We all know that maintaining a healthy diet is vital in terms of type 2 diabetes prevention and treatment. Generally, the advice given to diabetics is relevant to the general population as well: consume adequate vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, poultry and fish, and less industrial sweets and foods high in fat and salt. It is known that patients who use professional advice and expert dieticians and nutritional supervision have a much better chance to maintain balanced levels of sugar, and avoid the complications of the disease. Diabetics should also keep meals at regular times throughout the day to avoid sharp rises in blood sugar levels.
So what are the best foods to control diabetes and add to the menu? There are 12 foods that can help balance blood sugar in your body. These are olive oil, cinnamon, green tea, pulses, green vegetables and oats. These common foods that are already in our kitchen help maintaining adequate blood sugar and prevent diabetes complications:
1. Olive oil
Oil lacks carbohydrates, and therefore does not raise blood sugar levels. In addition, it slows the absorption of foods eaten along with the oil. Olive oil is rich Omega 9 and Omega 3 which help maintain the flexibility of blood vessels, allowing good blood flow. Also oil does not increase insulin levels, thus reducing the non-insulin tolerance that exists in many people and causes an increase in blood sugar levels.
Many studies show that consumption of one teaspoon cinnamon (2.5 g) to three teaspoons a day has a positive effect on reducing blood glucose levels. It was found that the cinnamon can make your cells more sensitive to insulin. Thus, the cells convert sugar into energy more efficiently and control the amount of sugar level in the blood. Diabetics who received cinnamon extract daily for 40 days experienced lower levels of blood sugar after eating, as well as substantial improvements to the heart health.
3. Green Tea
Green tea contains the antioxidant EGCG, which helps to maintain the flexibility of blood vessels and stabilizing blood glucose levels. A recent study conducted at the University of Pennsylvania found that this element reduces blood sugar levels and prevents its sharp rise after a meal consisting mainly carbohydrates.
Legumes such as lentils, peas, beans and chickpeas are low in fat and calories and also rich in fiber and protein. Dietary fiber slows the rate of sugar absorption into the blood and reduces the glycemic load. They are a great addition to soups, salads and a variety of other dishes.
5. Green Vegetables
According to a study published in the British Medical Journal fresh green leaves vegetables such as lettuce, cabbage, spinach, Swiss chard and parsley, and other green vegetables (fresh, steamed or frozen) such as celery, cucumber, cauliflower, green beans and kohlrabi contain carbohydrates that release hormones in the gut that reduce appetite. In addition, the researchers found that these vegetables improves insulin sensitivity and thus better regulate blood glucose levels. Eating vegetables like asparagus, garlic and Jerusalem artichoke can help in cases of diabetes and obesity, and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes because vegetables are rich in magnesium and are known as effective antioxidants.
Oats contain a high percentage of fiber, B vitamins (especially B1), vitamin E and antioxidants. The large amount of fiber causes a slower absorption of glucose, and combining antioxidants makes the oatmeal recommended food to stabilize blood sugar levels.
7. Red Apples
A recent study conducted in Finland found that men who ate the greatest number of apples (and other foods rich in quercetin) had 20% less deaths related to diabetes or heart complications. Other good sources of quercetin are red grapes, tomatoes, onions, green vegetables and berries.
8. Vitamin C Rich Foods
Studies show that people with diabetes have lower levels of vitamin C in their body, so rich foods in vitamin C such as berries, citrus fruits, peppers, dark green leafy vegetables, kiwifruit, tomatoes, etc are loaded with antioxidants and are an excellent choice.
9. Cold-Water Fish
Those who suffer from diabetes are twice more likely to suffer also from heart disease. A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids found in cold water fish, can help to lower “bad “cholesterol and raise your “good” cholesterol. Seafood is a great source for omega 3, such as: halibut, herring, mackerel, oysters, salmon, sardines, trout, tuna and cod. Vegetables, especially green leafy ones, such as: kale, parsley, mint, Brussle sprouts, spinach and watercress, are rich in ALA, one form of omega-3 fatty acids (although ALA isn’t as powerful as the other omega 3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA). Ground flaxseed is also a good source of omega 3.
10 . Dark Chocolate
Researchers from Tufts University in Massachusetts found that dark chocolate improves cell sensitivity to insulin and significantly improves the chances of avoiding diabetes. In addition, dark chocolate lowers blood pressure and the amount of “bad” cholesterol in the body, and strengthens the blood vessels.
11 . Grass Fed Beef
There are other things in beef other than protein, iron and vitamin B. There is an element which is part of the beef fat which is called CLA (conjugated linoleic acid). The most abundant source of CLA is beef from grass-fed cows. Experiments have shown that CLA works to correct improper utilization of blood sugar and helps fight cancer and heart disease. In a recent study in Norway scientists have added a few grams of CLA to the daily diet of 180 people. They reported that they lost 9% of their body weight in one year. Make sure that the beed is processed as little as possible, as it contains more CLA. Other food sources of CLA in smaller amounts include milk and eggs.
12. Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)
According to webMD website, the effect of ACV on blood sugar levels is one of the best researched and the most promising. Several studies have found that vinegar may help lower glucose levels. For example, a small 2007 study with type 2 diabetes found that taking two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before bed lowered glucose levels in the morning by 4%-6%. Dilute the ACV in a glass of water and drink (you can add a little bit of honey to improve the taste).