10 Superfoods for Diabetics

You may have seen or heard the term “superfoods” being used by the food industry to describe food and beverages claiming to have added health benefits.  While this is often a media advertising tactic, it is true that not all foods are created equal! There are certain whole foods that are considered to be more rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants than others - hence denoted as "superfoods".

When it comes to people with diabetes, including superfoods in your daily diet has been proven to have significant health benefits.  Foods that are rich in nutrients with a low glycemic index will help the body manage blood glucose levels more effectively and can even promote weight loss. 

Here are 10 superfoods diabetics should consider eating on a regular basis:

 

  1. Whole Grains

    • The first ingredient on the label should have “whole” in it.  Whole grain foods are full of antioxidants and fiber. They help keep blood sugar levels stable and can also lower cholesterol.
      • Whole grain oats, quinoa, barley
  2. Leafy Vegetables

    • Look for your greens!  Spinach, kale, and collards are excellent choices.  They are high in Vitamin A and K and low in calories and carbohydrates.  Mix them in your salad or throw them in a blender with your smoothie.
  3. Berries

    • Natural sugar to satisfy your sweet tooth, high in fiber and antioxidants.  Blueberries take the prize for highest in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also excellent choices.   
  4. Nuts and Seeds

    • Walnuts and flax seeds are high in healthy omega-3 fatty acids and fiber.  You can grab a handful for a snack or mix ground flax into a smoothie or oat bowl
  5. Fatty Fish

    • Salmon is my favorite choice with high omega-3’s, but you can also opt for mackerel, sardines and herring.  Make sure it’s baked, broiled, or grilled to avoid the extra calories in the fried recipes. 
  6. Tomatoes 

    • A non-starchy fruit full of lycopene and vitamin C.  Either raw or cooked, they can decrease your risk for cancer and heart disease
  7. Citrus Fruit

    • We’re talking whole grapefruit and oranges, NOT the juice.  Citrus fruits have a lot of fiber and vitamin C and show an added benefit in women.
  8. Greek Yogurt (plain)

    • A high protein snack with probiotics, calcium, and vitamin D.  Make a parfait with walnuts and berries for a yummy dessert or snack.
  9. Non-starchy Vegetables

    • Broccoli, asparagus, green beans, artichokes.  Low GI foods high in vitamins and minerals
  10. Beans

    • High in fiber and protein - black, kidney, pinto, navy- take your pick!  Make sure to rinse them to remove salt and added starches. 

 

Diet and exercise are integral components to treating and preventing diabetes.  Even a 10-15 pound weight loss can have drastic effects on your blood sugar levels.  In practice, I have seen many people control their diabetes with just diet and exercise alone and others significantly reduce the amount of medication they have to take just by losing weight.  

I challenge you to add one of these superfoods into a meal every day this week!  

 

From your friendly neighborhood pharmacist  - get out, get moving, and eat your rainbow! 😉

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