sensitivity and hold you over between meals.
Plus, Reader's Digest online reported that researchers from the University of Copenhagen found that "people who ate dark chocolate reported that they felt less like eating sweet, salty or fatty foods compared to volunteers given milk chocolate. ... Dark chocolate also cut the amount of pizza that volunteers consumed later in the same day by 15 percent." Maybe you could work it in as an aperitif to your dinner.
Whether you believe it's a fruit or a vegetable, you eat it raw or in a sauce, the tomato is a powerhouse food that benefits everyone who eats it. The secret to its success seems to be lycopene, a substance healthline.com reports has been found to "reduce the risk of cancer (especially prostate cancer), heart disease, and macular degeneration, an eye disease that causes blurred vision."
Add tomatoes to your leafy, non-starchy salad, stir them into pasta, or make your own sauce (to cut down on sodium) to take full advantage of this deliciously healthy food.
Low-fat dairy products
Other healthy foods with extra benefits for diabetics are low- or non-fat milk and yogurt. These products are packed with vitamin D, a nutrient especially necessary for diabetics, and they have low GI scores.
A Harvard group interested in exploring the effects of diet and lifestyle factors on diabetes followed 1,243 patients for 12 years. After adjusting for other factors, including initial body mass index, the researchers found that men who had a higher intake of low-fat dairy products were less likely to develop type 2 diabetes. So go ahead, pour yourself another glass of milk to celebrate.
You might replace some of your meat intake with beans, but make an exception for wild salmon if you have access to some. Surprisingly enough, it's another good source of vitamin D and filled with omega-3 fatty acids (that's the good kind of fat, the kind that lowers your risk of heart disease).
Diabetes.org added a small quip about salmon, however: "Stay away from the breaded and deep fat fried variety. ...They don't count in your goal of six to nine ounces of fish per week."
As always, diabetics will appreciate food with a low GI score. Unlike many fruits, blueberries have a relatively low score and are known for having the highest antioxidant levels of any known fruit or vegetable.
Also on their resume is their ability to possibly lower your risk of heart disease and cancer. In fact, most fruits of the "berry" variety, including raspberries and strawberries, have similar properties. So bring on the fruit salad!
It is possible to stay healthy and be a diabetic. To help you out, you may benefit from participating in clinical studies. To find out more information, visit wasatchcrc.com.