A diet of foods rich in fiber, vitamin C, folate, potassium, selenium lowers blood glucose and cholesterol, fighting diabetes and complications like heart disease, hypertension, renal disease.
Foods that fight diabetes, like dried fruit, eggplant, fennel, fenugreek, fish and seafood, pack the right nutrients that help lower blood glucose and cholesterol. They compliment exercise, and sometimes with the inclusion of medications, in optimizing blood glucose levels. Diet is the most important component in any regimen designed to fight diabetes.
The Right Combination of Foods
Since most of what we eat and drink end up in our blood stream, moderation is not only the key. Choosing the right foods, and their combinations, is crucial in maximizing all the factors into working symbiotically for optimal results.
Foods that Fight Diabetes
From Dried Fruit to Fish
The following is a list of foods that fight diabetes either on its own terms, or symbiotically with other foods:
• Dried Fruit – like apple rings, apricots, peaches, pears, prunes, cranberries, figs, raisins and sultanas retain the fiber after drying. Even if vitamin C is lost in the process of drying, dried fruits have significant amounts of iron, potassium and selenium. For sustained energy, needed for exercise for instance, dried fruit is ideal. Dried fruits contain high levels of polyphenols, an antioxidant.
• Eggplants – (also called aubergine) rank with spinach and sweet potatoes as the highest plant sources of antioxidants. Eggplants have lots of chlorogenic acid, which fights cancer, bacteria, virus and bad cholesterol. Because it is a good source of soluble fiber, eggplants can lower blood glucose. Eggplant skin contains nasunin, a potent antioxidant and free radical scavenger that has been shown to protect cell membranes from damage, especially from high blood sugar.
• Fennels – are rich in vitamin C, folate, potassium, manganese and fiber – the nutrients that do best in regulating blood glucose levels. They pack very small amounts of kilojoule. They are also a source for calcium and iron. It contains the phytonutrient compound anethole, which reduces inflammation and helps fight cancer. Fennels also help in digestion.
• Fenugreek – researchers discovered that this spice mimics insulin in helping transfer glucose from the blood stream to cells. Only ½ teaspoon of fenugreek seeds packs 1 g of soluble fiber, which helps lower bad cholesterol. Antioxidant compounds in the spice help counteract the damaging effects of diabetes on organs.
• Fish and Seafood – like fish, prawns, lobsters and crabs are high in protein and low in kilojoules, which means they have lesser impact on blood glucose levels. These foods are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which, besides being good to the heart, also reduces inflammation – which is a major contributor to premature aging and insulin resistance. Tuna, salmon, mackerel, lake trout, herring and sardines are the riches sources of omega 3. Prawns and lobsters are also good sources of the fatty acid, and they are virtually devoid of saturated fats.
A study at the Harvard School of Public Health found that women with diabetes, who ate fish just once a week, have a 40 percent lower risk of dying from heart disease – a major diabetic complication – than women with diabetes who ate fish less than once a month.
Most shellfish are rich in copper and zinc, both important for optimal immune system function. They are rich in vitamin B12, which helps fight depression and Alzheimer’s disease. They are super sources of selenium, a mineral that fights cancer.
Clams are rich in sterols, which lower bad cholesterol, which is important in the fight against diabetes.
The foods we choose, or their combinations, determine to a large extent the success rate of any diet regimen. Coupled with exercise, and sometimes medications, the right nutrients - from foods like bananas, beans, broccoli and Brussels sprouts - might just work the wonders needed to fight diabetes and maintain a healthy lifestyle. After all, diabetes need not rob our rights of enjoying nature’s bounty in food. We just have to acquire the knowledge needed to make the right choices.
Magic Foods for Better Blood Glucose. The Reader’s Digest. (Australia) 2008. 360 pages. Hardbound.
Foods that Harm, Foods that Heal: An A to Z Guide to Safe and Healthy Eating. The Reader’s Digest. 2004, Montreal, Canada. 416 pages. Hardbound.
“Eggplant” The World’s Healthiest Foods. The George Mateljan Foundation. (Accessed 09/07/2010)
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be used for diagnosis or to guide treatment without the opinion of a health professional. Any reader who is concerned about his or her health should contact a doctor for advice.