8 Foods for Diabetics
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8 Foods for Diabetics

Diabetics need not be confused over suitable foods as we've put together a no-nonsense guide.

8 Foods for Diabetics

Living with diabetes can be incredibly difficult when you’re faced with an endless stream of well-meaning but often conflicting advice on what and how to eat. For those who have to cope with diabetes on a daily basis, eating well is key to staying healthy and regulating blood sugar levels. Try UMI’s no-nonsense list of diverse, nutritious and tasty culinary pickings to ensure that diabetics need compromise neither health nor taste when choosing what to have for dinner.

1. Blueberries

These are the superlative choice for diabetics craving something sweet. Unlike chocolate, fizzy drinks or candies, blueberries will deliver the desired sugary hit as well as fibre and antioxidants to boot. Blueberries are delicious on their own, but can also be incorporated in myriad ways into just about every culinary setting; try them stirred into porridge as a replacement for sugar or syrup, in fruit salads, or else add them as a little extra frozen flair to drinks on a scorching day. And blueberries certainly aren’t your only option, either; check what’s in season and supplement your diet year-round with a host of fruity options, from blackberry and goat’s cheese salad to to gooseberry yoghurt and everything in between.

2. Fish

Fish is, famously, an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids and an excellent alternative to red meat for those wanting stock up on protein but forgo the associated levels of cholesterol and fat. What’s less well-known, however, is that for diabetics in particular, certain types of fish are much better picks than others. Take salmon for instance. Nutritionists can’t recommend it enough: salmon is lean, deliciously meaty, one of the best sources of vitamin D going, and is packed with the healthy fats that reduce the risk of heart disease and improve insulin resistance. Try a sauteed salmon fillet with fresh vegetables and new potatoes in place of a red meat dish, and feel the difference.

3.  Beans

They come in a huge array of sizes and flavours, are just about the best way to get more fibre into your diet. Beans are cheap, tasty and hugely versatile, being well-suited to soups, casseroles, pastas, salads, chilis and plenty more. For diabetics, fibre is especially crucial; it slows digestion and prevents blood sugar spiking after a meal. Beans have even been found to lower cholesterol significantly. Split pea or lentil soup are excellent options for a light lunch, even if they come straight from a can. You can also make a warming vegetarian chili packed with plenty of kidney beans and onions, and serve it with brown rice.

4. Avocadoes

Fruits like no other; rich, filling, and packed with monounsaturated fats (which are good for you!). An avocado is a genuine treat for diabetics, being delicious, exotic and a great way to slow down digestion and keep blood sugar from spiking after a meal. Avocadoes ought to be staple ingredients in salads and sandwiches from now on; you can mash it, dice it, or even eat it whole with a little chili powder on top. Avocado is also the main ingredient of guacamole, which is great for dipping with carrot or celery sticks, as well as for spreading on wholegrain tortilla wraps.

5. Seeds and nuts

All types are packed with good fats, proteins, vitamin E and fibre that’ll keep your blood sugar levels low and may help to reduce insulin resistance. You won’t get bored, either, as when it comes to variety the sheer numbers of different seeds and nuts on your supermarket shelf or local health food shop will leave you dumbfounded. We recommend whole grain sesame seed bagels, pine nuts scattered on fresh salad, almonds to snack on and pumpkin seed pesto, just to begin with.

6. Asparagus

A deliciously crunchy, non-starchy vegetable with the potential to spice up your dinner plate and maybe even boost your immune system. The humble asparagus has a whole host of nutritional accolades to its name; it’s high in fibre, vitamin A, vitamin C, folic acid and glutathione, an antioxidant which has been found to be good for one’s immune system and even promote lung health. Asparagus is famous for its fresh flavour, its distinctive crunchiness and its versatility. Fortunately, this vegetable’s available all year round, giving you plenty of time to experiment with different recipes and establish it as a kitchen staple. Try it garlic roasted, blended in soup, wrapped in prosciutto or even just grilled with a little lemon juice for starters.

7. Sweet potatoes

They can provide a wonderful respite from endless salads, and that’s especially great for diabetics craving carbohydrates but wise enough to stay away from starchy white bread or rice. Choose a baked sweet potato instead of a baked white potato and your body will thank you; your blood sugar will rise a striking 30 percent less, and you’ll reap the benefits of the carotenoids that sweet potatoes are packed with, which help your body to respond to insulin, as well as the soluble fibre that helps slow digestion and lower cholesterol. Sweet potatoes are as versatile as your average potatoes and perhaps even more delicious; they’re great in soups with onion and lentils, sliced into wedges and oven-roasted, or grilled with spinach in quesadillas.

8. Cinnamon

Cinnamon is the last ingredient on our list, and is all the more remarkable for its unassuming appearance as just a bit of flavouring or decoration. Incredibly enough, though, you could lower your blood sugar simply by sprinkling half a teaspoon of this stuff onto your food each day. Various components in cinnamon have been found to help the body use insulin more efficiently, allowing more glucose to enter cells. It’s not difficult to get your half-teaspoon fix, either, as powdered cinnamon is delicious in porridge, on wholegrain toast, on baked apples, in curried red lentil soup and in couscous, to name but a few.


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