Your Ten Best Food Allies
It’s a fact: not all foods are created equal. Some are dangerously seductive, like this chocolate bar that’s winking at you from the counter. And others are so nutritious and healthy—as well as delicious—that they fall into the “superfood” category. Their best assets: a high nutrient and vitamin content and a low glycemic index. But who are these formidable allies in diabetes management?
Like many legumes, beans of all kinds are full of dietary fibre—a considerable asset for someone living with diabetes. In addition to contributing to the prevention of cardiovascular disease, dietary fibre helps regulate blood sugar, slow glucose absorption and reduce cholesterol.
They give energy, soothe hunger and contain monounsaturated fats—the “good fats” that reduce cardiovascular risk. It’s worth noting that nuts also help control blood glucose levels. As with any food, however, make sure you follow the recommended servings.
No matter how you prepare them, they provide essential nutriments such as vitamin C, iron and vitamin E.
4- Citrus fruits
Stock up on vitamin C and soluble fibre with your favourite citrus fruits—think lemon, lime, grapefruit and tangerine! They’re excellent choices to add flavour to your meals while limiting your intake of salt and sugar.
5- Fatty fish
Rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids, salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines, red or white tuna, albacore and trout are all great options for promoting cardiovascular health. They also help prevent blood clots.
6- Whole grains
Why? Because they’re full of vitamins, minerals and fibre and low in saturated fat, which fits perfectly with the diet plan recommended to people with diabetes.
7- Dark green leafy vegetables
They are excellent sources of fibre and vitamins, low in calories and carbohydrates—to be consumed without moderation. That’s a compelling reason to make room for spinach, cabbage or broccoli on your plate.
8- Sweet potatoes
These are a delicious replacement for potatoes, have a low glycemic index and are high in vitamin A and fibre.
Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and company all have one thing in common: they are chock-full of antioxidants, vitamins and fibre.
10- Low-fat milk and yogurt
Their calcium, nutrient and mineral content makes milk and yogurt sound choices in your diet. They are a good source of vitamin D, which helps control blood glucose and insulin sensitivity. That being said, low-fat options are preferred!
That’s right—you already knew all of these “superfoods.” And now that you know how full of benefits they are, why not rediscover them by trying new recipes? Bon appétit!
American Diabetes Association, “Diabetes Superfoods”: http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/what-can-i-eat/making-healthy-food-choices/diabetes-superfoods.html. Accessed March 20, 2014.
Health Canada, “General Questions and Answers on Trans Fat”: http://healthycanadians.gc.ca/eating-nutrition/healthy-eating-saine-alimentation/nutrients-nutriments/fats-lipides-eng.php. Accessed April 9, 2014.
Diabetes Québec, “Les acides gras oméga-3”: http://www.diabete.qc.ca/fr/vivre-avec-le-diabete/alimentation/alimentation-et-nutriments/les-acides-gras-omega-3. Accessed March 20, 2014.
Heart and Stroke Foundation, “Cholesterol control through food and activity”: https://www.heartandstroke.ca/heart/risk-and-prevention/condition-risk-factors/high-cholesterol. Accessed April 9, 2014.
Diabetes Québec, “Les légumineuses”: http://www.diabete.qc.ca/. Accessed April 10, 2014.
Diabetes Québec, “Actualités”: http://www.preventiondiabete.ca/actualites. Accessed April 10, 2014.
Canadian Family Physician, “Vitamin D and Diabetes”: http://www.cfp.ca/content/54/6/864.full. Accessed April 10, 2014.