Foods that rate low on the glycaemic index are excellent choices for all of us, but especially for diabetics. Try making our diabetes superfoods recipes.
When it comes to managing diabetes, the best defence may be a strong offence in the form of healing foods.
Food plays an important role in the long-term treatment of diabetes. Heart, kidney and eye diseases are just some of the many complications associated with the disease that studies show a healthy diet may prevent.
Get cooking! These low GI (glycaemic index) meal ideas are packed full of diabetes-defending foods.
10 Diabetes Defenders
Low in kilojoules and high in nutrients, minerals and antioxidants, the following 10 foods should be on everyone’s plates—especially those suffering from diabetes or prediabetes.
Canadian researchers have found that, when eaten daily in place of carbohydrates, 57 g of mixed nuts effectively controlled blood sugar levels and reduced LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels in people with type 2 diabetes.
Dairy products such as milk, cheese and yoghurt are all excellent sources of calcium. Calcium not only promotes strong bones, but also is essential for proper heart, nerve and muscle function.
While all berries are low in sugar, high in fibre and packed full of antioxidants, strawberries may be especially beneficial for those with diabetes. Strawberries contain the flavonoid fisetin. Preliminary research suggests fisetin may ward off kidney, nerve and vision problems associated with diabetes.
Leafy greens such as kale, spinach and silverbeet are excellent sources of lutein and zeaxanthin. These two carotenoids are thought to promote healthy vision and reduce the risk of cataracts, which have been associated with diabetes.
Organic whole grains
Wheat bran, oats, brown rice and other whole grains are packed full of magnesium, a mineral that may help regulate blood sugar levels. In contrast, refined grains are low in this essential mineral, as magnesium is lost during the refining process.
Rich in cholesterol-lowering fibre, research suggests the addition of beans and other legumes to the diet may improve blood sugar control and reduce the risk of heart disease in those with type 2 diabetes.
Avocados contain high amounts of monounsaturated fat. Researchers have found that this heart-healthy fat not only improves blood cholesterol levels, but also helps control insulin and blood sugar levels.
Salmon and other fatty fish such as herring are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Research suggests diets high in omega-3-rich fish may reduce the risk of heart disease in people with diabetes by inhibiting platelet aggregation and improving lipid profiles.
The sweet potato derives its orange and yellow flesh tones from the powerful antioxidant beta carotene. Beta carotene is thought to slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration as well as reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome.
Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant, mopping up the free radicals that cause oxidative stress. Low levels of vitamin C in the body have been associated with an increased risk of heart disease and kidney failure. As the body cannot store this immune-boosting vitamin, foods rich in vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, should be eaten regularly.