A diet that fights diabetes includes bananas, barley, beans, berries, broccoli, Brussels sprouts. They help lower cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure.
Bananas, barley, beans, berries, broccoli and brussels sprouts are rich in nutrients that help fight diabetes. Even with exercise and medications, diabetics need to regulate their diet to control blood glucose levels. Like garlic, ginger, grapes, kiwi fruit and grape fruit, these foods also help fight hypertension.
The Key to Fighting Diabetes through Diet
The key to fighting diabetes through diet is a well-informed mindset. Knowing the right nutrients makes choice for the right foods, or their combinations, much easier. Foods rich in fibers, monounsaturated fats, vitamins and minerals - like almonds, apples, apricots and avocados - that assist in lowering blood glucose and bad cholesterol work better together to optimize blood glucose control.
Foods that Fight Diabetes
From Bananas to Buckwheat
The following is a list of foods whose names begin with the letter B, which, like dried fruit, eggplant, fennel, fenugreek, fish and seafood, fight diabetes:
• Bananas – are rich in potassium (needed for nerve function, muscle control and blood pressure maintenance), vitamins C and B6, and folate. They are an excellent source of bad cholesterol lowering soluble fibers. Since diabetics need more energy for exercise, bananas come in handy as they are good energy boosters. A serving of one small banana packs an equivalent of 304 kilojoules of energy.
• Barley – like other whole grains, is rich in B vitamins, zinc and magnesium. Barley contains beta-glucan, a soluble fiber, also found in oats, that lower bad cholesterol. Barley can be added to dishes like risotto or pilaf (with vegetables or meat, chicken or fish) for barley’s benefits to lower the overall glycemic index of the dishes. Barley is a good source of carbohydrates.
• Beans – are an excellent source of fiber, folate, beta-carotene and vitamin C, providing benefits with less kilojoule. Aside from assisting many nutrients in lowering blood sugar, beans are found to lower blood pressure, lower the risks for stroke, kidney failure and heart disease—which are the prime complications of diabetes.
• Beetroot – Fresh beetroot is low in kilojoules, besides being a good source of beneficial fiber, potassium and protein. Its green tops are rich in calcium, iron and vitamin C. It has more folate than most vegetables. Beetroot extract is found to have inhibitory effects on viruses associated with cancerous tumors. A word of caution: beetroot can make urine and stools pink-red. But it’s harmless. In fact, the pink-red pigment comes from betalains, which are antioxidants.
• Berries – are rich in fructose, the more benign form of sugar. They are full of soluble and insoluble fibers, which slow digestion, thus regulating blood glucose levels. They are rich in anthocyanins, compounds that assist in lowering blood sugar levels by boosting insulin production. Blueberries contain a high level of ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity), an antioxidant. Like every other fruit, berries are rich in Vitamin C.
• Bread (grainy, rye and sourdough) – People who consume more whole grains have a much lower risk of diabetes. Whole grains, found abundantly in wheat bread, rye bread and sourdough bread, help improve cell sensitivity to insulin, the hormone responsible for managing blood glucose. Whole grain consumption cuts the risk of heart disease from 15 to 30 percent. Whole grains are rich in fibers and cholesterol-reducing plant sterols. They also assist in weight loss, which is crucial in fighting diabetes.
• Broccoli – is the super-food source of chromium, a trace mineral that assists insulin in transferring glucose from the blood to the cells. It is very rich in vitamin C, which is an important vitamin in the fight against diabetes. High levels of vitamin C in the blood reduces glycated hemoglobin, a long-term indicator of high blood glucose.
• Brussels Sprouts – are rich in antioxidants. They are also an abundant source of zeaxanthin and lutein, nutrients that delay the progression of diabetic retinopathy.
• Buckwheat – is a good source of B vitamins, iron, magnesium, fiber and protein. Buckwheat fiber slows digestion, thereby controlling blood glucose swings. Buckwheat is a good source of rutin, a flavonoid that helps fight cancer, lower bad cholesterol and blood pressure, strengthen blood vessels, and slowing the progression of diabetic complications like renal disease.
The right combination of foods low in glycemic index and rich in blood glucose lowering nutrients works symbiotically with exercise, medications (sometimes) and an optimistic attitude. Like any approach against any disease with the use of food nutrients, the key has always been moderation.
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.
Photo by FotoosVanRobin at Flickr.com
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.