Consuming enough fruits and vegetables can be frustrating, but it’s vital for maintaining ideal blood sugar levels and a healthy lifestyle. As many are aware, what you eat affects your blood sugar and keeping a routined eating pattern can significantly help keep blood sugar levels under control. We’ve put together this guide that shows 6 delicious, practical ways to prepare some of of the most recommended fruits and vegetables for diabetes.
Asparagus: can be great for a diabetic because it’s low calorie, non-starchy, and high in glutathione, an antioxidant that can significantly decrease the effects of many diseases including diabetes. A study from 2012 in the British Journal of Nutrition suggested that asparagus had the potential of helping keep blood sugar levels in good range as well as increase the production of insulin.
Avocado: an avocado a day keeps the doctor away? Maybe that wasn’t the original saying but it does ring true! A 2008 study conducted by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that women who ate a high amount of good fats, like the unsaturated vegetable fats in avocados, were 25% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes versus women who ate a small amount of good fats.
Carrots: their beta-Carotene are good for your eyesight and even better for preventing and lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes in individuals who may have a genetic predisposition for the disease. This was found by the Stanford University School of Medicine in 2013. It’s easy to add these into your diet: shred some on a salad, enjoy some with a low calorie dip, or puree them into your favorite soups.
Kale is more than just a trend! It, too, can help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. A meta-analysis of few studies found that those consuming a large amount of leafy, green vegetables such as kale and spinach were 14% less likely to develop diabetes than those who consumed the smallest amount.
Red Peppers: they contain a high amount of antioxidants like beta-Carotene and vitamin C. The National Institutes of Health even suggested this a one of the top 4 vegetables that seniors should eat due to the high antioxidant level.These are only a small handful of the many non-starchy vegetables that can help you feel better and control your diabetes.
Go here to find a full list of vegetables.
A health study at Harvard found that the higher the daily intake of vegetables and fruit, the lower the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. Those who eat vegetables are less likely to suffer from heart attacks and strokes. A very specific list of “green leafy vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, and mustard greens; cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, and kale; and citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruit (and their juices)” all make important contributions to one’s overall health.In regards to diabetes specifically, it was found that most men and women free of major diseases were individuals who consumed whole fruits like blueberries, grapes, and apples, on a regular basis. The same goes for the consumption of leafy green vegetables.To read the complete Harvard study on the consumption of vegetables and its benefits for a number of health issues, click here.
So how can you get 3-5 servings of vegetables a day? It’s already widely known that a majority of people find it hard to get even a minimum 3 servings of vegetables in every single day. There are a few ways to make the process of getting those servings each day without making yourself miserable!
Fruit & Vegetable Facts: Broccoli contains more protein than steak. Apples give you a better energy boost than coffee. Fruits and vegetables can be a great source of vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, and potassium for the human body. Take a look at this Health Fact sheet from Health.gov for informative and helpful information and the importance of consuming fruits and vegetables.
A big part of this process is to keep yourself aware of what you are trying to achieve. In this case, eating a healthy amount of fruits and vegetables each day. You will have to remind yourself and that isn’t a bad thing. Leave notes around your house and kitchen as well as at the office and on your desk. These are the places that you want to make sure to have what you need in order to succeed. Keep healthy foods on hand, especially when you are at work, because most people tend to snack throughout the day. You’d be surprised how impactful the power of positive thinking can truly be, especially when you face a challenge like diabetes each day. Mayo Clinic discusses the health benefits of positive thinking and positive self-talk here, and the results can range from increasing your lifespan, to helping your body resist colds, to having a better overall psychological and physical well-being.
Eating a salad is a really good way to get a lot of vegetables in your diet. Not only can you eat a variety of different leafy greens, you can also add carrots, tomatoes, onions, peppers, and much more. A salad is fairly easy and quick to put together and is portable if you need to take it to work or on the go with you. The American Diabetes Association recommends that patients eat seafood every week because it is low in unhealthy saturated fats and cholesterol. This would be a great opportunity to add a little bit of shrimp or salmon to your salad. To read information on ADA’s recommendation of seafood, go here.
You can also add vegetables to your breakfast easily by throwing some veggies in the skillet and including them in your favorite omelette. Speaking of omelettes, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition conducted a study in which they followed the diets and exercise of a large group of men. What they found was that men who regularly skipped breakfast had a 21% higher chance of developing diabetes than those who ate breakfast on a regular basis. The Diabetes Magazine, asweetlife.org, recommends 7 great breakfast salads for those with diabetes. Those salads and the information on the breakfast study can be found here.
Try a buffalo chicken salad by throwing some sliced romaine, cooked chicken breast, buffalo wing sauce, light blue cheese, cracked black pepper, blue cheese dressing, and celery into a bowl!
Cut up those vegetables and throw them into your crockpot for a delicious soup when you come home from work. Not only is this great for you but the vegetables will give the soup more natural flavor without adding a bunch of salt and seasonings to the mix. The vegetables give your soup an amazing flavor and cook soft enough to where they virtually taste like rest of the soup; you will hardly notice them! At Diabetes Self-Management, Amy Campbell discusses how soup can be helpful in diabetes control. “Not only can eating a bowl of soup as your first course help you battle the bulge, it may also help you battle spikes in blood sugar – as long as you choose your soup wisely.” She states that eating a bowl of broth like chicken soup will fill you up and not force too many carbs on you. She also mentions that depending on what type of soup you have chosen, you may be getting a great deal of protein as well. To read her full article called “Soup Really Is Good Food” go here.
A diabetic friendly soup could be a bean soup with kale. Simply stew these things together in a pot on the stove: olive oil, garlic cloves, medium yellow onion, 4 cups chopped raw kale, 4 cups low-fat/low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth, 2 can of white beans (undrained), 4 chopped tomatoes, some Italian herb seasoning, salt and pepper, and chopped parsley.
Some may think that juicing only pertains to fruits but it’s also possible to juice a number of vegetables as well as benefit from doing so. Juicing vegetables can be a great and important step to take for a lot of individuals, including those with diabetes. So why juicing? Some diabetics “green juice,” which is mainly juicing vegetables and sometimes adding a small amount of fruit for taste. Using a juicer for fruits and vegetables is a smart and convenient way to get your full servings of those food groups. It saves time for those who may not always have the time to stop what they are doing and cook a large or elaborate meal. Sarah C. Corriher, who writes for The Health Wyze Report and healthwyze.org mentions how important juice fasting can be to those who want to move in the direction toward curing their diabetes. “Juicing is a quick and tasty way to consume large amounts of fruits and vegetables each day.” To read her entire article “Special Investigative Report: Curing Diabetes Naturally and Holistically” click here.
A great semi-sweet carrot juice recipe includes 1 pound of washed and peeled carrots, 1/2 a peeled lemon, some leafy greens such as red lettuce, and 1 apple.
Another great way to get your vegetable servings in is to sneak them into the sauces you may make for pasta dishes. It is actually incredibly easy to throw in some onions, peppers, carrots, and squash and it’s likely you won’t even remember it’s in there. Adding vegetables to your sauce makes the meal more hearty and as stated before, gives your food such a great flavor.The GlucoMenu offers a wide variety of online recipes for diabetics friendly sauces that can be easily made and accompany just about any meal. You can find that direct list here.
Diabetes Queensland Dietitian Michelle Tong urges everyone including diabetics to steer clear of pre-made and pre-packaged sauces because they are super high in salt and sugar. She also states that, “Making a sauce from scratch is a fantastic idea because you know exactly what is going in your meal.” You can find a great recipe for Bolognese sauce on her page here.
Make a linguine with pepper sauce by combining olive oil, red bell pepper, garlic, fresh basil, balsamic vinegar, salt, black pepper, and uncooked linguine.
In this case, you can have your dessert and eat it too! What a perfect time to bring out the strawberries and a small amount of dark chocolate? Or toss your bananas and grapes in the freezer for a delicious frozen treat in the evening. While fruits should be eaten in extreme moderation, it’s absolutely fine to indulge in a little bit each day as long as you do not go overboard with the sugar. The American Diabetes Association looks at elaborate desserts as a “special occasion” type of food, but also doesn’t suggest that you cut yourself off from something sweet. They suggest eating some fresh fruit or fruit salad to satisfy the craving. If dessert is on your list and there’s no changing your mind, they state that you should keep your portions small and controlled. The ADA offers good information on how to incorporate sweets in your meal plan here.
Eating healthy and living a certain type of lifestyle is something everyone should strive to work toward and is stressed more for those who have diabetes because they can help themselves feel better and even reverse the disease if done right.