Managing diabetes is a balancing act. It involves maintaining a healthy weight, making healthy food choices, being physically active, and taking medications as prescribed. Having a plan and setting realistic goals can help.
Knowing the glycemic index (GI) of a food may help you make healthy choices. The GI measures how quickly a food will raise blood sugar. Low GI foods have a score of 55 or less, while high GI foods have a score of 70 or more.
In general, lower GI foods are a better choice for people with diabetes. Foods that are both nutritious and have a low GI are helpful in managing health and blood glucose levels.
D E L I C I O U S Superfoods for Diabetics
All nuts generally have very low GI scores. Walnuts, in particular, contain magnesium, fiber, and alpha-linolenic acid, an essential fatty acid that supports heart health and healthy cholesterol levels. They're also full of vitamin E, folic acid, zinc, and protein.
Tip: Substituting nuts and other healthy fats for carbohydrates can help lower blood sugar.
Another plus: Those who eat nuts regularly have less risk of developing diabetes.
Since fats don’t contain carbs, they will not increase blood sugar levels. Flaxseeds are a low GI food and their high omega-3 fats content helps lower the risk of heart disease, which diabetics are more susceptible to.
Omega-3 fats also support healthy inflammatory levels, which is crucial because inflammation worsens diabetes.
Unsweetened cacao powder will not spike your blood sugar if eaten on its own. Cacao’s high flavanol content is shown to regulate insulin levels, improve insulin sensitivity, and lower your craving for sweets.
Tip: Use it to make a sugar-free hot cocoa that's easy on the blood sugar levels.
EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
Not only does it taste great, it’s carb-free, and contains diabetes-friendly fats that won’t raise your blood sugar. When combined with carbs, olive oil will keep after meal blood sugar levels lower.
Have you ever considered a calorie-free superfood powder as a way to boost your nutrition? Chlorella, Spirulina, Maca, Goji Berry Powder, Camu Camu, and many more are excellent options for adding natural vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and much more to your diet without raising your blood sugar.
Cinnamon is so easy to add to a variety of foods, and it might have a glucose-lowering effect on blood sugar. Although much of the evidence is anecdotal, what works for you may not work for someone else.
Managing diabetes doesn't have to taste bad! Learn to incorporate superfoods into your diet to both add flavor and nutrition.
Always check with your healthcare provider before taking any type of supplement.
Health, Happiness, and Low Blood Sugars!
Kelly Harrington, MS, RDN
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for Live Superfoods
Cacao and diabetes:
Cordero-Herrera et al. Cocoa flavonoids improve insulin signaling and modulate glucose production via AKT and AMPK in HepG2cells. Mol. Nutr. Food Res. 2013, 00, 1-12.
Dening J. Benefits of Olive oil consumption in type 2 diabetes treatment. Olive Oil Times. Feb 2016.
Violi et al. Extra virgin olive oil use is associated with improved post-prandial blood glucose and LDL cholesterol in healthy subjects. Nutrition & Diabetes (2015).
National Diabetes Month is observed every November so individuals, health care professionals, organizations, and communities across the country can bring attention to diabetes and its impact on millions of Americans.