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10 Best Foods for Fighting Diabetes

10 Best Foods for Fighting Diabetes
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By    |   Sunday, 10 September 2017 11:48 AM

A staggering 30 million Americans have diabetes (9.4 percent of the U.S. population) and another 84 million with prediabetes are on the verge, according to the latest projections by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Millions take medications to combat the life-threatening metabolic disorder. But the truth is that many foods work as effectively as drugs – or more so – in controlling blood sugar, experts say.

For the most part, the best foods for fighting diabetes are those that don’t pad the waist.

“Legumes, greens, whole grains…these are the types of foods that fill you up before filling you out,” says registered dietician Joan Salge Blake. “That’s important because 70 percent of American are overweight, and being overweight increases the risk of getting Type 2 diabetes.”

The U.S. is in the midst of a type 2 diabetes epidemic, and things are likely to get worse.

“About 84 million Americans have prediabetes, which means they’re on deck to get diabetes,” says Blake, a clinical associate professor at Boston University's Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. “That’s where diet and exercise can really have an impact on diabetes risk.”

By now, we should all know what kinds of food increase risk of diabetes. Processed foods loaded with added sugar, simple carbs, and unhealthy fats tops the list. Other popular culprits include sweetened soft drinks, anything deep-fat fried, pizza and exotic coffee concoctions.

But some foods have special powers to help normalize blood sugar due to their high content of diabetes-fighting nutrients. Here are 10 of the best:

Apples: While an apple a day may not keep diabetes away, it’s sure to help thanks to its potent antioxidant quercetin. Due to quercetin’s anti-inflammatory effects, it reduces insulin resistance, the primary cause of diabetes. In a Finnish study, men who ate diets high in apples and other quercetin-rich foods had a 20 percent lower risk of diabetes and heart disease than others.

Citrus fruits: Vitamin C is another powerful antioxidant, and studies consistently show that people with the highest levels of this nutrient are less likely to have or develop diabetes than those with low amounts. Besides its power to fight oxidative stress, C also inhibits sorbitol, a byproduct of glucose associated with eye, nerve and kidney damage in diabetics.

Legumes: Beans, lentils chickpeas and their brethren are some of the best sources of fiber. Lacking in the diets of many Americans, fiber slows down the body’s absorption of glucose to help prevent blood sugar spokes. A University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center study found high fiber intake to be as effective as some diabetes medications.

Dark, leafy greens: One of the most nutritionally dense food types arounds, spinach, kale, collard greens and the like are also great sources of magnesium. This vital nutrient is involved in more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body, including the regulation of blood sugar.

Cinnamon: “Recent studies show that a half-teaspoon of cinnamon may help lower blood glucose levels after a meal,” Blake tells Newsmax Health. “One tasty way to fight diabetes would be to sprinkle cinnamon on your morning bowl of oatmeal, which is a good source of fiber.”

Wild salmon: Any cold water fish will do – mackerel, herring, sardines – because they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Studies show that these healthy fats lower risk of cardiovascular disease, a problem that plagues many diabetics.

Beef: Researchers have found that the conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) in beef fat helps to boost levels of leptin, the “satiety” hormone that tells us when we are full. In an Ohio State University study, diabetics who added CLA to their diets lost weight and lowered blood sugar levels. Go for grass-fed beef in 3- to 4-ounce portions.

Shellfish: Mussels, clams, oysters, and other shellfish are rich in chromium, a trace mineral that is believed to be a vital cofactor in insulin function. No one is sure exactly how it works, but it may be due to chromium’s ability to inhibit an enzyme that decreases insulin sensitivity.

Green tea: Inflammation is both a cause and effect of diabetes, and the anti-inflammatory flavonoids in green tea can help at both ends. “Through a complex biochemical reaction, tea — especially green tea — helps sensitize cells so they are better able to metabolize sugar,” cardiologist Dr. Suzanne Steinberg explains on everydayhealth.com.

Sunflower seeds: These tasty treats are one of the few good dietary sources of biotin, a B vitamin that helps the pancreas produce insulin. It’s believed to work even better in tandem with chromium. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in The American Journal of the Medical Sciences, a combination of chromium and biotin supplementation significantly improved cholesterol levels, and lowered blood glucose, in Type 2 diabetics.

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Millions of Americans take medications to combat diabetes. But the truth is that many foods work as effectively as drugs – or more so – in controlling blood sugar, experts say. Here are 10 of the best options.
diabetes, food
Sunday, 10 September 2017 11:48 AM
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