Saturday, December 4

Type 2 diabetes: high-fiber carbohydrates that effectively balance blood sugar


Following a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts and dairy products are the pillars of a healthy diet for diabetics.

Photo: Brooke Lark, Photo Unsplash / Unsplash

One of the main challenges for diabetics is diet. Although it is a fundamental aspect in a good management of the disease, it is necessary to know that there are many myths about it. Probably one of the most recurrent revolves around the consumption of carbohydrates, which have been positioned as a group of foods that are better to avoid and this is a mistake. The body uses carbohydrates as fuel, they are also necessary to fulfill important functions and in the case of people with diabetes it is no exception. The secret? Choose healthy foods that contain complex carbohydrates and rich in fiber. Always in complement with an adequate count of them.

While it is true that there are foods rich in fiber that have less powerful effects on blood sugar level than carbohydrates, as is the case with some fruits and vegetables. Carbohydrates are not the enemy of diabetics. It is simply important to be informed about its effects and keep in mind that by choosing the right sources we are also consuming valuable starches and fiber. As trite as it sounds, it is essential to be clear that not all carbohydrates are the same: people with diabetes should bet on choosing whole, unprocessed carbohydrates over refined options and simple sugars. These carbohydrates are rich in essential nutrients and fiber, which can help reduce your risk of diseases such as heart disease, hypertension, obesity, and certain cancers.

There are interesting references in this regard. Such is the case of an article published in the BMJ magazine in 2018, which pointed out that a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts and dairy products, are all the pillars of a healthy diet in control diabetes What do these foods have in common? They are all sources of carbohydrates. Based on this, we took on the task of selecting Five of the best healthy sources of carbohydrates, which will be a wonderful dietary addition to keep your blood sugar in balance.

1. Dairy

Dairy products provide key nutrients, such as calcium and protein. Although it is important to be clear that milk and other dairy products contain sugar in the form of lactose, it is an important food group to include in a healthy diabetes diet. On the one hand, its protein content provides a lot of satiety, in addition to being necessary for muscle and metabolic health. And on the other hand, calcium is a fundamental mineral for the health of the heart, muscles and bones. Experts recommend betting on the consumption of low-fat dairy products, which are labeled with 1 or 2% milk fat. It’s important to put attention on whole dairy products contain higher levels of saturated fat, which can not only increase the risk of heart disease and inflammation, but diets high in saturated fat have been associated with a higher level of insulin resistance.

Dairy products. / Photo: Shutterstock

2. Beans

Beans are a worthy representative of legumes and are considered a staple food in any healthy and balanced diet. Although they may be higher in carbohydrates compared to many other plant sources, they are recommended as a good addition to the diet of people with diabetes. One of the main reasons is its magnificent fiber content, which has a positive impact on general health, especially cardiovascular and body weight. According to a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, people who added a serving of beans to their diet lost almost a pound more than people who avoided legumes for six weeks. Experts recommend consuming black beans: According to the USDA, ½ cup has 109 calories, 7 g of protein, 8 g of fiber and 20 g of carbohydrates. Just remember to make sure that the portion you are eating meets the goals set with the doctor.

black beans
Frijoles./Foto: Shutterstock

3. Fruits

Fruits are another of the most common dietary myths in the diet of people with diabetes and the main reason of course is their sugar content. However, they are a healthy source of carbohydrates and an essential element in any diet. It is time to make it very clear that fruit should not be prohibited for people with diabetes, it provides natural sugars and is packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants that fight disease. Taking into account that about 95% of Americans fall very short on fruit consumption, and according to a study in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, increasing your intake has been linked to weight loss and a lower risk of developing diabetes. Because fruit is a source of carbohydrates, it is recommended to limit yourself to one serving (about ¾ cup of fresh fruit) at a time and space fruit intake throughout the day to help balance blood sugar levels .

Fruit bowl
Fruit bowl. /Photo: Pexels

4. Vegetables

If there is an important measure to improve health, it is eat more vegetables. Not only are they filling, versatile and extremely nutritious, they are a great way to moderate the carbohydrates in a meal and feel full. Not surprisingly, renowned registered dietitians and certified diabetes educators recommend fill half your plate with non-starchy vegetables. Beyond adding bulk to your meal for fewer calories, these veggies are packed with health-promoting compounds. Among the best recommendations are green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, chard, lettuce; cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower and all types of cabbage, which also contain glucosinolates, which are compounds with properties that can help prevent cancer. Other good options are lvegetables that shine for their moisturizing properties as is the case with tomatoes, peppers, carrots, squash, cucumber and celery. This does not mean that starchy vegetables, such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, or peas, are prohibited, they should simply be eaten in moderation.

Fruits and vegetables
Vegetables. / Photo: Pixabay

5. Whole grains

Another of the great myths around carbohydrates are cereals, however it is important to consider that not all sources are the same. It is important to choose whole grains, therefore you have to bet on the consumption of nutritious grains like barley, quinoa, oatmeal, whole couscous, whole wheat pasta, and brown rice, instead of refined white pasta and white rice. It is important to note that during the refining process of grains (these include white flour and white rice), the nutrients and fiber from the bran and germ are lost. This type of food is a great addition, they provide proteins, vitamins, minerals and fiber that cannot be found in other types of products made with cereals (such as white flour). In addition, they are related to great benefits for reduce the rise in blood sugar. Bet on combining them with slowly digesting sources of nutrients, it is a good help to slow down the rate at which carbohydrates are converted into sugar and are absorbed into the bloodstream. Some good examples are: non-starchy vegetables, avocado, chicken, and fish.

Quinoa salad.
Quinoa./Foto: Pixabay

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