We can get most of our nutrition needs met by eating a varied diet of fresh foods; however, some edibles - such as those listed below - are particularly helpful for managing diabetes.
Consider putting these eight items on your grocery list if you are working on weight maintenance or loss, and better blood sugar control:
- Avocado. Avocado, one of those fruits that tastes more like a veggie, is a treasure trove of vitamins and minerals, including magnesium that benefits insulin sensitivity and heart health. Eating avocado promotes blood sugar stabilization and weight loss because its load of healthy fat and fiber slows the digestion of carbohydrate, and leaves us feeling full longer.
- Avocado makes an excellent mayonnaise substitute on sandwiches, or in egg and chicken salads. It can serve as a butter replacement on breakfast toast.
- Walnuts. Another food high in fiber and healthy fat is the walnut. Besides being helpful with weight reduction and glucose management, studies suggest regular walnut consumption strengthens blood vessel walls, and reduces LDL cholesterol levels. Walnuts make a great snack option, salad topping, and are easily combined with other nuts and seeds to create a tasty trail mix.
- Cinnamon and Ginger Cinnamon has gained some notoriety for its blood sugar lowering properties. Sprinkle cinnamon on toast, oatmeal, cooked carrots, and sweet potatoes, or use it as a sugar substitute in tea.
- Ginger, with its anti-inflammatory effects, may help lower fasting blood sugar in those with diabetes. Enjoy its flavor and health benefits by grating fresh ginger into dressings, marinades, and sauces. Many people enjoy a cup of ginger tea by steeping a slice of fresh ginger - for a few minutes - in boiling water.
- Strawberries. Strawberries are a stupendous vitamin C source, and there is some evidence that people with diabetes are prone to vitamin C deficiency. A compound found in strawberries called fisetin may help prevent diabetes related brain and kidney complications, and the anthocyanins (a type of flavonoid) in red, blue, and purple berries are associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, heart attack, and dementia.
- Seeds. Our body requires magnesium for 300 plus of its vital processes. A magnesium deficiency has an ill-effect on insulin secretion, insulin sensitivity, and may disrupt carbohydrate, and glucose metabolism.
- Seeds, such as sunflower, black sesame, black cumin, pumpkin, and chia are terrific magnesium sources. Sprinkle them on salads, use in meat and fish coatings, or toss them in veggie dishes, and casseroles.
- Spinach. Another top source of magnesium is spinach, and it also contains a wealth of potassium. Low potassium puts us at increased risk for type 2 diabetes, and its complications. Not only is spinach great in fresh salads, and in cooked side, and hot dishes, we can get more in our diet by juicing it.
- Fatty Fish. It’s vital that we consume adequate amounts of DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid. DHA is found in every cell of the body, and accounts for 90 percent of the brain’s omega-3 fat. It’s structurally important in many of our cells including the eyes’ retinas, plays an important role in heart health, and helps fuel our cells’ mitochondria.
- Prime sources of omega-3s are wild-caught Alaskan sockeye salmon, sardines, herring, anchovies, and fish roe.
Many of us are rightly concerned about the quality of fish available in our marketplaces. To check the mercury exposure of many seafoods, you might consult the mercury calculator at GotMercury.org. There is also a seafood calculator offered by the Environmental Working Group that identifies fish low in toxicity (link below).
Sources: Mercola; EWG/Seafood Calculator
Photo credit: Susan Lucas Hoffman