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What are the Best Foods for People with Diabetes? (Part 2)

Scientific studies and medical research have documented the positive benefits to be gained for diabetics from eating the following foods.  For the first part of this article, check out  What are the Best Foods for Diabetics to Eat? (Part 1)

Apples – Apples are a surprisingly healthy, relatively low glycemic fruit when eaten with the skin and may help with weight loss.  A recent scientific study found that women who ate three whole apples a day (with skins), lost 24% more weight on the same diet than the control group. 

It’s best to eat organically grown apples when possible because the skin of a commercially raised apple is a “pesticide heaven”.  If you have to eat non-organic apples, be sure to peel them.  By doing so you will lose part of the nutrients and fiber, but the skin holds most of the pesticide residues. Commercial apples also often are waxed, so you don’t really want to add synthetic wax to your diet.

Blueberries – Newest scientific research on blueberries has uncovered an exciting substance called pterostilbene, which is similar to resveratrol, and was shown to control blood sugar in studies done on test animals.  In addition, blueberries are very high in phytochemicals, which can prevent oxidation of fatty acids in your bloodstream.  An added benefit; pterostilbene may help to prevent cancer, while protecting your cardiovascular system.

If you’re diabetic, it would be good to eat 4 ounces of blueberries daily.  The best blueberries are wild ones; according to nutritional studies, they are about twice as high in antioxidants as domestically raised ones.  You can find frozen wild blueberries in your health food store and some markets. 

Strawberries – Strawberries have a chemical called fisetin, which, according to a Salk Institute study, helps to prevent inflammation and some complications of diabetes.  Fisetin is a flavonoid, which can also help prevent oxygen damage to cells and strengthen blood vessel walls. 

In a study done on diabetic mice, the untreated subjects showed typical deterioration from diabetes types 1 and 2 including kidney disease and increased blood sugar.  The treated mice remained diabetic but kidney damage was reduced and high urine protein levels decreased.  In addition, advanced glycation end products or AGE’s (characteristic of diabetes and chronic high blood glucose levels) were reduced. 

Researchers believe that high levels of AGE’s cause most of the complications of diabetes.  High AGE’s are also associated with inflammation and possibly cancer.  Unfortunately, strawberries are also sprayed a lot with herbicides and pesticides, so organically grown are best. 

Soy foods - such as tofu, edamame (green soybeans) and cooked dried soybeans – All soy foods are high in protein and lower in carbs than any other bean although they do have more fat than some veggies.  This makes them very healthy choices for diabetics.  When choosing the form of soy to add to your diet, green soybeans (edamame) are the healthiest.  Avoid TVP (texturized vegetable protein), which has been stripped of it’s nutrients. 

Cinnamon – In a study done at a university in Pakistan, researchers found that ¼ tsp of cinnamon a day not only reduced blood sugar levels, but also lowered cholesterol and triglycerides in diabetics.  Easy ways to use cinnamon are to put it on your cereal in the morning or put it in with your tea or coffee.  If you do the latter, you have to stir it well to get it to dissolve.  Large amounts of cinnamon (over a teaspoon per day) might be toxic, so it's best to limit your consumption.

Whey Protein Powder – For people with type 2 diabetes, new scientific studies have shown that adding whey to high-carbohydrate meals stimulates insulin release and reduces spikes in blood glucose levels after meals. 

A popular supplement for weight lifters, you  can buy whey powder at many health food stores and online.  New studies show that whey may improve immune response.  For an idea about how to add whey to your diet, try this diabetic meal replacement recipe.  You can also add it to any beverage or put it on cereal. 

High ORAC foods – The USDA developed this measurement to identify foods with the highest amounts of various valuable antioxidants and phytochemicals.  In addition, many of these foods are high in fiber, which helps buffer entry of glucose into the blood.  If you have diabetes, you need more antioxidants to offset the aging effects of high blood glucose levels. 

Here is a list of these foods in order with the highest ORAC first and the lower ORAC last (remember, raw is best for fruits, cooking destroys nutrients).  Fruits:  wild blueberry, blueberry (cultivated), cranberry, blackberry, prune, raspberry, strawberry, apple, cherry, plum - Vegetables:  Small Red Bean, Red kidney bean, pinto bean, artichoke hearts, black beans 

Seaweed – Seaweed can keep you young and perhaps prevent cancer.  It is one of the most nutrient dense foods, but one that is often overlooked in the US and it's a great source of iodine.  The easiest way to add seaweed to your diet is to add some to your soup just before serving, or sprinkle seaweed bits over a salad.  Don't substitute kelp powder unless you want a large dose of iodine.
What are the Best Foods for Diabetics to Eat (Part 1)?

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