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Ten Diabetes Superfoods

Ten Diabetes Superfoods

Looking for a way to lower blood pressure, cholesterol, blood glucose, and risks for life-threatening chronic diseases? People with many health conditions, including diabetes, need to closely monitor their blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose. With this in mind, the American Diabetes Association released its list of diabetes superfoods earlier this week. The list offers 10 foods that have nutrients necessary for good diabetes management, including fiber, potassium, healthy fats, magnesium and antioxidants. The nutrients included in these foods can promote good health and help prevent some of diabetes serious complications, such as heart attacks and strokes.

The beauty of this list of superfoods is that all of the items have a low glycemic index (GI) and provide key nutrients–such as calcium, potassium, fiber, magnesium, and vitamins A, C and E–these nutrients are often lacking in a typical Western diet. The following list comes directly from the American Diabetes Association:

1. Beans. Whether you prefer kidney, pinto, navy or black beans, you can’t find more nutritious foods than beans. Their high fiber content gives you nearly one-third of your daily requirement in just 1/2 cup. Beans are also are good sources of magnesium and potassium, important nutrients for people with diabetes. Although they are considered starchy vegetables, a 1/2 cup provides as much protein as an ounce of meat without the saturated fat. To learn about cooking dried beans, see Cool Beans.

2. Dark green leafy vegetables. These powerhouse foods such as spinach, collards, and kale are so low in calories and carbohydrates, you can eat as much as you want.

3. Citrus fruit. Grapefruit, oranges, lemons and limes provide part of your daily dose of soluble fiber–important for heart health–and vitamin C.

4. Sweet potatoes. 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.

5. Berries. Blueberries, strawberries and other varieties are packed with antioxidants, vitamins and fiber. Make a parfait alternating the fruit with light, non-fat yogurt for a new favorite dessert.

6. Tomatoes. 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.

7. Fish with omega-3s. Salmon, albacore tuna, mackerel, halibut, and herring are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for heart health. Stay away from the breaded and deep fried fish. They don’t count toward your goal of 6-9 ounces of fish per week.

8. Whole grains. 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.

9. Nuts. 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.

10. 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.

Read more: Diabetes, Diet & Nutrition, Eating for Health, Health, , ,

By Melissa Breyer, Senior Editor, Healthy & Green Living

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Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.


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1:31AM PDT on Apr 24, 2013

Great info! Thank you for sharing.

6:35AM PDT on Mar 14, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

12:53PM PDT on Jul 2, 2011

thank you great info good reminders truly these foods are good for all re some ways diabetis is a blessing as a wake up call for what to do and not do for over all better health nutrution and exercise......walking is awesome all can afford it can do it near anywhere and in all kinds of outside elements rain or shine!

8:11PM PDT on Jun 2, 2011

Good helpful tips. Thanks.

7:43PM PDT on Mar 31, 2011
Dr Gabriel Cousens and a few of his patients talk about his program to reverse diabetes on this video.

9:33AM PDT on Jul 11, 2010

Thanks for the list, this knowledge will come in handy.

10:31PM PST on Nov 27, 2009

Its one of the best post on the topic here. I have a 10 year old daughter who is diabetic. I find these things useful to keep track for a food change for her.

8:00AM PDT on Aug 28, 2009

Great post! I have a Masters degree in Nursing and was a diabetes consultant and I am passionate about helping people beat this condition and get it under control. I recently came across a product that provides several of the nutrients you identify. Much to my surprise I learned that raw cocoa is the world's highest natural source of antioxidants! Several diabetes studies with "lab" quality dark chocolate found it can delay the onset of diabetes among people at risk and help reduce blood sugar levels among those already diagnosed. It is thought this "lab" quality (raw, high flavanol, thus high antioxidant) chocolate helps insulin to be more effective at transporting sugar from blood to the cell where it is needed for energy. The chocolate used for the studies is not available on store shelves. Commercially available chocolate has added fats, fillers, waxes, processed sugars, etc., all things that increase risk or worsen diabetes. However, the product I referred to above is Xocai Healthy Chocolate. It is produced by MXI Corp whose founder, Jeannette Brooks, also has diabetes. Xocai products are made with cold-pressed, raw cocoa and are high in fiber, antioxidants, do not have waxes, fillers, added fats, processed sugars etc. I was so impressed with the science behind this product that I now distribute it and hope to help those diagnosed and at risk for diabetes. I would be happy to provide more information. My email is: or call me 403-981-3143.

10:58AM PDT on Jun 14, 2009


1:40PM PDT on May 6, 2009

The risk of diabetes is increasing day by day any many of them are still unaware of it. Is it true that only in USA, the number of diabetics has crossed the 23 million mark ooh as in This is the right time!

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