Medically, there is no such thing as superfoods, but some foods fall into this category because of the nutrients they possess.
However, a few factors separate the so-called superfoods from other foods. While we’ll be looking into what superfoods are, bear in mind that this article aims to show you the best superfoods for diabetes.
What is Super food?
Superfood is a new term used in marketing foods that offer maximum nutritional values and very few calories. These are plant-based foods rich in minerals, antioxidants, and vitamins.
Most nutrition scientists and dietitians don’t use the term “superfood” because there’s no nutritional claim for it. Instead, they advise their clients to eat healthy, whole foods.
7 of The Best Superfoods for Diabetes
The nutritional value of all foods isn’t the same. The fact that greens are right for you doesn’t mean that the nutrients in spinach, Swiss chard, kale, and iceberg lettuce are the same.
Apart from the nutritional values of any food, the glycemic index (GI) is another factor that must be checked to make healthy food choices.
Glycemic Index shows the speed at which a food raises blood sugar levels. Foods with low GI scores around 55 and below while high GI foods score 70 or more.
Typically, people who have diabetes need nutritious lower GI foods to help manage their health and blood glucose levels.
People with diabetes can start taking these seven superfoods to help improve their health.
Beans, without a doubt, are one of the most nutritious nature’s foods low on the GI. The GI of chickpeas is around 28, kidney beans at 24, and soya beans scores around 16.
They offer a high amount of proteins and fiber, which is an excellent option for vegan and vegetarians.
Beans also provide the body with essential minerals like potassium and magnesium.
A 2012 research shows that the GI in people with type 2 diabetes can be significantly controlled with beans. Its nutritional benefits also extend to its ability to reduce the danger of coronary heart disease.
Fish With Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Fishes loaded with omega-3 fatty acids are reported to be excellent at reducing the risk of heart disease.
Wild salmon is generously rich in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D. It’s also rich in selenium which is useful for healthy bones, nails, hair, and skin.
You can count on other nutrient-dense fish like mackerel, sardines, and herring.
Adding any of these fishes to your meal can help slow down the digestion of your meal while increasing fullness.
This is possible because fish (and other proteinous foods) do not contain carbs. Hence, they’ll not increase the levels of blood sugar.
Besides these fishes, fish oil can also offer a good amount of omega-3 fatty acids. Although, it’s always good to consult your doctor before you embark on any supplement.
This will help you know which supplement, if any, is best for your health condition.
Unsweetened Greek Yogurt
The unsweetened Greek yogurt with a low GI score richly packed with healthy probiotics, protein, and calcium. Instead of the regular yogurt, unsweetened is better because of its lower carbohydrate and higher protein content.
According to The Journal of Nutrition, type 2 diabetes has a 14% lower risk when yogurt is consumed daily. But, the content of carbohydrates in some brands is higher than others due to additions like sweeteners, syrup flavorings, fruit preserves, or toppers. So, ensure you check nutrition labels before purchasing.
You may add nuts to unsweetened Greek yogurt. Low GI fruits like raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries also go well with Greek yogurt.
The pulpiness of citrus fruits like grapefruit and oranges is a superb source of fiber. Rather than drinking just the juice, try to eat the whole fruit to maximize your fiber intake.
A study carried out by PubMed shows that eating the whole of citrus fruits could reduce the risk of diabetes in women. Drinking just the fruit juice, on the contrary, may increase the risk.
While an average orange has 40 GI scores, unsweetened orange juice has 50 GI scores. Grapefruit, with a score of 25, is the only citrus fruit with the lowest GI score.
Tomatoes contain a powerful substance known as lycopene. Whether you cook or eat tomatoes raw, they’re always rich in lycopene. This helps reduce the risk of heart disease, muscular degeneration, and prostate cancer.
Considering GI ranking, tomatoes are in the same category as other non-starchy fruits with a low GI score.
One study found that raw tomatoes reduce blood pressure in type 2 diabetes patients. Researchers show that the cardiovascular risk associated with type 2 diabetes can be reduced by eating tomatoes.
Whole grains, being rich with soluble and insoluble fiber, as well as antioxidants, are essential for metabolizing fats and keeping the digestive tract healthy.
The grains also help stabilize the levels of blood sugar. Besides, a regular consumer of grains like hulled barley usually has lower blood cholesterol.
Another good example is lentils with many offers like iron, protein, complex carbohydrates, and B vitamins. You may also consider whole wheat bread as a low GI food.
Eating the right type of whole grains can help lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Leafy Green Vegetables
Kale is one of the best healthy leafy greens as it offers more than 100% of vitamin A and K recommended for daily intake.
Kale is rich in potassium with a track record in managing blood pressure. It contains glucosinolates, a chemical that helps in neutralizing the effects of substances that cause cancer.
Another great leafy green is collard. It packs tons of nutrients in a small container.
The abilities if these leafy greens to help manage blood pressure makes them one of the superfoods considered for people with diabetes.
A careful look into these superfoods for diabetes can help improve your health condition significantly. Start consumption today and when necessary, see your doctor.