They say that food can be the most powerful form of medicine — and that’s definitely true when it comes to managing diabetes. Certain foods contain powerful nutrients that can help control blood sugar, regulate appetite, and protect your heart, which are all especially important when you’re dealing with diabetes.
If you have diabetes, incorporate these 17 superfoods into your doctor-prescribed treatment regimen to help manage your condition and reduce your risk for diabetes-related health complications.
Eating healthy fats also help reduce risk factors for heart disease, which people with diabetes are at a higher risk for, she adds. Try adding a few slices to a salad.
“Dried fruit often gets a bad rap for people with diabetes, but prunes contain no added sugars, are lower on the glycemic index scale than most dried fruit, and provide three grams of fiber per serving,” says Palinski-Wade.
This combination of factors means that prunes don’t spike blood sugar as much as many other dried fruits and sweeteners (and they’re lower in carbs), so pureed prunes can be a great swap for added sugar in recipes.
One study also found that eating five to six prunes a day helped prevent bone loss. The study was conducted on women, but since people with diabetes have a higher risk for bone loss, adding prunes to your diet may help maintain bone density, says Palinski-Wade.
3. Steel-Cut Oats
4. Hot peppers
6. Greek Yogurt
It’s time to get familiar with this trendy, water-rich veggie. “One cup of raw jicama contains only 49 calories and 4 grams of net carbs ([which means it has] 11 grams of carbs and 7 grams of fiber. When baked, jicama can taste very similar to carb-rich foods such as French fries, making it a delicious, low carb option,” says Palinski-Wade. Plus, the fiber helps keep blood sugar stable to help cravings steer clear.
10. Salmon or mackerel
11. Fiber-rich foods
Rather than try to figure out exactly how much fiber is in different foods, focus on trying to get a total of 13 daily servings of a mixture of fruits, vegetables, beans, brown rice, and whole grain pastas, cereals, and breads.
Legumes of all sorts — chickpeas, cannelloni beans, kidney beans, and lentils — are a great addition to soups and salads. And this low-fat, low-calorie, high-fiber, high-protein food helps to reduce risk of diabetes and heart disease. The fiber slows the release of glucose into your bloodstream, which prevents the blood sugar spikes that make you feel hungry.
13. Green tea
Studies show that chronic inflammation caused by high-fat foods, lack of exercise, and eating too few fruits and vegetables can increase risk of hearts attacks and thwart the body’s ability to absorb blood sugar. A simple solution: Drink green tea and orange or cranberry juice. They’re all packed with flavonoids, which are powerful inflammation-fighters. Swap one in for one cup of coffee a day.
Studies show that people who eat nuts regularly have lower rates of heart disease than people who don’t eat them. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons a day on cereal, yogurt, veggies, or salads.
15. Spinach, kale, and collard greens
There’s something in steak besides protein, iron, and B vitamins that’s good for us. It’s a compound that’s part of beef’s fat profile called conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). Doctors Michael Murray and Michael Lyon point out in their book Beat Diabetes Naturally that experiments have shown that CLA works to correct impaired blood sugar metabolism and also appears to have significant anti-cancer properties.
To get CLA from steak, choose meat from range-fed beef and keep portions to 3 or 4 ounces.
By Alexa Tucker and Men’s Health Editorial