More than 30 million US adults have diabetes and that number is growing each year. There are many foods that can be beneficial to those with diabetes & prediabetes including nuts & seeds, fruits & vegetables, and whole grains. Follow us as we look at a few and their benefits.
Nuts - Nuts provide healthy fats and can help curb hunger.
- Try an ounce of walnuts as a snack to gain beneficial omega-3 fatty acids.
- Remember to avoid salted nuts to avoid complications with diabetes.
- Other great choices include pistachios, almonds & cashews.
Berries – These delicious treats contain antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber.
- Try berries to satisfy a sweet craving.
- You’ll also get the added benefit of vitamin K, vitamin C, manganese, potassium, and fiber!
- Berries have a low glycemic index, meaning a sweet treat with a lower risk of a blood sugar spike.
Fish – Omega-3 rich fish include salmon, herring, albacore tuna, and mackerel, among others.
- The American Diabetes Association recommends eating fish twice per week.
- Enjoying them baked or grilled rather than fried to avoid the extra calories.
- Canned tuna & salmon are budget-friendly options for adding fish to your diet.
Sweet potatoes – This delicious vegetable is loaded with vitamin C, potassium, vitamin A & fiber!
- Sweet tooth kicking in? Try a sweet potato sprinkled with cinnamon.
- Sweet potatoes are ranked lower than white potatoes on the glycemic index, meaning there is a less likely chance of a spike in blood sugar.
Beans – High in fiber and packed with vitamins & minerals, beans such as kidney, pinto or black beans are all great choices.
- Canned beans are a great time saver. Just make sure to drain and rinse well to remove as much added salt as possible.
- Beans are high in protein, low in fat, no saturated fat and no cholesterol.
Tomatoes – Packed with vitamin C, vitamin E, and potassium tomatoes deliver delicious nutrition.
- Averaging only 32 calories per cup, tomatoes are also very low calorie and low in carbs.
- Lycopene is what gives tomatoes their color is a powerful antioxidant that has been shown to help cholesterol levels.
Whole grains – Loaded with fiber, magnesium, B vitamins, iron, folate and more, whole grains are a great choice for diabetics.
- Try options such as quinoa, whole grain barley, farro, and whole oats
- Aim for foods that are 100% whole grain. If opting for cereal or foods with many ingredients, make sure whole grains are the first ingredients.
Dark green leafy vegetables – These powerhouse foods are low in calories & carbohydrates and packed with vitamins A, C, E & K, iron, calcium, and potassium.
- Spinach, cabbage & kale are all great choices.
- A study by the University of Leicester concluded that 1.5 servings of green leafy vegetables reduced the risk of type 2 diabetes by 14%.
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Written By: S. Campbell for Access Health Care Physicians, LLC.