10 Diabetes Superfoods
There's a lot of buzz these days about superfoods like açai (ah-sigh-EE) fruit juice that are supposed to improve your health. But, says the American Diabetes Association, the best foods for you are easy to find, easy to cook, and even easier to pronounce. Some, like the 10 that follow, are particularly suited for people who have diabetes because they have a low glycemic index (GI) and are packed with important nutrients.
Whether you prefer kidney, pinto, navy, or black beans, you can't find a more nutritious food than beans. Their high fiber content gives you nearly one third of your daily requirement in just a half cup. Beans are also are good sources of magnesium and potassium, important nutrients for people with diabetes. Although they are considered starchy vegetables, a half cup provides as much protein as an ounce of meat without the saturated fat. Use canned varieties to save time, but rinse first to remove excess sodium.
Try it: Escarole and White Bean Soup
Leafy green vegetables
Powerhouses like spinach, collard greens, and kale are so low in calories and carbohydrates, you can eat as much as you want.
Grapefruit, oranges, lemons, and limes provide part of your daily dose of soluble fiber—important for heart health—and vitamin C.
This starchy vegetable is packed full of fiber and vitamin A (as carotenoids), important for vision health. Try these in place of regular potatoes for a lower-GI alternative.
Try it: Sweet Potato Muffins
Blueberries, strawberries, and other varieties are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber. Make a parfait by alternating the fruit with nonfat yogurt.
Try it: Berry Cheesecake Parfait
Everyone can find a favorite with this old standby. No matter how you like your tomatoes—pureed, raw, or in a sauce—you're eating vital nutrients like vitamin C, iron, and vitamin E.
Try it: Baked Italian Tomatoes
Salmon, albacore tuna, mackerel, halibut, and herring are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for heart health. But stay away from breaded and deep-fried versions. They don't count toward your goal of 6 to 9 ounces of fish per week.
Try it: Herb-Roasted Salmon
These grains, such as pearled barley and oatmeal, are loaded with fiber, potassium, magnesium, chromium, omega-3 fatty acids, and folate. The germ and bran of the whole grain contain the important nutrients a grain product has to offer. Processed grains, like bread made from enriched wheat flour, do not have these vital nutrients.
Try it: Barley and Black Bean Combo
An ounce of nuts can go a long way in providing key healthy fats along with hunger management. Nuts also give you a dose of magnesium and fiber. Some nuts and seeds, such as walnuts and flax seeds, also contain omega-3 fatty acids.
Try it: Pear-Walnut Crumble
Fat-free milk and yogurt
Everyone knows dairy can help build strong bones and teeth. In addition to calcium, many fortified dairy products are a good source of vitamin D. More research is emerging on the connection between vitamin D and good health.
Try it: Yogurt Blueberry Blast