What are the 15 Best Vegetables for Diabetics?
A healthy diet consists of fruits and vegetables because of the nutritional values they have. It is said that an average person must consume at least five servings of vegetables a day. For a person with diabetes, getting plenty of nutrient-rich, high fibre vegetables can help with blood sugar management and hence the search for ideal vegetables for diabetics. Different vegetables have different nutrients and different types of fibre and all vegetables are very important and play a major role in keeping us healthy. Hence, it is essential for us to know the best vegetables for diabetics so that a proper healthy diet can be planned.
Here is a list of 15 vegetables for diabetics, a few of their health benefits and how they help in managing diabetes.
- Carrots: Carrots are a good choice of vegetables for diabetics since they are non-starchy, that help us feel full and satisfied. Carrots have high fibre and also have high vitamin A. Since carrots have high fibre and help boost the immune system, it is advised to eat and include them in your diet to help manage diabetes and blood sugar level in your body.
- Broccoli: Broccolis are also an excellent choice of vegetables for diabetics. It has high fibre and is low on calories, so it helps boost your immune system and also reduces your blood sugar level, but it is also recommended because it contains certain chemicals which help prevent the damage caused to blood vessels by diabetes. The name of the chemical compound is sulforaphane.
- Spinach: Spinach and other green leafy vegetables are super healthy foods and are a suitable choice of vegetables for diabetics. Spinach is one of the most nutrient-dense foods in existence and it consists of more than 20 different measurable nutrients including dietary fibre, calcium and protein. One cup of spinach contains far more than your daily requirements of vitamin K and vitamin A, almost all the folate your body needs and 40% magnesium requirement. Since it is very low in calories and high in vitamins and minerals, it is one of the best vegetables for diabetes management.
- Cauliflower: Cauliflower is a very good alternative to rice and is thus considered as one of the suitable choices of vegetables for diabetics. Cauliflower in rice form is low in carbohydrates and can help stabilise your blood sugar.
- Cucumber: Cucumber is found out to produce the beta cells that are required in the production of insulin by the pancreas. It has a glycemic index of 15 and it has very low carbohydrates thus making it suitable for people with diabetes because it won’t increase the blood glucose levels. Cucumber also helps in healing skin infections and since diabetics are more prone to skin diseases, eating cucumber can help in combating the ailment. Hence cucumber makes it to the list of suitable vegetables for diabetics.
- Red onion: Onion is a common vegetable that is used in most of the cooked recipes and is used in salads. It is found that red onions reduce blood sugar level and is one of the very good vegetables for diabetics because of its high fibre content and low glycaemic index.
- Tomato: Tomatoes are a rich source of vitamin C, vitamin E and beta-carotene and antioxidants that help reduce the risk of complications associated with diabetes. They also contain high levels of phytonutrients like flavones and carotenes like lycopene and lutein. These antioxidants protect the body by reducing lipid peroxidation. This is a process of oxygen damage to fats in the bloodstream or cell membranes. Hence tomato makes it to the list of ideal vegetables for diabetics.
- Bitter gourd: Bitter gourd is a unique vegetable that can be used as both food and medicine. It contains at least 3 active substances with anti-diabetic properties including Charantin, which is found to have a blood glucose-lowering effect, vicine and an insulin-like compound known as polypeptide-p. Bitter gourd helps reduce the symptoms of diabetes by clearing the heat toxins and stagnation from the digestive system. Thus making bitter gourds one of the most effective vegetables for diabetics.
- Bottle gourd: Bottle gourd is one of the earliest vegetables cultivated by man and it is one of the healthiest vegetables for diabetics. It contains 92% of water and minerals and keeps your body hydrated. It helps in maintaining a healthy heart and brings down bad cholesterol levels.
- Okra or Ladies finger: Okra has been suggested as a herb to reduce blood sugar in case of type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes. It contains potassium, vitamin B, vitamin C, folic acid and calcium. It’s low in calories and has high dietary fibre content and makes it a lot beneficial for health and in the management of diabetes.
- Soya bean: Consuming soya beans has been shown to lower cholesterol, decrease blood glucose levels and improve glucose tolerance in people with diabetes. Studies have found that people with diabetes-related kidney disease have improved their urine protein level by adding regular amounts of soya beans.
- Green beans: Green beans are a rich source of vitamin C and antioxidants. It’s an excellent source of fiber and can even help regulate blood sugar levels. It helps regulate overall cholesterol, prevent cancer-causing substances from entering our colon, and promotes regular bowel movements leading to a healthier digestive system. Since it’s low on calories and high on fibre, it is one of the very good vegetables for diabetics.
- Zucchini: Zucchini is found to have high amounts of carotenoids that support heart health and protects our body from certain cancers. Since zucchini is also low in calories and high in fibre, they are very good vegetables for diabetics.
- Mushrooms: It is found out that mushrooms are rich in vitamin B and consuming mushrooms can help counteract the side-effects of the diabetes drug metformin that results in vitamin B deficiency, making it one of the ideal vegetables for diabetics.
- Beetroot: Beetroot is rich in antioxidants and has very low carbohydrate and is proven to help reduce your blood sugar level and stabilize it.
In general, non-starchy vegetables are lower in carbohydrates and calories than starchy vegetables and they are also high in fiber content and can help regulate blood sugar levels. But this doesn’t mean that you aren’t supposed to eat starchy vegetables. Starchy vegetables like corn and potato are rich in fibre content and other nutrients, so you can consume small portions of these vegetables and large portions of non-starchy vegetables.
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