Diabetes is a terrible disease, but with proper management and better food choices, you can live a long and healthy life. Here are 5 low-glycemic foods you can enjoy as a diabetic (or simply for better health in general).
Being diagnosed with diabetes can be an extremely hard diagnosis to hear. For many, this metabolic disease means a complete lifestyle change – especially when it comes to what you eat. Making the right food choices after being diagnosed with diabetes can be overwhelming and you might not know what you can and can’t eat so it can seem very challenging – especially at first. As a diabetic, you might have to find alternatives to many foods that you are used to eating or cut out some of your favorites in order to stay healthy.
However, not only is diabetes not necessarily a death sentence, but it can actually cause you to eat a better, healthier diet than you did before, which can improve your health in a number of areas. In general, diabetes or not, there are plenty of foods that it is best to stay away from, such as meals and dishes that have high amounts of sodium, processed fats, unnecessary sugar and simple carbs. These types of foods (usually processed and junk foods) can negatively affect everyone – even those who do not have this disease.
For diabetics, it is important to take note of the glycemic index or GI of the foods you eat. This is the measure in how quickly a meal can spike your blood sugar. It will take some time to learn which foods are best for you, but you can enjoy plenty of delicious meals even as a diabetic.
Below are a few diabetic-friendly food options that both have high nutritional content and low GI:
1.) Non-Starchy Vegetables Like Artichokes, Beets and Broccoli
Potatoes, yams and other root crops aren’t necessarily bad for you. However, they do tend to contain a lot of calories in the form of carbs. For diabetics, it isn’t a good idea to eat tons of starchy vegetables.
Artichokes, beets and broccoli provide many excellent nutrients with less calories than those starchy alternatives.
2.) Full-Fat Dairy
Would you be surprised to learn that fat is an essential ingredient in a diabetic’s diet? Fat actually slows the metabolism of sugar into your blood stream, so if you do consume carbs, you will want to make sure to include some healthy fats too. Fat also helps you feel full longer, and curbs cravings for unhealthy junk food and sugar. Whole milk, cheese, and yogurt all contain calcium and usually vitamin D, and score low on the GI index.
3.) Tomatoes, Peppers, & Cucumbers
Like other non-starchy vegetables, these juicy summer vegetables rank low in the glycemic index. Tomatoes are also rich in lycopene, which lowers a person’s susceptibility to cardiovascular diseases. This is incredibly helpful for diabetics since they are more prone to develop heart complications because of their metabolic disease. Enjoy a fresh tomato, pepper, and cucumber salad with some feta cheese, olive oil, and vinegar for a delicious, healthy, and low-carb meal!
4.) For a Sweet Treat, Enjoy Blueberries and Oranges
If you have a sweet tooth, it can be very difficult to deal with a diabetes diagnosis. After all, you know that piece of your favorite cake can take a terrible toll on your blood sugar. Thankfully, fruits like blueberries and oranges provide just the right amount of sweetness to satisfy your cravings without running your glucose levels over the edge. Enjoy these (and other berries as well) in moderation, preferably with a bit of protein and/or healthy fats.
5.) Beans (the Musical Fruit!)
Beans are probably one of the most nutritious foods out there, and are an excellent choice for diabetics. They contain protein, fiber, and a formidable number of vitamins and minerals. Not only that, but they are a satisfying substitute to many simple carbs like rice and bread. A single serving of beans has many nutrients and ranks low on the GI index. They will keep you feeling full and satisfied until your next meal, so you aren’t tempted to snack on unhealthy junk foods.
As you can see there are plenty of delicious food options for diabetics – you’ve just got to be more aware of what types of foods you eat. With practice this gets easier.
Being diabetic is not going to be easy, but it is manageable. You can live a long and healthy life if you watch what you eat and manage your blood sugar levels through choosing healthy, low-glycemic foods like those listed above.