The moment you are diagnosed with diabetes, the first question that pops up is what can I eat and what should I avoid. Given the strict dietary guidelines a person with diabetes has to follow, it is quite natural for anyone to do a bit of research about diabetic-friendly foods. And this applies to not just fruits and snacks but vegetables as well.
But this is not the end of it because the real struggles start here. They even face a dilemma about which vegetables need to be placed on their plate and which ones they need to stay away from. This is when glycemic index comes into the picture. Glycemic Index (GI) is one factor that helps a diabetic to make the right food choices. It rates foods on how quickly the carbohydrates present in that food affect the blood sugar levels and is categorized as high, medium or low GI level. While low GI foods help maintain blood sugar levels, high GI vegetables can raise blood sugar levels exponentially. Hence, it goes without saying that people suffering from diabetes should opt for low GI vegetables.
7 Vegetables That Are Excellent For Diabetics
If you are wondering about what vegetables are low in glycemic index, then here is a list of common vegetables that are excellent for diabetics and also help maintain blood sugar levels to help you get started!
It is considered to be super effective in controlling diabetes. It contains a compound called sulforaphane which triggers anti-inflammatory processes that control blood sugar level and prevent cardiovascular damage, which is a known health complication in diabetes. You can add broccoli to your salads or soups along with other vegetables to make it a wholesome meal. Boiled broccoli can also be added to curries. You can even add grated broccoli to parathas, which makes it an amazing breakfast option. But the key is to add broccoli to your everyday diet to make the most of it.
Carrots are always a preferable choice for any meal plan. It forms an integral part of salad and a healthy snack for health conscious people. There have always been numerous reasons to consider these to be a key part of one’s diet because of its health benefits right from improving vision problems to boosting the immune system. 1 cup serving of carrots has nearly 5 grams of carbohydrates. Moreover, the glycemic index of carrots is also low, which makes it a healthy food option for diabetics. Carrots are best eaten in the raw form as salads, however you can even add them to curries, parathas and oats to make it a part of a wholesome meal.
Spinach is one of the most in-demand leafy vegetables. Regular consumption of this leafy vegetable helps keep away a plethora of diseases and help you stay fit and healthy. It is also excellent for regulating blood sugar levels. Spinach is rich in vitamin K, magnesium, folate, phosphorous, potassium and zinc. It also contains various flavonoids and plant chemicals, which are good for overall health. All such essential nutrients make it one of the most sought after vegetables for diabetes.
Garlic seems to be a versatile vegetable which acts as a flavoring agent as well as a medicine. From playing a key role in controlling high cholesterol level to aiding in the treatment of heart disease and cancer; garlic is a popular home remedy. It may not be an exaggeration if one gets to know that garlic can be effective for diabetes. Raw as well cooked garlic can help in regulating blood glucose levels. Having at least two cloves of garlic everyday is considered to be the recommended dose to reap its medicinal benefits for diabetics.
5. Collard Greens
Collard greens (or saag) are excellent sources of Vitamin C. These leafy vegetables help to lower cortisol in the body and reduce inflammation. It also contains a micronutrient called alpha lipoic acid that helps the body in dealing with stress. It also reduces the excess blood sugar level and strengthens the damaged nerves caused due to diabetic neuropathy. Hence, ensure to include collard greens in your diet to keep your blood sugar in control and prevent diabetic complications.
6. Red Onions
Red onions are rich in antioxidants apart from giving an attractive color and flavour to curries and salads. They are also a good source of fiber, potassium and folate which can help in regulating the blood sugar level in addition to aiding in the treatment of various heart ailments. Add generous amounts of red onions while preparing food as it can help you to regulate your blood glucose level.
7. Brinjal (Egg Plant)
Brinjals are high in fiber content and low in soluble carbohydrates which makes it a healthy vegetable for diabetics. The presence of alpha-glucosidase inhibitory action of the compounds in eggplant help in controlling blood glucose level and also lower the risk of health complications caused by high glucose levels. It also contains antioxidants which not only act on the free radicals but also improve the overall health. It contains several compounds which help in reducing high blood pressure and also aid in the management of type 2 diabetes. Add brinjals in your diet on a regular basis. You can enjoy baigan ka bharta or simply cook brinjals along with other vegetables to reap its benefits.
So, go ahead and add these vegetables to your diet and manage your blood sugar levels effectively. Eat Healthy, Stay Healthy.
(The article is reviewed by Dr. Swati Mishra, Medical Editor)