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Top 10 Diabetes-Friendly Foods

By    |   Friday, 26 December 2014 07:39 PM

Making healthy food choices is critical for the management of diabetes and the list of food restrictions can be frustrating. However, even though people with diabetes need to avoid foods that are high in sodium, sugar, and saturated fat, there are many diabetes-friendly food options available. With a bit of planning, diabetics can enjoy a variety of tasty meals and snacks that incorporate healthy ingredients.

Here are some diabetes-friendly foods that consistently make the Top 10 list, according to the American Diabetes Association:

1. Beans: No matter the type, beans are a "superfood" and should be incorporated into the diabetic diet. Although canned beans can be used, the ADA recommends draining and rinsing them to remove excess sodium. "They are very high in fiber, giving you about 1/3 of your daily requirement in just a 1/2 cup, and are also good sources of magnesium and potassium."

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2. Dark green leafy vegetables: WebMD published a ranked list of leafy greens with kale being the most nutritious and iceberg lettuce being the least. Ranked second on down are, collards, turnip greens, Swiss chard, spinach, mustard greens, broccoli, red, green leaf and Romaine lettuce, and cabbage.

3. Citrus fruit: People with diabetes need to keep track of carbohydrates and stay away from canned fruits. However, fresh fruit can help satisfy a sweet tooth, thus reducing cravings for sugar. In addition, a study published by the National Institutes of Health found some citrus fruits such as grapefruit and Mandarin oranges contain two ingredients, naringin and neohesperidin, that may serve to reduce blood sugar "through regulation of glucose metabolism."

4. Sweet potatoes: These potatoes have a lower glycemic index than other potatoes and are a good source of vitamin A as well as fiber.

5. Berries and other fruits: According to a report in the Harvard Gazette, "People who ate at least two servings each week of certain whole fruits — particularly blueberries, grapes, and apples — reduced their risk for type 2 diabetes by as much as 23 percent in comparison to those who ate less than one serving per month."

6. Tomatoes: On the benefits of tomatoes as a diabetes-friendly food, ADA advises, "The good news is that no matter how you like your tomatoes, pureed, raw, or in a sauce, you’re eating vital nutrients like vitamin C, iron, vitamin E."

7. Fish high in omega-3 fatty acids: The University of Maryland Medical Center suggests incorporating salmon, tuna, and halibut into a healthy diet as the body cannot make omega-3 fatty acids. The benefits of omega-3 fatty acids are numerous and for diabetics, they can help with high triglycerides and low HDL levels. However, as fish oil can sometimes raise fasting blood sugar levels, the advice of a physician is recommended.

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8. Whole grains: The ADA has bulgur, whole wheat flour, whole oats, whole grain corn, and popcorn on its list of the ingredients to look for in whole grain products. Also included are brown rice, wild rye, barley, farro, wild rice, buckwheat, triticale, millet, quinoa, and sorghum.

9. Nuts: Although they are high in calories, nuts are considered a diabetes-friendly food. Science Daily reports the consumption of "two ounces of nuts daily as a replacement for carbohydrates proved effective at glycemic and serum lipid control for people with Type 2 diabetes."

10. Fat-free milk and yogurt: Dairy products contain calcium and vitamin D, which may help regulate blood sugar levels. Further, a recent study published in BMC Medicine found that yogurt is associated with reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. This effect may be due to the role probiotics in yogurt play in improving insulin sensitivity and reducing inflammation.

This article is for information only and is not intended as medical advice. Talk with your doctor about your specific health and medical needs.

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With a bit of planning, diabetics can enjoy a variety of tasty meals and snacks that incorporate healthy ingredients.
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Friday, 26 December 2014 07:39 PM
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