The Top 20 Foods for Beating Diabetes

The Top 20 Foods for Beating Diabetes.

Every time you roll your shopping cart into the supermarket, you’re making a decision that goes far beyond whether you’re going to have pork or pierogies for dinner. You’re actually choosing between being a victim and a victor. What you put in your cart goes a long way toward determining whether you’ll be compromised by diabetes or start controlling and eventually even beating it.

That’s why we’ve assembled the following list of the 20 best foods for fighting diabetes. Every time you go to the store from now on, take this list with you and check off each item. In fact, if your favourite store has a delivery service, sign up for it so your supplies are automatically replenished every few weeks.

Research proves that making a few key changes to your diet such as eating more produce, fewer refined carbohydrates, plenty of lean protein, and more ‘good’ fat’helps improve blood-sugar control and cuts the risk of diabetes-related complications. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that one or two or even five foods on this list will transform you. You need most of them, yes, even the flaxseed, because together they represent a new approach to eating, a lifestyle rather than just a diet.

1. Apples
Because they offer so many health advantages, put these at the core of your diet. Apples are naturally low in calories, yet their high fibre content (4 grams) fills you up, battles bad cholesterol, and blunts blood-sugar swings. Red Delicious and Granny Smith are also among the top 10 fruits with the most disease-fighting antioxidants.

Eat them whole and unpeeled for the greatest benefit, or make a quick ‘baked’ apple. After washing and chopping one apple, put it in a bowl with a dusting of cinnamon and microwave until soft (about 4 minutes). Enjoy with yogourt and oat bran sprinkles for a nutritious dessert, or serve over oatmeal for breakfast.

2. Avocado
Rich, creamy, and packed with beneficial monounsaturated fat, avocado slows digestion and helps keep blood sugar from spiking after a meal. A diet high in good fats may even help reverse insulin resistance, which translates to steadier blood sugar long-term. Try putting mashed avocado on sandwiches instead of mayonnaise or on bread instead of butter. To keep what’s left over from turning brown, spritz the flesh with cooking spray or coat with lemon juice and wrap in plastic.

3. Barley
Choosing this grain instead of white rice can reduce the rise in blood sugar after a meal by almost 70 per cent’and keep your blood sugar lower and steadier for hours. That’s because the soluble fibre and other compounds in barley dramatically slow the digestion and absorption of the carbohydrate. Even brown rice can’t compare. Add barley to soups, serve it as a side dish, or make it the basis for a stir-fry or casserole. Pearled, hulled, or quick-cooking varieties are all crackling good choices.

4. Beans
When menu planning, think ‘bean cuisine‘ at least twice a week. The soluble fibre in all types of beans (from chickpeas to kidney beans to even edamame) puts a lid on high blood sugar. And because they’re rich in protein, beans can stand in for meat in main dishes. Just watch the sodium content. Always rinse canned beans before using. To save time cooking beans, invest in a pressure cooker. Soaked beans are tender in just 10 to 15 minutes.

 

5. Beef

Yes, beef is a diabetes-friendly food, as long as you choose the leanest cuts and keep portions to one-fourth your plate. Getting enough protein at mealtime keeps you feeling full and satisfied. Plus, it helps maintain muscle mass when you’re losing weight, so your metabolism stays high. The skinniest beef cuts are eye of round, inside round, ground round, tenderloin, sirloin, flank steak, and filet mignon. To lean up other cuts, put them in the freezer for 20 minutes. This hardens the meat so it’s easier to slice off the fat. Lean cuts can be tenderized and made more flavourful by marinating in any mixture that contains vinegar, wine, or citrus juice. The acid softens them up.

6. Berries

Think of them as nature’s M&Ms: sweet, convenient, colourful, and satisfying. Berries are full of fibre and antioxidants. The red and blue varieties also contain natural plant compounds called anthocyanins. Scientists believe these may help lower blood sugar by boosting insulin production. Put some in an easy-to-grab location or freeze a handful to suck on or use as ice cubes.

7. Broccoli

Hey, don’t make that face. Broccoli is filling, fibrous, and full of antioxidants (including a day’s worth of vitamin C in one serving). It’s also rich in chromium, which plays an important role in long-term blood sugar control. If you don’t already love it, either ‘hide’ it in soups, pasta dishes, and casseroles, or sauté it with garlic, soy sauce, and mustard, or dark sesame oil (or any combination thereof) for a taste you’ll fall for.

8. Carrots

Don’t believe what you hear about carrots rapidly raising blood sugar. While the type of sugar they contain is transformed into blood sugar quickly, the amount of sugar in carrots is extremely low. That’s good news because carrots are one of nature’s richest sources of beta-carotene, which is linked to a lower risk of diabetes and better blood-sugar control. Sick of raw sticks? Make some ‘fries’ by slicing carrots into thin strips, scattering on a baking sheet, and flavouring with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast at 400°F (200°C) for 40 minutes. Who needs McDonald’s?

9. Chicken or turkey

These meats can be high-fat disasters or perfectly healthy fare. It all depends on the cut and how it’s prepared. Breast meat, whether ground or whole, is always lower in fat than dark meat such as thighs and drumsticks. Never eat the skin because of its high saturated fat content, and when buying ground turkey, make sure the package says ground turkey breast. Otherwise, you may as well be eating hamburger. And need we remind you, the Colonel is not your friend. (Why are you eating anything that comes in a bucket anyway?) If you stick to these rules, you’ll enjoy a nice, low-calorie dose of sustaining protein. No time to cook? Pick up a rotisserie chicken.

10. Eggs

Eggs are another excellent, inexpensive source of high-quality protein’so high, in fact, that egg protein is the gold standard nutritionists use to rank all other proteins. An egg or two won’t raise your cholesterol, and will keep you feeling full and satisfied for hours afterward. Such a magic food deserves a little sleight of hand in its preparation. To flip an egg, spritz the skillet with cooking spray, wait for the egg white to bubble and, in one continuous motion, slide the pan quickly toward you and then forward with a slight upward flick of the wrist. Bow to your guests.

11. Fish

The single deadliest complications of diabetes is heart disease, and eating fish just once a week can reduce your risk by 40 per cent, according to a Harvard School of Public Health study. The fatty acids in fish reduce inflammation in the body’a major contributor to coronary disease, as well as insulin resistance and diabetes. And unless you’re pregnant, don’t worry too much about potential chemical contaminants. An exhaustive review of the scientific literature on fish and human health by Harvard researchers led to the conclusion that eating it far outweighs any accompanying risks.

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