It’s sad but true that diabetes is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. And what’s worse is that it doubles the risk of getting cardiovascular disease. However, type 2 diabetes is largely brought about by the lifestyle choices we make, especially in what we choose to eat. Yup, our food choices can either prevent or promote the onset of type 2 diabetes. That is good news! We have some control here, and that’s always a good thing!
Without further ado, here are the five best foods to help you prevent diabetes:
Green vegetables are the most important foods to focus on for diabetes prevention. Did you know that higher green vegetable consumption is associated with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes? Be sure to eat a variety of these green goodies like kale, collard greens, broccoli, and spinach. Eat your veggies steamed and raw. You can also get your greens in a smoothie. I like to use kale, spinach or even romaine lettuce since, I find, they blend well with other smoothie ingredients like berries and bananas.
Non-starchy vegetables like mushrooms, onions, garlic, eggplant, and peppers are important to include in a diabetes prevention diet, because these veggies have next to no effects on blood glucose. Bonus: they are packed with fiber and phytonutrients.
Beans, lentils, and other legumes are the ideal carbohydrate source (CLICK HERE to read more about that). Did you know that beans are lower glycemic due to their moderate protein and abundance of fiber and resistant starch? Resistant starch are carbohydrates that are not broken down in the small intestine. And resistant starch is a great thing for us because it reduces the amount of calories that can be absorbed from beans. Yea! There’s more good news! Resistant starch is fermented by bacteria in the colon which form products that protect against colon cancer. In fact, consuming beans and legumes is associated with the reduced risk of both diabetes and colon cancer. Fantastic!
Nuts and seeds are low glycemic and promote weight loss. Really? Weight loss? Yes, indeed! CLICK HERE to read why to and the best way to eat them. Nuts and seeds also have anti-inflammatory effects that may prevent the development of insulin resistance, the precursor to type 2 diabetes. In fact, The Nurses’ Health Study found a 27% reduced risk of diabetes in nurses who ate five or more servings of nuts per week.
Fresh fruits are rich in fiber and antioxidants, and they are, bar none, the best nutrient-dense choice for satisfying sweet cravings. Studies have shown that eating three servings of fresh fruit each day is linked with an 18% decrease in risk of diabetes! Lower sugar fruits like berries, kiwi, oranges, and melon are great choices.
Need inspiration for planning delicious meals that incorporate these foods? Check out Eat to Live: The Cookbook by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. It is one of my go to books that I use for my weekly menu planning and I highly recommend it. To your good health!