For people who control diabetes with a combination of oral medication and diet, choosing foods that aid in lowering and keeping blood glucose levels within an acceptable range is essential. Fortunately, there are many types of foods that can aid in overcoming insulin resistance while also helping to protect the system from other health issues. Here are five food ideas that can be included in just about any diabetic diet.
Fruits – Raw fruits that are relatively low in carbohydrates and contain a lot of fiber are often good options. Not all fruits are good choices for diabetics, however. Focus more on lemons, oranges, and similar fruits that provide plenty of vitamin C, since their acidity will help neutralize some of the carbs in the other foods consumed throughout the day. Limit or eliminate fruits like watermelon or pineapple, since the glycemic index for these is much higher than other options.
Vegetables – Dark green and red vegetables are among the staples for any diabetic diet. Try adding raw spinach to a salad instead of lettuce. A serving of kale instead of starchy vegetables like white potatoes or corn is always a good choice. If you must have some type of potatoes, go with raw sweet potatoes that you bake at home. There will be no added sugar, as is often the case with canned sweet potatoes. Plus, many diabetics find that a reasonable portion of sweet potatoes flavored with a little butter and a small amount of salt will not create a drastic increase in blood glucose levels, especially when paired with a dark green vegetable and a lean meat.
Dairy Products – Specifically, cheese can help minimize glucose spikes and keep blood sugar levels on a more even keel. Add the cheese in moderation to other foods that provide plenty of nutrients but contain relatively few carbs. While cheese is helpful, don’t expect a little grated cheese to counteract the effects of a large bowl of pasta. Going with small portions, or using some type of substitute for the pasta, would be a much better strategy.
Nuts – The fats contained in walnuts, almonds, and other nuts have a way of helping to lower insulin resistance. Not only do many nuts provide plenty of nutrients, they also can be very filling. Along with helping the body make better use of insulin, nuts calm hunger pangs and minimize the temptation to grab candy bars, chips, and other snacks wreak havoc with blood sugar levels.
Whole Grains Products – Oatmeal is one of the best choices when it comes to regulating blood sugar levels. The fiber content has a calming effect on blood sugar and also is great for reducing bad cholesterol, a condition that many diabetics also have to deal with. Whole wheat is also a better choice than any bread made with bleached flour. While the carbohydrate content is sometimes higher than white bread, the carbs in whole wheat bread tend to absorb into the system and convert into energy with greater efficiency.
Keep in mind that not all diabetics react to a particular food in the same way. What causes almost no increase in blood sugar levels for one may trigger a noticeable spike in another. Pay close attention to how certain foods impact blood sugar levels at one and two hours after finishing the meal, and adjust your diet accordingly. Doing so will allow you to have more energy throughout the day, and avoid that sense of lingering fatigue that is often a sign of high glucose levels.