It's no secret that vegetables should be the best friend of anyone with Type 2 diabetes. Loaded with fiber, antioxidants, and healthy carbs, a diet rich in vegetables has been shown in clinical research to help keep blood sugar levels in check. For example, research from the University of Cambridge found that frequent salad consumption improved glucose tolerance and dropped the diabetes risk.
However, all vegetables are not created equal. While 'superfood' is a buzzword tossed around a bit too commonly nowadays, a few vegetables at your local supermarket can have a significant impact on your blood sugar control.
Here are the vegetables that will give you 'the most bang for your buck':
Green Leafy Veggies: Spinach, kale, and romaine lettuce should be in your shopping cart during every shopping run. Green leafy vegetables appear to have the unique ability to improve your cell's sensitivity to insulin.
To get the most from green leafy's make sure to eat them frequently throughout the day with your meals.
Beans: Not quite a vegetable, but in a class in and of itself; beans are a secret weapon that many diabetics use to control their blood sugar levels (BSLs). Bursting with high amounts of soluble fiber, they have the unique ability to give your body important nutrients like carbohydrates and protein without making much of a dent in your blood sugar levels.
Best of all, because they are extremely low in the glycemic index, they're a fantastic alternative to grains as a source of healthy carbs.
Sweet Potatoes: One of the gifts from the nutrition Gods is the sweet potato. Despite being sweeter and more flavorful than the Idaho variety, it has a much lower glycemic index.
It's glycemic index of only 54 makes it a perfect alternative to other high-GI starches like white potatoes, pasta, and peas.
In fact, sweet potatoes are being investigated as a potential treatment for Type 2 diabetes. Dr. John Allan from North Carolina State University has stated that: 'We're hoping that diet, particularly the consumption of sweet potatoes, will become a more widely used tool in the treatment of Type 2 diabetes. It has the potential to be more cost-effective than drugs'.
Anything Dark: In truth, almost any fresh, non-processed vegetable is an excellent BSL-fighting food. But instead of grabbing a bag of iceberg lettuce, go for something dark. The dark pigment in vegetables is an indicator of their antioxidant level. Researchers in Norway concluded that a low-antioxidant diet can exacerbate insulin resistance.
In terms of blood sugar reduction, antioxidant rich vegetables like broccoli, artichokes, and beans are your best.